Ryan speech preview: A return to policy?

Now that Donald Trump has officially won the nomination for the Republican Party’s presidential ticket, the convention may take a turn toward the conventional. Paul Ryan will take the stage tonight to discuss his plan to fight poverty with a plan based on conservative, free-market principles. Earlier today, I discussed Ryan’s opportunity to bring policy back into the focus of the presidential election cycle with Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation:

As Rob explains, Heritage has a competing proposal for an anti-poverty plan called the Blueprint for Reform. The plan differs from what Ryan will propose in some substantive ways, but Rob is happy that Ryan is offering a competing plan. “It’s a free market!” he declares, and notes that the plan relies on the same principles and similar targets as the Heritage plan.

The question will be just how much Ryan will focus on policy tonight. Clearly he wants to direct attention back to this issue, seeing it as critical for the GOP in order to expand its reach into both inner cities and rural areas struggling in a global economy. The focus of the convention, however, is the nominee, and people will expect Ryan to speak both on Trump’s behalf and to attack Hillary Clinton. We’re likely to see a mix — Ryan is certainly able to multi-task — but given the nature of conventions, this might be the best opportunity to refocus the GOP on ambitious policy plans rather than the necessity of opposition to the Obama agenda over the last eight years. Can the Opportunity Society finally get a chance to thrive?

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on December 01, 2022