TNR: Paul Ryan Is Nothing Like the President From 'Dave'

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In a recent ABC News feature, Jonathan Karl compared Rep. Paul Ryan to the main character in Dave, a 1993 comedy in which Kevin Kline balances the budget over sandwiches and gets Sigourney Weaver to fall in love with him by openly gawking at her legs.

New Republic blogger Jonathan Chait, for one, resents the comparison, and not just because it minimizes the degree to which an uncredited Charles Grodin was instrumental in enacting the film's budget reform. Particularly un-Dave like, per Chait, is Ryan's "claim to have discovered a savings in the student loan program" when he is actually a "fervent ally of the college lending industry."

Chait explains:

In 2007, he was one of only 71 Republicans to vote against the College Student Relief Act, which would have cut the interest rate on many student loans, including the FFEL program, in half. Inside Higher Ed noted that the bill would cut “deeply and directly into lenders' profits.” The bill passed the House 356-71, but stalled in the Senate.

So, that's the one idea this fresh-faced reformer comes up with the balance the budget: shovel billions of dollars in extra subsidies to an inefficient and wildly corrupt industry whose water he has faithfully carried...I realize he's cute and energetic and exudes an aw-shucks Midwestern earnestness, but the reality bears absolutely no relation to the image.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.