From start to end last night at the Republican National Convention, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech was an all out attack on President Obama. Here are five things Ryan got wrong:
1. “Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you…this plant will be here for another hundred years.’”
For decades, the Janesville, Wisconsin, General Motor’s plant provided many jobs for the hometown of Paul Ryan, especially in the year he was born (when it employed 7,000 people). Ryan claimed last night that Obama had made a promise in a 2008 campaign speech in Janesville, saying that the plant would thrive if he were to be elected president. Simply put, Obama was claiming a reopening of the plant as being “viable,” but certainly wasn’t promising a 100-year tenure. The plant also shut down prior to him taking office, so technically Ryan should be blaming that on the two guys who weren’t invited to this year’s RNC convention.
2. “The biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly…they took it all away from Medicare, $716 billion, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.”
Ryan’s attempt to point the gun at Obama for Medicare was highly misleading. Obamacare instituted a number of changes to lower costs of future health care, with an anticipated savings of $716 billion over the next 10 years aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not those receiving the benefits. Savings not “funneled monies.” Ryan’s idea that a voucher system relying on competition among private insurers would reduce cost is wrong-headed. We’ve been down that road before with Bush’s Medicare Advantage, and it actually cost the government more than traditional Medicare, at the expense of the elderly.
3. “You have not failed, your leaders have failed you.”
In this case, I would assume Mr. Ryan was holding himself accountable as well being a congressman and chairman of the House Budget Committee. Maybe he meant for this to be singular, but then again, a failed economy is not just simply one person’s fault—it’s a collective effort to get in, and takes a collective effort to get out. The Congressman’s self-titled, “Ryan plan," seeks a continued investment in Pentagon spending with significant cuts to the State Department, foreign aid, and entitlement programs. This plan has come with absolutely no adoration from the House Democrats, but with partisanship at an all-time high, Ryan and Boehner have led the way to block anything and everything that would make Obama even the least bit appealable to Americans in the past several months. I’m sorry Ryan, but you’re also part of the problem.
4. “I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us.”
This sounds appealing, but it’s unrealistic. Ryan’s intentions do match his plan to roll America back to the 1950s, prior to Medicare and Medicaid, but the problem is that a lot happened in sixty years. A receding approach to the economy equips us with an economy that isn’t fit for the 21st century. The top %1 won’t have a problem, per usual. As for the other 99%, they will be obligated to pay an increased share of medical care costs, without any control of these increases, essentially ensuring that Americans will continue to be driven into bankruptcy due to health care expenses. A 1950s approach is unrealistic—these are different times.
5. “That money wasn’t just spent and wasted. It was borrowed, spent, and wasted.”
President Obama’s stimulus spending may not have been perfectly directed, but Ryan was wrong by saying it was “wasted.” Without the 2009 stimulus, the economy would have been in much worse shape. Instead, over 3 million jobs were created and the car industry was saved. Even if this doesn’t satisfy conservative’s passion against the stimulus, we also need to remember that the 2008 banking collapse is what led to a stimulus. These banks were “too big to fail” and something needed to be done. Also, let’s not forget, Ryan’s office requested stimulus funds.
If anything, Ryan should have focused on the fact that not once have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan been discussed at length during the RNC convention so far. It seems to me that that would be a prime topic considering the Republican’s were at the forefront of each invasion, but obviously the 12-year ongoing conflicts aren’t too complimentary to the whole “extinguish the national debt” argument. Maybe that’s why both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney weren’t invited to this year’s convention. Oh, how quickly we forget.