The blogosphere is overrun this morning with absolutely livid liberals, all sputtering and fuming over Paul Ryan’s speech at the RNC on Wednesday. “Brazen lies” shrieks Salon’s Joan Walsh in the title to her exegesis of the speech.
Much of the outrage is over a technicality. Ryan spoke of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., that closed after Barack Obama stumped there in 2008 and boasted, “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” For shame! Walsh and her brethren are tsk-tsking. The plant closed in late 2008. Obama was president-elect but not yet president.
Fine. Let’s concede that point. Obama is not to blame for the closing of that plant. But let’s play a different game. Instead of attempting to ferret out the 5 “top fibs” in Ryan’s speech, as Brian Beutler at TPM attempts to do (emphasis on attempts), let’s play a different game. Let’s examine a few of the top truths from the speech.
1. “Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work.” It is doubtful that even the most talented liberal spin doctor can deny that claim. They would also find it difficult to challenge the fact that the unemployment rate, which was 7.8% when Obama took office, has risen as high as 10% on his watch and has stayed above 8% for the last 42 consecutive months. There is also no explaining away the fact that Obama said on Jan. 8, 2008—and the video proof is here—that unless dramatic action was taken that the unemployment rate could reach double digits. He took action, to the tune of an $831 billion stimulus, and unemployment hit double digits anyway. Even PolitiFact, in its efforts to insulate Obama from criticism about his false prediction, admits:
The administration has acknowledged its projections were wrong.
In a July 2, 2009, interview, Romer said on Fox: ‘None of us had a crystal ball back in December and January. I think almost every private forecaster realized that there were other things going on in the economy. It was worse than we anticipated.’
That’s all well and good, but how is underestimating the seriousness of the economic crisis not in Obama’s debit column? Is that not the position liberals would be taking if a Republican president “miscalculated”? Consider also that Obama’s “solution” was to commit what Ryan last night correctly called “the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government,” resulting in an ailing economy that was plunged even deeper in debt. Speaking of which:
2. Back in 2008, candidate Obama called a $10 trillion national debt “unpatriotic.” Again, guilty as charged. Politicians don’t get a do-over on accusations they make prior to taking office because the job turns out to be “above their pay grade.” By Obama’s lights, his addition of $5 trillion in one term—“more debt,” quoting Ryan again, “than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined”—he is the least patriotic man in the country.
3. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars [were] funneled out of Medicare by President Obama. This point is causing serious gas pains among liberals this morning because there is no way around this fact. It is the gospel truth. The claims that the Ryan plan (note that neither Walsh nor Beutler bother to mention which Ryan plan—there were two) would also lead to cuts in Medicare (Walsh’s preposterous allegation that the Ryan proposal would cut the same $716 billion is pure fantasy) are academic because the budget was never so much as entered into the Senate docket. This has to be a first in journalism: criticizing one possible if improbable outcome of a bill that was never debated by both chambers of Congress. The cuts to the Medicare trust fund needed to fund Obamacare are a reality, not hypothesis. Unless the law is repealed, current seniors—not future ones, as in Ryan’s vision—face a serious reduction in medical services in the not-too-distant future.
There are other statements from the speech that don’t lend themselves to a bulleted list but are easily borne out. At one point, Ryan asked, “Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?” An answer to his question—that they won’t—is found at that video linked to earlier in this article. In it, Obama describes in vivid detail the crisis we faced as a nation in January of 2008. He speaks of Americans “who want and need full-time work having to settle for part-time jobs. Manufacturing,” he adds in the next breath “has hit a 28-year low.” Too bad his administration didn’t have a crystal ball. He would have known then we all know now—that manufacturing has lost another 661,000 jobs since Obama took office.
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