Paul Ryan‘s speech at the Republican National Convention last night was filled with “blatant lies and misrepresentations” according to an op-ed in Fox News, the all-but-official news agency of the GOP. That’s pretty shocking, since Fox News serves as the Republican paper of record.
Sally Kohn, who, granted, leans left, writes, “to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.”
The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.
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.
Kohn at Fox News is far from the only one calling Paul Ryan a liar.
David Weigel at Slate writes that Ryan’s speech was “one of the more impressive strings of whoppers we’ve seen at this level.” Weigel offers five lies. Excerpts:
The GM plant in Janesville.
“The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst.”
“$716 billion, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.” Not really true, either. The Medicare spending “cuts” are of the sort that Ryan defended when he was rising through the House—reductions in future reimbursement rates.
“A downgraded America.”
The “bipartisan debt commission” Ryan referred to was Simpson-Bowles. He served on it, and voted against the report, because it didn’t tackle Medicare costs—which sort of brings us back to the “$716 billion funneling” issue.
Joan Walsh at Salon, in “Paul Ryan’s brazen lies,” says Ryan’s “speech was stunning for its dishonesty,” and adds that Ryan, “blamed Obama for a deficit mostly created by programs he himself voted for – from two wars, tax cuts, new Medicare benefits and TARP.”
Interestingly, for all his lies, Ryan didn’t repeat the Romney camp’s false claim that Obama did away with the welfare system’s work requirements. Maybe he ran out of time.
Ryan got off a few good zingers: “College grads shouldn’t have to live out their 20s in childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters.” He didn’t mention that he opposed legislation to keep student loan rates from doubling. His remarks about his childhood were slightly moving. He talked about losing his father at 16, and he called his mother, who went back to school and to work after that, his role model. But he never mentioned the Social Security death benefits that let him go to an out-of-state school. Occasionally he seemed to be going after swing voters, rather than his hard-right base, taking a more in sorrow than anger tone about Obama’s failings. Then he’d mix things up with nastiness and lies.
And when Ryan riffed on the handful of jobs he briefly held, his Ayn Randian roots were clear. “When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life, he said. [Perhaps that's because he wasn't; he grew up in a wealthy family.] I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That’s what we do in this country. That’s the American Dream. That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.” That’s straight out of [Ayn] Rand, and ’50s anti-Communist paranoia.
Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic: “The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever?”
Ruth Conniff at The Progressive: “Paul Ryan’s Brilliant, Scary, Lying Speech”
Ryan Grim at The Huffington Post: “Paul Ryan Address: Convention Speech Built On Demonstrably Misleading Assertions”
Image via Twitter by Cecilia Vega
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