The conventions are the official time when rhetoric wins out over facts.
The campaigners are in speechify mode—going for the emotional sale.
So what else could we expect from Paul Ryan Wednesday night but recycled half-truths, untruths, and gas, packaged in a nice thin inflatable polymer.
That’s the stuff that rises up to the bunting in a convention.
And no amount of fact-checking matters.
Of course, it’s much different in real life, outside the convention hall, where rhetoric rarely soars, and voters are left with deflated hopes.
That didn’t stop Ryan Wednesday night. Known as a wonky, number crunching ideologue, he departed from all that policy stuff, though he did set parameters for the opposite of Big Government. What would that be? Little Government, of course. That’s what R and R is all about. Keep federal spending at 20% of GDP? “That is enough,” Ryan said.
Spoken like a true “central planner.”
But numbers are boring. So Ryan showed off his political style. He rallied young adults still living in their childhood bedrooms staring at faded Obama posters. He outed Romney’s iPod playlist as elevator music while revealing his own (AC/DC to Zeppelin? Really? I would have figured him a Styx and Kansas guy).
He pandered to women by showing off his family, calling his mom his mentor. His softened his slashing of Medicare by talking about his grandmother. She relies on it? She won’t in Ryan’s little government.
Why little government should appeal to anyone is ironic, but especially among those on the margins who would probably like to rely a little more on government these days. More unemployment. More public works jobs. More mortgage bailouts. So when Ryan addressed those who’ve felt left out of the economy, I was startled when he said “you haven’t failed, your leaders have.”
The crowd cheered, but those outside won’t be cheering when Ryan tells them his little government is unable to do a thing for little people.
Maybe big business will get its share. It always does in a world where corporations count as people. As for you little people, you’ll just have to take responsibility for yourselves.
Speaking of responsibility, if Ryan was so quick to blame failed leadership, shouldn’t he as the Congressional budget guy take some “personal responsibility” for his own failure to reach compromise with Democrats on a plan that would work for the people? How does he go without blame?
Doesn’t matter. He’s the little government guy who wants to be the No.2 public servant in the land.
Problem is, his ideas may be too little for all of us.
SPEAKING OF “ALL OF US”– RACE AND RYAN
One thing Ryan didn’t do is point out to any of his black.Latino and Asian friends in the crowd. Maybe because there weren’t very many there.
Maybe his diversity angle came when he talked about his time as a dishwasher or mowing lawns. That was his time to show empathy. Hey, he actually did jobs that are usually available to minorities! But he then he brags about how he wasn’t limited by his situation. If he was truthful, he’d say,”being white helped me a lot. And my well-connected father got me my first Capitol Hill job.”
Ryan’s weakiness on diversity is so glaring, he negates any impact that Sec. Rice and Gov.Martinez had speaking just before him. If you were a minority GOPer, Ryan wasn’t reassuring. He’s your forced fed young ideolgoue, with no message of inclusion or compassion. Not in a a little government themed campaign.
As he exited in “we can do this” mode, Ryan mentioned a bigger safety net? Bigger, you’ll be hard pressed to find one at all in the little government of Romney/Ryan.