Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan delighted people at the Republican convention. His direct attack against President Obama was spiked with half-truths.
Anyone who liked Sarah Palin four years ago will just love her successor: Paul Ryan used his first appearance as Mitt Romney's running mate to make an open attack on President Barack Obama.
In a Wednesday evening speech in Tampa that was spiked with half-truths and several outright lies, Ryan blamed all of America's economic woes directly on the president — from the towering deficit to the real estate meltdown to the unemployment rate to the downgrade of the nation's credit worthiness and finally to the closure of an automobile factory in his own hometown.
The predominantly gray-haired audience greeted Romney's running mate — a Wisconsin congressman selected two weeks earlier — with thunderous applause. The 42-year-old Ryan introduced his family — wife, three children and his mom — and made a few jokes about the generation gap between himself and Romney
He described himself saying, “I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself.” He added that, “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.” He reiterated that he believed in “free people, in the power of free enterprise.”
Ryan also promised, “We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead.” He gave a preview of how the nation would flourish if the Romney/Ryan ticket were elected in November: Massive cutbacks in social services and education, radical cutbacks in taxes for the wealthy and privatization of Social Security and health care service currently funded with public monies.
But instead of offering details of his future plans, Ryan tried to conceal his own responsibility as the leading figure for congressional budget policy which is largely the cause of the current difficulties. As the budget clock ticked ominously on the wall above him, Ryan claimed Obama had failed to propose a budget or solve the fiscal problems.
The Republican Obstructionist Strategy
In saying that, Ryan cunningly failed to acknowledge the psychodrama played out in Washington just a year previously when the Republican majority in the House blocked every attempt at deficit reduction, including the recommendations of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission.
Ryan also claimed Democrats had taken billions of dollars out of Medicare, adding that his own plan would privatize Medicare replacing it with a voucher system, thus preserving it in the future while ending it for those under age 55 today. He reached his most egregious extreme when he blamed the closure of an automobile factory in his home state on Obama when, in fact, it was closed during the George W. Bush administration.
One of Ryan's central themes, repeated over and over and later also used by ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was the concept of “reluctance to lead.” In the segment of her speech dealing with foreign policy, Rice warned that a reluctance to lead on America's part would inevitably result in international chaos or the seizure of power by those with dangerous agendas.
Rice was the highest ranking representative of the previous Republican administration allowed to speak at the convention in Tampa. Previous President George W. Bush had to watch the convention from a distance.