The Race to Define Ryan

Obama and the mainstream media are salivating over the opportunity to define (i.e., smear) Paul Ryan to a national public that knows relatively little about him.  Ilya Somin of The Volokh Conspiracy quotes John Sides and Lynn Vavreck:

A series of polls done by YouGov for the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project suggests that most people have never heard of Paul Ryan before today. In several polls since April 28, YouGov has asked a representative sample of 1,000 people if they have heard of Ryan and to rate him in terms of favorability. This gives us a large sample on which to base this analysis.

Over the last several months, roughly 43% of Americans report that they have never heard of Paul Ryan. In mid-July, 52% could not even make a guess as to whether Ryan was a member of the House, the Senate, was Secretary of State, or was a Governor (32% got it right). Republicans are more likely to know that Ryan was a member of the House-42% of Republicans knew this, compared to 29% of Democrats and 34% of independents.

Peggy Shapiro comments:

43% of Americans had never heard of Paul Ryan? I am shocked that 57% had. Can 57% of Americans name the 3 branches of government, the chief justice of the Supreme Court or their state senators? I doubt it. Considering what Americans don't know, Paul Ryan is wildly popular. 2010 Poll

·        2/3 of Americans cannot name any U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

·        Only one percent of those polled could name all nine Justices

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American Bar Association 2005 Civics Knowledge Poll

·        44% of Americans could not correctly identify the role of the judiciary

·        only 55%, given a choice of options, correctly identified the three branches of government

·        22% said the branches were Republican, Democrat, and Independent

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National Center for State Courts 2009 Poll

only 21% polled correctly named all three branches of government

Richard Baehr watched the 60  Minutes interview with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan broadcast last night.

Great interview. Ryan is a killer with a smile.  Schieffer was eating out of their hands.  They are delivering a positive message which could overcome the Obama negativism.  Every time Palin was on TV,  I was nervous. Ryan will be offered up to every network. Will the Dems put up Biden for equal time? Axelrod? Wasserman Schultz?  

 The question ahead for the Romney-Ryan ticket, and for America, is: can we have a an intelligent discussion on the budget, or will media-generated images, thoughts, and emotions (pushing  granny off a cliff being the most notorious) carry the day. Romney and Ryan are betting on the public thinking over the stakes, listening, and m aking an informed decision. The Obama camp and their media allies are betting on the ability to sway people with emotions, principally fear and loathing.

The fate of the republic depends on the answer. The words of H.L. Mencken haunt me: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." If he is correct, we are doomed. Let's prove the sage of Baltimore wrong.