Just a Small-Town Boy
Paul Ryan is eager to present himself as your rags-to-riches kind of guy. Telling an audience about his small-town childhood, he was quick to point out that he hasn’t gone far (physically). “I live on the same block where I grew up. We belong to the same parish where I was baptized. Janesville is that kind of place.” A loop of gently swaying wheat in the background would have been fitting.
In case you weren’t clear, Ryan really dislikes the Obama stimulus plan. Calling Obama’s tenure “a presidency adrift,” Ryan attacked the president’s economic record and claimed nothing was done to address the nation’s failing finances. “Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems,” he said to wild cheers from the crowd.
He’s a Momma’s Boy
Ryan used his mother, who beamed proudly from the audience, as an example of independence, employment, and perseverance as a touching example of small—business owners who can support their families. After regaling the audience with his mother’s story, he reached out to small-town Americans making ends meet in wholesome, entrepreneurial ways, and stressed that they deserve credit for success, not the government.
Nothing gets a crowd worked up like assertions about America being the best country on the planet/in history. Ryan tapped into this, saying that the Romney-Ryan administration won’t be “managing American decline,” but “speaking with confidence and clarity” and acting with the knowledge that “the United states is still the greatest force for peace and liberty that this world has ever known.” Cue the “USA! USA! USA!” chants, which promptly followed.
Livin’ the Dream
Freedom, Ryan said, is the American dream. And he used himself as an example of a path that was chosen and molded by the one and only Paul Ryan: the everyman. “When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life,” he said. “I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself.”
Ryan v. Romney: iPod Wars!
Turns out Paul Ryan is almost painfully hip. He’s so up on the newest, coolest music that his iPod is filled with the likes of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, unlike the stagnant taste of his ticket-mate Mitt Romney, he points out. Ryan’s music taste isn’t always a mutually beneficial relationship. Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine (Ryan’s self-proclaimed favorite band), described the vice presidential candidate as “the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.” A few days later, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider issued a cease-and-desist for Ryan to stop playing his music at rallies. Well, this is getting awkward…