Dylan Matthews fact-checks Ryan's speech. I noted most of these lies last night. But there weren't just lies; there was a total abdication of personal responsibility in an attack on president Obama's alleged lack of responsibility. Ryan on Bowles-Simpson, which he killed:
"[Obama] created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report," Ryan stated. "He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing." But the bipartisan debt commission itself didn’t come back with a report. There were not enough votes to agree upon recommendations, in part due to opposition from committee member, er, Paul Ryan. The statement misleads viewers by implying that Ryan supports the proposal, when he aggressively opposed it, and by using the third person to avoid noting that Ryan was on the commission and voted no.
Lies and lies to portray not just a different version of the truth but its inverse. Avik Roy attempts to defend Ryan's hypocrisy:
It’s true that Paul Ryan voted against the Simpson-Bowles recommendations. He did so because Simpson-Bowles raised taxes while doing little to nothing about health-care spending, the biggest driver of growing deficits. However, by rejecting Simpson-Bowles, Ryan felt morally obligated to put forth his own plan, and did so—several times, in the form of his Path to Prosperityand his 2011 and 2012 House budget resolutions.
Chait counters, noting that "defenders sometimes assert that [Ryan] only voted against the plan because it failed to include privatized Medicare, but in fact Ryan opposed a compromise that would do that, as well." Then the irony that struck me the most:
Incredibly, the larger theme of Ryan’s speech was to assail Obama for failing to take full responsibilities for this state of affairs — Obama is "shifting blame," "blaming others." It is the single largest motif of Ryan’s speech. Let’s review: Ryan helps to create a massive structural deficit, repeatedly and almost single-handedly prevents a solution, then runs for vice-president, blaming Obama for the structural deficit and further blaming him for his unwillingness to agree that this is all his own fault. The really amazing thing is that it could possibly work.
The debt rating downgrade was my personal low. Really: an entirely GOP-engineered crisis that deeply damaged the country is now Obama's fault? My jaw kept dropping. Joyner unpacks Ryan's line about a GM plant in his district closing (discussed in the above video):
Petty parsing of the facts aside, Ryan’s attack here is just weak. Not only are voters more likely to blame the Congressman who’s spent his whole life in the town than the president of the United States for not saving the plant, this is a ticket that opposes government bailouts of auto plants! "Let Detroit go bankrupt" and all that. And, it should be noted, both President Bush and President Obama gave GM billions of dollars to stave off collapse.
Claim: We will protect Medicare! Truth: Ryan banks more savings from Medicare than Obama does and throws out all the cost control experiments that might – just might – bend the cost curve downward. Claim: We will balance the budget! Truth: by slashing taxes and revenues and by boosting defense, they won't, by their own accounting, for another two decades. If we really cannot wait, how do two decades of more debt accumulation help? Claim: we protected the auto industry. Truth: they wanted Detroit to go bankrupt. Claim: the only thing the stimulus did was add debt. Truth: yes it added debt, but it did so in large part by tax cuts that Ryan approves of. And so you have an alternative empirical universe in which a deeply radical platform that would transform Medicare for the young, while retaining it in full for the biggest generation, and increase the debt for two more decades, is portrayed as a multicultural rescue of Medicare and the economy.
Democrats have to raise their game. They’ve never had to encounter this kind of buttery demagoguery before. Their campaign is going to have to be almost as much against Ryan as against Romney. (Does anyone think Romney’s speech is going to be more effective to the intended audience? I’d be awfully surprised if it is.) They have to rebut his lies, and they have to do it without sounding bitter or afraid or superior or haughty. That’s not easy to do. But it’s the challenge of this campaign. If they can’t win the Ryan war, they’re done.
Scott Galupo's verdict:
Paul Ryan is a talented, well-intentioned man who has been groomed by, and cultivated in the eco-system of, Washington’s conservative intelligentsia. His speech, for all its many fine qualities, is an emblem of the superficial attractiveness and substantive bankruptcy of this intelligentsia.
Lizza's bottom line:
Ryan started this race with a reputation for honesty. He’s on his way to losing it.
When a Randian is speaking of a priority for the poor and weak, you know you have a world-class bullshitter.