Monday, September 10, 2012

Catch of the Day

The only thing wrong with this excellent Suzy Khimm catch of Paul Ryan's dissembling on weekend TV is that she doesn't dial up the outrage.

Khimm reports on two things Ryan said that simply are not true.

1. Barack Obama has put forward no alternative to the sequester. In fact, as she points out, the president's budget had a ten-year fix replacement for the sequester, while Ryan only has one year.

2. That "the Supercommittee offered" a plan. Never happened.

Here's Ryan's full quote:
I voted for a mechanism that says a sequester will occur if we don't cut $1.2 trillion spending in government. We offered $1.2 trillion in various -- the super committee offered it. We passed in the House a bill to prevent those devastating defense cuts by cutting spending elsewhere. The senate's done nothing. President Obama's done nothing.
I won't call that second on as huge a lie as the very similar Simpson-Bowles lie that he told during his convention speech; this is an interview and not prepared remarks, and it's possible he just garbled something he was trying to say (perhaps he means to say that Republicans offered something to the Supercommittee?). Still, what he says is absolutely wrong; the president has not "done nothing", and the Supercommittee did not offer anything.

There's more in Ryan's weekend interviews -- in particular, he tries to get away with claiming that he's okay with raising revenues from tax reform when in fact he's just in favor of pretending that it would generate unrealistic levels of growth -- but there's an important point here: Paul Ryan habitually says stuff about budgets and other policy matters he's involved in that simply is not true. As Paul Krugman says, some of us have been on this for a while, but it seems that a lot of people are starting to catch up.

Also: Nice catch!


  1. Ryan's budget plan was passed in the US House of Representatives (again). Obama's was rejected unanimously by the lefty controlled US Senate (again), in addition to being put on mute during the negotiations last Fall. These are the only true budgetary offerings, fyi. If you'll recall, the CBO refused to "score a speech", when Obama's media blatherings were referred to them last year.

    So on the one hand, you lefties are hysterical that Ryan's fiscal conservatism is throwing grandma over the cliff, and on the other hand you're asserting that Obama is even more fiscal conservative than he is (with nothing to back that strange assertion up).

    You lefties should probably consider letting go of your Ryan rage. It's getting a bit ridiculous and Ahab-ish now.


  2. Little bit O/T, but...Andy Murray won the US Open tonight, ending several years of heartbreaking near-misses for himself and 3/4 of a century of futility for Great Britain. He nearly kicked this one away too; when it was finally over, he limply dropped his racket and stood frozen for a seeming eternity.

    If Murray had a P/R firm, or even a decent life coach, he would have had a well-choreographed celebration for the culmination of so many years of his, and his country's frustration. Perhaps he could have used the opportunity to remember his fellow classmates who lost their lives in the Dunblane school massacre, where he was a student but about which he has never spoken publicly. Instead he looked during his interview like a man who needed a solid 100-hour power nap.

    I suspect that Murray's poorly stage-managed, but nevertheless genuine, response will play better with his countrymen than his tears at Wimbledon. I think people like genuineness better than spin because they can relate to genuineness.

    So you say Ryan is having trouble squaring the circle of his impossible budget positions? And earlier your bro said that Romney totally flubbed Afghanistan? What would you do? I don't mean "you" as in "professional political scientist", I mean "you" as in "me", an ambulatory hamburger watching the world go by from his barcalounger.

    There was a time when the rock-and-a-hard place challenge of Republican budgetary priorities was a source of sympathy back here, say when Boehner's speakership began. A lot of people still feel that sympathy. Because they don't think they'd be that good either.

    Call it the "Andy Murray effect", but people gravitate toward circumstances to which they can relate. Its a huge ace-in-the-hole for the otherwise mostly incompetent Romney campaign.

    1. On further reflection, "genuineness" doesn't work well in that missive because it roughly means "honesty", which isn't the idea. A better word would have been "transparency", I think.

  3. people gravitate toward circumstances to which they can relate.

    You're saying Mitt's "huge ace-in-the-hole" is that normal people can relate to his circumstances?


    First, that doesn't pass the laugh test. Second, I think normal people, if confronted with Mitt's admittedly difficult situation - needing to appeal to a wide variety of people that hold vastly different opinions on policy - wouldn't vacillate and dissemble at every opportunity. They certainly wouldn't take different positions on issues depending on who they're talking to.

    Mitt's type of "genuineness" is sympathetic only if you think it's appropriate for him to say and do anything in order to take the White House back. I think he's already got those voters in his corner, thanks.

    1. Andrew, though by no means do I insist I'm right, here's a section of your quote (with ellipsis):

      "normal people...(faced with an) admittedly difficult situation - needing to appeal to a wide variety of people...wouldn't vacillate and dissemble at every opportunity.

      I suppose it depends on how you define "normal". If by "normal" you mean "those having a moral fiber qualifying them for first-ballot sainthood", then yes, I suppose you would be correct.


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