Friday, August 31, 2012

That So-Called Republi-CON Leadership

If you listened closely, both Christie and Ryan used their campaign speeches to point out that Obamney is not the right man to elect because he lacks leadership and follows the polls.  Read the Washington Post, A very strange argument for Mitt Romney, which states:

"Chris Christie and Paul Ryan hit the same themes. We have hard choices facing us. We need leaders who won’t flinch before those choices. Leaders who won’t be deterred by the polls. Leaders who won’t compromise their principles. Leaders who won’t duck the tough issues. Leaders who won’t hide the hard truths.

That description arguably works for Christie and Ryan. That’s their brand, even if it’s selectively applied. But whether you love Romney or you hate him, do these lines really sound like a description of him? Is his political history really that of a bold, poll-defying, truth-talker?

Ryan was emphatic in his speech. 'So here is our pledge. We will not duck the tough issues,' he promised. 'We will lead.'

Christie was no less forceful. 'It’s easy for our leaders to say, ‘Not us, not now’, in taking on the really tough issues,' he said on Tuesday. 'And unfortunately we have stood silently by and let them get away with it.  But tonight, I say enough.'

Here is what Romney, so far in this campaign, has said. No changes to any entitlement programs for any seniors for the next 10 years. No specifics on how quickly his Medicare vouchers will grow for future seniors. No specifics on which tax breaks he’ll eliminate in order to offset the multi-trillion dollar cost of his tax cuts. No specific plan naming the cuts he’ll make to reach his $7 trillion target. No specifics on how he’ll equalize tax treatment of employer and individual health care. It is a campaign based on the principle of 'not us, not now.'

'Real leaders do not follow polls,' Christie continued. 'Real leaders change polls.'

And perhaps they do. But so far, the Romney campaign appears to have followed quite a number of polls.

In 2009, Romney wrote an op-ed for USA Today in which he advised President Obama to apply 'the lessons we learned in Massachusetts' to his health-care reform. Among those lessons was that 'using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.' That is to say, among those lessons was to include an individual mandate in the plan. Romney later said the mandate was 'unconstitutional.'

In February, Romney said, 'The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.' In April, under fire for opposing the auto bailout, Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s top communications adviser, said, Romney’s 'position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that. The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.'

Tonight, Ryan said Obama didn’t do enough to 'correct' the housing crisis. Romney’s initial position on housing was, 'Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.' Later, he said, 'The idea that somehow this is going to cure itself by itself is probably not real. There’s going to have to be a much more concerted effort to work with the lending institutions and help them take action, which is in their best interest and the best interest of the homeowners.' The campaign never released an actual housing policy.

During the debt ceiling debate, Romney remained silent for months on end. Critics — including on the right — joked that he’d joined 'the Mittness protection program.' Then, after the deal was struck and Congress was about to vote, he released a statement saying, 'while I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal.' It is hard to see that episode as either a display of tough leadership or indifference to polls.

Indeed, it’s difficult to think of a single issue where Romney has defied the polls to tell his party something they didn’t want to hear. He raised his hand when Bret Baier asked the participants at a Fox News debate whether they’d oppose a deal that include $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in taxes. He backed off his once strongly stated belief that global warming was caused by humans. He moved from being pro-choice to pro-life, and from holding 'progressive' views to being 'severely conservative.' . .

[I]f you’re looking for a guy who doesn’t duck the tough issues, who never obscures the hard truths, who tells you the unpleasant facts you don’t want to hear, who isn’t deterred by the polls, Romney isn’t your guy."

No Surprise, A Republi-CON CONvention of Lies

UPDATE V:   Lyin Ryan delivered "a speech that is more about big ideas than it is about facts -- ideas like 'Lying is handy.'"  Watch the Colbert Report, Paul Ryan's Misleading GOP Convention Speech:

UPDATE IV:  Obamney proved once again that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.  Read the Washington Post, The trends behind Romney’s numbers, which notes that while he didn't lie, his claims were misleading. 

UPDATE III:  Don't take my work for it.  Read Fox News, Paul Ryan’s speech in 3 words, one of which was dishonest, noting that "to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech."

UPDATE II:  And a critique of the lies continues, after reading, watching and re-reading Ryan's speech, and using a 'definition of 'true'" that is loose, not "for arguments that were ironclad. It was just for arguments — for claims about Obama’s record — that were based on a reasonable reading of the facts, and that weren’t missing obviously key context. . .

Ryan’s claims weren’t even arguably true. You simply can’t say the president hasn’t released a deficit reduction plan. The plan is right here. You simply can’t say the president broke his promise to keep your GM plant open. The decision to close the plant was made before he entered office — and, by the way, the guy at the top of your ticket opposed the auto bailout. You simply can’t argue that the Affordable Care Act was a government takeover of the health-care system. My doctor still works for Kaiser Permanente, a private company that the government does not own. You simply can’t say that Obama, who was willing to follow historical precedent and sign a clean debt ceiling increase, caused the S&P downgrade, when S&P clearly said it was due to congressional gridlock and even wrote that it was partly due to the GOP’s dogmatic position on taxes.

Oh, and here’s one we missed: 'You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business. But this president didn’t do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care.' The stimulus — which was the administration’s major job creation package — came before health care. It was their first priority. That’s simply inarguable. . .

This has been a central challenge during this election. The Republican ticket, when it comes to talking about matters of policy and substance, has some real problems – problems that have nothing to do with whether you like their ideas. Romney admits that his tax plan “can’t be scored” and then he rejects independent analyses showing that his numbers don’t add up. He says — and Ryan echoes — that he’ll bring federal spending down to 20 percent of GDP but refuses to outline a path for how well get there. He mounts a massive ad assault based on a completely discredited lie about the Obama administration’s welfare policy. He releases white papers quoting economists who don’t agree with the Romney campaign’s interpretations of their research.

All this is true irrespective of your beliefs as to what is good and bad policy, or which ticket you prefer. Quite simply, the Romney campaign isn’t adhering to the minimum standards required for a real policy conversation. Even if you bend over backward to be generous to them — as the Tax Policy Center did when they granted the Romney campaign a slew of essentially impossible premises in order to evaluate their tax plan — you often find yourself forced into the same conclusion: This doesn’t add up, this doesn’t have enough details to be evaluated, or this isn’t true.

I don’t like that conclusion. It doesn’t look “fair” when you say that. We’ve been conditioned to want to give both sides relatively equal praise and blame, and the fact of the matter is, I would like to give both sides relatively equal praise and blame. I’d personally feel better if our coverage didn’t look so lopsided. But first the campaigns have to be relatively equal. So far in this campaign, you can look fair, or you can be fair, but you can’t be both."

Read the Washington Post, A not-very-truthful speech in a not-very-truthful campaign.  
UPDATE:  The consensus is that the Ryan speech "was a stunning display of dishonesty. In the twelve hours since Ryan gave his address, Slate, Bloomberg, New York Magazine, the Boston Globe, the New Republic, the New Yorker and the Associated Press have run scatching critiques.

The leading fact checkers — Politifact, and the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler — have followed suit."

Read the Washington Post, Will Paul Ryan's dishonesty matter to voters?

Of course, what did you expect, even the Obamney campaign declared that it was "not going to let [their] campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

The article states that "Ryan started this race with a reputation for honesty. He’s on his way to losing it."

But I think he was a  Republi-con all along, his reputation only proved how good he was at conning people.

Read The New Yorker, The Paul Ryan Speech: Five Hypocrisies