- The Washington Times - Friday, October 14, 2016

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Friday cast the 2016 election as a referendum on “liberal progressivism,” warning that Hillary Clinton is driven by a governing philosophy that hurts the very people that it claims to be protecting.

Describing liberal progressivism as the “longest con,” Mr. Ryan said the approach has rewarded the “elites” at the expense of ordinary Americans, while snuffing out innovation, suffocating economic growth and jacking up the national debt.

“We offer these ideas to give our fellow citizens a clear choice: Are we are going to be positive and inclusive, bring people together, and reclaim our founding principles?” Mr. Ryan said. “Or we are going to be overrun by liberal progressivism, with more drift, more despair and more decline? That is the choice before us.”

The address before college Republicans in his home state of Wisconsin was a late-inning attempt by Mr. Ryan to put his stamp on the 2016 election.

“The America we want is about empowering people to flourish and thrive,” Mr. Ryan said. “That is why we are taking to the country a bold agenda … a better way that means less government and more freedom … less apathy and more ambition … a way that offers the best of what liberty produces.”

The remarks came days after Mr. Ryan distanced himself from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump after recording surfaced from 2005 recordings in which the New York businessman bragged about how his star power allowed him to grope women.

On Monday, Mr. Ryan told his House colleagues he could no longer defend the New York businessman and would instead invest his time and energy on defending House members up for re-election.

Mr. Ryan has faced a barrage of criticism from Trump supporters, as well as Mr. Trump himself, who unleashed a series of attacks against the Wisconsin Republican, calling him a “weak” leader.

Since then, Mr. Ryan’s office has highlighted how he has raised over $48 million as part of his effort to shield House Republicans in the 2016 election.

Mr. Ryan did not mention Mr. Trump by name Friday, though he did hit some Trump-like notes, warning that the left “does not challenge the system — they rig the system” and that liberal progressivism “is government for the elites.”

The past eight years have shown the left’s approach to governing does not work, he said.

“Time and again, we have been told if we just spend more money, create more programs to live under and more rules to live by, put one more wing on the great palace of government, this will solve all of our problems,” he said. “Yet after all that, we feel less safe and less secure. Less free and less prosperous. As government grows more unaccountable and unresponsive, there is less faith and less trust.

“And that is because liberal progressivism simply does not work,” Mr. Ryan said. “It is the longest con. It preaches to us about fairness while snuffing out the striving that is at the heart of a free society.”

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