Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s most prominent day in the limelight since he was a vice presidential nominee earned him a stack of some of the most brutal headlines of his political career.
From cable television to leading political news sites, the reaction to Ryan’s 10-year budget blueprint was largely aggressive criticism with a slice of mockery.
Ryan ”promises to balance the budget in a decade by . . . slashing Medicare, Medicaid and programs to help the poor,” read the bruising lead in The Huffington Post.
“Something that makes Paul Ryan an interesting figure in my view is that along with his passion for reducing the living standards of the poor in order to bolster the incomes of the wealthy, he maintains a sideline interest in monetary policy,” wrote Slate’s Matthew Yglesias on his MoneyBox blog.
The New Yorker’s John Cassidy didn’t mince words: ”The plan is a joke. It’s dead on arrival, and nobody should pay much attention to it, except as another exhibit in the indictment of latter-day Republicanism.”
Bloomberg View published a piece that placed him squarely in the wing nut category of the GOP. Titled “Is Paul Ryan An Inflation Nutter?”, the authors said his suggestion of “the debasement of the currency” was simply meant to scare people.
“This sort of fear-mongering sells well among gold bugs, doomsday preppers and other Tea Party types. But it rests on very shaky ground. So shaky, in fact, that either Ryan is being dishonest or he’s placed himself on the Spam-hoarding radical fringe, far outside any standard approach to monetary economics,” wrote a pair of University of Michigan professors.
A commentary piece from the Los Angeles Times was equally vicious: “Paul Ryan drinks deeply from pool of Social Security lies.”
Sure, it’s reasonable to chalk some of this coverage up to left-of-center columnists and publications.
But even CNN’s Erin Burnett, who is hardly known for lefty leanings, opened her show using a Mike Meyers impression to poke fun at how similar his budget proposal is to last year’s futile attempt.
The font placed on the screen during the OutFront segment: “BUDGET DRIFTER WALKS ALONE.”
Earlier in the day, CNN’s Dana Bash straight news package included her question asking Ryan if he was hypocritical for striving to attain his budget goal by incorporating tax increases he campaigned against.
And then there was Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace bluntly telling Ryan, “that’s not going to happen” when the congressman referenced repealing President Obama’s health care law.
“Serious, grown-up and smart” used to be words that fed the narrative around the boy-faced Budget Committee chairman.
The media has turned on Ryan and isn’t likely to go back. And much like his budget, they’re using a cleaver, rather a scalpel.