Late Night: All the Fawning That’s Fit to Print
I feel compelled to apologize for the preceding post by my colleague Eli. He has the temerity to question the moral rectitude of the Republican budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, citing a suspiciously foreign publication called the Economist (which sounds kind of elitist, too, now that I think about it).
Perhaps Eli, like so many of the rest of us, got carried away by the misleading video of Ryan being booed at a town-hall meeting in Wisconsin this week, when in fact we know now that nothing of the sort happened.
Why do I say the booing didn’t happen, despite the seemingly incontrovertible proof in the video? Well, because reporter Jeff Zeleny of the very liberal New York Times was accompanying Ryan on his state town-hall tour, and he saw no such thing:
If Mr. Obama delivers his argument with all the presidential polish of a Broadway show, the presentation by Mr. Ryan is closer to an act on the community theater circuit as he hits 19 town meetings over the course of a two-week Congressional recess. He draws applause when he explains that Medicare would not immediately end for older citizens and that the plan would affect only people younger than 55.
… “I don’t want to get in a shouting match with 10 people at once,” he said at one point, when a man in a corner of the room tried to take an opposing view on corporate taxes.
But he received far more praise than grief.
Not only does Zeleny set the record straight about the tone of Ryan’s meetings, he conveys the saintlike humility of the man himself:
Representative Paul D. Ryan was deep into an explanation of his deficit reduction plan, which sits at the heart of a contentious debate between Republicans and President Obama, when he called on a constituent raising her hand in the front row of a town meeting here.
“We need a viable Republican candidate for president,” pleaded the woman, Nancy Champion, a retired schoolteacher. “Will you run against him?”
Mr. Ryan grinned, blushed and promptly tried to change the subject…
“I’m trying not to get into some partisan bickering war with the president,” Mr. Ryan told an audience. “I don’t see what purpose it serves to do that.”
Really, Eli, how could you be so disrespectful toward such a gentle soul?
And it’s not like Zeleny is incapable of being snarky and condescending toward a politician like, say, the sitting President when the target is a Democra — umm, I mean, when the target is deserving. So obviously the reason for such a glowing portrait of Ryan is because Ryan is an upstanding, honest man who merits such favorable coverage.
What other reason could there be?