Paul Ryan Obscures His Koch-Backed Agenda With a Pack of Lies in Convention Speech
Photo Credit: C-SPAN
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TAMPA, FLA. -- Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan may carry himself with an air of earnestness, but at his heart, he's a liar. What other determination could one make after Ryan's compendium of distortions and outright untruths, delivered Wednesday night to the Republican National Convention?
Whether falsely claiming that President Barack Obama was looting funding from Medicare to pay for health-care reform, blaming the president for the nation's credit-rating downgrade that came about as an unprecedented refusal by congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling (a maneuver Ryan helped to lead), or accusing his opponent of refusing to to implement the recommendations of a bipartisan commission on the debt whose final report Ryan voted against, the Wisconsin congressman proved himself willing to hoodwink the American people with a smile on his boyish face.
It was to be expected, I suppose, given his status as the youthful ward of David Koch, the billionaire funder of Americans For Prosperity, the astroturf group that helped lift the Wisconsin congressman from relative obscurity to the lofty post of House Budget Committee chairman, where he has championed a set of ideas that could have been authored by Koch himself -- ideas that fundamentally revolve around coddling the rich, crushing the poor and giving the shaft to the middle class.
It's not really a set of ideas one can sell truthfully to the voters, most of whom belong to the classes at which you're aiming the boot and the shaft. So, a little lying -- or a lot -- is required.
The selection of Paul Ryan was, in and of itself, a strong bit of circumstantial evidence that the Republican Party is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch political enterprise. David Koch and his brother, Charles, you'll recall, are the multibillionaire brothers who are the principal owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest privately-held corporation in the United States.
Through Americans For Prosperity and its allies, the Kochs have built the get-out-the-vote infrastructure for the American right, cobbling together the old network of evangelical churches with more broadly defined Tea Party groups. It's a network to which the Republican presidential candidate desperately needs access if he's to win in November, especially given a shrinking number of persuadable independent voters. And Paul Ryan dances perfectly to the Kochs' tune, crafting economic plans that lower the taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending on the poor, and that would change Medicare into a virtually unrecognizable voucher program.
Striding to the convention podium with his gelled coif and boyish demeanor, Ryan looked more like a student council president than the prevaricating philosophical progeny of two of the greediest men on earth. But even as Ryan accused the Obama campaign of obscuring the president's true agenda, Ryan mentioned not a word about his plans to voucherize Medicare -- a plan that could cost seniors thousands of dollars more per year.
Lying to Obscure the Greed
In a move seemingly designed to taunt fact-checkers, Ryan reprised his claim that Obama broke a promise made during the 2008 presidential campaign to keep a General Motors plant open in Ryan's hometown of Janesville, Wis., but instead was ultimately responsible for its closing. But the plant closed while George W. Bush was in office, and Obama never made such a promise. (As I write, PolitiFact has already rated this part of Ryan's speech as false.)
Here's a taste of just how blatant the lying got, from the prepared text of Ryan's speech:
A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.