According to Mark Hemingway, Paul Ryan is "The Natural." Ryan wowed 'em in Lakewood, Colorado.
Having won over the crowd with pleasantries, Ryan imperceptibly worked his speech to a crescendo. The famous wonk wisely didn't stump on intricacies of, say, the Wyden-Ryan Medicare reform proposals. He made a series of moral arguments:
Guess what? Government doesn't regulate happiness, government doesn't define your happiness—you define it for yourself. That's how we do it in America.
What we are offering is a very clear contrast, a very clear choice. What kind of country do you want to have? What kind of people do you want to be? We want that American idea, that opportunity society with a safety net that's there to help people can't help themselves, that's there to help people get back on their feet who are struggling.
But it's the opportunity society, the American ideal, where you can meet your potential, nothing is stopping you from meeting your destiny. Our job is to get the barriers out of your way, it's not to look at people who are working hard, who are succeeding, with resentment. It's to say, 'here's how to get things done, we want more people to be successful, because if more people are successful, America grows and we create jobs."
At that point, the crowd in the Lakewood High School gymnasium cut him off, pounded the bleachers, and offered a full 22 seconds of applause. But they weren't done yet—an older man in the crowd stood up, pointed at Ryan and screamed "Hey look, no teleprompter!" The crowd roared in approval, not because it was gratuitous swipe at the president, but because they were so grateful that Ryan was providing not just competing policy vision to Obama, but a substantive rhetorical alternative. And they clearly liked what they were hearing. [My emphasis above.]