He would see faces in movies, on TV, in magazines, and in books.Charlie Pierce doesn't gives Paul Ryan credit for much, but he thinks Ryan might conceivably have a soul -- which is more than I'm willing to grant. He compares Ryan to Richard Nixon -- a man who let the fact of his deprived childhood eat away at him for life. Pierce theorizes that Ryan can't bear the thought that, as a youth, he got government benefits and thus didn't live up to his own Randian principles:
He thought that some of these faces might be right for him
And through the years, by keeing an ideal facial structure fixed in his mind
Or somewhere in the back of his mind
That he might, by force of will,
Cause his face to approach those of his ideal....
... during the whole time Paul Ryan was on his own path, his own journey, the American journey where he could think for himself, decide for himself, and define happiness for himself, every rough road was made smooth by his reliance on Social Security survivor's benefits that came to his family upon the death of his father.... The assistance that young Paul Ryan got from "the central planners" as he rose from Janesville, through Miami of Ohio, and to a career in which he never has had a job that wasn't inside, or very close to, the national government was not even acknowledged [in his speech last night]. He knows, in his Randian soul, that he once was a moocher, that in many ways he remains a moocher, and perhaps it galls him just a bit. It eats at him, the way Richard Nixon's childhood poverty was wormwood in his soul. That's where the connection lies. Paul Ryan is the newest new Nixon....As for me, I see Ryan as a guy who'd deny his own past even to himself. I think that's what makes him such a brazen liar (and ideal Romney soul mate): he genuinely believes whatever he says, however dishonest.
Remember, this is a guy who -- as we learned from yesterday's New York Times -- faked being a laborer with kids during his first run for Congress, when in fact he was a single twentysomething who'd worked in D.C. politics from the time he graduated college:
"Paul Ryan's biggest problem was that he was a young single guy who had lived away from the district," said Lydia Spottswood, the Democrat who ran against him....He won that race handily, by the way.
Mr. Ryan cheerfully pressed on, with the help of his brother Tobin and Tobin's wife, who took leaves from their jobs to assist him. "He needed to create the impression he was deeply embedded in the district," said Ms. Spottswood, who added that Mr. Ryan would often take his sister-in-law and her baby to factories during the early-morning shift changes to campaign. "Lots and lots of people were getting the impression that was his wife and his baby, and this was critical for him," Ms. Spottswood said.
He also made advertisements in which he wore a hard hat, which left voters with "the impression of Paul that he was actively working in the construction trade and had a family and was older than he was," she said.
"It was awesome to watch it," she added. "It was like an acting job."
I think he's a con artist skilled enough to con himself. The Times notes that he butters up people like a consummate con artist:
Cesar Conda, who was the Republican staff director for the Senate Small Business Committee, on which [Senator Robert] Kasten served as the ranking Republican, recalled an earnest young intern carrying the mail between Mr. Kasten's personal office and his committee office.Combine that with his lying and his shape-shifting (remember his recent credulity-straining disavowal of Ayn Rand?) and you've got a guy who's not just the "biggest brown-noser" of his high school class -- he's pathologically dishonest. Even, I bet, in his own thoughts about himself.
"Every chance he got, he'd take the opportunity to pop his head into my office to ask: What's Senator Kasten up to? What did I think about this economic policy or that economic policy? What about supply-side economics?" said Mr. Conda....
While at Empower America, Mr. Ryan did not miss an opportunity to network, [William] Bennett said. Although Mr. Ryan was in the economic section, he went to talk to Mr. Bennett frequently, flattering him, until they became close, a relationship that continues to this day. "I remember he complimented me," Mr. Bennett said, "saying I don’t try to demonize the other side. 'How do you do that?'"