The LATImes has an excellent article dissecting Ryan’s “humble small-town working-class guy” bullshit:
… “I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, when I was flipping burgers at McDonald’s, when I was standing in front of that big Hobart machine washing dishes, or waiting tables, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life,” Ryan recently told a crowd at a high school in suburban Denver. “I thought to myself, I’m the American dream on the path or journey so that I can find happiness however I define it myself.”…
And yet Ryan, 42, was born into one of the most prominent families in Janesville, Wis., the son of a successful attorney and the grandson of the top federal prosecutor for the western region of the state. Ryan grew up in a big Colonial house on a wooded lot, and his extended clan includes investment managers, corporate executives and owners of major construction companies.
The seeming contradiction appears to have its roots in a family crisis in 1986, when at the age of 16, Ryan discovered his father dead of a heart attack.
The death of Paul Murray Ryan forced the family to make adjustments. Ryan’s mother went back to work. And Ryan took up jobs, as well….
But there was also more to it than work. Ryan’s rise to political power and financial stability was boosted by family connections and wealth. The larger Ryan family has repeatedly helped the candidate along in his career, giving him a job when he needed one and piling up tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions…
By the time Ryan had entered Congress in 1999 at the age of 28 and filed his first disclosure statement, he reported assets between $167,000 and $1.3 million, owned a home and had three rental units.
The next year, Ryan married Janna Little, a tax attorney, and his income skyrocketed. (Ryan reported gross income of $323,416 in 2011.)
Of the Ryans’ maximum estimated assets of $7.6 million, Janna’s holdings account for about $6.5 million. She is the daughter of Dan and Prudence Little, two lawyers in Madill, Okla., who over the years have overseen a vast network of land and oil and gas mineral rights in the Red River area straddling southern Oklahoma and northern Texas…
There’s a long tradition of American presidents “marrying up”, starting with another widow’s son, a big good-looking hustler who settled for a rich widow with important connections after years of failing to impress the local aristocracy of Virginia’s “First Families” with his suitability for their daughters. Ryan is the offspring of modern small-town aristocracy, whose success with the daughter of state-wide aristocracy (albeit from a low-profile, underpopulated flyover state) has given him a shot at national power and attention. It’s only in comparison to quarter-billionaire Willard Romney, son of a former almost-president, that Ryan can pretend to be a Jacksonian exemplar of hard-working virtue overcoming terrible odds to reach his current spot in the limelight.