The Wisconsin Democrat and Army veteran running against Paul Ryan pounces on Ryan's unpopularity and his party's failing agenda.
Randy "Iron Stache" Bryce, the Army veteran and union ironworker running against House Speaker Paul Ryan, has a stinging assessment of Ryan and his party's leadership.
"Now they're in the driver's seat," Bryce told Shareblue in an exclusive interview, "and the car won't start."
That's part of why Ryan is so deeply unpopular. In July, polling showed only 34 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican speaker. And that's not just a national phenomenon, according to Bryce. He's unpopular in the district, too.
"All the makeup has worn off of him," Bryce said. "He's been this supposedly self-described 'policy wonk' who's been talking about how fantastic, if given the chance, he's going to do things to make businesses prosper and put working people in such a great spot."
Yet despite Republican control of the House, the Senate, the White House, and "even a conservative-leaning Supreme Court," Bryce said, Republicans have nothing to show for it. And voters know Ryan, as House speaker, is largely responsible for his party's failure to accomplish anything.
"People are seeing he's incapable of doing anything," Bryce said. "It's all smoke and mirrors."
The inability to explain his failures, coupled with his pursuit of an extremely unpopular agenda, has Ryan hiding from his own constituents.
"The fact that he's afraid to have a town hall says everything," Bryce noted. "He's afraid of the people here, and the policies are horrible."
That's why Ryan has pointedly avoided holding town halls in Wisconsin. His absence has not stopped his constituents from holding their own town halls in his absence, though, where according to Bryce, "people are calling him out and saying 'I thought you were going to be able to get stuff done.'"
On one particular issue that is especially critical to Bryce — services for his fellow veterans — Ryan has been "clueless." Bryce recently stated on Twitter that Republicans only like veterans "when we are dodging bullets." In fact, the only instance of Ryan showing any concern at all for veterans, Bryce said, was talking about raising soldiers' pay — and that was shortly after Bryce, who served for three years in the Army, announced his campaign.
To Bryce, it seemed like a transparent and cynical move. Other than that, Bryce said, "I've seen him play soldier in a helicopter and ride a horse — like he's trying to be some kind of action hero."
That's a reference to the widely mocked video Ryan recently released in which he attempted to focus attention away from his party's failure to repeal Obamacare and instead talk about building Donald Trump's wall on the southern border. Instead, Ryan managed to focus attention on himself — and not in a good way.
While Ryan easily won re-election in 2016, Bryce is sure 2018 could be different for the unpopular Republican leader. The last Democrat to run against him raised very little money and was not able to mount a serious challenge.
But Bryce has been raking in campaign cash, thanks in no small part to the nationwide frustration with Ryan's inability to get anything done for the American people.
And if Ryan's numbers continue to fall, and his leadership continues to fail — all while he refuses to even face his own voters — 2018 could spell disaster for the "clueless" Ryan.