If only his party affiliation were different, this would be a shining lesson for the media in how a rotten tone set at the top can drive the rank-and-file over the edge. Ah well.
Handled with aplomb by the candidate, but still uncomfortable to watch:
Ryan had barely begun speaking when a woman shouted, “Are you going to cut Medicare?”
Two women rushed the stage, and one was apparently arrested by three Iowa State Patrolmen after getting on stage with a banner.
“Woah…hey…alright…she must not be from Iowa,” said a dumbfounded Ryan as the woman got on stage.
The officers bounded out from behind the stage to pull her down, saying “She just punched a volunteer.”
As the boss emeritus notes on Twitter, USA Today describes the crowd reaction today as “spirited.” More from Jim Geraghty, who’s seen the Democrats run enough plays over the years that he can predict their defensive set for Ryan:
In the national media narrative – perhaps best illustrated by the shorthand of Jay Leno’s monologue, which presumes that the audience has the barest-bone familiarity with national figures – every Republican figure is reduced to one of three things: Old, stupid, or evil.
George H.W. Bush: Old. Dan Quayle: Stupid. Newt Gingrich: Evil. Pat Buchanan: Evil. Bob Dole: Old. George W. Bush: Stupid. Dick Cheney: Old and evil. John McCain: Old. Sarah Palin: Stupid…
Because Paul Ryan isn’t old, we will see an effort to paint him as either stupid or evil. You and I know that painting Paul Ryan as stupid is like trying to paint Bill Clinton as chaste. But we have also witnessed the rapid definition of an unknown Republican figure four years ago, and we know that right now, every Democratic official, commentator, talking head, and more than a few reporters awaken this morning with a new mission in life: define Paul Ryan.
He’s got to be evil, if only by process of elimination. The angry spectacle here makes me wonder whether hecklers might play a part in O’s strategy to define Ryan out of the chute over the next few weeks. The people in the clip appear to be freelancers — they’re the same progressive group that heckled Romney in Iowa last year — but that doesn’t mean the next hecklers have to be. Remember, according to no less than Nancy Pelosi, the people who showed up at the Democrats’ health-care townhalls in August 2009 to complain were astroturfers whose job was to create a false perception of popular opposition to ObamaCare. (Three years later, popular opposition to ObamaCare is a political fact of life.) This is how the Democratic leadership thinks. They’d like nothing more, I’m sure, than to see some irate protesters getting in Ryan’s face over Medicare at one of his events so that the media has a piece of useful viral vid to run with, and we already know how low Democratic campaigns are willing to stoop to harass Republican candidates. So why not send out some boisterous hecklers, to convince undecideds that this Paul Ryan character they’re hearing about is evidently so evil that average Americans might be driven into a sputtering rage by hearing him talk about premium support? It’s sound optics and efficient demagoguery. O’s inner circle might not be good at governing, but they’re good at that at least.
Exit question from the Obama campaign’s Tumblr account: “In case you missed all the excitement this weekend: Meet Paul Ryan, who is actually the worst.”