Sure, he hasn't yet reached Obama levels of YouTube fame, but his videos as chairman of the House Budget Committee are, as congressional videos go, a revelation. The infographics! They float! Once directed to the Ryan oeuvre, Chaudhary points out one video in particular, a trailer for a series of videos on the budget, that features Ryan "hustling down the corridors of Congress" and speaking, seemingly without notes, for a full minute on the particulars of the budget debate. It is, he concedes, impressive stuff.
But he sees signs of trouble. Ryan's a wonk, a Hill guy through and through. But vice-presidential nominee Ryan is now being asked to play against type. Just after the announcement, Ryan got the C-SPAN close-up treatment as he visited the Iowa State Fair. Ryan discussed visiting the iconic butter cow — his first — and gave unsolicited advice to a parent on the merits of attaching something to a baby's pacifier so that it doesn't fall onto the ground. As if Paul Ryan, now running to be vice president of the United States, had no greater concern in the world than sculptures made of food or whether some random Iowa baby's num-num gets sullied. Ryan shut down reporters who pestered him with actual policy questions, saying "We'll play Stump the Running Mate later." As if playing Stump the Running Mate weren't the very thing that Paul Ryan would love most in the world to do.
"I don't think it's a problem to like working in Washington," says Chaudhary of Ryan. "The problem is that he's being asked to be inauthentic." To boil it down, be who you are on camera. If you're no good at it and still want to run for high office, Chaudhary has some advice: There are always still pictures.