On the evening of April 18-19, 1775, just hours before the battles of Lexington and Concord, Paul Revere took to his horse and began his Midnight Ride to warn the young American colonists about the movements of the British army.
On the morning of April 5, 2011, Paul Ryan took to his platform as House Budget Chairman to warn the American people about a different kind of danger: the danger of destructive and unsustainable debt.
And last night as he accepted his party's nomination for Vice President with a blow-the-roof-off, "we can do this!" speech, Ryan again sounded the warning.
Two hundred and thirty-seven years after Revere announced his warning, one of our greatest threats is also coming from within----but this one has been created by decades of profligate spenders. How utterly embarrassing that those hog-wild spenders are the heirs to heroes like Revere.
Unlike so many of the big spenders and cowards around him, Paul Ryan is an actual heir to Revere. His warning today was as crystal clear as Revere's was that night not so long ago.
For two years running, Ryan has proposed the GOP 2012 budget, a budget the House has voted to approve both years. And while he didn't speak specifically to its details last night, the way Ryan has thought about our vexing problems was all over his big speech.
Ryan's budget---like Ryan himself---is honest and straight-forward. It aims to shrink spending by $6.2 TRILLION over the next ten years. It proposes serious tax reform, such as lowering the top individual and corporate rates from 35% to 25% to increase competitiveness and let the American people keep more of what they've worked so hard for (echoes of Revere and the Revolutionaries!). It proposes structural reform to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in order to save those programs from complete collapse. And it defunds ObamaCare, the fiscal timebomb that will detonate this country unless it's buried six feet under.
Ryan's ideas are the most serious to emerge from a Congress in ages. They are a conservative blueprint for governance, and they echoed throughout his speech last night. He has (almost single-handedly, and bravely) set the narrative for the national conversation on spending and growth---and the bigger discussion about the proper size and role of government---through the 2012 election cycle.
If we don't take serious steps to cut spending and reform how government works, this country will collapse beneath the weight of its own debt. The welfare state is over, from California to Greece. Now we have to set about making hard decisions about how to avert disaster.
Because just as Paul Revere warned us in time to avert a catastrophe at the hands of the British, Paul Ryan is warning us in time to avert a catastrophe of our own creation. He has done it for years. He did it again last night.
And he will do it as Vice President. "We can do this!"