(Salon) — Poor Paul Ryan. The golden boy of the Ayn Rand crowd was once assumed to be a future president, or at least one of the great statesmen of the Republican Party. He was considered a rarity among Republican pols — a policy wonk with the polish and personality of Ronald Reagan. (I know that sounds crazy, but people really did think that.)

When Barack Obama came into office he saw Ryan as a partner in reducing the federal deficit and the White House went out of its way to feature him prominently in various domestic policy “summits” that were held in the early months of that administration. Obama’s opinion changed after he tried to negotiate with Ryan and his cohorts in the House Republican leadership, but it took years for the political media to see Ryan for what he really was: a callow ideologue without much character when the chips were down.

Paul Krugman had his number back in 2010:

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