A fawning New York magazine profile of Tim Ryan, Congressman from Ohio’s 13th District, praises the Democrat as a man of “ideas” and labels him “Congress’ crunchiest member.”
But while the compliments came in waves, not a word was mentioned in the piece that Ryan has spent over a decade presiding over one of the Buckeye State’s poorest districts.
For the magazine, Marin Cogan gushes over Ryan’s meditation and yoga sessions, waxes poetic over his love of grocery shopping, and thrills at his efforts to foster “mindfulness” in politics and our schools.
Readers are informed that Rep. Ryan, first elected to Congress in 2002, has a “hot-yoga class” that he and his staff attend, and that the ideas he brings to Congress “are a bit different.”
“He’s established himself as Congress’s mindful member,” Cogan enthuses, “penning books on the power of meditation and what he calls ‘the real food revolution,’ advocating for yoga, meditation, and unplugging from the internet as a salve to the stresses of modern existence.”
Readers are regaled about his efforts to secure funding for schools to teach his ethereal “mindfulness,” which appears to be a PC-sort of conflict resolution.
Cogan explains that with Ryan’s plan, “students… instruct each other to take deep breaths when they’re upset, or visit the peace corner to take a break from classroom stress.”
Ryan even wrote a book espousing his gauzy, Zenish, Deepak Chopra-like ideas titled, A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit. It is aimed at introducing his concepts to America’s school children.
The congressman also claims that his foray into meditation has made him get interested in becoming a “food crusader.”
The fluff piece doesn’t do much to inform readers about the Congressman’s career, though.
For instance, the article doesn’t mention that in 2010 Ryan advocated for taxes to be raised on small businesses because, he said, “we have huge deficits. We gotta shore up Social Security. We gotta shrink our deficits.”
Additionally, early in his first term, he came out against the Do-Not-Call registry and in support of telemarketers to be allowed to bother people at all hours of the day and night.
Another point the article avoids is the problems in his district. Despite all Ryan’s starry-eyed, high-minded, new age ramblings, it is hard not to notice that the Congressman’s district generally weighs in at the bottom of Ohio’s 16 Congressional Districts.
According to the Lucy Burns Institute, Ryan’s 13th District, situated in north eastern Ohio and running from Akron east toward Youngstown, is among the worst in the state for median household income. At just $38,697, his district is fourth among the bottom five for income in the state.
The Congressman’s district is also in the bottom five for college graduation rates, the eighth worst for high school graduation, and among the five worst districts for unemployment.
But perhaps Ryan’s voters are somewhat used to a Congressman from the whackier side of politics. After all, he did replace the extremely whacky James Traficant back in 2002.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org