By Christian Schneider
Back in his Wisconsin district today to hold a series of listening sessions, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan commented on President Obama's latest campaign mascot, a hypothetical woman whom the campaign calls "Julia." Ryan called the imaginary character "creepy," and called the idea of creating a fictional woman dependent on the government "demeaning."
"It suggests that this woman can't go anywhere in life without Barack Obama's government-centered society. It's kind of demeaning to her," Ryan said. "She must have him and his big government to depend on to go anywhere in life. It doesn't say much about his faith in Julia."
"Every one of those slides, I could go after their manipulation of statistics, and disentangle and unpack each of those talking points," said Ryan. "It's just the narrative that they're trying to tell, that for this woman to succeed, she has to have a really big government."
"It really shows the philosophical premise they operate from, which is -- I think Romney coined it well -- it's a "government-centered society.' You have to have government at every stage of your life to be there for you, otherwise, you're going to fail. It's promoting a cradle-to-grave welfare society," said Ryan.
Ryan also addressed new national jobs numbers, which show the labor-force participation to be the lowest in 30 years. He noted that for 20 months after the recession of the early 1980s, the economy grew at 6.2 percent per year; yet the U.S. economy is currently stuck at 2.2 percent growth.
When asked what specifically was causing business uncertainty, he said "everything."
"Now that they can't pass all the laws they want, because of the House, they are hyper-regulating everything. Regulation of financial services, energy, health care, on down the line -- is stifling job creation, placing a huge hidden tax on the economy. They're promising massive tax increases in January, and they're not doing a thing to get the debt under control, so that just means tax increases and higher interest rates, with the threat of inflation. That produces a great deal of uncertainty. People just have a gut feeling that the country is in decline," said Ryan.
Ryan also begrudgingly addressed the comical "Hey Girl, it's Paul Ryan" website that has been offering up policy-related pickup lines on his behalf. He called the site "flattering, but weird," and said he considered it a "mockumentary" moment, as if he were a character in Spinal Tap. "It's very surreal to me -- I'm just kind of a budget guy in Congress, doing my job, so it's really kind of strange."
He said his wife showed him the first round of the pictures, and his staff has been updating him as more come online. Ryan said he was especially surprised to see his junior-prom picture online, and laughed about how back in high school, no one ever could have known the Internet would come along and unearth awkward photos.
Ryan declined to answer whether he actually knew any real pickup lines.
-- Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.