Political Animal


October 12, 2012 12:20 PM Eddie Haskell Moments

By Ed Kilgore

Assessments of the overall debate aside, a fun aspect of watching it was to look for Eddie Haskell moments where Paul Ryan tried to fool Mrs. Cleaver.

“I just think Paul Ryan is the Eddie Haskell of American politics, with this transparent two-facedness,” says Paul Glastris, a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and editor in chief of The Washington Monthly, referring to a smarmy character on the 1950s sitcom Leave It to Beaver.

The really obvious moments of mendacity for Ryan involved his “we’ll-get-back-to-you-on-this evasions” on the Romney tax plan’s financing and his rationalizations for asking for stimulus money for his district. But there were lots more: Igor Volsky of Think Progress counted 24 “myths” Ryan promoted during the debate.

What did you think? What were your favorite moments of smarmy prevarication from the Wisconsin radical? You can respond in the comment thread. And here’s a video for those of you too young to have watched old Eddie.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • T2 on October 12, 2012 12:31 PM:

    looking around the news outlets this morning, it seems that quite a few people felt Ryan's "myths" were good enough to either declare him the winner or give him a tie.
    Even Kevin Drum gave him a B-. I think highly of Drum, but it confounds me that someone can listen to a VP candidate lie, misrepresent, spout "myths", evade and generally dance around issues that are supposed to be the rock his candidacy rests on and call it a good performance? I can understand the Right crowing about what a great night Ryan had - they are enablers of the lies. And the Media, it seems to have lost any credibility when facial expressions are counted as a losing trait and liars are winners.
    IF lying is the trademark of a good debater, Mitt Romney will be the next president. And he won't break a sweat to do it.

  • martin on October 12, 2012 12:31 PM:

    As I said on an earlier thread, I think of Eddie Haskell whenever I see Paul Ryan, so a favorite moment is not something I can whittle down. However, the shots of him listening while Biden was kicking his ass --eyes looking up, furrowed brow, puppy dog face, zero affect of sincerity, pretty much cover the waterfront on that weasel.

  • schtick on October 12, 2012 12:37 PM:

    Ryan may sound like Haskell, but I think he looks like Eddie Munster.

  • DJ on October 12, 2012 12:41 PM:

    Even Kevin Drum gave him a B-. I think highly of Drum

    Your fatal mistake. Drum is a milquetoast. He's so desperate to find reasonableness in the arguments of those whom he disagrees with, he performs mental gymnastics that would make Gabby Douglas proud.

  • IDTT on October 12, 2012 12:52 PM:

    he's not Eddie Haskell, he's Alex P. Keaton all grown up. right down to the Randian philosphy and Reagan worship.

  • emjayay on October 12, 2012 12:57 PM:

    I'd like to point out that all three cars in that clip just happen to be 1960 Chrysler products. You see that all the time in old TV series. They probably didn't have to pay for product placement in those days, just supply free cars.

  • c u n d gulag on October 12, 2012 1:16 PM:

    I'm not sure it was an Eddie Haskell moment, but it sure seemed like a sociopathic one to me.

    It was when he was trying to think of an empathetic story to tell about his fellow sociopath, Mitt.

    And, there he is sitting across from Joe Biden, and what pops into his head? He tells some story about how kind Mitt was to some family in his church who lost family members IN A CAR ACCIDENT!

    Joe Biden?
    Joe Biden, who lost his wife and daughter in a car accident when Paulie was still in shorts, and his father showing him how to shove firecrackers up frogs asses, to get a laugh out of his “serious little feller?”

    Did he do that by accident?
    Some weird cognitive connection?
    Or, did he mention that story to throw Joe off his game?

    Either way, it’s like sitting across from Jackie Kennedy and tellling her about how a friend of friend got shot in in the head in a case of road rage down in Texas.

    What, no stories of compassionate Mitt with a person from church with cancer, so he has to fall back on some fatal car accident?

  • Steve P on October 12, 2012 1:36 PM:

    Eddie Haskell until he gets called on his bs. Then he turns into Nathan Thurm:


  • Daddy Love on October 12, 2012 2:05 PM:

    My favorite was how Biden handled Ryan's lone "zinger."

    REP. PAUL RYAN: ...I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way. (Laughter.)

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: But I always say what I mean.

    MS. RADDATZ: You —

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: And so does Romney.


  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on October 12, 2012 3:29 PM:

    I didn't watch the debate last night. By the time I left the gym, I had had it up to here with Congressman Ryan.

    I had to suffer half of my cardio session on a treadmill parked right in front of the CNN flat screen--watching the lady anchors fawning over those cheesy photos of Ryan "working out". Just 15 minutes of looking at his smirking mug had by blood pressure up and not because of the running... grrrrrrrrrrrr...

  • Daryl McCullough on October 12, 2012 3:43 PM:

  • yellowdog on October 12, 2012 3:55 PM:

    I am not an intuitive person. Some folks are, and they are really perceptive about people. However, even my limited 'intuitor' sense lights up with Paul Ryan. It says, 'Watch out. Check to see if you still have your wallet.' It did the same with John Edwards. I don't know why. However, I am glad to see that I am not the only person to see Paul Ryan and think part-Eddie Haskell, part-Bob Roberts.

  • Anonymous on October 12, 2012 3:59 PM:

    They probably didn't have to pay for product placement in those days, just supply free cars.

    Of course they did. That's how it was done back then. And is still done. Did you ever notice how everyone in "Damages" drove Cadillac products, and Cadillac just happened to be the major sponsor (during the first four seasons when it was on basic cable - they drove other cars when it was on DirectTV)?

    Ryan's best Haskell moment: "Of course we're going to defend Social Security and Medicare! My mom depends on them!!" Right up to "Of course we're going to privatize social security so younger people can get a faster return on their contributions."

  • Anonymous on October 12, 2012 4:33 PM:

  • DisgustedWithItAll on October 12, 2012 11:04 PM:

    Ryan's quintessential Eddie Haskell moment was his answer: "Honest."

    If that didn't make you want to gag, there's something wrong with you.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on October 12, 2012 11:06 PM:

    Blew it. I meant "Honesty."