Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ryan and Santorum at the Convention

But what about the other speakers at the Republican convention, Dear Madame L? What did you think about Mitt Romney's vice-presidential running mate, Paul Ryan? He seems to have some firm ideas that he hasn't waffled all over the place with.

Sincerely,

Just Wondering


Dear Wondering,

First, a warning: Madame L abhors Paul Ryan and couldn't actually watch or even listen his speech; she had to read it online, later.  (If you want to read it and/or listen to it online, it's available here.)

Madame L doesn't think it's enough to have "some firm ideas" if they're based on lies and misunderstandings and misinterpretations of economic theories and hypocrisy and pure and unadulterated greed.

And that sums up Madame L's interpretation of Paul Ryan and his speech at the convention.

To quote from another observer, Salon.com's Joan Walsh, who is also one of Madame L's all-time-favorite political and social writers, and was also, like Paul Ryan, raised as a Catholic:

   "His most brazen lie accused President Obama of “raiding” Medicare by taking the exact same $716 billion that Ryan and the House GOP notoriously voted to slash. It was stunning. (emphasis added by Madame L)

   "But that’s not all. He attacked Obama for failing to keep open a Janesville GM plant that closed under Bush in 2008. (emphasis added by Madame L) He hit him for a credit-rating downgrade that S&P essentially blamed on GOP intransigence. (emphasis added by Madame L) He claimed that all taxpayers got from the 2009 stimulus was “more debt,” when most got a tax cut (and the stimulus is known to have saved between 1.4 and 3.3 million jobs).  (emphasis added by Madame L)  He derided the president for walking away from the Simpson Bowles commission deficit-cutting recommendations when Ryan himself, a commission member, voted against those recommendations. (emphasis added by Madame L)

   "He blamed Obama for a deficit mostly created by programs he himself voted for – from two wars, tax cuts, new Medicare benefits and TARP  (emphasis added by Madame L) ....

   "...Finally, the man chided by the Catholic Bishops for his anti-poor budget (emphasis added by Madame L)  had the audacity to say, 'The greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.' Ryan’s budget decimates programs for “those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” (emphasis added by Madame L)

   "The sanctimonious V.P. nominee seems to have forgotten the Ninth Commandment: 'Thou shalt not lie.' Ryan believes he can say anything and get away with it."

Madame L is going to start referring to "Lyin' Ryan" from now on if she's ever required to speak or write about him again.

Here's another reporter's listing of Paul Ryan's "false or misleading statements":

  • The GM plant in Janesville. Ryan mentioned it in a pretty effective section on the Obama-induced pangs of his hometown. But as Matthew DeLuca explained two weeks ago, GM announced the closure during the Bush presidency. Ryan hustled to save it. He voted for the GM bailout, in another attempt to save it. You can call that proof of government's failure, sure, but Obama didn't force it on the city.

  • "The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst." That's extraordinarily hard to argue, and Ryan's office lobbied effectively for some stimulus grants that went to his district.

  • "$716 billion, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama." Not really true, either. The Medicare spending "cuts" are of the sort that Ryan defended when he was rising through the House—reductions in future reimbursement rates.

  • "A downgraded America." S&P's rationale for downgrading the United States from AAA to AA+ "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place." This was "because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues." Ryan's promised to keep those tax cuts for now, then try and flatten the code into two low rates, and we don't know what the S&P Tiki Gods think of that.

  • The "bipartisan debt commission" Ryan referred to was Simpson-Bowles. He served on it, and voted against the report, because it didn't tackle Medicare costs—which sort of brings us back to the "$716 billion funneling" issue.

Wait, I think you may say next, but what about Rick Santorum, another Catholic who spoke at the convention! What about his speech? 

Madame L believes Rick Santorum comes as close as possible to Lyin' Ryan for lies and hypocrisy, and he managed in his speech to add some pretty obvious race-baiting.  

As Joan Walsh wrote about Santorum's speech (which, again, Madame L did not watch or listen to), "And in case anyone was in danger of missing the racial subtext, Santorum linked Obama’s waiving the work requirement (he didn’t) to 'his refusal to enforce the immigration law.' Welfare recipients and illegal immigrants, oh my! Santorum made sure to scare the white working class with the depredation of those non-white slackers and moochers. It’s 1972 all over again." (emphasis added by Madame L)

In case you have wondered who believes this kind of stuff,  Madame L has seen the answer when she has talked to conservative friends who aren't paying attention. The "dog-whistle" nature of these kinds of speeches works on them. They don't bother to check the facts, and Lyin' Ryan and  the rest of the Republican "base" know that. 

By the way, bragging about your grandfather the coal miner, as both Rick Santorum and Ann Romney did,  is not a real substitute for having worked hard yourself, and it does not resonate with Madame L, nor, she thinks, does it resonate with many others who have had equally poor and hard-working grandparents and parents and who have themselves had to work hard, even if not in the coal mines. 

So Madame L hopes all of her Dear Readers are paying attention to the text, the subtext, the dog-whistles, and the hypocritical lies of the convention. 

Sincerely,

Madame L 

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I'm reminded of the famous quote from Josef Goebbels, the propaganda minister of Nazi Germany:
Tell a lie often enough and people will start to believe it.

Goebbels killed his own children in May 1945, by the way. Immorality is immorality, no matter how you wish to dice it and slice it: deliberate lies told to a national audience are just as immoral as killing your own children. Or just as sick.
~~~~~