As I suspected after Paul Ryan’s speech last night, many commentators have not been kind to him. I am not talking about his performance. It was powerful and the speech was well written speech, and although Ryan in the beginning looked a bit like a nervous young kid, he clearly managed to establish a very good contact with convention delegates.
So the Republican base is now not only secure but clearly enthusiastic about Romney’s choice as vice president. Thus, the goal of the speech was accomplished.
But did Ryan manage to reach the broader American voter groups, especially the independents? We do not know yet. Probably not. It was somehow too partisan, the picture of President Obama’s years in the White House somehow too dark, with no nuances.
A few examples: “Mr. Ryan’s misleading speech,” the Washington Post wrote in its main editorial today, while one of the paper’s blogs, The Plum Line, talked about Ryan’s “staggering, staggering lie”.
Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic has a good compilation under the headline “The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever”? And Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine called the speech “Paul Ryan’s Large Lies and One Big Truth”.
Here’s a bit of what they are talking about:
- The GM plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville closed before Obama became president.
- Ryan, just like Obama, wants to cut more than $ 700 billion from the Medicare, but he was silent about this.
- The downgrading of U.S. credit rating was not a result of Obama’s policies but of Republican’s refusal to agree to raising the debt ceiling.
- Obama has not contributed more than anyone else to the increase of the national debt. It is rather the result of the policies that George W. Bush pursued and which Ryan as congressman fully supported: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the two huge tax cuts.
- Ryan’s pledge to support the weak and the poor do not rhyme with his budget proposal, where 62 percent of his cuts affect the low-income earners, including Medicaid.
- Bowles/Simpson Commission: Ryan attacked Obama for not having adopted his own commission’s proposal. But he neglected to say that Ryan himself, as a member of that Commission, refused to sign the proposal because it contained tax increases.
The Democrats have a lot of new ammunition for the remaining days of this election campaign, but Ryan, unlike Sarah Palin, is no fool, so it will be a tough debate! Who will the American voters believe in the end? Mitt Romney has a big task tonight.
Here is Ryan’s speech: