Paul Ryan stands on a foundation of lies
By Steve Benen
At a basic level, what bothers me about politicians who lie, especially at a national level, is that the deceptions are insulting. A candidate who knows the truth, but makes a deliberate decision to deceive, is working from the assumption that Americans are suckers.
And last night, Paul Ryan made painfully clear that he thinks we’re all profound idiots who’ll believe an endless string of lies, so long as they’re packaged well and presented with conviction. Jonathan Cohn suggested last night’s address may have been the “most dishonest convention speech” ever delivered, and I can’t think of a close second.
It was a truly breathtaking display of brazen dishonesty. Paul Ryan looked America in the eye and without a hint a shame, lied to our face.
Ryan lied about President Obama’s auto-industry rescue, blaming the administration for a plant closing orchestrated by President Bush. Ryan lied about Medicare, falsely accusing Obama of undermining the system. Ryan lied about the debt downgrade, falsely blaming the president for a downgrade caused by Ryan and congressional Republicans.
From The New Republic:
The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever?
You’re going to read and hear a lot about Paul Ryan’s speech on Wednesday night. And I imagine most of it will be about how Ryan’s speech played—with the party loyalists in Tampa, with the television viewers across the country, and eventually with the swing voters who will decide the election.
I’d like to talk, instead, about what Ryan actually said—not because I find Ryan’s ideas objectionable, although I do, but because I thought he was so brazenly willing to twist the truth.
At least five times, Ryan misrepresented the facts. And while none of the statements were new, the context was. It’s one thing to hear them on a thirty-second television spot or even in a stump speech before a small crowd. It’s something else entirely to hear them in prime time address, as a vice presidential nominee is accepting his party’s nomination and speaking to the entire country.
Here are the five statements that deserve serious scrutiny:
1) About the GM plant in Janesville.
Ryan’s home district includes a shuttered General Motors plant. Here’s what happened, according to Ryan:
A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.
Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.
It’s true: The plant shut down. But it shut down in 2008—before Obama became president.
By the way, nobody questions that, if not for the Obama Administration’s decision to rescue Chrysler and GM, the domestic auto industry would have crumbled. Credible estimates suggested that the rescue saved more than a million jobs. Unemployment in Michigan and Ohio, the two states with the most auto jobs, have declined precipitously.
2) About Medicare.
Ryan attacked Obama for “raiding” Medicare. Again, Ryan has no standing whatsoever to make this attack, because his own budget called for taking the same amount of money from Medicare. Twice. The only difference is that Ryan’s budget used those savings to finance Ryan’s priorities, which include a massive tax cut that benefits the wealthy disproportionately.
It’s true that Romney has pledged to put that money back into Medicare and Ryan now says he would do the same. But the claim is totally implausible given Romney’s promise to cap non-defense spending at 16 percent of gross domestic product.
By the way, Obamacare’s cut to Medicare was a reduction in what the plan pays hospitals and insurance companies. And the hospitals said they could live with those cuts, because Obamacare was simultaneously giving more people health insurance, alleviating the financial burden of charity care.
What Obamacare did not do is take away benefits. On the contrary, it added benefits, by offering free preventative care and new prescription drug coverage. By repealing Obamacare, Romney and Ryan would take away those benefits—and, by the way, add to Medicare’s financial troubles because the program would be back to paying hospitals and insurers the higher rates.
3) About the credit rating downgrade.
Ryan blamed the downgrading of American debt on Obama. But it was the possibility that America would default on its debts that led to the downgrade. And why did that possibility exist? Because Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling, playing chicken not just with the nations’ credit rating but the whole economy, unless Obama would cave into their budget demands.
4) About the deficit.
Ryan said “President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him” and proclaimed “We need to stop spending money we don’t have.” In fact, this decade’s big deficits are primarily a product of Bush-era tax cuts and wars. (See graph.) And you know who voted for them? Paul Ryan.
5) About protecting the weak.
Here’s Ryan on the obligations to help those who can’t help themselves:
We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves. … We can make the safety net safe again.
The rhetoric is stirring—and positively galling. Analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 62 percent of the cuts in Ryan budget would come from programs that serve low-income people. And that’s assuming he keeps the Obamacare Medicare cuts. If he’s serious about putting that money back into Medicare, the cuts to these programs would have to be even bigger.
The 5 Biggest Lies in Paul Ryan’s RNC Acceptance Speech
By: Jason Easley
Paul Ryan took the stage in Tampa and peppered his speech with lies, falsehoods distortions and exaggerations. There were many to choose from, but here are the five biggest lies.
1). Ryan accuses Obama of closing down the GM plant.
What Ryan Said, “A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”
The Truth: The GM plant closure was announced in June of 2008, when George W. Bush was president. Barack Obama took office in January 2009.
2). Ryan Claims Taxpayers Got Nothing Out of the Stimulus.
What Ryan Said, ” What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt. That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted. Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent. You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business.”
The Truth: The stimulus added 3.3 million jobs, cut unemployment by 1.8%, and grew GDP by 4.1%. Nothing is what the country got when Ryan and his fellow Republican obstructed the American Jobs Act.
3). Ryan Accused Obama of Putting the Federal Government in Charge of Healthcare.
What Ryan Said, “Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care. Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country.”
The Truth: What would a Republican gathering be without a hat tip to the ugly step child of death panels? Obamacare doesn’t federalize healthcare. In fact, it does the opposite.
As FactCheck.org pointed out, “The health care law does set new minimum benefits packages, but that’s more a matter of coming between patients and their insurance companies, rather than patients and their doctors…he health care law doesn’t come close to establishing a government-run system like those of Britain or Canada. While Medicaid will be expanded to more people, most Americans will continue to get their insurance through a private carrier. To the dismay of many liberals, a proposal to include a government-run “public option” to private health insurance was dropped during the legislative process.”
From The Daily Beast:
Michael Tomasky on Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech and His Web of Lies
Paul Ryan pushed American politics into new territory with his convention speech, effectively daring Democrats and the media to call him out on his string of blatant falsehoods.
It just boggles the mind to imagine how Paul Ryan can stand up there and lash Barack Obama for abandoning Bowles-Simpson when he did exactly that himself. Or for taking $716 billion out of Medicare that Ryan’s own budget also removes from Medicare. Or try to blame him for the closing of a GM plant that actually closed while George W. Bush was president. Those three lies are just the beginning of a cavalcade that followed. I can’t in clear conscience call such a speech “good” or “effective.” But I will acknowledge that Ryan can spin the goods like nobody’s business, and that his presence on the stage Wednesday night and on the ticket going forward does put new pressure on the Democrats, because Republicans have never really fought on quite this terrain in quite this way.
For many decades, the parties basically sort of ceded certain matters to each other. Democrats argued with Republicans about defense spending, for example; but with a few exceptions they rarely tried to say that they were the people you should really trust on defense. They knew they’d lose that argument, and they changed the subject. Republicans did the same on many social issues, or the idea of compassion. They knew they couldn’t compete. Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich changed this a little. They went around saying that their plans for poor people were superior. No one really bought it, but it did become a standard GOP talking point. Ryan is Kemp on steroids. (It was no accident that he invoked Kemp tonight). No Republican has ever tried to take it to Democrats on the issues they’ve owned for, in the case of Medicare, nearly 50 years.
Analysis of the fact that Ryan can lie the way he does requires the skills of a psychologist. All I can say is that we’re in new territory—a Republican trying to own a Democratic issue, and doing so on the basis of a couple of lies so blatant that he’s practically saying to the Democrats and the media: “Fuck you, come and get me. You can’t touch me.”
Ryan is glib and smooth and has a certain charm. He delivers one-liners very well. He really knows how to package, and where to go and where not to go. He talked a lot about spending, but he didn’t talk much about taxes, because he knows that he can’t really defend his position on taxes, which is slash them for the rich, so don’t even open that door. Open only the doors that lead to free shots at Obama. Many of those too are lies. He’s done far more to add to the debt than Obama has—voting for Bush’s tax cuts and wars and Medicare expansion as a congressman. This is true. But he can make it sound as if no sane person could possibly believe it.
Bottom line…Paul Ryan is a big liar…no a tremendous…no a 'pants-on-fire liar. Yep he is. The Struggle Continues…RLHSR.