The Republican Party needs to be "inspirational and inclusive," House Speaker Paul Ryan said this weekend, but it is in a "bit of a panic attack" after the Democrats' good run in recent years.
"I'm a Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan conservative," the Wisconsin Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski in an interview taped during the Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity event in South Carolina, aired on their show Monday.
Ryan explained that GOP policies "apply to everybody," but showed how it isn't something that often happens in primaries.
But President Barack Obama, he continued, was elected twice and was able to "steamroll" items through a Democratic-controlled Congress.
"Now we see the economy weak, the future uncertain, panic, frustration, anger," said Ryan. "The way I look at this is opportunity. There's opportunity that if you take these principles and go apply them to these problems, we can make a difference and we should not be following the Democrats and playing identity politics."
Such politics, he said, are one of the reasons the nation is polarized and bitter.
"The president played identity politics with devastating effect," said Ryan. "That's not the only reason why we're polarized, but it's one of the reasons and there's a temptation to follow suit with our own version of that. We should steer clear and get back to the Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp morning in America; let's not talk to people in ways that separate them from other people.
"Let's talk to people in ways that combine us, that are universal, that are unique to America's founding. That's what people are yearning and hungry for. That is the essence, the guts of the Republican Party."
The GOP is "in a debate with itself" in many ways, and does "a bad job of fighting over process or fighting over this issue or that issue or this poll or that poll when we don't do a good enough job of explaining to people this is what our vision is, this is what we want to see happen.
"These are the people we want to happen in this country and we're worried the country is more polarized and more bitter. I think all Americans feel that way."
And as a result, Ryan said he believes Americans are more angry than they were just four years ago, when he was Mitt Romney's running mate, and that's because the intervening years were "pretty bad."
"I think people are angrier, more frustrated and it feels like it's slipping out of our control," said Ryan.
"The idea of doing well, rising, making live better for the next generation, for your kids and they have an even better life, that legacy is slipping away from us. That's what have people panicked, I think."
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