Meet Sad Paul Ryan

Jonathan Chait on the political calculus behind the Ryan pick — Paul Ryan Helps Romney Reclaim His Political Virginity:

It’s an attempt to claim for the Romney campaign the political high ground. Romney is now running on a meta message about himself: We are serious, substantive, and good; they are frivolous, dishonest, and mean. […]

How can Romney, whose campaign spent months relentlessly smearing Republican and Democratic foe alike and spitting derision at the naïveté of anybody who objected, reclaim his political virginity? By bathing in Ryan’s soft glow.

One underrated aspect of the new GOP veep nominee’s political arsenal is a recurring persona of his that you might call Sad Paul Ryan. Sad Paul Ryan is less an ideological crusader and more like a wide-eyed boy who has come to Washington full of hope only to have his youthful dreams crushed by nastiness and name-calling. […]

So emotionally vulnerable is Sad Paul Ryan that even a statistical recitation of the effects of his plan will nearly reduce him to tears. He is capable of complaining that Obama will “affix views to your opponent that they do not have so you can demonize them” — two sentences after accusing Obama of advocating “socialized medicine.” […]

Romney’s advisers are now proclaiming, “We are betting that a substantive campaign, conducted on the high ground, and focused primarily on jobs and the economy, will trump a campaign that is designed to appeal to our worst instincts,” and the candidate himself is delivering lines such as “Mr. President, take your campaign out of the gutter and let’s talk about issues.” (Talking About the Issues is Ryan’s thing, unless talking about the Issues means discussing any specific element contained within his plan, in which case he would rather talk about bowhunting or catfish noodling.) 

Romney and Ryan inaugurated their new high-road campaign with the charge that Obama “robbed” $700 billion from Medicare, declining to mention that their own plans keep the same cuts in place.

Some thoughts of my own on the difficulty Ryan’s likability poses for Democrats are forthcoming.

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About Hammertime
Georgetown sophomore, Job Creator.

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