The Lying Game! Shh, Don’t Tell The Secret…
Last night watching Paul Ryan speak, I really thought I had sat on the remote and mistakenly changed the channel to Lifetime or Oxygen Network. I thought I was watching one of those made for TV movies starring Valerie Berternelli or Tiffany Amber Thiessen. The movie with the single mom with the heart of gold who meets the handsome and successful widower and gets swept off her feet, only to find out the guy is a complete lying sociopath who may or may not have killed his former wife. Okay, I admit I’ve seen one or two of these things while other satellite cable channels were knocked off during storms. Really!
In Campaign 2012, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan may be the most skillful presidential tag team in history at ignoring and twisting the truth while maintaining a straight face. Both of these men are gifted at cutting through the hazy world of political half-truths with the clarity of strategic lying. Indeed, they lie with a confidence that may be a special right of the well-connected rich who are beyond accountability, and their wannabe supplicants.
Take for example, Romney’s response to President Barack Obama’s comment a few weeks ago at a community college in Elyria, Ohio. The President noted that he wasn’t from a rich family and needed help from others to get the education that allowed him to make his way in the world.
At Lorain County Community College, Obama said: “Somebody gave me an education. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle [Obama] wasn’t. But somebody gave us a chance. Just like these folks up here are looking for a chance.”
Obama made no mention of Mitt Romney or his father, George Romney, who was a successful auto executive before going into politics. But some TV commentators suggested that the “silver spoon” remark created a contrast between Obama and the well-to-do Mitt Romney, who then responded to Obama’s comment on Fox News show, “Fox & Friends.”
“I’m not going to apologize for my dad’s success,” Romney said, looking coolly into the camera. “But I know the president likes to attack fellow Americans. He’s always looking for a scapegoat, particularly those that have been successful like my dad.”
Romney added, “This is not a time for us to be attacking people, we should be attacking problems. And if I am president, I will stop the attack on fellow Americans. I’ll stop the attack on people and start attacking the problems that have been looming over this country.”
In those few sentences, Romney displayed a depth of dishonesty that I have rarely seen among politicians at the local, state and national levels. Not only did Romney invent Obama’s attack on George Romney, but extrapolated that non-existent assault into a pattern of behavior and suggested that Obama was some monstrous alien who “likes to attack fellow Americans.”
Last evening Romney’s “Padawan” Paul Ryan gave his GOP Vice President nomination acceptance speech.
Speaking with a smile and detached demeanor, Paul Ryan went on to tell a blatant lie almost every 45 seconds.
Below are just a few the reactions by media outlets to Congressman Ryans speech:
The Associated Press claimed Paul Ryan took “factual shortcuts” throughout his speech. A Slate writer opted to use the word “fibs” to describe Ryan’s inaccurate claims about the president. CNN used “Ryan misleads” to describe our next potential VP’s summation of the bipartisan debt commission and the overall failure for the Simpson-Bowles plan to be implemented. A New Republic headline about Ryan’s big debut is “The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever?” Even FOX News writer and contributor Sally Kohn described the speech as “dazzling, deceiving, and distracting.”
The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Bernstein has been the frankest, though:
But really, the proper response to a speech like this isn’t to carefully analyze the logic, or to find instances of hypocrisy; it’s to call the speaker out for telling flat-out lies to the American people. Paul Ryan has had what I’ve long thought was an undeserved good reputation among many in the press and in Washington. It shouldn’t survive tonight’s speech.
So what are these folks saying about Paul Ryan? Paul Ryan is a liar. Albeit a good and innocent looking family man who loves his mother, he’s still a liar. A politician lying isn’t especially shocking, but this team may be the most brazen in history.
‘Everybody Does It’
Yes, I know the response, the cynical view that all politicians lie, “hasn’t your boy Obama lied” I’ve been asked? Some people even suggest that it’s a good idea to have someone who’s at least good at it. But it’s not true that all politicians lie, including the President, at least not in this thorough and calculating a manner.
You might even get some grudging respect, as Romney did from Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, for being a persuasive liar.
“Among the attributes I most envy in a public man (or woman) is the ability to lie,” Cohen wrote. “If that ability is coupled with no sense of humor, you have the sort of man who can be a successful football coach, a CEO or, when you come right down to it, a presidential candidate. Such a man is Mitt Romney.” Paul Ryan is even scarier because he has a sense of humor to go along with sociopathic ability to lie.