Ezra Klein totally takes a Paul Ryan claim apart today, with some help from Factcheck.
I'll let you go to the links for the details, but I'll just add that this is really amateurish stuff, as far as I can tell. Nor is this new for Ryan. I noted a few months ago that Ryan was still endorsing the "10/6" myth about ACA accounting, which was entirely false when it was invented and, at any rate, totally absurd in the context in which Ryan was using it. My post about that was called "Paul Ryan is Tired of People Taking Him Seriously," and I think I got it right. He may or may not have some real wonkish chops, but he's capable of such immense whoppers that it's hard to take anything he says at face value.
My real question is whether he's just a wonk very willing to play partisan even when he knows better -- and there have been plenty of those on the Hill, many of whom I think of as very good Members of Congress -- or if he really doesn't know better. So far, I don't have a good sense of it.
Who does it matter to? That's easy -- House Republicans, and to a larger extent Republicans in general. They're pretty invested in trusting Ryan, and if he really doesn't know what he's doing, they could easily wind up in a lot of trouble, both politically and substantively. Again, I don't know whether that's the case or now; again, lots of politicians who very much know what they're doing, Democrats and Republicans both, are willing to say all sorts of idiotic stuff when they believe it's important for spin battles. For those of us on the outside, that makes it hard to know which ones can do serious work and which can't.
And, unfortunately, the same is true for insiders.
You know, when I read something like this about Paul Ryan, I just shrug. In today’s partisan environment, that’s par for the course. Even the League of Woman Voters recently aired a “deceitful” attack ad in my state:ReplyDelete
I phrase the question differently. Are they really that stupid, or do they just think we are?ReplyDelete
Like you, I find it very hard to decide.
False equivalence. No Dem in recent history has put forth anything as blatantly false as the Ryan budget plan (or the Bush-Cheney justification to invade Iraq.)
Kinda why we're so screwed.
Call me shallow, but I tend to read a lot into the eyes of politicians in photos; are they focused, engaged, interested? Ryan (and for that matter Eric Cantor) has never struck me as, putting it charitably, exactly brimming over with intelligence.ReplyDelete
"Who does it matter to? That's easy -- House Republicans, and to a larger extent Republicans in general. They're pretty invested in trusting Ryan, and if he really doesn't know what he's doing, they could easily wind up in a lot of trouble"ReplyDelete
I see no evidence for the proposition that Republicans care about getting policy right (see, e.g., "deficits don't matter," the projections & vote for Medicare Part D, the continued embrace of Ryan in the House and Senate long after his numbers were proven imaginary, the 75% approval rating they gave Bush Jr. as he left office, etc. etc.).
There's not a whole lot of evidence that getting policy rights means a whole lot for elections in the near term, either. Obama did mostly what he said he was going to do in '08 for 2 years, won a convincing victory, then suffered a loss at the polls to a GOP that had no policies.
Ryan may or may not know anything about anything, but the people on tv say he does, and that's good enough for GOP government work.