Paul Ryan discusses new book prior to Oklahoma visit

Paul Ryan The Way Forward Screenshot-thumb-439x699-6760It was during an Oklahoma hunting trip with his daughter, several months after the 2012 election, that Paul Ryan was finally able to shake the despair President Barack Obama’s reelection had caused.

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, was the vice presidential candidate for Mitt Romney in a race that saw Democrats take their fourth presidential election in six tries.

“I was in a clear funk,” Ryan said in a phone interview with Oklahoma Gazette. “Just spending that week in the tree stand with her gave me a lot to think about. I basically [decided] to stop sulking and start to figure out what it’s going to take for us to turn this country around.”

Ryan recounts that moment, along with his thoughts on the future of the Republican party, in his new book “The Way Forward,” which he is promoting on a tour that brings him to Edmond on Monday.

The former VP candidate, who some believe will make a run for president in 2016, writes that conservatives must find a new way to promote their ideas and values to a changing nation, which starts by offering sound policy ideas.

“This can’t be the full measure of our party and our movement,” Ryan wrote about the GOP-initiated government shutdown in 2013 and the party’s recent obstructionist stance. “If it is, we’re dead and the country is lost.”

Ryan is fine with the opposition to most of Obama’s policies, but he wants to see Republicans offer up new ideas and plans that can appeal to a diverse country. In his book, Ryan offers ideas to replace uniformed social welfare programs with individualized plans that are in control of states. He also argues for restructuring the tax code and developing an immigration system that allows undocumented residents to get on a path towards citizenship.

Ryan acknowledges the changing demographics of the country pose a challenge for a Republican party that can often be seen as anti-diversity and anti-poor.

“This is not a movement of watering down our principals and moving closer to the Democrats,” Ryan told Oklahoma Gazette. “It’s rearticulating our principals and applying them to the problems people are facing so you have solutions that appeal to everybody.”

Ryan writes about moving the party beyond just “preaching to the choir” and finding ways to reach states that may lean Democratic.

“[It’s about] opening up the electoral college so that, yes, we have the Oklahoma’s of the world, but we also get the Wisconsin’s, the Iowa’s, the Nevada’s and the Colorado’s; the states that you will need to win the presidency.”

Ryan likes to think of himself as a man of ideas and his book offers some he believes could move the country forward. And possibly make a case for a Ryan 2016 bid.

Ryan will be at Best of Books in Edmond (1313 E. Danford Road) on Monday, Aug. 25 at 4 p.m.

 

Ben Felder

Ben is a news reporter covering local politics, City Hall and education in urban Oklahoma City. He lives in OKC with his wife, Lori, and son, Satchel. Ben holds a masters in new media journalism from Full Sail University and is an OKC transplant from Kansas City, Mo. Twitter: @benfelder_okg

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