A Note on Voters’ Values

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI01), promoting his budget agenda.

“It takes a truly talented individual to pack in this many falsehoods into a single paragraph.”

Steve Benen

The thing about Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI01) is that this sort of thing keeps happening. And while it certainly provides some sense of sport for commentators like Steve Benen of msnbc, there is only so much genuine laughter we might muster; the consequences of such dishonesty (ahem!) “innocent, forgetful mistakes” can be severe.

“Give us time to do immigration reform”? Well, Republicans have controlled the House for four years, during which time they haven’t even held so much as a hearing on a piece of legislation. More to the point, the Senate passed a popular, bipartisan immigration bill 512 days ago, and soon after, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised the lower chamber would act on the issue. The Republican leader then broke his word and killed the reform effort.

In other words, Obama gave Republican lawmakers “time to do immigration reform,” and the GOP did nothing. Does Ryan not remember this?

“He had two years with a super-majority of his own party”? Actually, no, Democrats had a super majority in the Senate for four months, not two years. It’s a big difference.

And it goes on.

In truth, Mr. Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice-presidential nominee, seems to be a walking example of something axiomatic: There is a difference between acknowledging human frailty and calculating how to exploit it.

In the end, it comes down to a Congressman who either has a really bad memory and a staff so incompetent that they cannot advise him of accurate facts, or he’s just another Republican swindler.

Then again, what reason does he have to change? What would be the incentive to either exercise his brain in order to hopefully improve his memory? Or, perhaps more realistically, what incentive has Rep. Paul Ryan to stop lying?

After all, these are the values of voters in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District, where voters just honored him with re-election by a margin of over twenty-six points.


Benen, Steve. “Paul Ryan’s poor memory fails him again”. msnbc. 21 November 2014.

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