The Manhattan Institute has posted the video of Monday night's Alexander Hamilton dinner, which featured, among others, Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush. A surprise guest was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was greeted with a standing ovation when she was introduced from the podium by the Manhattan Institute's chairman.
You can watch for yourself if you are interested, but I was there and had some impressions:
- This crowd really does not like Mayor de Blasio. "Our new mayor is the kind of guy who saw the movie 'Waiting for Superman' and was rooting for Lex Luthor," Manhattan Institute chairman Paul Singer said. Jeb Bush said he'd be willing to chair the Rudy 2017 campaign against de Blasio.
- Paul Ryan reminds me in certain ways of Bill Clinton. He used the line, "if ya work hard, ya play by the rules,' which is a classic Clinton formulation. Mr. Ryan even does the Clinton thing where he bites his lower lip.
- Mr. Ryan isn't giving up on foreign policy as an issue to attack President Obama. "No one fears our president's displeasure these days," he said, speaking of China, Russia, and Syria.
- Mr. Ryan also talked about and emphasized anti-poverty programs, which he's been researching. "Work works," he said, talking about replacing a vicious cycle with a virtuous cycle of friendship, accountability, and love, "each person at a time, eye to eye, soul to soul."
- Jeb Bush emphasized increasing economic growth through immigration and education. He also called for some government spending: "as someone who lives in Florida, wouldn't it be nice to have a space program again?"