Paul Ryan may not be running for president this time around, but if you have any doubt about his ambitions for a long, prominent future in government, just look at his comments in a Q. and A. published in Sunday’s Times. They’re a minor masterpiece of image calibration.Bruni goes on to bemoan the fact that politicians feel forced to play the "I'm-just-a-regular-person" gambit and dumb themselves down (well, some like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry don't have to do that). But if that's the game, deal Ryan in.
In the span of two dozen sentences, Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, mentioned the Bible, or rather a beginner’s version of it, which he said he was reading aloud to his 6-year-old son. He mentioned his truck and his appetite for hard rock, thus establishing automotive and musical affinities that balance his wonkier, number-crunching bona fides. He mentioned hunting — with a bow, no less.
Then came the capper. He mentioned his talent for what I’d like to call venison charcuterie, just because he so clearly wouldn’t. “I butcher my own deer, grind the meat, stuff it in casings and then smoke it,” he said, making clear that Sarah Palin in all her moose-eviscerating glory has nothing on him.
And thus his self-portrait as an outside-the-Beltway guy’s guy with grime (and maybe guts) under his fingernails was complete, and he had discharged one of the more ridiculous obligations of the contemporary politician. He had asserted that he was just like the rest of us, even though there’s no such thing as one uniform us and if there were, it would be buying its Bambi sausages in bulk at Costco.
He may be a millionaire who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but the image he projects is that of a guy up to his elbows in deer guts.