House Speaker Paul Ryan's Democratic challenger, Randy Bryce, shamed him into finally holding a public town hall for the first time since October 2015. But in keeping with Ryan's timidity, the questions asked will be preselected by the network hosting the event.

With a nickname like “Iron Stache,” it’s clear that Wisconsin Democrat Randy Bryce is a force to be reckoned with.

And now he has proved that by managing to shame House Speaker Paul Ryan, whom Bryce is running to unseat, into finally holding a public town hall for the first time in nearly two years, the Washington Post reports.

Ryan has been avoiding his constituents by holding “fake” town halls, with hand-selected audiences at businesses he is touring for photo ops — but even those crowds were at times antagonistic toward him.

He has petulantly stated that he didn’t want the “screaming fest” that he believed an open, authentic town hall would become — a cynical dismissal of the people he ostensibly represents, who are afraid for their lives if Ryan and his fellow Republicans succeed in taking away their health care coverage.

Even now, his reluctance to fully engage with his district is still on display. The Post noted that CNN will issue tickets to Ryan’s constituents and “will determine who asks questions.”

Holding elective office means that you represent and answer to everyone in your constituency, whether that’s a city, district, state, or the nation. Offering a “public” town hall at which only hand-selected questions will be given the floor fails at that most basic duty of civil service.

No wonder Ryan’s approval ratings are at basement, Donald Trump levels.

As Bryce noted in an interview with Shareblue, after months of failure on the part of Trump and the GOP, “People are seeing [Ryan is] incapable of doing anything. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”

And so is this supposedly public town hall, which Ryan is still engineering just enough to protect himself from real accountability.


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