GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s speech at the RNC was an exercise in dishonesty. The speech by the Wisconsin congressman ran the full gamut, from lies of omission, to half-truths, to complete fabrications. Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter told MSNBC, simply, “He blatantly lied, and brazenly.”†Even Fox News was forced to concede that Ryan’s speech was deceitful.
This isn’t a surprise — the Romney campaign has already announced that it does not care about facts. Still, the number of prevarications in Ryan’s speech were so breathtaking that the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein said Ryan is more deceitful than Sarah Palin.
Here’s a look at the worst lies uttered by Ryan while accepting the Republican nomination. This is not a comprehensive list — you don’t have all day. It is, however, a look at the biggest whoppers used by Ryan to introduce himself to America.
“It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.”
It’s true that America’s credit rating was downgraded by one of the three major credit rating agencies during Obama’s term. While Moody’s and Fitch both rate America’s debt at “AAA,” or “outstanding,” Standard & Poor’s dropped the US rating to “AA+,” or “excellent,” in 2011.
However, Ryan is being dishonest when he lays the blame for the downgrade at President Barack Obama’s feet. After all, S&P said why they were downgrading U.S. debt, and they didn’t blame Obama.†Instead, S&P blamed the “brinksmanship” of the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, in which House Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling without significant cuts to the budget. S&P also lamented a refusal to consider higher taxes, saying, “It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options.”
Who was leading the House charge against Obama? Well, the House leadership team, including their budget committee chair, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan himself was instrumental in forcing the brinksmanship that led the U.S. to have its debt downgraded; Ryan was right about a downgraded America, but the culprit isn’t Barack Obama, but rather the guy Ryan sees in the mirror each morning.
“Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined.† One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt.”
“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.”
This is a two-fer. The first part is technically true — the debt has gone up significantly during the term of President Obama. Ryan failed to mention, however, that the increase in debt is primarily due to two policies — the Bush Tax Cuts and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Simply, those were all policies Obama inherited — all policies started by President George W. Bush, and supported by the vote of Paul Ryan.
It’s the second part, though, where Ryan really outdoes himself. It’s true, Obama did appoint the Simpson-Bowles Commission, which was tasked with looking for ways to reduce the debt. Commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson did issue a report. That report was not endorsed by the full commission, however, which rejected the report.
Among the members of the commission who voted against the report? The chair of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan.
Yes, Paul Ryan was a member of the Simpson-Bowles commission, the “bipartisan debt commission” he references, as if they were a group he was vaguely familiar with. “‘They’ came back with an urgent report,” except “they” didn’t — the commission didn’t issue a report. And while Obama didn’t push the recommendations of the commission, Paul Ryan actively opposed them, voting against them, and preventing the report from being officially adopted.
So while Barack Obama may have decided to pass on the recommendations of some members of a commission, Paul Ryan, a member of that commission, opposed those recommendations. And yet Ryan tells America that we should be outraged at Obama for not adopting the proposals Ryan himself opposed. Truly, the man has a dizzying intellect.“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 Ö this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ †Thatís what he said in 2008.”
“Well, as it turned out, that plant didnít last another year.† It is locked up and empty to this day.† And thatís how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”
Of all the brazen lies told by Paul Ryan during his Wednesday speech, this is the most blatant. Oh, yes, there was a GM plant in Jansesville, Wis., that shut down. Barack Obama did say he wanted the plant to be around for a hundred years. Obama never got a chance to do anything to support that, though, because the plant shut down before Obama was president, in December of 2008.
It’s not as if Ryan was unaware of the timing. Ryan himself protested the plant closure, writing a letter to General Motors in June of 2008. Obama did bail out GM, and while the Janesville plant didn’t reopen, the bailout did help GM reopen a plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.
This is a pure lie. There’s no hedging, no debate — the plant shut down during the Bush Administration, as did others. Blaming Obama for closing it is like blaming Obama for failing to respond during Hurricane Katrina — he wasn’t president then. Unless Paul Ryan thinks Obama owns a time machine, the charge is a flat-out lie. It is not, however, the worst lie Ryan told.
“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.”
That’s not a lie, of course — it’s one of the most fundamental of all truths. But while it is unquestionably true that we must help each other out, it is also unquestionably true that Paul Ryan does not believe this.
Ryan’s budget was condemned by the Catholic Bishops, who said Ryan’s willingness to slash aid to the poor fails a “basic moral test.” Far from demonstrating a fealty to the tradition of protecting the weak, Ryan instead would throw the poor, the sick and the elderly out onto the street, and demand that they stop mooching off of the producers.
Indeed, Ryan’s budget completely ignores the needs of the weak, and plans to trample on those who cannot defend themselves. Its heritage stems directly from Ryan’s greatest influence, Ayn Rand, whose political philosophy elevated selfishness to the highest ideal. Indeed, in “Atlas Shrugged,” which Ryan once made his new staffers read, Rand writes, “I will never live for the sake of another†man, nor†ask another†man to live for mine.”
Now, Ryan has renounced Rand, saying he was unaware that she was an atheist — but as we’ve seen, Ryan has no problem with lying. And certainly, this is a far more accurate summation of Ryan’s worldview — that we are not called to protect our fellow citizens, but rather that if you’ve got yours, to heck with anyone else.
So while Ryan told a lot of lies about Barack Obama on Wednesday, this is the worst lie he told — because Ryan knows full well that his real beliefs are anathema to the beliefs of Americans. Ryan knows that we do believe in helping the downtrodden, and caring for the meek. He also knows that if he admitted that he has no problem throwing the poor to the wolves, Americans would turn on him and on Mitt Romney. So he lies — because he dare not tell the truth.