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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Paul Ryan’s bucking for a ‘Most Dishonest Politician in DC’ award, but the media’s covering for him

Paul Ryan

Steve Benen:

talked to Bloomberg TV this morning, and reporter Peter Cook raised the prospect of some kind of compromise with Democrats, in light of Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-Wash.) Senate Democratic budget. Take a look at Ryan’s response:

“Well, I would say to the Patty Murray school of thought to the President Obama school of thought, they’ve got their tax increases. They got $1.6 trillion in tax increases that are just now starting to hit the economy. But we have yet to get the spending cuts.”

Now, right off the bat, it’s important to note that Democrats didn’t get $1.6 trillion in tax increases. Earlier this year, they got about $600 billion in new revenue — Ryan is only off by $1,000,000,000,000 — which Republicans on the House Budget Committee found so offensive, they included the money in their own budget plan. Maybe Ryan forgot about this?

But even if put that aside, there’s the matter of Ryan believe Republicans haven’t already successfully received spending cuts. The problem, of course, is that Ryan seems to have forgotten 2011, when Democrats accepted nearly $1.5 trillion in spending cuts, with no accompanying revenue, as part of the GOP’s debt-ceiling hostage strategy.

Benen goes on to point out that Ryan actually bragged about the cuts he and Republicans had wrangled out of Obama with their typical GOP hostage-taking tactics. And then Benen has clearly had enough. The floodgates open:

t’s not just today, either. Ryan keeps reinforcing suspicions that his memory is alarmingly bad.

Ryan doesn’t remember that he used to refer to his own plan to end Medicare as “vouchers.”

Ryan doesn’t remember taking credit for the sequestration policy he later condemned.

Ryan doesn’t remember learning about Democratic alternatives to the sequester.

Ryan doesn’t remember what happened with the 2011 “super committee.”

Ryan doesn’t remember Bill Clinton’s tax increases.

Ryan doesn’t remember the times he condemned social-insurance programs as “taker” programs.

Ryan doesn’t remember all of the times he appealed to the Obama administration for stimulus funds for his congressional district.

Ryan doesn’t remember his marathon times.

Ryan doesn’t remember how much he was inspired by Ayn Rand.

Ryan doesn’t remember his own speeches.

Of course, the “Ryan doesn’t remember” refrain is a rhetorical pretense to make a point. Ryan remembers perfectly well. He’s just a shameless liar. I guess that’s why Mitt Romney thought he’d be a great fit on his ticket.

What’s more frustrating than Ryan’s selective retrograde amnesia is the media’s. Every time a Republican contradicts themselves, the media acts like they’d just fallen out of the sky that very day, without any past. Ryan lies so blatantly and easily because he knows he’ll never be called on it. Without a cowardly media too afraid to confront liars about their lying (because that would be some sort of “bias”), there wouldn’t even be a Paul Ryan budget to speak of — he’d have been voted out of office under the scandalous cloud of being a serial liar.

And it’s not like this stuff isn’t important. Ryan’s budget is the Republican Party platform right now. Yet the only way he can sell it is by lying about everything. You don’t have to build something up like this unless it really, really sucks — which means that even Republicans know that their plan is awful. If even the GOP has no faith in their ideas, why are we treating them seriously?

The media has a responsibility to the truth, not to phony, made-up concepts of “balance” or the avoidance of bias. If Paul Ryan is lying over and over and over, that;s just a fact. And it needs to be reported on. The First Amendment’s press freedoms only work if you actually use them.

[photo via Gage Skidmore]

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