GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has railed against the Washington political class and pitched his outsider status as a selling point. Romney hit on this theme in May when he said that “someone who’s never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn’t understand” the economy and how jobs are created. Romney’s in line with much of the tea-partyized GOP, which hails a lack of experience in Washington as a virtue.
Yet Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president, has worked in Washington nearly all of his adult life. He did stints at a conservative think tank and as a staffer for Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas). He first ran for Congress at the tender age of 28.
In fact, Ryan is such a Washington insider that his own brother, Tobin, describes him as a “career politician.” And Tobin Ryan doesn’t mean that as a compliment.
Here’s Tobin Ryan calling his brother a “career politician” on Fox News Wednesday morning at the GOP convention site in Tampa, Florida, in a video clip that has received little notice:
Megyn Kelly: Let’s get to know him. He’s from Wisconsin. He’s married. How many kids?
Tobin Ryan: He has three kids.
Kelly: How old are they?
Ryan: They are 10, 8, and 7.
Kelly: Lifelong politician? I mean, 28 years old, he runs for Congress, been there 14 years.
Ryan: You know, it sounds like that. I never actually thought he was going to be a career politician. And I kept expecting him to come back and start a real job.
So Ryan’s brother sees him as a Washington guy who hasn’t held a “real job.” But don’t expect this to stop the Republicans from denigrating Obama and other foes as career politicians. It’s too good a talking point to subject to the test of reality.