Lies And Damned Lies: Ryan And Romney Stretch The Truth
But while vice presidential pick Paul Ryan may have stoked the embers of passion among the GOP, his speech—along with Romney’s acceptance speech—was riddled with a litany of lies.
Let's start with Ryan's speech on Wednesday. Among the first of his falsehoods was his claim that the United States' credit rating fell on Obama's watch because he failed to properly run the country.
“It began with a perfect AAA credit rating for the United States," Ryan said after he took the stage."It ends with the downgraded America.”
The largest factor when Standard & Poor lowered the nation's credit rating was the partisan gridlock over the debt ceiling--it needed to be raised so government could pay off all the spending Congress had approved. To solve this problem, the White House asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling. Simple enough, right? Wrong. What resulted was endless coverage, worry and debate over what would happen. The House Republicans--Mr. Ryan himself included--staunchly fought against the president. As a result, the U.S. economy teetered, hanging on the edge with the looming threat of default.
"The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,
and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in
the debate over fiscal policy..."
Discrepancy No 2? General Motors and the Janesville Plant.
Continuing on his tirade against the Obama administration, Ryan critized the president for closing the General Motors plant in his hometown: Janesville, Wis. Obama visited the plant in 2008 and said, "I believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another hundred years.”
"As it turned out,” Ryan said, “that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.”
But why is that plant empty, Mr. Ryan? It was under Obama's watch that the auto industry bailout saved a slew of other factories. As Jon Stewart asked his non-existent iPhone last night, “Siri, who was president in June 2008?”
It was George Bush, of course. So, Mr. Ryan, your hometown factory shut down was not Obama's fault...was it?
Next on the list? Medicare.
Furthering his attack against the current administration, Ryan accused President Obama of funneling $716 billion out of Medicare. What he neglected to mention was that the budget passed by House Republicans—and penned by one Mr. Paul Ryan—called for the same savings.
But if Paul Ryan's silver tongue is the relentess attack dog of the GOP campaign, what can be said of the lies in Mitt Romney's acceptance speech last night? Ignoring his uncouth remark regarding Obama's "apology tour" (which is misleading, because at the time Obama also said Europe should answer for being so anti-American), the Republican presidential nominee spewed out one particular line that left many reeling.
"Today more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before. Nearly one out of six Americans is living in poverty."
While it’s true that “more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before,” that statement is deceptive because there are more Americans, period. Not to mention, the poverty rate is nowhere near a record, according to Factcheck.org.
From their report on Romney's speech:
"The raw number of individuals in poverty in 2010 was 46.2 million, according to the most recent Census figures. And the poverty rate went up that year to 15.1 percent — the highest since 1993. But as Census noted, that “was 7.3 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available.”
Not to belabor the point, but the number of people in poverty has increased for four years in a row--which means this increase started before the Obama administration took over.
But even worse, perhaps, was this claim: "Family income has fallen by $4,000, but health insurance premiums are higher, food prices are higher, utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices have doubled."
But family income has not fallen by $4,000 under Obama, as Romney asserted.
"That figure comes from a study by Sentier Research, and while most of the drop occurred after the president took office in January 2009, some of it (the study didn’t say exactly how much) occurred in the 13 months before that."
So, in light of this, why hasn't the mainstream media been more assertive? Why aren't the big names in news acting as the watchdogs--and why is it acceptable to base a campaign on lies? Has our cynicism and lack of political efficacy fallen this far?