Just last month, Paul Ryan was telling us how proud he was of his mother.
Today, I wonder just how proud she is of her son.
Right before our very eyes, day by day, interview by interview, campaign speech by campaign speech, Paul Ryan’s character is shrinking.
At this rate, what’s left of it on November 6 wouldn’t make a meal for a titmouse.
Look, I know that Paul Ryan had some trouble with the truth before he hooked up with the Olympian Liar Mitt Romney. But it is sort of sad to see Mr. Ryan, eagerly and willingly, offer up what integrity he did possess as a sacrifice for becoming Vice Vulture to a possible Vulture Capitalist-in-Chief.
Take, for yet another instance, what happened to Ryan on CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday. Since he became the VP pick, Ryan, echoing Romney, has been running around the country (not at record pace, though) telling folks that President Obama wants to slash a trillion bucks out of our defense budget. But finally Ryan—who voted for those threatened defense cuts himself— faced a journalist armed with, uh, the facts.
Norah O”Donnell began the subject of defense cuts with this:
O’DONNELL: Let’s talk about some of the cuts that have been agreed to. Mitt Romney said in an interview on NBC that Republicans were wrong to agree to a deal last summer that included automatic cuts to defense spending in exchange for this agreement to raise the debt ceiling. He said it was big mistake by Republicans.
He’s talking about you because you voted for those cuts, correct?
Before I let Ryan answer, lets review. There were 174 House Republicans, including Paul Ryan, who voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was a settlement of the ridiculous fight Republicans started over the debt ceiling. A bipartisan “super committee” was established and charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion in budget cuts or else across-the-board cuts in defense and entitlements, amounting to $1.2 trillion, would begin to happen after the end of this year.
Because Mitt Romney wants to stick those threatened across-the-board defense cuts around President Obama’s neck, he has had to also criticize Republicans for voting for the legislation that would allow the cuts to begin to happen, if there is no agreement before then.
Now, here’s Ryan’s response to O’Donnell’s question:
RYAN: I did, you know why I voted for it? Because I was working to find common ground with Democrats to get a down payment on deficit reduction.
I worked with President Obama to find common ground to get a down payment on deficit reduction. It wasn’t a big down payment but it was a step in the right direction…
Mr. Ryan then tried to deflect by bringing up Bob Woodward’s new book and once more referenced the “devastating defense cuts that are now coming due,” but O’Donnell pressed:
O’DONNELL: Congressman, these defense cuts are part of the Budget Control Act. You voted for the Budget Control Act. In fact I went and looked. You put out a statement at the time it was passed and you called it a victory, and you called it a positive step forward.
So, you voted for defense cuts. And now you’re criticizing the president for those same defense cuts that you voted for and called a victory.
RYAN: No, no, I have to correct you on this, Norah. I voted for a mechanism that says a sequester will occur if we don’t cut $1.2 trillion spending in government. We offered $1.2 trillion in various — the super committee offered it. We passed in the House a bill to prevent those devastating defense cuts by cutting spending elsewhere. The senate’s done nothing. President Obama’s done nothing…
Blah, blah, blah. But Ryan soon gives the game away with this admission:
RYAN: The goal was never that these defense cuts actually occur, the goal is that we get to work and cut spending so that we prevent those defense cuts. We’ve done that. The president hasn’t.
Ah. Finally the truth, or at least yesterday’s version of it, emerges, albeit via journalistic pressure: “The goal was never that these defense cuts actually occur.”
Fortunately, there are folks, sometimes we call them journalists, who pay attention to this stuff, especially when a politician once bragged about the cuts he is now criticizing. From Talking Points Memo:
Despite Ryan’s new attack, he not only voted for the bill containing the cuts, he went out of his way to tout just how difficult it is to undo them.
“What conservatives like me have been fighting for, for years, are statutory caps on spending, legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money,” Ryan told FOX News’s Sean Hannity shortly after the agreement was reached last August. “And if they breach that amount across the board, sequester comes in to cut that spending, and you can’t turn that off without a super-majority vote. We got that in law.”
“We got that in law.” “We” did it. We. You know, we conservatives.
You see, Paul Ryan, speaking to folks these days, hopes they don’t find out that just a year ago he was sitting in Sean Hannity’s lap telling Baby Jesus how wonderful it was that across-the-board defense cuts—”sequester”—represented good conservative governance.
And Ryan, good Catholic boy that he is, hopes his dear mother isn’t watching, as he sows the countryside with lies designed to produce a Romney presidency. Liquidating one’s personal integrity is messy business, the kind most moms wouldn’t be all that proud of.