Editor’s note: The following is a recording and transcript of Glenn Beck’s radio interview with Paul Ryan from April 2010. It is being republished as Mitt Romney prepares to formally introduce the Wisconsin congressman as his Republican running mate.
GLENN: 888‑727‑BECK. One name that I hear an awful lot about and, you know, it’s strange. I’m getting a lot of heat now from this article that was in Forbes magazine called Beck, Inc. It was on the cover. I think it’s ought on newsstands today, the cover. And it starts with the opening line of, I could give a flying crap about politics. I care about principles. I don’t care about the process at all. And there’s a followup story in Forbes now on that because so many people misunderstood it. Or they are using it to smear me. I don’t follow the people day to day in Washington, but when I hear names over and over again, I look into them. Paul Ryan is a name I keep hearing of just, you know, he’s a god among conservatives. So I asked Stu, I don’t know, about a week ago. I said, Stu, can you look into Paul Ryan, found out what you can about him. He found a speech that I read to you or portions of that he gave in Oklahoma, and it appeared to me that he was standing up for progressivism which doesn’t really sit well with me. We heard from Paul Ryan’s office as soon as the show was over and they said, no, you’ve got that all wrong. If I get it wrong, I don’t care what political party it’s in; I will correct the record. Heritage.org has corrected the record today and the guy who wrote the article is a guy who I know hates progressives because he’s one of our researchers on the progressive movement. And the best guy to do it is Paul Ryan. So he joins us now. Hello, congressman, how are you, sir?
PAUL RYAN: Hey, nice to meet you.
GLENN: Nice to meet you, sir. Tell me, tell me your thoughts on progressivism.
PAUL RYAN: Right. What I have been trying to do, and if you read the entire Oklahoma speech or read my speech to Hillsdale College that they put in there on Primus Magazine, you can get them on my Facebook page, what I’ve been trying to do is indict the entire vision of progressivism because I see progressivism as the source, the intellectual source for the big government problems that are plaguing us today and so to me it’s really important to flush progressives out into the field of open debate.
GLENN: I love you.
PAUL RYAN: So people can actually see what this ideology means and where it’s going to lead us and how it attacks the American idea.
GLENN: Okay. Hang on just a second. I ‑‑ did you see my speech at CPAC?
PAUL RYAN: I’ve read it. I didn’t see it. I’ve read it, a transcript of it.
GLENN: And I think we’re saying the same thing. I call it ‑‑
PAUL RYAN: We are saying the same thing.
GLENN: It’s a cancer.
PAUL RYAN: Exactly. Look, I come from ‑‑ I’m calling you from Janesville, Wisconsin where I’m born and raised.
GLENN: Holy cow.
PAUL RYAN: Where we raise our family, 35 miles from Madison. I grew up hearing about this stuff. This stuff came from these German intellectuals to Madison‑University of Wisconsin and sort of out there from the beginning of the last century. So this is something we are familiar with where I come from. It never sat right with me. And as I grew up, I learned more about the founders and reading the Austrians and others that this is really a cancer because it basically takes the notion that our rights come from God and nature and turns it on its head and says, no, no, no, no, no, they come from government, and we here in government are here to give you your rights and therefore ration, redistribute and regulate your rights. It’s a complete affront of the whole idea of this country and that is to me what we as conservatives, or classical liberals if you want to get technical.
GLENN: Thank you.
PAUL RYAN: ‑‑ ought to be doing to flush this out. So what I was simply tying to do in that speech was simply saying those first versions, those first progressives, they tried to use populism and popular ideas as a means to getting ‑‑ detaching people from the Constitution and founding principles to pave the way for the centralized bureaucratic welfare state.
GLENN: Okay. So you and I have ‑‑ wait, wait, hang on just a second. You and I agree because ‑‑ the way it was worded.
PAUL RYAN: Yeah.
GLENN: It sounded like you thought that Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt and their progressivism was good and that’s ‑‑
PAUL RYAN: Yeah. There was one blog which I think you cited that completely misinterpreted my remarks.
GLENN: Thank you.
PAUL RYAN: All the other blogs that wrote about my speech I think got it accurately. What I probably should have done was added a couple more sentences. I cut the thing back for time.
GLENN: No, no, that’s fine.
PAUL RYAN: I should have just added a couple more sentences. What I was basically saying is the progressives we have now who are the people we have run our government, they don’t even try to do that. They don’t even try to pretend to be advancing a popular agenda. They try to cram through their agenda as fast as they can while they have the power that they have in order to get this stuff in place. So that is basically what I was saying is the kinds of progressives we have today, you know, aren’t even pretending to do what people want for the country.
GLENN: Paul, how is it that you and I have never met?
PAUL RYAN: You know, I don’t ‑‑ it’s a really good question. You don’t go to Washington much, do you?
GLENN: No, I avoid it like the plague.
PAUL RYAN: I go to Washington and Wisconsin every week and I don’t really go anywhere in between, except for Oklahoma where my in‑laws live.
GLENN: Do you watch or ever listen to the show? Are you familiar with what I’ve been saying?
PAUL RYAN: I’m familiar with it but you are on at a time of day that I just can’t get to a television. You are on too early. So I just haven’t had a chance to watch. I’ve watched you on O’Reilly and you’ve been replayed on Greta. So obviously I’m familiar with you.
GLENN: I’m just ‑‑
PAUL RYAN: And I know you’ve been going after progressivism which is exactly what I’ve been trying to do as well.
GLENN: I mean, I’m just surprised that, I mean because it sounds like you’re on exactly the same ‑‑
PAUL RYAN: Yes.
GLENN: ‑‑ road that I’m on, and I have been feeling, and I imagine you are, too, feeling wildly alone on this because most people don’t even understand progressivism.
PAUL RYAN: Right.
GLENN: So many dopes out in America are just like, yeah, well, I’m for progress.
PAUL RYAN: That’s right.
GLENN: Jeez, it’s not about progress. It’s not even about the Constitution. I just gave a talk this weekend where we were talking about, you know, we’re fundamental ‑‑ the president of the United States is saying we’re going to fundamentally transform the country.
PAUL RYAN: Right.
GLENN: Into what? We’re going to make progress to where?
PAUL RYAN: Right.
GLENN: What are we progressing to?
PAUL RYAN: If you read the entire Oklahoma speech, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. That’s what I’m saying, here’s what this means ‑‑
GLENN: My fault, my fault.
PAUL RYAN: They are leading us to a social welfare state, cradle‑to‑grave society where they create a culture of dependency on the government, not on oneself. It is meant to replace the American idea. And the reason I’m doing a lot of these speeches ‑‑ the reason I’m talking about Hegel and Faber and Bismarck, you know, and what those people stood for and what they did and said and all their disciples, you know, in America is because I really believe we’ve got to have a debate and a political realignment fast because we will win the debate now. We are a center‑right country. But if they succeed in moving us faster down the tipping point where more Americans are dependent on the government than upon themselves, where a debt crisis sparked money entitlement explosion brings us to, you know, a really tough fiscal situation, then down the road we may not win that referendum and so that is why I’m trying to, you know, do what I can from my position in congress to sound the alarm bells on what this agenda really means, what this philosophy’s all about and how we need to have a referendum in America in real elections to untangle this mess they created and prevent us from reaching this tipping point where we are a social welfare state, cradle‑to‑grave society, dependent on the government that lulls us into lies of complicity and dependency versus the America idea of, you know, making the most of your life, equal opportunity, equal natural rights. You know, those are the things that got us where we are and that’s why I put this roadmap plan out there. I introduced it three years ago. I put a new version out in January. You can go to my website, Americanroadmap.org. It is a very specific economic and fiscal plan. It’s a piece of legislation that says there is an alternative to this progressivist vision for America. There is a way to reapply and reclaim the founding principles in America and still get America back and make this century another American Century appeared that’s why I’ve been, you know, speaking from the hilltop. It’s not popular and it’s ‑‑ and for my party, we can’t afford to screw up again. But we’ve got to get people to stop being worried or afraid of taking on this debate and that’s what I’m simply trying to do.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. I mean, I don’t think I’ve heard a politician, really, I’m looking at my producers. Have we had a politician on this show since when, when we first met Santorum maybe, maybe. DeMint is really, really good but I don’t know anybody, not even Santorum, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody ‑‑ I need to find out more about you, Paul. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody ‑‑
PAT: Nobody’s articulated progressivism like that.
GLENN: ‑‑that is articulating the problem in this country and knows what the root is like you have.
PAUL RYAN: Look, I grew up in the orbit of Madison, Wisconsin. I know who these people are, I know what they think, I know what they believe. And so I would just encourage you, go to my roadmap website, read the roadmap.
GLENN: Give me the website.
PAUL RYAN: Americanroadmap.org. Read the full text of the Oklahoma speech, read my in Primus Hillsdale speech on progressivism and healthcare. Those three things right there, I mean, I could go on and on but those three things tell you what I’ve been trying to lay out and do just from my perch, you know, in congress.
GLENN: Paul, tonight and for the next five nights I am going to be softening the ground. I am laying out an idea of cutting the budget, doing what we did in 1920 after the first progressive ‑‑
PAUL RYAN: Yeah, Calvin Coolidge, sure.
GLENN: And I’m going to cut the ‑‑ show America that the budget can be cut by 50%. It’s going to cause pain, but it has to. It has to be cut or we die. And show a way that we can reduce taxes to be ‑‑ do what Georgia did to Russia. Just keep lowering the taxes.
PAUL RYAN: Right.
GLENN: So they could survive. We need to do that. And I’m telling you that it’s ‑‑ I’ve been telling the audience it’s going to be wildly unpopular. You are going to hate me by the end of the week because everybody will experience pain. But man, I’ve got to tell ya, I’m not running for anything. If you can get people in Washington to actually stand up and say, I mean, I’ll soften the ground and show people why it has to be cut, but we’ve got to cut this and we need somebody with a spine in Washington that will stand up. I’m ‑‑ boy, I hope I don’t find out ‑‑ you are not like a dirt bag, are you?
PAUL RYAN: Yeah, right.
GLENN: I just don’t want to find out, oh, jeez.
PAUL RYAN: Look, I ‑‑
GLENN: You don’t know Eliot Spitzer ‑‑
PAUL RYAN: No.
GLENN: Or anything like that, right?
PAUL RYAN: I’m not running for president. I’m not trying to be somebody else. I’m not trying to be somebody I’m not. I’m not running for president. I’m a ranking member of the budget committee. You know, my background is in economics. That’s my aptitude. If you read my roadmap, it is basically a plan that lays out how to relimit government, how to turn these entitlements into individual ownership programs where you are not dependent on the government for all these things, where you are more independent. And how you can basically reclaim the 21st century for the American idea instead of ‑‑ and we are very quickly approaching this tipping point in this country.
GLENN: I know.
CALLER: Where I mean, 60% of our fellow citizens right now get more benefits from the federal government in dollar value than they pay back in taxes. So we’re already very quickly going down this path. Throw healthcare on top and then cap and trade and implement this Obama budget and you are way down that path.
GLENN: Well, we won’t survive that.
PAUL RYAN: So and that’s what I lay out on my roadmap. I show you using Congressional Budget Office numbers just how we are going to implode. We have an economic implosion on the horizon. Everybody knows this but nobody’s doing anything about it. And that’s why I’ve decided to put this plan out there ‑‑
GLENN: God bless you.
PAUL RYAN: ‑‑ that has been certified by the CBO as doing what I say it does.
PAUL RYAN: So I encourage you to take a look at it.
GLENN: I will. Paul, and I would like to stay in touch with you. I appreciate your correcting my error and I apologize for that.
PAUL RYAN: Look, that one blog really misinterpreted what I was trying to say and you know, as you just mentioned in your lead‑in, you get misinterpreted sometimes.
GLENN: Well, I’m glad we’ve cleared it up and we’ll stay in touch. Paul Ryan, thank you very much, sir.
PAUL RYAN: Sounds good.
GLENN: Appreciate it. You bet. Bye‑bye. Oh, my gosh.
PAT: You weren’t already married, I think you would have proposed to him.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
PAT: I think you would have proposed to him then. I saw the look in your eye.
GLENN: You know what it is? You know what it is? Hope, why, because someone knows the truth and knows how to articulate it.
PAT: He really does and did. That was really good.
GLENN: Let me ask you something. Let me ask you something. I said that my time would be done when I found somebody else that would articulate it.
PAT: I think you are in the clear.
GLENN: Can I go home now? Can I go home?