Sadly distortions of the truth are all too common in our politics, and even outright lies are heard frequently, but last night Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan did something truly remarkable with his shameless disregard for the truth. Ryan didn’t just tell several lies about President Obama’s record; more incredibly, he actually had the chutzpah to blame Obama for things he himself is directly responsible for.
In his speech to the Republican National Convention last night, Ryan blamed President Obama for not doing anything with the deficit reduction recommendations from Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. From Ryan (via NPR):
Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined. One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt.
He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.
Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. How did the president respond? By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.
Paul Ryan was a member of the bipartisan debt commission. The only reason the recommendations weren’t turned into a fast tracked piece of legislation is because Ryan, along with other Republicans on the commission, voted against it. Obama did “nothing” with the report because Ryan worked to prevent Obama from being able to turn it into law.
Personally, I think it is a good thing the recommendations were not acted on and I assume Ryan feels the exact same way, which is why he voted against them. But to work to prevent Obama from doing something, then have the gall to blame Obama for not doing something takes cynicism to a new level.
Remarkably this was not the only time in the speech when Ryan blamed Obama for something Ryan himself did. Ryan seemed to blame Obama for the United States credit downgrade, claiming in the speech Obama term “began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.”
If you read the reason why Standard and Poor’s downgraded the United States credit rating, it is because they were worried about House Republicans’ willingness to use the debt ceiling vote as a political bargaining chip, and also their refusal to raise revenue. Ryan, as the House Budget Committee Chair, deserves a large degree of the personal responsibility for what House Republicans do regarding budget matters, yet he blamed it on Obama.