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Paul Ryan speaks to Brit Hume
Paul Ryan does not much resemble Newt Gingrich to look at, but, like Gingrich, he's the stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like. The two men approach questions to which they don't have answers in strikingly similar fashion: First, they alter the premises of the question, subtly attributing the change not to an ideological disagreement but to the questioner's perhaps well-intentioned ignorance. Then they dive into a glib answer that sounds detailed and intimidatingly smart, but upon dissection it turns out to contain little actual substance. Gingrich uses flowery abstractions; Ryan uses numbers and statistics. But all those numbers and statistics are used in the service of evasion.

In his Tuesday interview with Fox News' Brit Hume, Ryan put all of his evasion skills to work. Hume repeatedly pressed Ryan on what, exactly, the Romney-Ryan budget plan would look like, but despite Ryan's confident assertions that this plan "is about offering solutions to get us back on track, create jobs, balance the budget, get people back to work," when it came to the details of how many jobs, over how long a period, with what kind of service cuts or revenue sources, there was really no there there. Ryan dodged and ducked, from "We can get into complicated baseline issues, but ..." to "I don't know exactly when it balances, but—I don't want to get wonky on you, but we haven't run the numbers on that specific plan." Ryan ran away from his own House budgets, basically responding to Hume's repeated questions about Ryan's budget by saying, "That's old stuff! why are you asking me about old stuff? I'm promoting the Romney-Ryan plan now, and we haven't run the numbers on that." Then, pressed about the Romney-Ryan plan, he evaded some more:

Hume: When will we see Romney plan in all its particulars laid out?

Ryan: You have seen more details from Mitt Romney on fiscal policy, on saving entitlements, on getting back to work than the incumbent president of the United States has offered.

Hume: Well, wait a minute, he proposed a full-blown budget.

Ryan: His budget didn't even try to balance the budget.

How's that for running away from a question? First lie, then when called out for it, change the subject: What counts isn't whether Obama proposed a budget at all, it's whether he proposed one that Paul Ryan likes. That was the question, wasn't it? No? Well, no worries, let's just move to the next question.

To his credit, Hume repeatedly returned to questions about the budget and Medicare, and every time, Ryan ran away, often running in circles simultaneously, dropping in meaningless numbers along the way. The budgets he's on the record having proposed are old news, pre-Romney, not worth talking about. The Romney-Ryan plan is very detailed and yet no details are available, nor will he say when they might become available.

And this is what passes for a Republican who's serious and knowledgeable about policy.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 09:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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