Cal Thomas / Nov. 5, 2015

Once More With 'The Vision Thing'

It was George H.W. Bush who reportedly dismissed an idea from a friend that he should spend time at Camp David thinking about what he might do should he become president. According to a January 26, 1987 article in Time magazine, Bush is said to have dismissed the suggestion with this line: "Oh, the vision thing." Now comes the new speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan, who is not only embracing the "vision thing," but is accusing his fellow Republicans of not having any vision at all.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV)

It was George H.W. Bush who reportedly dismissed an idea from a friend that he should spend time at Camp David thinking about what he might do should he become president. According to a January 26, 1987 article in Time magazine, Bush is said to have dismissed the suggestion with this line: “Oh, the vision thing.”

Now comes the new speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan, who is not only embracing the “vision thing,” but is accusing his fellow Republicans of not having any vision at all.

Appearing last weekend on “Fox News Sunday,” Ryan said, “We’ve been too timid on policy. We’ve been too timid on vision — we have none. We fight over tactics because we don’t have a vision.”

He’s right. Ryan might have also added that for too long Republicans have allowed the left to set the agenda and then spent too much time trying to prove they are not who the Democrats say they are.

Continued Ryan: “We have to have a vision and offer an alternative to this country so that they can see that if we get the chance to lead, if we get the presidency and if we keep Congress, this is what it will look like; this is how we’ll fix the problems working families are facing.”

That Ryan has to state what ought to be obvious is further evidence that too many Republicans are politically blind. Appearing the same day on “Face the Nation” on CBS, Ryan added: “We’ve taken plenty of tactical risks here in Congress. I believe it’s time to take some policy risks.”

An indication of the uphill challenge Ryan faces can be found in a recent New York Times story: “…the two parties do not just disagree on solutions to domestic and foreign policy issues — they do not even agree on what the issues are.”

Here’s a radical idea: Ask the people. A major reason for the cynicism in America and the rise of “outsiders” in the current presidential campaign may be that most voters think members of Congress care more about their careers than the people they are supposed to represent.

According to a July Quinnipiac University poll, the most important issues for voters leading into the 2016 general election are the economy, health care and terrorism. Ryan should start with these and propose solutions that have worked in the past and could work again. Republicans have to stop allowing Democrats to set the agenda. There is not a single problem facing this country that can’t be solved if the general welfare is put ahead of the welfare of politicians.

Ryan’s visionary approach won’t be risky if he demonstrates how Republican ideas have solved problems. These ideas work at the state level, where Republican governors and legislators are cutting taxes, streamlining government and creating jobs. He should lead a team off defense and into offense, promoting policies that offer hope, optimism and success, rather than policies that may sound and feel good at the moment. The increasingly (un)Affordable Care Act is just one of numerous government programs that sound good at the start, but don’t live up to the hype.

Ryan and the Republican majority can begin with something his Catholic Church teaches: repentance. He should acknowledge the mess politicians have made, apologize to taxpayers and voters and vow — yes, vow — to begin to travel a different path. This will also require Americans who have come to expect more from government than it can, or should, deliver also to repent and set off on a new direction.

Too much reliance on government has led to addiction and dependency. Self-reliance is in America’s DNA, but it may take the equivalent of 20/20 vision to rediscover it.

© 2015 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.