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Good Teaching Requires the Right Ingredients

Tim Ryan Flounders Like a Fish on Fox News Town Hall

Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, Pool

After already appearing for two debates together, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and his Republican opponent J.D. Vance also appeared on Fox News Channel's "Special Report" on Tuesday night as they appealed to voters to see who would replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). 


Vance had a knockout performance, including when, as Katie highlighted, he discussed Big Tech as the biggest threat to American elections. The same could not be said about Ryan, however, as he floundered when it was his turn to take questions earlier in the program, including and especially when it came to his own record.

Rep. Ryan proudly touted his support for the misnamed "Inflation Reduction Act" at the time in August. When asked the very first question by an Ohio voter at the debate, though, Rep. Ryan admitted it would not provide relief, at least not "in the short term," as he put it.

"Can you look me in the face and tell me that government expenditures on green energy subsidies through the Inflation Reduction Act that increase our national debt are in any way lessening my burden at the gas station and the grocery store?" Valerie from Deerfield asked him. 

While Ryan began his response by conceding, "I could not say that right now in the present moment," he went on to tout the legislation in other ways, such as natural gas provisions, and called for a tax cut. In that response, the congressman joined others who have acknowledged as much about the legislation but still supported it, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV)


When anchor Bret Baier asked how he would get that through fellow Democrats, Ryan dismissively answered, "Well, you're asking me what I'm--what I would like to do. I don't have control over everybody else."

Speaking of Sen. Manchin, Ryan went ahead and misled on the permit reform bill that Manchin was promised as part of his deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in July in return for helping get the "Inflation Reduction Act" passed. 

"It was the Republicans, Bret, that deep-sixed the permitting bill," Ryan claimed, even going on to say Manchin "was able to get almost every Democrat aligned." While Ryan may have supported permitting reform, in reality, it was letters from fellow Democrats and climate change groups who signaled they wanted such reform separate from the continuing resolution (CR). 

Ultimately, Manchin signaled to Schumer that he wanted to withdraw it from the CR, which happened. 

Ryan was then asked about his stance on bail reform by Johnny, who is studying political science at Cedarville University. He asked Ryan, "What exactly will you do to address this issue and prevent criminals from being released in our cities with no incentive to prevent them from committing another crime or return to court?"

The congressman attempted to once more portray himself as a moderate, as he has done in the past, by sharing he supports an Ohio ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution requiring judges to "use factors such as public safety, including the seriousness of the offense, and a person's criminal record" when setting amounts and conditions of bail." He also called for "more cops" as he earned applause from the audience for showing he cares about crime, or so he says. 


Co-anchor MacCallum didn't let that be the last word, though, as she called to mind Ryan's record. "You have said in the past that you would be for eliminating cash bail, and a lot of people see people getting arrested. The next day, they're back on the street again," she added. "You also said that you thought that nonviolent criminals should be released from prison. And a lot of people fall into that nonviolent category, including drug traffickers, including drug possession, including people who distribute child pornography." Vance had also confronted Ryan about such a stance during the debates last month. 

In response, Ryan stuck to his claim that he meant for "marijuana crimes" and pivoted to his perspective that "I think we need to legalize marijuana."

While running for president in 2019, Ryan signed onto a pledge from the ACLU that included supporting cashless bail and committed to releasing half of the prison population. He had also reiterated his commitment to such a pledge at an ACLU event that year. 

Speaking of the ACLU, Ryan also signaled in a questionnaire for them in 2019 that he supported defunding the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), which he also lied about during the town hall when confronted about it in the form of a question by Colin from Portsmouth.


The congressman was also asked about his position on abortion, which he claimed is in line with "go[ing] back to Roe v. Wade," as he also gave an unclear response when it comes to the legality of abortions later in term. While Ryan said, "you could only do it if there was some kind of medical emergency," he appears to be misinformed about how the Doe v. Bolton companion case to Roe allowed for abortions later in pregnancy for all reasons because of a so-called loosely defined "health" exception, which involved all factors "relevant to the wellbeing of the patient." 

Ryan then went on to claim, as he has done in the past, that such late abortions are performed for a so-called "medical emergency." In reality, studies show that a small percentage of such abortions are performed for those reasons, but rather are often for logistical reasons and/or socioeconomic reasons. 

Further, Ryan's vote in favor of the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA) would signify he actually supports no restrictions on abortion. While pro-abortion Democrats claim that the bill would merely codify Roe, it would actually expand it. The bill would even invalidate pro-life laws passed at the state level.


Baier confronted Ryan with this reality about the bill and his record, pointing to how it "did not have a limit." When asked if he thought it had a limit, Ryan avoided the question by repeating he supported Roe v. Wade, or at least what he thought it included. 

A particularly memorable misstep occurred later in the debate, leading to Ryan being heckled, although Baier and MacCallum quickly quieted the crowd so that the congressman could continue. 

Ryan was appropriately asked about his concerning rhetoric from September, in the form of a tweeted question, during which he called into MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and said we need to "kill and confront" the movement of so-called "extremist Republicans." Such remarks were ironically made as an aside while Ryan was trying to claim he would work across the aisle. 

The congressman tried to have it both ways as he aimed to focus on the "confront" part of his statement while doubling down on the supposed radicalism of these "extremist Republicans." Ryan not only pivoted to the attack on Paul Pelosi from last week, claiming Vance had not condemned it, but to January 6, 2021, which is when the heckling came. 


As Ryan claimed that "the leaders" of this extremist movement "stormed the Capitol on January 6" and "killed one," meaning an officer, not Ashli Babbitt, the one person who did die at the Capitol that day after being shot by a Capitol Police officer, an audience member yelled out "liar."

While these kinds of events aren't the place for such unwelcome and inappropriate interruptions, it is worth mentioning that medical reports show the officer people claim was killed, Brian Sicknick, died of natural causes. To say he was killed on January 6 is a lie that keeps getting repeated, including by President Joe Biden

As MacCallum promised Ryan they would do, the co-anchors asked Vance about whether or not he condemned the attack on Paul Pelosi. Vance pointed out that "Tim should hire better researchers here" and went on to condemn the violence and was clear he did so "from the very beginning."

Vance also reminded that the suspect, Daniel DePape, is here illegally, earning applause when he pointed out, "My view very simply is that we need to deport violent illegal aliens." 

"And when an illegal alien attacks Paul Pelosi, it's tragic, and it's terrible, but it's not reflective of Republicans. It's reflective of the fact that we let way too many violent people live freely in our country," Vance insisted. 

The race is considered to favor Vance, who has a +2.2 lead in the polls, according to RealClearPolitics (RCP). Forecasters, including RCP, regard the race as "Leans GOP," with RCP projecting a "GOP Hold." Decision Desk HQ, which is among those who say the race leans in Vance's favor, shows a 77.2 percent chance of Vance winning. 


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