Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s Republican National Convention speech in Tampa on Wednesday showed a flash of passion otherwise missing from the convention.
That’s the good news if you’re hoping for a Romney/Ryan win in November. The bad news happens when fact checking Ryan’s claims. Ryan said this about Medicare: “And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. … So they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.”
That’s a whopper. The seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars is the amount saved by paying lower fees to doctors and hospitals as a result of adding newly insured clients through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The spending cuts do not reduce care for patients.
Ryan adds to his disingenuous remarks by conveniently omitting the fact that his budget which has been passed in the House would cut care to Medicare recipients by shifting them to a voucher system resulting in higher out of pocket costs estimated at thousands of dollars.
Then Ryan turned his attention to President Obama’s stimulus and claimed “The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country were cut out of the deal.”
That’s an odd characterization from a Congressman who asked for and received more than 20 million dollars in stimulus funds. In his request for the stimulus funds Ryan assured Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis the funds would result in “sustainable” jobs. The obvious question is whether Ryan was lying then or if he’s lying now.
Ryan mentioned an automobile factory in his home state of Wisconsin. Ryan complained that the factory was closed and remains shuttered. So is Ryan complaining the stimulus was too small? The auto industry resurgence resulting from the stimulus is one of President Obama’s greatest successes.
Ryan also blamed the President for a credit downgrade that was triggered by House Republicans refusing to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Paul Ryan is Chairman of the House Budget committee and was instrumental in leading the refusal to cooperate.
Those and other factually incorrect claims received large bursts of applause from a crowd eager to see at least one of their leaders show some fight. It’s too bad that Ryan didn’t respect his audience enough to be honest.
Today is the last day of the convention. Republicans and others will be eager to see Mitt Romney explain how he intends to achieve his stated goal of balancing the budget and creating jobs. If Mitt Romney can stir the audience into lasting enthusiasm, something he has not been able to achieve so far, he has a chance to win on November 6th. Let’s hope for honesty.
I’ll be watching and fact checking.