Rice got the best pre-Ryan reception, definitely, but these nights are rigged for the veep speeches. The lights dim a little. The floor gets packed—so packed that reporters were told to stay away, lest we violate fire codes, starting at 10:20 pm.
So I was in the cheap seats, not on carpet, when Ryan plowed through one of the more impressive strings of whoppers we've seen at this level. Ryan's been doling out chunks of this speech for weeks, which made the fibs sound even stranger.
In the spirit of the Internet, I will package them in listicle form.
- The GM plant in Janesville. Ryan mentioned it in a pretty effective section on the Obama-induced pangs of his hometown. But as Matthew DeLuca explained two weeks ago, GM announced the closure during the Bush presidency. Ryan hustled to save it. He voted for the GM bailout, in another attempt to save it. You can call that proof of government's failure, sure, but Obama didn't force it on the city.
- "The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst." That's extraordinarily hard to argue, and Ryan's office lobbied effectively for some stimulus grants that went to his district.
- "$716 billion, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama." Not really true, either. The Medicare spending "cuts" are of the sort that Ryan defended when he was rising through the House—reductions in future reimbursement rates.
- "A downgraded America." S&P's rationale for downgrading the United States from AAA to AA+ "assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place." This was "because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues." Ryan's promised to keep those tax cuts for now, then try and flatten the code into two low rates, and we don't know what the S&P Tiki Gods think of that.
- The "bipartisan debt commission" Ryan referred to was Simpson-Bowles. He served on it, and voted against the report, because it didn't tackle Medicare costs—which sort of brings us back to the "$716 billion funneling" issue.
Heck, this is the part where I should offer some balance. Well: Ryan delivered these lines perfectly, with just the right decibel shifts. And "a ship trying to sail on yesterday's wind" is a keeper.