Paul Ryan is a Straight Shooter, and Health Care is his Target.

An interview with Peter Robinson, the Hoover Institution

Peter Robinson: The chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican, has represented the First District of Wisconsin since 1999. A native of Janesville, Wisconsin, he is notable in my view for two particular attainments. In college he worked for Oscar Mayer as a driver of the Wienermobile, and this past April he presented the Path to Prosperity, also known as the Ryan budget or the Ryan proposal, which is in my judgment the most comprehensive, conservative proposal for reform of the federal government since the Contract with America of a generation ago. Now he is in California to talk about one aspect of his reform proposal, health care. Congressman Ryan, welcome to California.

Representative Paul Ryan: Great to be here. Thanks for having me, Peter.

Robinson: On February 25, 2011, President Obama held a health care summit at Blair House across the street from the White House. You spoke up: “We don’t think the government should be in control of all of this. We want people to be in control. And that at the end of the day is the big difference. Now we’ve offered lots of ideas all last year, all this year, because we agree that the status quo is unsustainable, it’s got to get fixed. It’s bankrupting families; it’s bankrupting our government; it’s hurting families with pre-existing conditions. We all want to fix this, but we don’t think that this is the answer to the solution, and all of the analysis we get proves that point. Now I’ll just simply say this, and I respectfully disagree with the vice president about what the American people are or are not saying or whether we’re qualified to speak on their behalf. We are all representatives of the American people; we all do town hall meetings; we all talk to our constituents. And I’ve got to tell you the American people are engaged. And if you think they want a government takeover of health care I would respectfully submit you’re not listening to them.” We’ll come to health care, but here is the first question: where do you come from? Where do you get off talking back to the president of the United States? Nobody would describe you as arrogant, but you sure are sure of yourself. Where does it come from?

Ryan: Well, I’m a conservative. My thing is I am not trying to be somebody other than who I am. So I’m not trying to fake it, I’m just who I am. And it was very clear to me at that moment in that room—we were there for six or seven hours—that what they were trying to do was sort of muddle the differences, sort of haze the moment and make it as if we just have subtle differences. That was not the case. We had sharp differences between our approaches to government, health care in particular, and I just wanted to basically enunciate that. Obviously I do not think the president enjoyed listening to what I was saying. youcan read the full interview here  or at the


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