Republican Party Congressman and vice presidential pick Paul Ryan (Pic: http://paulryan.house.gov/)
Indian journalists on foreign postings do not write nearly enough of impressionistic accounts of the countries of their assignment.
Contrast that with foreign correspondents based in India and how they do not let their often thin knowledge of the land come in the way of their prolific and judgmental output.
It is almost as if there is a cultural lock in their own minds that confines Indian foreign correspondents to the narrow comfort zone of bilateral relations between the country of their posting, mostly America, and India. Of course, in recent years there has been an identifiable change but one still senses a certain diffidence to hold forth. I like to delude myself that I have always defied that stereotype.
In keeping with that rather bold claim, here are my impressions of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick Paul Ryan. Since this is a blog, I shall keep them appropriately shallow.
Even if I did not know it at all, I would have suspected that Congressman Ryan keeps copies of Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ wedged in both his armpits. In case, he dropped one he will always have a spare.
There is a cheery self-assurance to him that seems to tell the rest of the world, “Get on with it like me, man.” However, soon enough you might discover that the reason why he is walking as if he is carrying two copies of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ jammed in his armpits is because he keeps a hard workout routine which has given his biceps and his bearing the look of a professional fighter.
One of the enduring reputations that Ryan enjoys is that of a man possessing awesome scholastic earnestness. There are those who attribute to him a preternatural talent for complex wonkiness. If you care not to dwell beyond the obvious, Ryan may sound like a young and effusive politician who would buttonehole you outside the Department of Treasury on 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue and offer you a crash course on the ills of deficit finance.
Another reputation that Ryan enjoys has to do with his total grip on economics. So much so that if you did not know better, you might think that the only thing standing in the way of his winning the Nobel Prize in Economics is his aversion to travel to the socialist Europe.
At 42, the congressman from Wisconsin is already being described as the “intellectual leader” of his party. That position, I suspect, he owes entirely to his fabled obsession for greatly detailing his fiscal policy. I am told he throws in numbers in his milk in the morning in the event that he has run out of breakfast cereals. He then crunches them until a policy is formed.
His lean, tall and boyish frame, not to mention those bewitchingly blue eyes, considerably enhance his charisma. He has the gait of a tall man who, when he walks, always seems to be on a jaunt in a world he owns or, at the very least, controls. I am not sure I would call him handsome only because his face often carries the weight of economic policy, but does have a certain appeal.
Whether he will singlehandedly slay the socialist dragons unleashed by President Barack Obama remains to be seen but in the mean time the mere act of being picked as a vice presidential candidate has ensured that for the next 20 years at least he will remain firmly planted in the presidential orbit. That is if he does not become president in the interim.
If reading this post makes you feel that I am an unsuspecting Paul Ryan acolyte, then you are indeed an unsuspecting Paul Ryan acolyte. As for me, I am merely a mildly amused margin man with ever diminishing stakes in life in general.