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 Pravda – Fox News calls you out on lying, you’re going to have a credibility problem as the campaign-without-end drags on.
- Ryan claimed that the stimulus was a useless waste of money that did nothing for the American people and failed to address what should have been Obama’s number one priority: creating jobs. But the stimulus did create jobs, millions of them. And Ryan requested some of those supposedly worthless stimulus funds for his district.
- 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.
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.