Opening Act: Brick Tamland

Jonathan Chait is clearly heartbroken over Paul Ryan’s new, damaged reputation.

Ryan’s role in the budget discourse was not to be questioned, but to question others. If he was asked to comment, it was to express his sadness over Obama’s alleged unwillingness to enact the bipartisan debt plans that Ryan in fact killed. Ryan is still an extremely skilled bullshitter — vastly better at it than Romney. But he’s actually seeing, for the first time, questions that attempt to pry information out of him, rather than the batting practice lobs to which he’s accustomed.

Steven Pearlstein tries his hand at satire.

I am entitled to pass on my accumulated wealth tax-free to heirs, who in turn, are entitled to claim that they earned everything they have. I am entitled to use unlimited amounts of my own or company funds to buy elections without disclosing such expenditures to shareholders or the public. I am entitled to use company funds to burnish my own charitable reputation.

Marc Ambinder nods at the Obama campaign’s mastery of data.

Bruce Bartlett wants to jump over the cliff.

As “gotcha” questions go, this isn’t all too bad. Various justices act as dog whistles to different voters. At a Heritage Foundation lunch? Choose Scalia. At a Latino rally? Choose Sotomayor. But Brown clearly missed the chance to immediately say “Justice Roberts,” and please independents and liberals who think the Obamacare decision was a triumph of reason. Here, he just sounds like Brick Tamland in Anchorman.