Paul Ryan strut out onto the stage at CPAC like a football hero, immediately sending the adoring crowd into fits of laughter despite not having said anything particularly amusing. Two years after he lost his bid to be vice president, Ryan said, there were a lot of reasons to be optimistic.
Ryan hit the left for focusing on income inequality. "[What that] really shows is that [the left] is out of ideas... They have spent five long years in power and all they have to show for it is this lousy website."
Ryan—neatly dressed in a navy suit and powder blue striped tie–dismissed the notion of a civil war within the Republican Party. It was just "creative tension," he assured the crowd with a wink. He boasted that "the center of gravity is shifting" in favor of the GOP. "Let the other party be the party of personalities. We will be the party of ideas."
Ideas—or the lack thereof—remained a focus for Ryan. "The left isn't just out of ideas. They're out of touch." "Take Obamacare. Okay, don't take Obamacare," he laughed along with the crowd. He repeated the same trick later on in his speech, starting a riff with "Take Obamacare—not literally, but figuratively." The crowd ate it up.
Ryan insinuated that the Democratic Party is selling the American people a welfare state. "What the left is offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul...People don't just want a life of comfort. They want a life of dignity..."
Ryan closed with the declaration that the Republican party would "save the American idea."