A poor choice in props

Updated
 

Rachel appeared on “Up with Chris Hayes” on Saturday morning, and made an interesting observation about the setting in which Mitt Romney introduced Paul Ryan as his running mate.

If you missed it, Romney and Ryan effectively used the USS Wisconsin, a decommissioned battleship, as a campaign prop. It’s hard not to wonder how the political world would have reacted if two Democrats who never wore a uniform tried to pull a stunt like this.

And yet, Romney and Ryan, who combined have exactly zero experience in the military, national security policy, and/or international affairs – strange bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands notwithstanding – found this appropriate, and faced very little pushback.

I’d just add one related thought on this. Ryan isn’t just lacking in military experience, he’s also one of the very few politicians in Congress who has attacked the integrity of American military leaders.

The incident has been largely forgotten, but in the spring, Ryan, in his capacity as chairman of the House Budget Committee, insisted that he – and not America’s military leadership – should be trusted when it comes to defense spending levels that keep Americans safe. Ryan went on to say, without proof, that he suspected Pentagon leaders may have been deliberately misleading Congress.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not at all pleased with the right-wing congressman. “There’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus … calling us, collectively, liars,” Dempsey said at the time about Ryan. (The lawmaker later said he “misspoke.” A closer inspection shows otherwise.)

Had this been a Democrat, Ryan would have been branded “anti-military” for life. But Ryan’s a Republican, so instead he uses a battleship as a campaign prop.

Defense Spending and Paul Ryan

A poor choice in props

Updated