How ‘Government’ Became A Dirty Word

How ‘Government’ Became A Dirty Word

by NPR Staff; September 1, 2012

 President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Reagan, in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., in January 1981. In his speech after being sworn in, Reagan called government "the problem."

Enlarge APPresident Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Reagan, in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., in January 1981. In his speech after being sworn in, Reagan called government “the problem.”

The message at the GOP convention this week was clear: Government is too big, too expensive, and it can’t fix our economic problems.

“The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government. And we choose to limit government,” said Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

There’s nothing new about the message. Anti-big government sentiment is practically part of the American DNA, and it has deep roots in the Republican Party. Continue reading “How ‘Government’ Became A Dirty Word”

The Upside-Down World of Paul Ryan

The Upside-Down World of Paul Ryan

Last night, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, accepted the nomination with a speech that took place in a world of his own making. The breathtaking dishonesty of Ryan’s speech seems to have shocked a lot of journalists and observers.

A lot of outlets talked around the “L” word. The Associated Press fact-check used the term “factual shortcuts” and said Ryan “strayed from reality,” while USA Today came closer by saying Ryan’s speech “contained several false claims and misleading statements.” But let’s say it outright: Paul Ryan lied. He lied, deliberately, about a lot of things.

It’s especially galling because Rep. Ryan has acquired an undeserved reputation in Washington as a “serious” guy, a courageous teller of bold truths. One hopes that the straight-shooting Paul Ryan myth will fade away after last night. We’ll see. Continue reading “The Upside-Down World of Paul Ryan”

RNC Speech: Romney Can’t Avoid Poor Record for Working Families

08/30/2012; Jackie Tortora

Tonight Mitt Romney tried to reinvent himself, appealing to Americans’ aspirations and hunger to come together while trying to show his personal side. But his policy proposals or record do not reflect the kind of America where working families get a fair shake. Whether it’s proposing to cut back severely on Medicaid, forcing seniors on fixed incomes to pay more out of pocket for their health care or cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans, the Romney-Ryan budget doubles down on the failed economic policies that brought on the economic crisis in the first place.

He touted his business experience, despite his business record as an outsourcer. He called out divisiveness, despite proposals that would provide bigger income disparities and ignored Republican obstructionism for the past two years.  Continue reading “RNC Speech: Romney Can’t Avoid Poor Record for Working Families”

Not in Romney speech: Afghanistan, Social Security

Not in Romney speech: Afghanistan, Social Security

LAURIE KELLMAN | August 31, 2012 08:49 AM EST |

WASHINGTON — Social Security. Medicare. Iraq. Afghanistan. Illegal immigration.

They’re all costly to taxpayers and the next president presumably will have to address them to one degree or another. Yet GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney made no mention of those issues Thursday in his wide-ranging acceptance speech that closed the Republican National Convention.

The address was Romney’s most sweeping attempt yet to outline the case for his candidacy. It was no time to get into the nitty-gritty of federal budgeting and solutions to the nation’s ills. But Romney did find ways to talk about an array of other issues, some of them sensitive for him personally and politically.

Romney did, for example, pledge to “protect the sanctity of life,” a reference to abortion, even though there are clear differences on the issue between him and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He referred to his family as Mormons, a rarity for a candidate who typically refers to his religion as “my faith.” And Romney even showed emotion, which he seldom does in public, when he spoke of longing to wake up again with a pile of children in the bedroom he shares with wife Ann. Continue reading “Not in Romney speech: Afghanistan, Social Security”

Facts Take a Beating in Acceptance Speeches

New York Times

Facts Take a Beating in Acceptance Speeches

By Published: August 31, 2012

Representative Paul D. Ryan used his convention speech on Wednesday to fault President Obama for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he himself had helped kill. He chided Democrats for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that he too had sought. And he lamented the nation’s credit rating — which was downgraded after a debt-ceiling standoff that he and other House Republicans helped instigate.

Enlarge This Image
Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Barack Obama touring the G.M. plant in Janesville, Wis., in 2008.

And Mitt Romney, in his acceptance speech on Thursday night, asserted that President Obama’s policies had “not helped create jobs” and that Mr. Obama had gone on an “apology tour” for America. He also warned that the president’s Medicare cuts would “hurt today’s seniors,” claims that have already been labeled false or misleading.

The two speeches — peppered with statements that were incorrect or incomplete — seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign, one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside.

In recent weeks, the Romney campaign has broadcast television advertisements leveling the widely debunked assertion that Mr. Obama had gutted the work requirements for welfare recipients. The Obama campaign, for its part, ran a deceptive ad saying that Mitt Romney had “backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in case of rape and incest,” although he currently supports exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. Continue reading “Facts Take a Beating in Acceptance Speeches”