I don’t think I’ve ever seen a major political speech so packed with repeatedly debunked lies, and I spent eight years following closely the mendacity of the Bush White House. I mean, Ryan repeated lies that have been broadly criticized and debunked for several weeks.
We’ve documented many of them here. The Medicare lie, the GM auto plant lie, the debt and deficit lie. There were new ones, like the lie about how the president let the Simpson-Bowles commission fail when, in fact, Ryan voted against it. Every policy-related paragraph contained either an outright lie or a misleading distortion.
So naturally it was a huge speech that fired up the Republicans who really don’t care whether an attack is honest — as long as it’s an attack.
–Accused President Obama’s health care law of funneling money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” In fact, Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances, and Ryan himself has embraced the same savings.
–Accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” about recommendations of a bipartisan deficit commission — which Ryan himself helped scuttle.
–Claimed the American people were “cut out” of stimulus spending. Actually, more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers.
–Faulted Obama for failing to deliver a 2008 campaign promise to keep a Wisconsin plant open. It closed less than a month before Obama took office.
–Blamed Obama for the loss of a AAA credit rating for the U.S. Actually, Standard & Poor’s blamed the downgrade on the uncompromising stands of both Republicans and Democrats.
Plus, Ryan repeatedly criticized the president for the deficit and debt when, in fact, Ryan voted for all of the Bush era policies that compose the current national debt and budget deficits.
Of course we shouldn’t expect him to note that the president has cut the deficit by $300 billion so far, with another $200 billion in deficit reduction by 2013. Of course he didn’t mention that Republican presidents presided over much steeper increases in the debt with Saint Reagan increasing the debt by 188%. He didn’t mention that the president is responsible for the lowest year-over-year growth in government spending in decades. He didn’t mention that the president signed a “paygo” law making it impossible for Congress to pass a law that’s not paid for.
And in terms of style, he totally gave audience members their first orgasm since 2001, but red meat and shouting tends to do that. As a speech, it was hackish and predictable — with weird sentences like, “The time of our choosing is drawing near.” That’s bad writing. He also mentioned “Greek columns” — a spastic meme from four years ago in which Republicans suddenly noticed that American politicians are often pictured with columns in the background, like the columns at the White House or at the Capitol.
The Republicans have tossed aside any pretense of honesty and have fully embraced a strategy of saying whatever the hell they want. And people will buy it. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have constructed a campaign on a mountain of lies and inconsistencies. I can’t even imagine what they’ll be like in the White House. One thing is for sure: nothing will be the same if they win.