The I-Am-Rubber-You-Are-Glue Defense

In response to Democratic attacks on the Paul Ryan Medicare plan, Republicans launch what can only be referred to as an “I-Am-Rubber-You-Are-Glue” defense.

Steve Benen lifts his jaw up off the floor and lays out the facts:

Reality is actually quite simple. Republicans argue that Medicare savings are necessary for the health of the program, and Obama found such savings, without touching Medicare benefits, and while strengthening the financial health of the system. The savings are so sensible, they’re part of Paul Ryan’s Republican budget plan — which Romney has endorsed.

Think about that for a second. Romney’s truly pathetic attack ad goes after Obama for a policy that Republicans, including Romney’s own running mate, have adopted. [emphasis mine]

But wait, there’s more!  We touched on the welfare lie last week, but since then Romney has doubled down, releasing a second spot:

Benen breaks it down:

Step One: Mitt Romney lies in an attack ad, falsely claiming that President Obama “gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.”

Step Two: Romney watches fact-checkers go berserk, condemning the ad for being demonstrably false.

Step Three: Romney expresses amazement that President Obama “keeps on running” ads, even after “the various fact-checkers” deem the spots “inaccurate.”

Step Four: Romney launches a new attack ad accusing Obama of “quietly ending work requirements” in the welfare law — an accusation that has no connection to this plane of reality.

The Romney campaign is building its entire message around a blatant, shameless lie — and then it’s attacking Obama for being sleazy and lacking in character.  This is genuinely twisted.

What else would you expect from a candidate who stands for and believes in nothing except his own personal aggrandizement?  Maybe that sounds extreme, but take a moment to consider the question Why does Mitt Romney want to be president?   If you can identify a set of political values and beliefs or a vision for America that has consistently guided Mitt Romney throughout his political career, I’m all ears.  But as far as I can tell there’s only one thing that guides the man: avarice.  And it makes for an ugly campaign.

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Irony

Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan is basically Obamacare for seniors with a strong public option.

Meet Sad Paul Ryan

Jonathan Chait on the political calculus behind the Ryan pick — Paul Ryan Helps Romney Reclaim His Political Virginity:

It’s an attempt to claim for the Romney campaign the political high ground. Romney is now running on a meta message about himself: We are serious, substantive, and good; they are frivolous, dishonest, and mean. […]

How can Romney, whose campaign spent months relentlessly smearing Republican and Democratic foe alike and spitting derision at the naïveté of anybody who objected, reclaim his political virginity? By bathing in Ryan’s soft glow.

One underrated aspect of the new GOP veep nominee’s political arsenal is a recurring persona of his that you might call Sad Paul Ryan. Sad Paul Ryan is less an ideological crusader and more like a wide-eyed boy who has come to Washington full of hope only to have his youthful dreams crushed by nastiness and name-calling. […]

So emotionally vulnerable is Sad Paul Ryan that even a statistical recitation of the effects of his plan will nearly reduce him to tears. He is capable of complaining that Obama will “affix views to your opponent that they do not have so you can demonize them” — two sentences after accusing Obama of advocating “socialized medicine.” […]

Romney’s advisers are now proclaiming, “We are betting that a substantive campaign, conducted on the high ground, and focused primarily on jobs and the economy, will trump a campaign that is designed to appeal to our worst instincts,” and the candidate himself is delivering lines such as “Mr. President, take your campaign out of the gutter and let’s talk about issues.” (Talking About the Issues is Ryan’s thing, unless talking about the Issues means discussing any specific element contained within his plan, in which case he would rather talk about bowhunting or catfish noodling.) 

Romney and Ryan inaugurated their new high-road campaign with the charge that Obama “robbed” $700 billion from Medicare, declining to mention that their own plans keep the same cuts in place.

Some thoughts of my own on the difficulty Ryan’s likability poses for Democrats are forthcoming.

The Ryan Budget: A Roundup

Lot’s of good stuff out there on the Ryan budget plan.  Here’s some recommended reading (links first, quotations after the jump):

A Good Choice, Put Please Not A Serious One and The Brave and Serious Mr. Ryan — James Fallows

Ludicrous and Cruel — Paul Krugman

What’s Right and Wrong in the Ryan Plan — David Frum

Romney Doubles Down on Economic Radicalism — Greg Sargent

Paul Ryan’s Budget to Nowhere — Matt Miller

Mitt Romney will name Paul Ryan as his VP. Here’s what that means. — Ezra Klein

Statement on Chairman Ryan’s Budget Plan — Ron Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Read more of this post

A Campaign of Lies

Another day, another brazen lie from the Romney campaign.  The latest:

Ouch.  Devastating, right?  Not quite.  It’s a lie — and a big one.

Steve Benen dubs it “as dishonest an ad as you’ll ever see — in 2012 or in any other campaign cycle”:

First, a little background. Some Republican governors this year asked the Obama administration for some new flexibility on welfare standards — the governors had some ideas about moving folks from welfare to work and needed the White House to sign off. Obama agreed — existing work requirements would stay in place, but states, if they want to, can take advantage of new flexibility when it comes to experimenting with existing law.

This is the sort of shifting-power-to-the-states policy that Republicans are supposed to love. As of this morning, however, it’s the basis for a new Mitt Romney attack ad. […]

Romney’s lying. He’s not spinning the truth to his advantage; he’s not hiding in a gray area between fact and fiction; he’s just lying. The law hasn’t been “gutted”; the work requirement hasn’t been “dropped.” Stations that air this ad are disseminating an obvious, demonstrable lie.

All Obama did is agree to Republican governors’ request for flexibility. That’s it. Indeed, perhaps the most jaw-dropping aspect of this is that Romney himself, during his one gubernatorial term, asked for the same kind of flexibility on welfare law that Obama agreed to last month. Romney, in other words, is attacking the president for doing what Romney asked the executive branch to do in 2005. [emphasis mine]

If the lies were working, it might make sense for the Romney team to keep coming up with new ones.  But the thing is they’re not.  At all.  Joe Klein scratches his head:

How incompetent is the Romney campaign? They keep coming up with these stupid gambits–the last was the lie that Obama opposed early voting for members of the military in Ohio–that are shot down instantaneously (everywhere but in Fox-Rush land). And worse, the Democrats–who seem to have a superior oppo team–can often produce counter-stories, like the [story revealing Romney asked for a waiver himself while governor of MA], that make things even worse for Romney.

Then points out the obvious — it’s insulting to voters:

But there is a larger question here: How stupid does he think we are? Every day brings a mind-boggling act of untruth-telling. Last week, he told Sean Hannity that his economic plan “is very similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan.” Except for the fact that Simpson-Bowles raised $2 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years and Romney’s plan raises…well, he won’t say, but so far he hasn’t identified one red cent. I can’t remember a candidate so brazenly allergic to facts. What a travesty.

Benen hits it on the head — this kind of lying isn’t the kind of thing you do when you have a compelling case to make to voters:

[I]f Obama were as awful a president as Romney claims, the Republican attack machine wouldn’t have to make stuff up — the truth would be so brutal that voters would recoil and flock to the GOP candidate naturally. What does it say about Romney’s strength as a candidate that he has to make up garbage and hope voters don’t know the difference?

You’re Doing It Wrong

Two observations:

1) Everyone loves Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

2) Everyone hates PDA.

So if you’re trying to drum up public support for a cause, maybe you should think twice before, say, I dunno, tying your success to the demonization of Chick-fil-A, a company most people associate with good food and friendly service, and making your point by staging “kiss-ins” all over the country.

As a supporter of marriage equality, it’s been a frustrating week.

This is not how you change people’s minds.

Leadership

From Politico:

Obama will not push for new gun control measures

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One on Sunday that the Obama administration has no plans to push new gun control measures in the wake of the deadly shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater

Carney said that includes a reauthorization of the Clinton-era assault-weapon ban that lapsed during the George W. Bush administration.