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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hewitt interview focuses on Paul Ryan's early life — even his job at Mickey D's

Either the transcript or audio of my friend Hugh Hewitt's radio interview yesterday with prospective GOP Veep nominee Paul Ryan is educational. Hugh chose to focus on some details of Ryan's early background that give insights into his character today. Here's a sample:

HH: ... [D]id you go to parochial school?

PR: Yeah, I went to Catholic school from first through eighth grade, and then I went to public school after that.

HH: Now which, what was the name of the parochial school in Janesville?

PR: St. Mary’s Catholic School.

HH: And did you play youth sports?

PR: Yeah, of course. I played basketball, soccer, track, all correct.

HH: And what was your first job?

PR: Well, you can get a job as a very young kid in Wisconsin in detasseling corn. So for people not in the Midwest, what that means is you walk down a corn row, and you snap the tassels off the corn to help pollinate the corn. I had a lot of landscaping jobs, a lot of lawn mowing jobs. I worked at McDonald’s, waited tables, was a fitness trainer, sold meat for Oscar Meyer, I had a lot … I painted houses, lots of different jobs.

HH: You worked at McDonald’s?

PR: Yeah, I was, you know, a funny story is the manager said I didn’t have the social skills to work the front, so he put me on the quarter pounder grill.

HH: (laughing)

PR: So now I’m in Congress, I say. It’s kind of funny.

Read the whole thing. There's nothing exotic about Paul Ryan's past. There's nothing radical or strange about his background. Paul Ryan's personal history is typically American — and it is one that will resonate as strongly with black or Latino families as with whites.

Not all Americans will agree with him, ever. But lots of Americans may be surprised to find themselves liking and respecting and approving of this young man. Some of them, I think, will also be surprised to find themselves listening to him, rather than just reading what his frantic political opponents say about him. And that's all to the good.


UPDATE (Fri Aug 24 @ 1:55am): Sometimes it takes my old neurons a while to make a connection between two different things I've seen on the internet, and perhaps my orientation as a heterosexual male was a disadvantage in making this particular connection, but:

For those of you who noticed "fitness trainer" in that list of jobs, there's this from the campaign trail:

Paul Ryan campaigning

And this:

Ryan campaigning on crowd line

I noticed way back in April 2011 that if you mussed Paul Ryan's hair a bit, gave him a five-o'clock shadow, and maybe put a broken nose somewhere in his past, he'd look an awful lot like actor Patrick Dempsey (a/k/a Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on "Grey's Anatomy").

Posted by Beldar at 10:28 PM in 2012 Election, Politics (2012), Ryan | Permalink


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(1) Boyd made the following comment | Aug 24, 2012 12:20:08 AM | Permalink

You know you're getting old when you refer to a candidate for Vice President of the United States of America as "this young man."

(2) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 24, 2012 12:25:51 AM | Permalink

Yep, that's true. I was in the eighth grade when Paul Ryan was born (January 29, 1970), so I look at him as a young man.

(3) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 24, 2012 1:34:45 AM | Permalink

Peggy Noonan shows that she's older than me, in writing of the upcoming GOP convention:

Paul Ryan will be exciting, somehow you know that in advance. But he should perhaps keep in the back of his mind something that hasn't been mentioned much. People are saying—not as a criticism, not as a compliment, but musingly—two words: "He's young."

They've just had a bad experience with young, with President Obama. Mr. Ryan stands for big change in terms of programs, and people will be inclined to want some years in such a person. So he and his people should consider that 42 can be a plus or a minus, and think about how to enhance the former and lessen the latter.

Of course, she also apparently still thinks the big broadcast TV networks are relevant or important. Of their decision to limit convention coverage to one hour per night, she writes (elipsis hers):

They used to give all night, long as it took, and treat the proceedings with respect. What they give now, to the people of a great democracy fighting for its economic life in an uncertain world, is . . . an hour a night? For a national political convention?

This is a scandal. Mock them for it. This isn't Edward R. Murrow in charge of the news, it's Gordon Gekko in charge of programming.

She's right, but it doesn't much matter. Almost everyone who's interested enough to watch will find as much of either convention as they want through other, newer, and less fossilized media.

(4) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Aug 25, 2012 10:02:02 AM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: Yup, the Hewitt interview is terrific. But this business of physical fitness is the bunk. The press swooned over The Won's physique in 2008. If that isn't enough, consider Schwarzenegger...I admit that I have no use for those who howl through megaphones that we all gotta get fit, seeing jogging as spending ten years of your life pounding the pavement so you can gain five more years at the end of your life to contemplate your ruined hip, ankle, and knee joints. This contemplation is called "jogging" your memory...

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(5) grumpy made the following comment | Aug 25, 2012 6:44:29 PM | Permalink

"will resonate as strongly with black or Latino families as with whites"


(6) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 25, 2012 6:44:53 PM | Permalink

The GOP should put you on its permanent VP vetting committee because you pick great people. And congratulations on the well-deserved Instapundit link!

(7) Mike Myers made the following comment | Aug 25, 2012 8:02:11 PM | Permalink

Well what the heck. He is young. (I'll soon be 69). But he also represents a sort of changing of the guard. If the Romney Ryan ticket is successful, we'll finally face the fiscal dragon.
As a country we've written entitlement checks that we can't cash. That probably will result in means testing for these benefits. I had some modest economic success in life. That means I'll be diddled.

But what the heck, I never really believed in those promises anyway. Call me an "early adopter". I have some of the same views about Social Security and Medicare that a 35 year old has today. He knows, and I know, that it won't be there, at least in the promised form.

(8) Micha Elyi made the following comment | Aug 26, 2012 7:33:24 PM | Permalink

Hey, I think I once worked for that same manager. "Social skills" meant being a cute girl - all the boys were sent to the back to grill burgers and do all the other hot, sweaty unpleasant work. There was a big corporate push to see a lot of girls promoted and a requirement for promotion was experience on the cash register...

Anyway, a job at McDonald's is for Paul Ryan's generation what having had a paper route was for earlier generations.

(9) Milhouse made the following comment | Aug 26, 2012 9:00:13 PM | Permalink

Mike Myers, there never was any promise. You were on notice since at least 1960 that Social Security was not an entitlement, and Congress could alter or end it at any time; anyone after that date who thought they were building up equity, that they had some sort of contract with the USA, were only fooling themselves.

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