Paul Ryan’s introduction to the nation was a rousing success. The speech had style and substance, and Ryan clearly connected with his audience.
Ryan promised the GOP "won’t duck the tough issues." He attacked Obama’s record, and as the first Gen-X to be on a major party ticket used some cultural references to appeal to that demographic.
But that is not the entire story. The speech was remarkable for all the things he got wrong, as well as the things he left out. The minute the speech was completed, fact checkers went into overtime. Here are some of the things that Ryan got wrong or were missing from his speech.
1. U.S. Government Credit Downgrade: Ryan mistakenly tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama. The credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling. The Standard & Poor downgrade report said, that the size of the U.S. debt is very large and growing, and that politicians seem unable to agree on what steps to take to reduce it. It called the political process "contentious and fitful," and said the firm was "pessimistic" that the White House and Congress would be able to agree on measures to significantly reduce the debt anytime soon.
2. Medicare: Ryan accused Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare despite the fact that the CBO and AARP said the $716 billion represented a savings to the program. Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan.
3. Deficit Reduction: Ryan criticized the president for not supporting the recommendations of a bipartisan commission on deficit reduction, without noting that he had been a member of the commission and had not supported it either. Ryan rejected and did not vote for the recommendations of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.
4. The shutdown of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin: Ryan blamed President Obama for, the shutdown, but the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush. Ryan actually asked for federal spending to save the plant.
5. Government Spending and Deficits: Ryan was a reliable Republican vote for policies that were key in causing enormous federal budget deficits. Ryan voted for government spending programs that added five trillion dollars to the national debt, including the government bailout program TARP.
6. Stimulus: Ryan pilloried the American Recovery Act. But he neglected to say that he lobbied for stimulus money for his district. He did not mention that the major economic success stories in Janesville—a business incubator, a new medical manufacturer, and a new highway project that will benefit local warehousing businesses—are all linked to federal money, including money from Obama’s 2009 stimulus.
7. Keynesian Economics: Ryan didn’t tell us of his support for deficit spending and Keynesian economics. In 2002, Ryan voted for a third round of stimulus funding, and endorsed the policy of the Congressional floor. He said, “What we're trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed ... What we're trying to accomplish here is to pass the kinds of legislation that when they've passed in the past have grown the economy and gotten people back to work.” Doesn’t that sound like somebody you know? Hint it's Obama.
8. Abortion: Ryan did not mention his staunch support to ban all abortions with no exception for rape or incest.
9. Leadership: Ryan has said that Romney is the leader and he is there to support Romney. But Romney said if he were President he would sign the Ryan budget. So, whose plan is it? Ryan is a conservative and he knows the plan. Grover Norquist gave the following marching orders at CPAC 2012; “We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff." Ryan didn’t tell us that.
Let’s recap, Ryan:
• Voted for the stimulus
• Requested and used stimulus money to grow the local economy and create and retain jobs
• Played a critical leadership role in the downgrading of U.S. credit rating
• Voted with the president on Simpson-Bowles
• Believes in deficit spending when necessary
• Includes the Medicare savings and uses the savings in his budget
• Voted for government bailout programs, including the auto bailout and TARP
Is Paul Ryan an undercover liberal, or just a liar and a hypocrite?