Saturday, August 11, 2012

So What Have I Drawn About Paul Ryan, Then?

Now that Mitt Romney has settled on Wisconsin First District Congressman Paul Ryan for his running mate, you'd think that a political cartoonist from Wisconsin's First CD would have drawn oodles of cartoons about him.

But you'd be wrong.

My first cartoon about him was drawn after he was first elected to the seat in 1998, beating out Kenosha's Lydia Spottswood in her second try for Congress. Ryan was from Janesville, in the western part of the district, but had spent his career in Washington D.C. ever since graduating college in 1992. He was, briefly, aide to Senator Bob Kasten -- that job being cut short when Kasten lost his reelection bid that November. Ryan moved on to work for Republican senators from other states, making a name for himself in conservative circles as a promising up-and-comer.
This cartoon referenced a news story out of Burlington, Wisconsin, in Racine County in Ryan's district. The Racine Journal Times editors thought this cartoon was unfair to the brand spanking new Congressman, but I've always felt him to be more the Congressman from the Ayn Rand Institute than the Congressman from Wisconsin's 1st CD.

I drew cartoons for the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee until 2006, and the only time I can recall ever being called upon to illustrate one of their editorials having to do with Congressman Ryan had to do with a General Accounting Office report that pointed out that health care costs in southeastern Wisconsin were higher than the national average. The editorial applauded the Congressman and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for their reaction to the report.
The main thing I remember about this 2004 cartoon was that it was the first one I drew of Mayor Barrett after he shaved off his mustache. The absence of what had been up to then Barrett's most identifiable facial feature meant having to reevaluate his entire face. As far as Ryan was concerned, however, I had nothing to say about him, really.

And finally, I drew this one for the Racine Post after Ryan unveiled his libertarian alternative health insurance proposal in 2009 -- if you can afford health insurance, you get a tax break:

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