TAMPA—In his acceptance speech Wednesday night, as he denounced the usual politics of divisiveness, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan repeated a hoary and deceiving tale about a shuttered factory in his home town of Janesville, Wisconsin. He also repeated now standard GOP Medicare half truths.
Ryan talked about an auto plant in his district at which Barack Obama appeared during the 2008 campaign.
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.
As it happened, the plant didn’t last through the end of the Bush presidency—it closed in December, 2008, weeks before President Obama even took office. I know the presidency is powerful but it seems a stretch to blame him for his auto bailout lacking the ability to go back in time to save an autoplant. It’s a disproven deception—but that hasn’t stopped the dishonest Romney campaign.
And speaking of truth, or lack of it, he trotted out the usual attack about Medicare cuts in Obamacare. What he failed to mention was that the Republican budget passed by the House—and authored by one Paul Ryan—kept the exact same cuts.
But as a friend of mine likes to say, why worry about facts when there’s a good story in our midst?