RNC Dispatch: Paul Ryan Headlines a Night of Whoppers

Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 08:20 AM

Republican vice presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan addresses the crowd at the Republican National Convention. Republican vice presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, addresses the crowd at the Republican National Convention. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

For a Convention that promised unconventional thinking, the RNC has been pretty, well, conventional. Mitt Romney's management consultant background has promised out-of-the-box approaches, and Paul Ryan's young gun persona is built on fresh ideas. Yet yesterday evening's spectacle of disses and dishonesty came out of the classic Convention playbook: let the VP nominee do the dirty work of ugly insults and unapologetic extremes, and let the presidential candidate ride in on his horse above the fray..

Three moments stand out in the Night of Big Lies that the Republicans staged last night and they came from a trio of the GOP's "nice guys": Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee and Paul Ryan. All three are thought of as positive, smiling faces for their conservative party. All three work to win descriptions such as "likable" and "bland" from the media - because that allows them to deliver the most sinister lines on their party's behalf.

First came Pawlenty, the former Minnesota Governor who couldn't make the VP cut last cycle or this one. His speech played like a stand-up routine, and there was one punchline he couldn't wait to get to. He said that it was alright President Obama had failed in his first term. After all, many "have failed at their first job."

In a throw-back to Sarah Palin, Pawlenty knows he's joking about President Obama's community organizing experience. He ignores Obama's time as a professor. He dismisses his time as an elected official - even though public service has been the main profession of both Pawlenty and the evening's keynote, Paul Ryan.

To Pawlenty, none of them count as jobs. And to a GOP that likes lying about Obama waiving the work requirement of welfare and accusing the Democrats of creating a nation of citizens reliant on handouts, suggesting that Obama was just another unemployed loafer seems to be par for this election year. But don't accuse them of racism.

Then you had Mike Huckabee who accused President Obama of believing "that human life is disposable and expendable at any time in the womb, even beyond the womb." Beyond. The. Womb. I will never get back those minutes of my life spent listening to Huckabee.

Since he's probably not suggesting Obama practices infanticide, one can only wonder what he means. He's not suggesting we should never tolerate civilian casualties during war - after all John McCain and Condoleezza Rice spent their speeches saying we weren't in enough wars. He may alluding to death panels. Or he may just be saying one of the most absurd statements to come out of Tampa.

Finally, Paul Ryan, whose absurdity was less sensational, but just as blatant to anyone who wants to fact-check. He spoke about his hometown in Wisconsin, and blamed President Obama for the GM plant that closed there.

Except the GM plant closed before the Obama Administration began. And by all counts, the Obama Administration's support of the auto industry kept it alive, allowed it to rebuild, and helped prop up jobs numbers that Ohio's Governor Kasich boasts about. It was Mitt Romney who penned the editorial: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.

In many ways, Ryan's lie is the biggest. The others are insults, deranged slurs and baseless accusations. Ryan went after Obama's record, which is what this race should be about. And repeats the biggest lie of the night.

But that's why it's useful to have a circus as your backdrop: the clowns distract the audience while the magician pulls a sleight of hand. So we liberals will fume about Pawlenty, and the media will question Huckabee, and Ryan wriggles off the hook.

Night two of the RNC laid out the GOP plan: blast Obama not just on the truth, but on myths, and not just on his record, but through divisive messaging around race, religion and class in America. Now, the final night is Mitt Romney's turn, his chance to come in as the White Knight and save the day. If the monsters he's unleashed have left anything worth saving.


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Comments [14]


Who can possibly take the place of Joe Biden?

"Big lies," "absurdity" "deranged slurs".
Glass houses anyone?

Aug. 30 2012 07:25 PM

It's time to call a whopper what it is: A LIE.

Aug. 30 2012 03:55 PM
Amos Elroy from Maplewood, NJ

Very good description of the cynical nature of the GOP convention. I put down my own thoughts, titled 'Squinting at the Truth' here:

Aug. 30 2012 12:34 PM
Doctoross from NY

Right on, Tasha! I dearly love the Republican rhetoric about American exceptionalism, and even showing how 'exceptional' we as a nation were to 'ultimately' make slavery illegal, to extend voting rights, and so forth. Just gloss over the American history of cruelty, ignorance, prejudice, and all the rest. Nothing wrong in building out a narrative of how wretched we can and have been, America, and how we can and have, with much struggle, overcome such wretchedness.

Nevermind the ongoing wretchedness of the global capitalist system, our 'embrace' of it, and the banal public discussion we seem to have about it. And I'm no Marxist, believe me!

Aug. 30 2012 11:53 AM
gary0 from clark, nj

c'mon, people! the republican agenda is patently obvious. they're against abortion simply because they're seeing the numbers of the white male dwindle. he has enjoyed wealth and power since the beginning when they built this country on slavery (of the black man) and genocide (of the native man), and are making the last gasp to ensure that they control the money after the numbers invert. poor people don't have abortions, white middle-class career women do. they're setting up an 'apartheid-like' system so that they still have the money and the power after they no longer have the majority, so they lie and connive to get the very people who their policies will decimate to support the process. and remarkably, they DO!!

Aug. 30 2012 11:01 AM

Who in the world is this rude woman Brian is "interviewing" right now?
Evidently, she doesn't know that Brian is allowing her to state/clarify her points?

Aug. 30 2012 10:58 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

What is Obama going to do differently in his next term from what he did in his first?

What mistakes did Obama make?

Obama can't run on his record of failure. Obamas Pie in the sky doesn't cut it. Ask the millions out of work.

Here in his own words...

FLASHBACK: Obama: My Presidency Will Be 'A One-Term Proposition' If Economy Doesn't Turn In 3 Years

Aug. 30 2012 10:47 AM
Peter from fairfield ct

With all this talk from the MittRyan folks about paying 13% and tithing, the question I never hear asked is: 10% and 13% of what? Considering how much of Mitt's (and probably Ryan's) income is nontaxable and/or just plain out of sight, I wonder what is Romney's gross income, what is his Taxable income and what is his actual religious donation. These devils have it in the details!

Aug. 30 2012 10:34 AM

I can't remember which clown mentioned a "bureaucrat getting between a woman and her doctor" (they're all blending together). I already know a third party will be involved, but I sure as hell trust a government bureaucrat over one affiliated with a private insurance company. One serves the public, and the other serves a CEO and shareholders.

Aug. 30 2012 10:25 AM
BR from New York

BTW- when does the media ask Obama what he plans to do with a second term?

Aug. 30 2012 10:12 AM

This article is right on the spot. I get pretty angered at the Republican accusations because it is obvious it is all a circus and anyone who doesn't think so, should recall what they thought about all the spending Bush did after 9/11 and the trillion-dollar loss the CIA said they lost right before 9/11. No-one remembers this. Anyways, I watch their circus to see how they are brainwashing people and it is sickening. I enjoy my church community and these people make me feel that they are only scaring people away from their beliefs. Also, I have had to change the channel to avoid getting my husband more frustrated with their ridiculous claims. I have to admin that The Mentalist is a lot more interesting than anything the Republicans have to say in this campaign.

oh! and Huckabee is such a hypocrite when he says that he doesn't care where Romney goes to church, because his party obvious did when it came to Obama. This double standard is what makes all these clowns just sound crazy. head hurst

Aug. 30 2012 10:09 AM

We shoulda elected Ron Paul

Aug. 30 2012 10:09 AM

I watched last night and the GOP still has not presented the plan on how they are going to turn the economy around.

Aug. 30 2012 10:05 AM
Tasha from Atlanta, GA

Please, please, please don't forget the part where Paul Ryan claimed their (Republicans) rights were given to them by "God and Nature, not the Government."
Rights given by God and nature?
He means being born White and wealthy, right?
But that can't be right because the GOP is all about how they built everything.
Nevermind that my grandparents and great grand parents (who were ALL born here by the way) couldn't vote until the Government told all the rich White guys they could.
Tis man is delusional if he thinks he can wipe away the stuggle of all the people who died so I can stand up and say NOT TODAY PAUL RYAN!

Aug. 30 2012 09:43 AM

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