"We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." ought to go down forever more in the history books as the standard explanation for blatantly lying about your opponent in a political campaign. That quote was attributed to Romney campaign spokesman Neil Newhouse when he was asked by reporters to explain misleading statements and obvious falsehoods uttered by the Romney campaign in recent days.
In other words, "We don't intend to let pesky ol' facts get in the way of our narrative."
In keeping with that promise to obscure and obfuscate, Paul Ryan took to the podium at the GOP convention in Tampa last night, and let loose a string of questionable assertions about President Obama. Obviously, truth in politics is a relative thing, but one would think a candidate would avoid telling out and out lies only moments after pledging a campaign of ethics.
Ryan likes to point to a GM plant in Wisconsin that closed shortly after candidate Barack Obama visited during the 2008 presidential campaign, saying that Obama had promised to keep the plant open if elected. He calls that a broken promise that decimated a town in his home state, and blames Obama for the closure.
Only problem with that narrative is the facts. Those pesky ol' facts... Obama never "promised" to keep the plant open, but (according to a reporter who fact checked the original speech) did suggest that "a government partnership with automakers could keep the plant open."
Oh, and one other pesky ol' fact about that GM plant... It was shut down in December of 2008, before Obama took office. George W. Bush was in the Oval Office at the time. Just sayin'...
Moving on, Ryan then fell back on one of this campaign's more spurious charges, that Obama has moved $716 billion out of Medicare to apply to his Affordable Care Act, as if Obama has taken that money directly from seniors in need. The fact (damn those facts, again!) is that this money was taken from reimbursements to doctors and hospitals, saving the system money, and did not affect one senior's Medicare payments.
Oh yeah, just for the record, Paul Ryan's budget plan calls for the same method of savings.
He blames Obama for letting the Standard and Poor's debt rating for the United States to be downgraded for the first time in history during the debt ceiling fight in the last session of Congress. But he neglects to mention that officials at Standard and Poor's pointed to Tea Party obstinacy on the debt ceiling negotiations as the reason for that downgrade, a Tea Party effort led by none other than (you guessed it) Paul Ryan.
Again, it's inconvenient for Republicans when facts have a well-known liberal bias.
Rep. Ryan wants America to know that President Obama neglected to support a deficit commission's report. Rep. Ryan would just as soon you NOT know that he voted against that same deficit commission when given the opportunity to support it himself.
Your average voter tuning in to watch Paul Ryan speak probably doesn't know the facts behind any of Ryan's points, and my guess is the vast majority of people who bothered to watch the actual speeches at the Republican Convention don't care what the facts are. Most viewers found something else to watch last night, and those that did tune in for the convention are probably already in the tank for the GOP, regardless of what was said, or not said, from the podium.
But when the facts are this easy to discern, shouldn't someone be held accountable for statements that mislead or are blatant lies?
Nah... That would mean letting the campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.
And you know you can't trust those pesky ol' facts. Not when you're operating in a reality free universe, like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.