Sure, Paul Ryan walked truth off the pier and into Tampa Bay in concrete loafers.
Sure, newspapers rushed to press whole special sections cataloging the extent of factual impairment he exhibited, not even having room for that lie about his time running the marathon.
I quibble nonetheless with The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson. After Ryan’s parade of whoppers the columnist wondered if “there has ever been a more dishonest presidential campaign.”
Well, come on. The GOP team in 2004 had no peer. The work, the skill, it took justifying a war without justification. Keeping that crooked story straight not just for a day but for an entire election cycle: incredible.
That doesn’t mean Romney-Ryan can’t come in a strong second place.
Consider the swing-state commercial accusing Obama of “gutting” welfare reform: “. . . you wouldn’t have to work and you wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.”
Really? What Obama did was give states something they requested: flexibility to include job training and education among work requirements. Anyone who thinks going to college isn’t work hasn’t been to college.
If this is “gutting welfare reform,” then I shall convince you that with Iraq’s petro dollars we paid for its invasion and reconstruction.
Speaking of Ryan: For a man reputed to be a straight-talker and detail-oriented, his speech contained mostly grenades that exploded at the GOP’s feet.
The biggest whopper was leading listeners to believe that Obama was behind the closing of a General Motors plant in Wisconsin that in fact closed when that other guy was president.
Then there was Ryan’s assailing Obama for not following through on the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction proposals, a fair criticism if not from someone who voted against the same proposals because they would have raised taxes in addition to cutting spending.
Ryan brought up the $700 billion in cost reductions in Medicare to help fund the Affordable Care Act. Problem: Ryan’s own House-passed budget included the same cuts.
Speaking of Medicare, right now a Republican-spawned lie is circulating about crippling premium hikes. That’s alligators-in-sewers mythology, but it’s no lie that under Ryan’s plan for voucherizing Medicare, future seniors would see their costs go up dramatically.
All of which makes Ryan’s speech that much more amazing. Each of the points with which he chose to trash the president are points on which he’d best remain mute.
I’m still not granting top-fibber status to Romney & Co. as Eugene Robinson wants to, but as a New York Times analysis pointed out after Ryan’s speech (including the Romney aide protesting that what’s said won’t be “dictated by fact-checkers”), the campaign has distinguished itself.
It started months ago with a clip of Obama saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” The problem: That was Obama, running for president in 2008. He was mocking what John McCain was saying at that very time.
Now we have the “You didn’t build that” snippet edited into an affront to business owners everywhere, which in fact referred to the function of infrastructure and more in a vibrant economy.
It’s interesting, since the “We built it” convention, to read in Rolling Stone about the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s forgiving roughly $10 million in debts for Bain and Co., a consulting spin-off of Romney’s Bain Capital.
You see, even said master of the free market didn’t “build it” without government assistance.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.