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Tim Ryan, the Democrat congressman and failed presidential candidate running for Ohio’s open Senate seat, recently released an ad showing him throwing footballs at various television screens depicting attack ads targeting his candidacy. Wearing a red T-shirt with the American flag on it, he states that “you can know a person by their enemies, well here comes their bull (BLEEP) ads.” He proceeds to throw a football, knocking down a screen.
Nineteen seconds into the ad, a screen depicting a black background with large, white lettering reading “DEFUND THE POLICE” emerges on the monitor. Ryan states “and here come the culture wars.” He throws the ball, shatters the screen, and knocks it down. Then he firmly states, “I’m not that guy.” The ad ends with Ryan throwing a football at a screen depicting his Republican candidate JD Vance with Ryan then turning to the camera saying, “I still got it.”
Earlier this week, Ryan appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” where he spoke about unity, reform, and reconciliation. “I’m one of the most bipartisan members of Congress,” Ryan states. “We have to get the government out of our business … just spending money does not solve problems. We have broken systems, so we have to fix these systems.”
For a Republican running in a predominately red state that went for Donald Trump in 2016 and in 2020, the message of smaller government and cutting of government spending not only resonates with Republicans but resonates with many of his state’s independent voters. The issue is, Ryan is a Democrat with a considerable and consistent progressive voting record.
In this crucial midterm election cycle, we continue to see Democrats abandoning their progressive voting records and doing a 180-degree turn to appeal to more moderate voters. In fact, many of these candidates are further distancing themselves from President Joe Biden, whose popularity in the country continues to crumble.
Biden has a 39% approval rating in the Buckeye State, one of the worst statewide ratings in the country. In July, when Biden went to Cleveland to speak to union workers, Ryan skipped the meeting. Last week, Biden returned to Ohio to tout the passage of the Chips Bill which Ryan attended. When asked if Biden should seek reelection, Ryan stated “my hunch is that we need new leadership across the board.”
So, while Ryan may not want to be publicly seen or associated with the unpopular president, it doesn’t diminish the fact that his voting record makes him one of the president’s strongest allies in the House of Representatives.
Ryan maintains a 100% voting record with Biden. Progressive Punch, the online tracker which rates politicians on their progressive bona fides gives Ryan a 96.65% overall “progressive score,” making him one of the country’s most progressive members of Congress. In addition, the League of Conservation Voters, the driving force behind the 2019 Green New Deal, released a National Environmental Scorecard giving Ryan a 100%.
On top of that, Ryan not only votes like Biden, but he sounds like Biden, and his recent push for unity and reconciliation appears disingenuous. Like Biden’s infamous Philadelphia speech earlier this month where he labeled half the country as “MAGA Republicans” and stated that they are a “threat to this country,” the congressman echoes the president’s sentiments by firmly stating that “we’ve got to kill and confront that movement” and that he’d prefer “working with normal mainstream Republicans.” An interesting choice of words considering Biden said in his televised address that “I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans.”
I don’t know who Ryan and Biden define as “mainstream Republicans,” but considering that 53% of Ohioans — roughly 3.2 million votes — went for Donald Trump in 2020, it’s hard to see a conceivable path for Ryan to win Republican votes this November, let alone “work across the aisle” when he himself refuses to work with anyone other than those he views as “normal.”
The most outlandish claim Ryan had in the ad was his shattering of the “DEFUND THE POLICE” TV screen. Ryan’s record on standing up for the police is less than stellar. In 2021, Ryan voted against a motion to condemn calls to “defund,” “disband” or “abolish” the police. And in 2019, Ryan labeled the U.S. criminal justice system “racist” and referred to it as the “new Jim Crow.” But Ryan is hoping Ohio voters don’t look too far into his past.
So, while Ryan may try to portray himself as a “moderate,” the real Tim Ryan speaks volumes. His record on policing and radical environmental policies is hurting Ohio, and his divisive political rhetoric is bad for America. His recent attempts to appear moderate are nothing but a deceptive attempt to coax independent voters.