Paul Ryan and the Obama-Hating Drum Circle in Tampa

30 Aug

This RNC is difficult enough for me to tolerate as it is, but last night Mitt Romney’s mini-me, Paul Ryan, (R-WI) gave a speech that was a reasonably dull pack of lies. When your campaign strategy is about deliberate, brazen lying on the one hand, and whining about the press calling you out on it, on the other hand, you’ve got a huge problem. 

The lying part – sure, it happens in most campaigns everywhere. Oftentimes, it’s not outright lying but mere puffery or exaggeration. But Romney and Ryan – they simply lie. They lie about stuff – important stuff – directly in your face. They do it without a hint of embarrassment, scruples, or irony. They will quite literally say one thing to one audience one day, and another thing the next. When even your official party organ – the Republican Komosomolskaya PravdaFox News calls you out on lying, you’re going to have a credibility problem as the campaign-without-end drags on

  • Ryan said that Obama promised “in 2008” that the stimulus would save a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, but “that plant didn’t last another year.” In reality, Obama made those remarks in February 2008 while running for president, the plant’s closing was announced in October 2008, and it closed in December 2008 — before Obama even took office, and months before the stimulus went into effect.
  • Ryan thundered that Obama “created a bipartisan debt commission” which “came back with an urgent report,” but Obama simply “thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” Ryan did not mention that he was on the debt commission, also known as Simpson-Bowles, and he voted against the plan it came up with.
  • Ryan accused President Obama of plundering hundreds of millions of dollars from Medicare. The only part of Obamacare that Ryan kept in his budget plan? Those Medicare cuts.

Take, for instance, Paul Ryan’s speech to the assembled faithful last night. It contained a lot of red meat for the party that has become nothing more than an Obama-hatred drum circle.  The lies as Fox News sees them

Fact: While Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama, the credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.

Fact: While Ryan blamed President Obama for the shut down of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush. Ryan actually asked for federal spending to save the plant, while Romney has criticized the auto industry bailout that President Obama ultimately enacted to prevent other plants from closing.

Fact: Though Ryan insisted that President Obama wants to give all the credit for private sector success to government, that isn’t what the president said. Period. 

Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates (which, incidentally, save Medicare recipients out-of-pocket costs, too) and Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan.

Elections should be about competing based on your record in the past and your vision for the future, not competing to see who can get away with the most lies and distortions without voters noticing or bother to care. Both parties should hold themselves to that standard. Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many.

The right wing will whine about “Obamanomics”, which they thwarted or watered down at every opportunity, thus crippling its impact. But as Paul Ryan blames Obama for something that he didn’t do, recall that if the auto bailout hadn’t happened, there wouldn’t just be no SUV plant in Janesville, WI – there wouldn’t be a GM, or a GM plant, anywhere, doing anything. And all the ancillary suppliers and vendors would be out of work, too. Without the stimulus – watered down as it was – and without the auto bailout, the great recession of 2008 would have been a second depression. And it would have been thus because our country and its leaders over the last 20 – 30 years practically made it a policy to forget all the lessons learned during the Great Depression of the 20s and 30s. 

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This Romney campaign, however, has already declared that it will not be reality-based, or factually accurate. This is why they still have surrogates like Donald Trump going around calling Obama a Kenyan Muslim. 

When are we, as Americans, going to demand truth from our candidates? Why do we tolerate 24 month-long campaigns that boil down to crazy talk, who can raise the most money, and superficial horserace nonsense? 

This campaign has become the worst season of Big Brother, ever. 

UPDATE: 

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9 Responses to “Paul Ryan and the Obama-Hating Drum Circle in Tampa”

  1. hwhamlin August 30, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    Apparently, punditry is nothing more than the application of ideology to that which we can see with our own eyes.

    • Alan Bedenko August 30, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      No, it’s the application of facts to assertions made by brazen liars. 

  2. BufChester August 30, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    These are reasonably smart men, so one can only conclude that they have made a conscious decision to lie, believing the inherent truth in H.L. Menken’s comment about the American people.

  3. Alan Bedenko August 30, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    I adore the “Obama did absolutely nothing” line in response to the deficit reduction commission – because Ryan and others voted against implementing it. C’mon Republicans – if you can’t win by telling the truth, why bother? 

  4. Tom Beecher August 30, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    When the entire narrative about your speech the day after is focused on how many falsehoods you jammed into it, your speech failed. 

  5. Max Planck August 30, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    This cacophony will continue over the next few months to provide convenient cover for Mr. Romney while he gnaws away at the President’s Achilles Heel, the economy. The cover is necessary as Mr. Romney’s true capacity as a “businessman who’ll get America back to work” is a Trojan Horse of a claim. His experience @ Bain was to return value to shareholders – nothing wrong with that – but did so by leveraging takeover companies’ assets and extracting management fees for the eventual dismemberment of those entities. Unlike the corporate chieftains of America’s past, he didn’t develop wealth through traditional business methods -innovation,  engineering, manufacturing or marketing -but merely through financial restructuring, with the wealth created by his activities flowing to the very,very few and not to payrolls or reinvestment in the communities where those entities functioned. It’s very complex but legal but it does call into question his claim to business competency.

  6. Carey1518 August 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Alan how about a piece on the new hire over at the water authority?

    • Alan Bedenko August 31, 2012 at 6:07 am #

      1. Off topic; trolling. 
      2. http://artvoice.com/issues/v11n35/week_in_review/odds_ends
      3. Start your own blog, you can write about what you want. 

      • Carey1518 August 31, 2012 at 7:29 am #

        Come on it is right up your and this paper’s alley, this is the real deal sick insider dealings of a bad government serving itself and not the people, right here in WNY.

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