Ryan Stench Satire Essay

Columnist's satire of Paul Ryan mocking Mitt Romney as 'The Stench' fools journalists

By Toby Harnden for the Daily Mail

Published: 22:43 GMT, 26 September 2012 | Updated: 01:47 GMT, 27 September 2012


When Politico's veteran columnist Roger Simon penned a piece entitled 'Paul Ryan vs The Stench' about how the Republican vice-presidential candidate had 'gone rogue' and was bad-mouthing Mitt Romney, the news siren sounded.

Simon kicked off my citing a quotation from Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa. 'I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,' Robinson had told The New York Times on Sunday.

This had led, Simon wrote, to Ryan 'marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later”'

Big stink: Paul Ryan spoke at a campaign stop at Walker Manufacturing in Fort Collins, Colorado today; a satire piece has fooled some journalists about Ryan calling Romney 'The Stench'

Noonan, a Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan speech writer, had written recently: 'The Romney campaign has to get turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant “rolling calamity".'

Ryan, Simon wrote, 'broke free' at the weekend by using PowerPoint to illustrate his budget arguments. The columnist added: 'PowerPoint was released by Microsoft in 1990 as a way to euthanise cattle using a method less cruel than hitting them over the head with iron mallets.'

That was meant to be a clue that the whole piece - apart from Robinson's quotation, was satire. But a number of journalists rushed into print without checking.

Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist and Nobel prize winner for economics, wrote: 'Can I say that even though I’m not exactly a fan of Mitt Romney’s, this is just bad behavior? You’re supposed to wait until it’s actually over before you do this kind of thing. Anyway, I like how Ryan is declaring independence: by using PowerPoint!'

The stench: Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, wrote: 'I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he¿ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him'

Joe Gandelman of the Moderate Voice posted: 'Have we ever heard of a winning Presidential ticket in American politics that had a Vice Presidential candidate have an attitude like this about his running mate? Talk about a total lack of deference (or respect).'

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite chipped in: 'Simon’s anecdote has the recognizable (to the Beltway crowd) ring of truth that renders it canonical in political circles ... Simon’s anecdote demonstrates that the Romney campaign’s toxic press is in Ryan’s head. In this electoral game of chicken, Ryan is already unbuckling his seatbelt and visualizing his roll onto the shoulder.'


MailOnline initially took the column at face value and contacted Ryan spokesman Michael Steel for comment. Steel responded with amusement: 'You are the first to ask, because the column is clearly fantasy.'

Michelle Marshall, writing as a liberal blogger under the pseudonym Taylor Marsh, concluded: 'Ryan is trying to save himself so he can live to run another day. Roger Simon’s piece has spread like wildfire and is causing a gigantic ripple.'

MailOnline initially took the column at face value and contacted Ryan spokesman Michael Steel for comment. Steel responded with amusement: 'You are the first to ask, because the column is clearly fantasy.'

Simon, author of the best-selling 'Show Time', an account of the 1996 presidential election campaign, confirmed that the column was indeed satire.

'I figured describing PowerPoint as having been invented to euthanise cattle would be a revolving red light to indicate the column was satiric,' he told MailOnline. 'But I guess people hate PowerPoint more than I thought.

Golden moment: Golf legend Jack Nicklaus, right, offered his support to Mitt Romney today and blasted the policies of President Obama

'Judging from my Twitter feed and other anecdotal evidence, an overwhelming number of people got the satire and a some actually thought it was funny.

'Satire has been called "the lie that tells the truth" and that is why people react so strongly to it and that is why, for centuries, it has been such a powerful tool for writers. They will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. (That was satire, by the way.)'

A large number of twitter commenters did indeed get the satire but at least a similar number did not. By the end of the day, Simon's piece was the 'most read' on Politico's heavily-trafficked website and had been 'Liked' on Facebook more than 19,000 times.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Share or comment on this article

Editor’s note: Some readers were confused that this Roger Simon column was satire. Please see Roger’s note at the end … .

Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook.

Story Continued Below

“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday.

Coming from a resident of Iowa, a state where people are polite even to soybeans, this was a powerful condemnation of the Republican nominee.

Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

Even before the stench article appeared, there was a strong sign that Ryan was freeing himself from the grips of the Romney campaign. It began after his disastrous appearance on Friday before AARP in New Orleans. Ryan delivered his remarks in the style dictated by his Romney handlers: Stand behind the lectern, read the speech as written and don’t stray from the script.

Ryan brought his 78-year-old mother with him and introduced her to the audience, which is usually a sure crowd pleaser.

But when Ryan began talking about repealing “Obamacare” because he said it would harm seniors, one woman in the crowd shouted, “Lie!” Another shouted “Liar!” and the crowd booed Ryan lustily.

Who boos a guy in front of his 78-year-old mother? Other 78-year-old mothers.

That was Friday, and that was the end of Ryan following the game plan. At a certain point, all running mates on failing campaigns feel they must break free from the manacles placed on them by the top of the ticket. Sarah Palin began pursuing her own path once she learned that John McCain was having strategy sessions with his morning bowl of Farina.

Dan Senor, one of Romney’s closest advisers, has kept a tight grip on Ryan, traveling with him everywhere and making sure he hews to the directions of the Romney “brain trust” in Boston. (A brain trust, rumor has it, that refers to Ryan as “Gilligan.”)

But on Saturday, the day after he was booed, Ryan broke free. Appearing at a town hall meeting at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Ryan showed the glitz, the glamour, the razzle-dazzle that he was supposed to bring to the campaign in the first place.

This article tagged under:

Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning — in your inbox.

Show Comments

Paul Ryan vs. The Stench

By ROGER SIMON

Updated

2012-09-26T08:59-0400

0 thoughts on “Ryan Stench Satire Essay”

    -->

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *