Golly gosh gee, step away from the internet for a day and holy heck breaks loose.
Seems that Politico’s Roger Simon, in a rather heavy-handed article that he now claims (after the fact, as Joe Gandelman points out) was intended as satire, pushed the idea that Paul Ryan is a Nice Respectable Wonk (as opposed to a truth-challenged numbers-fudging granny-starver) who is manfully rebelling against being contaminated by #Romneyshambles campaign cooties.
Thing is, much of this is very likely true.
Ryan may not actually call Romney “Stench”, as in “Stench of Failure”, but I suspect that Ryan’s surrogates — or those Beltway Bozos who may or may not like Ryan personally but want to protect him because he’s a prominent standard bearer for austerity, pushing the Overton Windows rightward so that what was unthinkable becomes discussable, and eventually policy — are anticipating that not only will Ryan not be our next vice president, he might not even remain a sitting congressmember, and they’re looking for ways to soften the damage to Ryan’s political stock. By pushing, via alleged humor or other means, the idea that Manly Rogue Ryan is oh so different from Loser Wuss Mitt, they seek to obscure the fact neither of them would be on the 2012 GOP ticket if they didn’t march in lockstep with their base and their donors on all the issues that matter: Killing Social Security and Medicare, slashing taxes for the rich, abolishing the EPA, you know the drill.
There’s one problem with trying to promote the Manly Rogue Ryan image: He’s apparently scared stiff of debating Rob Zerban.
Ryan, who has debated every single opponent in every congressional race before this one, even opponents who had less than $5,000 in the bank, won’t get anywhere near Rob Zerban. It’s a little over a month to Election Day, and Ryan still hasn’t committed to debates at all, even though he and his campaign representatives make the occasional semi-encouraging mouth noise while continuing to drag their feet. It’s got so bad that Marge Krupp and John Heckenlively, who ran to represent Wisconsin’s First Congressional District in 2008 and 2010 respectively, wrote a letter earlier this week to Kevin Seifert, Paul Ryan’s campaign manager, urging the Congressman to return to Wisconsin for a debate with Rob Zerban
Just as Michele Bachmann’s sudden decision earlier this month to start running ads against her opponent Jim Graves can be explained by recent polling showing Graves within the margin of error against her, Ryan’s decision round about that same time to start running his own ads is an indication that he knows he cannot count on winning either the vice-presidency or his current House seat. Another indication would be the effort, satirical or not, to preemptively pin the blame for both losses on Mitt Romney.