Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Roger Simon is a Funny Guy

I don't usually read Politico, an inside-the-beltway blog, but several people pointed me to Roger Simon's post about Paul Ryan.

"Paul Ryan has gone rogue," Simon writes. "He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook."

Apparently, it all began after Ryan's talk last week at the AARP convention, where he was roundly booed. His speech there was tightly scripted by the Romney campaign, and he was warned not to go off message.

These days, Simon reports, Ryan refers to Mitt Romney as "The Stench," a reference to a comment made about the Romney campaign by an Iowa Republican. (In fairness to Ryan, Simon reports that at Romney campaign headquarters Congressman Ryan is referred to as "Gilligan".)

What does an unleashed Paul Ryan look like?
He did a PowerPoint presentation for the crowd. According to the National Journal, be began thusly: “ ‘I’m kind of a PowerPoint guy, so I hope you’ll bear with me,’ Ryan told the audience as he began clicking through four slides, which showed graphs depicting U.S. debt held by the public from 1940 to present, debt per person in the United States, percentage of debt held by foreign countries and a breakdown of federal spending. He then launched into a 10-minute monologue on the federal debt.”

A word about PowerPoint. PowerPoint was released by Microsoft in 1990 as a way to euthanize cattle using a method less cruel than hitting them over the head with iron mallets. After PETA successfully argued in court that PowerPoint actually was more cruel than iron mallets, the program was adopted by corporations for slide show presentations.

Conducting a PowerPoint presentation is a lot like smoking a cigar. Only the person doing it likes it. The people around him want to hit him with a chair.

PowerPoint is usually restricted to conference rooms where the doors are locked from the outside. It is, therefore, considered unsuited for large rallies, where people have a means of escape and where the purpose is to energize rather than daze.
I'm sorry to hear this about PowerPoint presentations, because I've certainly given my share of them over the years, and I thought they were wonderful!

In Simon's post, as with most articles about Congressman Ryan, it's hard to tell where truth ends and satire begins. [See update, below.] Simon concludes:
The Romney campaign was furious. But Ryan reportedly said, “Let Ryan be Ryan and let the Stench be the Stench.”
According to Ryan’s official schedule, on Wednesday he “will attend a Victory Town Hall at Walker Manufacturing in Fort Collins, Colorado, and a Victory Rally at America the Beautiful Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado.”
Sources close to the Ryan campaign tell me his two new PowerPoint presentations will be: “How a Bill Becomes Law” and “Canada: Friendly Giant to the North.”
Ryan Fever. Catch it!
Update: Paul Krugman says Simon's column was a clumsy attempt at satire. [Sigh.] It seemed so real!

2nd Update: Steve Benen says,
There's apparently some debate about whether Roger Simon's column is satire. I'd just note for context that the piece isn't identified as satire, Simon is a chief political correspondent and not a satirist, and the column is filled with details and anecdotes that are, in fact, accurate. If it is satire, it's awfully tough to tell.
3rd Update: It was satire, but "a host" of "credulous" bloggers and journalists thought it was real. One of the reasons I rarely read Politico – I have trouble judging what's real there, and what's satire.

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