Lies do work in politics when they are confined to stump speeches to the choir and campaign ads that penetrate markets by pure repetition. However Ryan and the Romney campaign has made a huge miscalculation the you can lie over and over again to the public in a major speech and get away with it.
I tweeted after the speech that fact checkers needed to add a new category of lies after Ryan’s lie filled speech.
Pants Plasma Induced Fusion on Fire Thermonuclearly (PPIFFT)
Most people remember Lincolns famous quote about lies but I think this quote is more appropriate describing the character of Romney and Ryan.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to George E. Pickett, Feb. 22, 1841
He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.
Just like Habeas Corpus rights are where all law starts, a person’s ability to tell the truth is where their character starts. I’m not pollyanic about pols and campaigns. All campaigns spin and omit truths but they are usually based on some truth. At least in my experience the Romney and Ryan campaign is built on mendacity where telling the truth is foreign to them. The ironic part is as I said in early posts I think there is enough problems with the economy that Romney and Ryan did not even have to lie this much to spin the bad economy. So the only conclusion I can come up with is that Romney and Ryan are willful liars.
After I heard about the speech I knew after after the initial mindless positive spin by the soulless media pundits that Ryan’s speech will only be remembered for all its blatant lies. If Obama does win reelection political historians will point to Ryan’s speech as one big reason why.
1. “A downgraded America.” Ryan blamed the president for the nation’s credit downgrade in August 2011 after Republicans threatened to allow the government to default on its debt for the first time in history. But the ratings agency explicitly blamed “Republicans saying that they refuse to accept any tax increases as part of a larger deal.”
2. “More debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined.” Romney has made the almost identical claim, that Obama has amassed more debt “as almost all of the other presidents combined.” But their math doesn’t add up: when Obama took office, the national debt was $10.626 trillion. It has increased to slightly above $15 trillion.
3. Shuttered General Motors plant is “one more broken promise.” Ryan described a GM plant that closed down in his hometown, Janesville, Wisconsin, and blamed Obama for breaking his promise to keep the plant open when he visited during his campaign. But Obama never made that promise, and the plant shut down in December 2008, before Obama even took office.
4. Obama “did exactly nothing” on Bowles-Simpson. Ryan said, “He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” In fact, Ryan was instrumental in sabotaging the commission, leading the other House Republicans in voting against the plan.
5. “$716 billion, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.” Ryan’s favorite lie is a deliberate distortion of Obamacare’s savings from eliminating inefficiencies. Furthermore, Ryan’s own plan for Medicare includes these savings. Romney has vowed to restore these cuts, which would render the trust fund insolvent 8 years ahead of schedule.
6. “The greatest of all responsibilities is that of the strong to protect the weak.” Ryan closed the speech with an invocation of social responsibility, saying, “The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” However, numerous clergy members have condemned Ryan’s budget plan as “cruel,” and “an immoral disaster” because of its devastating cuts in social programs the poor and sick rely on. Meanwhile, Ryan would give ultra-rich individuals and corporations $3 trillion in tax breaks.
What I found interesting ready through more of the sane columnists is they all seemed to pick a Ryan lie that they thought was most offensive. For example Andrew Sullivan found Ryan’s lie about the credit rating downgrade which was caused by the GOP.
Where Johnathan Chait thought the lies about Medicare and the deb were Ryan’s worst moments because basically he thought Ryan added the crime of hypocrisy on top of lying since a big part of his speech was about taking personal responsibility when Ryan took none himself.
Per usual Michael Tomasky wrote one of the most poignant pieces on Ryan’s lie filled speech. He deftly describes the big picture of what all Ryan’s lies are suppose to accomplish and the perils for the Democrats if they don’t counter the lies effectively.
Usually after pols give speeches people can come up with high points they remember but outside of the right wing echo chamber no few are finding anything good about a speech full of lies. I predict Romney won’t lie quite as much based on the media’s reaction to Ryan’s mendacity. He’s going to play good cop to Ryan’s bad cop because after all it’s fine to leave Ryan to take all the blame in the selfish ghost of Ayn Rand GOP.
Hopefully for the president and more importantly for the future of this country, Lincoln’s more famous second quote about lies and liars prevail in November.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.