2.21.2010

"You know, casting the other side as somehow nefarious and evil and poorly intended is the oldest trick in the book."

Rep Paul Ryan has a great interview in the New York Times today:
[NYT] Your "Road Map," we should explain, is a somewhat alarming document that proposes, in 600-plus pages, erasing the federal deficit by radically restricting the government’s role in social programs like Social Security and Medicare. The president described it as "a serious proposal."
[Ryan] Right. And then the next day his budget director starts ripping me and then the day after that the entire Democratic National Committee political machine starts launching demagogic attacks on me and my plan. So when you hear the word "bipartisanship" come from the president and then you see his political machine get in full-force attack mode, it comes across as very insincere.
I'd mostly say the alarming thing about this question is the way it's phrased -- it doesn't really seem to be the interviewer's business to decide what readers should thing about Ryan's views on the government's proper role in the provision of health care -- it's only her job to describe what the bill actually does, and let Ryan respond. Ryan comes back well, but I'd have liked to see him expand a bit more on what he sees as the philosophical basis of his bill, rather than the pure politics and gamesmanship of the situation. Pushing back on a question like this is important, I'd say, and he got his shot at the politics of the thing in the next question anyway.

But overall, he came off with real charm here, as well as being the kind of deep-thinking policy wonk that Republicans need on the issue.