August 21, 2012


Ryan Akin photo
What a difference a week makes.

Who could have imagined the bold and charismatic Veep pick who presented certain complications as the GOP’s budget architect is, this week, close to being sucked into the vortex of a firestorm over rape and abortion. According to Greg Sargent, Todd Akin and Paul Ryan are the co-sponsors of a draconian anti-abortion bill having submitted a previous one that parsed the definition and legitimacy of different rapes. Overall, the toxicity of Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments are now casting a hard light on Ryan’s equally radical positions, including votes on bills requiring mandatory ultrasounds before a woman can receive an abortion, parsing rape, and banning abortion even in the case of rape.

For our purposes, though, we’re mostly interested in a Capitol Hill photo from a year ago April capturing Ryan and fellow House members working on GOP budget legislation. There are three or four variants from AP, but the photo above seems to be getting the most play. What’s so compelling about the photo is how it puts Ryan and Akin together in a collaborative mode.  It in no way represents the magnitude of ’08 photos of Obama with Reverend Wright, however, at least not so far, but the existence of a visual of these two men working together, accentuated by Akin looking a little shifty, is surely not the stimulus, and automatic story illustration, the GOP wants floating around right now.

(If the photo is otherwise run-of-the-mill, by the way, doesn’t that giddy look from Congressman Chaffetz on the periphery, inconsistent as it is with the other expressions, make the picture more interesting?)

(photo: J. Scott Applewhite, File caption: In this file April 5, 2011 file photo, Republican Vice Presidential candidate, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. , works with Republican members of the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington before introducing his controversial “Path to Prosperity” debt-reduction plan. He is flanked by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo. , right, with Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, at left. Paul Ryan traveled a perilous route to political stardom. While other lawmakers nervously whistled past trillion-dollar deficits, fearing to cut popular programs, he waded in with a machete and a smile. Ryan wants to slice away at Medicare, Social Security, food stamps and virtually every other government program but the military.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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