Friday, May 25, 2018
Opinion

Believe it or not, Ryan will say it

If this pandering had gone on much longer, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan would have been volunteering to head to the Bay of Pigs to do the job right.

Ryan was doing what all politicians do upon arriving in Miami — guzzling cafe con leche until you're more wired than a 10-year-old setting foot in Disney World for the first time — and jumping on the Fidel is Satan bandwagon.

It is an unwritten rule in Florida politics that you can never go wrong decrying the Castro brothers' grip on Cuba, even if your own voting record would normally get you tarred and feathered in Little Havana. But that's part of the shameless charm of a presidential campaign: Tell the people what they want to hear and hope no one reads the Congressional Record.

What might we call this? Scam-a-lot?

During his visit to Miami's Versailles Restaurant, Ryan engaged in his own P90X workout on revisionist history, railing about the evildoing Castros and how he and Mitt Romney would make it the first order of business to get Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban to change his name if he knows what's good for him.

Oddly enough, while Ryan was claiming he and Romney would short-sheet Fidel's bed, send him unwanted pizzas and regularly call the presidential palace asking if they have pop in the bottle, the Wisconsin congressman conveniently neglected to say he had voted at least three times against maintaining the Cuban embargo.

He probably just forgot.

Even though the embargo has been in place for half a century, the Castros are still kicking while other nations have cultivated trade and cultural relations with the island. But Ryan underwent his conversion thanks to some of his Cuban-American congressional colleagues such as Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers, former Congressman Lincoln and incumbent Mario.

No doubt they took Ryan aside and explained that South Florida Cubans take a dim view of anyone who deviates from supporting the embargo, which led to the candidate practically calling for an electrified fence to be built in the Florida Straits to bring those commies to their knees.

So Ryan has served in Congress with Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balarts for years, while voting to oppose the embargo, and only just recently concluded he was really against it before he was for it? Where have we heard that before? And his "I've seen the light!" moment occurred at about the same time he was invited to join the Romney ticket?

Next up, Ryan took his Eddie Haskell Disingenuous Tour bus up the Florida coast to castigate, vilify and otherwise heap scorn on President Barack Obama's decision to eliminate the space shuttle program and reduce NASA funding.

Disgraceful. Shameful. Awful.

Yet once again, Ryan, it would seem, had slipped into full Sgt. "I Know Nothing" Schultz mode, neglecting to also mention he had repeatedly voted to slash the NASA budget. In fact, if the Romney/Ryan ticket is elected, space exploration under NASA would be limited to firing off bottle rockets on New Year's Eve.

He probably just forgot.

Traditionally vice presidential candidates undertake the role as the campaign pit bull. But Ryan appears only interested in fulfilling half of the job description.

And so Ryan finds himself flitting about the state either advocating for, or being critical of stuff his own voting record indicates he really doesn't believe in.

Is it any wonder the term "politician" engenders so much cynical derision from the body politic?

Paul Ryan can't go to Miami and say to people: "Look, the Cuban embargo has been a running joke for 50 years." He would have his head handed to him by the Ros-Lehtinens and Diaz-Balarts of the world who have risen to power on the strength of a misguided Cold War vestige with less teeth than Leon Spinks.

So Ryan sips his coffee, prevaricates and then heads up the road to tout against his own values to another crowd eager to be massaged.

The Romney campaign slogan: "Believe in America." But believe has become a slippery slope of shilling.

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