Sometimes it would just be better for some people if they just chose to keep their mouths shut. Such a person is Sally Kohn, a lesbian leftist and “contributor” to Fox News. Sally is no stranger to these pages, we have chatted about Mustang Sally here.
So, given her pedigree as a thirtysomething product of government schools in the later 80’s and mid 90’s (the heady days of the Clinton Administration), a graduate of elite universities with degrees in “soft” science and the wonders of government intrusion (public administration) and a purveyor of an alternative lifestyle approved (some would say “promoted”) by the “progressive” social behavioral arbiters, it is clear that she ticks every box as a “progressive” authority on conservatism…and it is also a sure fire guarantee that she gets everything about conservative beliefs exactly wrong.
She takes it upon herself to “fact check” Paul Ryan’s speech and to no one’s surprise, finds it just chocked full of lies:
The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.
So let’s look at what Sally thinks are lies:
Fact: While Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama, the credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.
Well, actually – no. Standard and Poors was very specific that the reason for the downgrade was due to the amount of debt versus GDP, not that the debt limit was too low, and the inability of the politicans in government to reduce spending. There is nothing in the actual report about the downgrade that says that it is because we wouldn’t raise the debt limit. From the actual report:
- The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.
- More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.
- Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government’s debt dynamics any time soon.
- The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.
Fact: While Ryan blamed President Obama for the shut down of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush. Ryan actually asked for federal spending to save the plant, while Romney has criticized the auto industry bailout that President Obama ultimately enacted to prevent other plants from closing.
Ryan did not accuse Obama of closing the plant – he spoke directly about Obama’s promise that under his policies the plant would “be here for another hundred years.” The Janesville plant closed in June of 2009, which while using a new tool called a calendar; I found that June 2009 occurred during the Obama administration – counter to Kohn’s claims. Here are Ryan’s words:
President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.
A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you. This plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.
Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.
Fact: Though Ryan insisted that President Obama wants to give all the credit for private sector success to government, that isn’t what the president said. Period.
THe left has been trying to walk this one back for Obama because they know two things – 1) it represents his true view and 2) Americans violently disagree with it. In point of fact, Republicans aren’t saying that is what Obama said, that’s the same rhetorical trick that liberals use to say that Republicans don’t want any government when we say that we want smaller government. What Republicans are saying is that Obama implied was that Government is the primary reason for private sector success and without government; no one can work hard enough to succeed. Here are his exact words from the Roanoke speech:
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
There is no reading of these words or the entirety of the speech that indicated that Obama doesn’t believe that government is responsible for America’s success. Period.
But back to Sally:
Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates (which, incidentally, save Medicare recipients out-of-pocket costs, too) and Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan.
The “savings” that Kohn references are actually just across the board cuts in reimbursement to doctors. The left-leaning PolitiFact rates Ryan’s statement (also issued by Romney) as “half-true”, not because it is half false but because they didn’t think that the Republicans explained it enough:
The CBO determined in 2011 that the federal health care law would reduce Medicare outlays by $507 billion between 2012 and 2021. Ina more recent estimate released this year, the CBO looked at the years 2013 to 2022 and determined the health care law affected Medicare outlays by $716 billion.
So it’s timing that’s making the cuts bigger, not changes to Medicare.
Romney also send that the spending reduction ” takes that money out of the Medicare trust fund and uses it to pay for Obamacare.”
Romney has a point here, but it’s not about money being moved from one account to another. Let us explain. Romney said, “Under the president’s plan, he cuts Medicare by $716 billion, takes that money out of the Medicare trust fund and uses it to pay for Obamacare.” This wording isn’t as troublesome as other statements we’ve seen on this topic, including from Romney himself.
Elections should be about competing based on your record in the past and your vision for the future, not competing to see who can get away with the most lies and distortions without voters noticing or bother to care. Both parties should hold themselves to that standard.
I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps Sally should follow her own advice.