House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn't held a traditional town hall open to the general public in nearly two years. But even with a hand-picked audience, the reception is still chilly — and angry.
House Speaker Paul Ryan is not what one would call "well-liked" these days.
As Shareblue's Kaili Joy Gray put it, Ryan is "shockingly unpopular, even for Paul Ryan."
A recent Bloomberg poll showed that only 34 percent of the American public have a favorable view of Ryan, which is both a sharp decline from the 47 percent who said so in December 2015, and which also manages to lag behind Donald Trump's dismal polling numbers.
Perhaps those basement-level ratings are why Ryan has not held a traditional town hall since October 2015 — nearly two full years ago.
Ryan claimed the avoidance was because he doesn't want "a screaming fest" — which says a lot about what Republicans think of their own standing in the eyes of the public.
Instead, he has chosen to forgo public town halls in favor of engineered ones, where audiences are selected from the employees at businesses he visits. But even those hand-picked audiences are decidedly unhappy with Ryan and the GOP, and they aren't shy about letting him know it.
During a recent "town hall" at the Banker Wire manufacturing company in Wisconsin, Republican employees in the audience gave Ryan an earful.
After listening the Republicans complain about not being in control during the Obama presidency, 62-year-old Keith Ketzler said, "You’re in there now and all I see is in-fighting. It’s very dysfunctional. I don’t see any plans for anything."
Ryan seemed to agree, noting that the GOP's inability to get basically anything done could put the country on a "bad path." But he petulantly added that he only controls the House. "I don't run the Senate," he said.
Ryan also tried to cite the filibuster as a reason for his party's incompetence, as well to blame the media for the GOP's poor messaging. But Ketzler did not seem persuaded.
"For eight years [Republican voters have] heard, 'We’ve got a plan, things are going to change.'"
Ryan has steadfastly avoided having to accept any accountability from voters, and likely thought that a Republican-identified blue collar audience would be more of a cheering squad than the general public.
But even they have had it with Ryan and the GOP, and they're not shy about saying so.