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As Mitt Romney announced his Vice Presidential running mate over the weekend, the Beltway chattering class was quick to trumpet the supposed "youthful vigor" Paul Ryan's selection would inject in a campaign troubled by a summer of Olympic-size gaffes and sinking poll numbers.

In the hours following his announcement, Ryan was also heralded as a "gym rat" and "fitness nut" who was "almost a pro-skier."

The political spin could not have been more blatant. For a party brimming with octogenarians but lacking in youthful appeal, the Wisconsin native is fresh, young, and even hip -- heck, he listens to Nirvana on his iPod!

It is no surprise that the GOP would put Ryan's age on center stage. It is a political tactic born out of necessity.

With minority populations continuing to grow especially among Hispanic Americans and more young people becoming eligible voters with each passing election cycle, demographics are quickly becoming the biggest threat facing Republicans -- bigger even than that socialist, communist, Marxist, Kenyan-born dictator occupying the White House that your cranky uncle writes about in those lengthy chain emails you keep deleting.

Worse still for Republicans, young and independent minded voters are more and more likely to be turned off by the Party's fetish-like obsession with denying equal rights to lesbian and gay Americans.

If the Republican Party fails to join the twenty-first century, these problems will not just persist, they will increase.

So, what is a party to do when it faces such problems if it is not willing to change course on public policy?

Change the rules to the game of course.

Since President Obama's election in 2008, Republican Governors have instituted voter I.D. laws in state after state, made it harder or impossible to vote early, and made the process by which Americans register to vote, needlessly complicated. Such moves disproportionately impact the very demographic groups that are causing headaches for Republicans -- namely young voters and African and Hispanic Americans.

If you doubt for a moment the motivation behind such efforts, perhaps the words of Pennsylvania state house Majority Leader Mike Turzai well help settle it for you. Speaking at a Republican State Committee meeting, Turzai said his state's voter I.D. law is "gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania." Refreshing honesty from a politician, especially when you consider the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recently admitted in court fillings defending the I.D. law from legal challenge, that there was no known "voter fraud" that would be prevented by the new statute.

While young voters may have trouble casting ballots this fall because of obstacles put in place by Republicans, when they do head to the polls they will not be swayed by Romney's selection of Paul Ryan. At only 42 years of age, the Republican Congressman is certainly young, but the only thing that makes him "youthful" is the year in which he was born.

If Ryan had his way, student loan interest rates would double and far fewer would be eligible for Federal Pell Grants to help pay for college. For those who do manage to qualify, such grants would be less helpful since Ryan, unlike Obama, would not allow the awards to increase with inflation.

And if young voters and independents have been put off by the Republican Party's hostility toward lesbian and gay legal equality, they are not likely to be inspired by Ryan -- a man who voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality, supports banning adoption by same-sex couples, voted against the hate crimes law President Obama signed, and after first supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would forbid employers from firing someone simply because they happen to be LGBT, he joined Republicans in trying to kill it. Today, employment discrimination against LGBT Americans remains legal in more than 30 states.

Far from mirroring the young and those of his own generation, Ryan's views are simply a mimeograph -- to borrow a term familiar to the average conservative -- of the stodgy, largely white, and old folks running, funding, and supporting today's Republican Party.

Paul Ryan is a 70 year old man trapped in the body of young man. He's the Benjamin Button of American politics and just as Brad Pitt's portrayal of the character came up short after clinching an Oscar nomination, Ryan's nomination for Vice President will suffer the same fate.

Karl Frisch is a syndicated columnist and Democratic strategist at Bullfight Strategies in Washington, DC. He can be reached at KarlFrisch.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube or sign-up to receive his columns and updates by email.

Distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. For information on carrying his column in your publication, email Cari Dawson-Bartley or call 800-696-7561.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Karl Frisch is a Syndicated Columnist, Democratic Strategist, and Progressive Radio Personality based in Washington, DC

    by Karl Frisch on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:00:03 AM PDT

  •  Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and GOP... black and white (3+ / 0-)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    By doodabides at 2012-08-11

    Dudehisattva...

    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:12:20 AM PDT

  •  "Almost a pro skier" (4+ / 0-)

    in the same way that I'm "almost" a concert pianist?  Well, except for the performing bit; oh, and the repertoire.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:21:36 AM PDT

  •  I think the Ryan selection was a desperate act (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye54, Dave in Northridge, Smoh

    and like Rmoney's other tricks (that he honed at Bain) this will fail to stop his rush to the bottom.

    Conservatives supported slavery, opposed women’s suffrage, supported Jim Crow, opposed the 40-hour work week, the abolishment of child labor, and supported McCarthyism. from 'It's The Conservatism, Stupid' by Paul Waldman July 12, 2006

    by arealniceguy on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:23:49 AM PDT

  •  I can promise my 18 yo does not consider (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beltane, brae70, Smoh

    Paul Ryan to be young.

    •  Republicans have a way of seeming old (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dreidlgirl

      even when they are young. Anyway, what "youthful vigor"? I don't see it. All the candidates seem pretty fit and vigorous, including Romney — not a Bob Dole in the lot. I really don't see anything especially youthful or vigorous abut Ryan, and his alleged "charisma" is completely lost on me. He's that geek on your high school chess team who won't stop urging you to read "Atlas Shrugged," so you duck into a classroom to avoid him when you see him coming down the hall.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 09:12:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Paul Ryan has the type of ageless look (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh

    that reminds me of a reanimated corpse. Only in a party made up exclusively of pasty old white people could this ghoul be considered to be an avatar of youthful vigor.

  •  Listens to Nirvana? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OrangeMike, Dave in Northridge, Smoh

    The classic rock station in Seattle plays them too.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 05:42:15 AM PDT

  •  When does it officially change from "This is good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Smoh

    News for John McCain" to, "This is good news for Mitt Rmoney"?

    Romney/Ryan 2012 - Every now and then I'm known to make a mistake...

    by Fordmandalay on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 05:44:56 AM PDT

  •  Its a new face in the spotlight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Smoh

    and we'll have to see what he does with the new public image. Sarah Palin was also young (I believe 44 at the time of the 2008 election) and her voice did a job within the Republican Party. It didn't have the same impact across party lines that people thought it would, but we did see from the 2010 elections the power that the Tea Party can have so I wouldn't count Ryan out.

    The thing I have had lingering in my head since Friday night is the remembrance of John Edwards. I'm really wondering about the skeletons that Ryan has in his closet and whether they're things that the American public will care about, or if they're just things like "he's not a good tipper". This is what's going to be coming out in the next month or so and it'll be interesting to see how he responds to them, and if he keeps his cool. Cause that could really help/hurt him.

    Interested in learning about math, probability, or Computer Science and their connections to the real world? Learn more at my site: http://www.learninglover.com, or visit me on Twitter: @MindAfterMath

    by LEARNINGlover on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 06:35:55 AM PDT

    •  What I notice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh

      From Paul Ryan's wikipedia page is that he hasn't been in a contested election since 1998, and even then he won with a 14% margin of victory. So, there may be a lot of work to be done in terms of discovering what he's been doing for the past 14+ years. Not necessarily saying that there's anything bad there, but if he hasn't been challenged in that long a period of time, its probable that nobody has really looked into these records (except maybe Willard). My guess is that Obama has already begun looking through this stuff though.

      Interested in learning about math, probability, or Computer Science and their connections to the real world? Learn more at my site: http://www.learninglover.com, or visit me on Twitter: @MindAfterMath

      by LEARNINGlover on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 06:51:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's making it easy to identify the media whores (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh

    At this point, any mention of the word "intellectual" when it comes to Ryan will be a sign that the writer is in the tank for him. "Professional skier" looks like it will be a good marker too.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 06:47:52 AM PDT

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