Paul Krugman today reduces the Ryan phenomenon, as he has repeatedly, as emerging from the willful blindness of those, especially in the media, looking for credible Republicans with increasing desperation:
...the Ryan phenomenon wasn’t primarily driven by the hard right, which
has plenty of heroes. It was driven, instead, by “centrist”,
self-righteously nonpartisan pundits who seized upon Ryan as their
demonstration that see, there are honest, reasonable conservatives who
must be taken seriously.
And these people have been hit really hard by Ryan’s precipitous plunge from icon to punchline, which is made much worse from their point of view by the fact that some of us warned years ago that Ryan was in fact an obvious con man.