If stretching and distorting truth paves the way to political victory, then the 2012 Democratic National Convention was a stirring success.
On the last night of the convention, before President Barack Obama hit us with his standard parade of straw men, a resolute Joe Biden stated: ???I???ve got news for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan, it has never, never, ever, been a good bet to bet against the American people.??? And it???s that blend of bromide and falsehood that pretty much sums up the entire spectacle.
Scaring the elderly was the first order of the week. Speaker after speaker claimed that the GOP ticket would throw seniors into the corrupt grinding gears of the private sector by snatching their Medicare. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi alleged that “Republicans will end the Medicare guarantee.??? HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that, ???Instead of the Medicare guarantee, Republicans would give seniors a voucher that limits what is covered, costing seniors as much as $6,400 more a year.???
Technically speaking, none of this is true. That $6,400 figure is derived from dubious study of an older Ryan budget, not the plan Romney has outlined. Moreover, even if we were talking about Ryan???s plan, Americans would still be able to choose to stay on traditional Medicare program. Not a single person, however, would lose their ???Medicare guarantee.???
Obama alleged that Democrats ???will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it???not by turning it over to Wall Street.??? Who exactly is trying to turn Social Security over to Wall Street is still a mystery. Mitt Romney???s plan, sorry to say, doesn???t feature any private component, so Obama must be talking about libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
Another vital element of the DNC???s mission was to take a resilient stand in the make-believe War on Women. There was Sandra Fluke, telling an adoring crowd that the GOP ticket featured a vice presidential candidate ???who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms.??? What is she talking about? More than likely that she was referring to a House bill that would have barred taxpayer funding for abortions via ObamaCare on the grounds that pro-life medical workers deserve religious freedom and ???choice.???
Then there was the president of Planned Parenthood, who along with numerous others, claimed that Republicans wanted to ???to end access to birth control.??? Failing to give someone something for free is not the same as denying them that something???at least not yet??? and consequently the GOP has no bill that ???ends access??? to birth control.
For obvious reasons, on the economy, Democrats needed to get a bit more inventive.
The president claimed that ???independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion.??? Others repeated this number. (No mention of the five trillion he???s amassed so far). Actually, Obama???s plan raises the percent of spending to gross domestic product and uses $800 billion in savings that were already coming from ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, puts it: ???A realistic look at data from the Office of Management and Budget, Congressional Budget Office, House Budget Committee, Senate Budget Committee, and non-partisan budget analysts reveals no support for this claim.???
San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julian Castro, First Lady Michelle Obama, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Biden and the president all cherry picked data to claim that President Obama ???created??? 4.5 million new private sector jobs.??? Some speakers mentioned that this was done only since the favorable date of January 2010, others did not. Now, even if a person were to be generous and concede that government creates productive jobs, he???d still be hard-pressed to avoid the fact that joblessness has risen under the president. In fact, if the labor participation were the same now as when he took office the unemployment rate would be over 11 percent.
???Governor Romney believes that it???s okay to raise taxes on the middle class by $2,000 in order to pay for over a trillion dollars in tax cuts for the very wealthy,??? claimed Joe Biden and many others. Here, Democrats are citing a study conducted by the left-leaning Tax Policy Center and authored by a former Obama aide. The study concocts this number by claiming that a revenue neutral plan can only be achieved by raising taxes on the middle class, even if Romney???s plan does nothing of the sort.
But that???s just Joe, giving ???em hell.
Democrats also regularly attacked Romney for saying that he???d ???Let Detroit Go Bankrupt??????the headline of a New York Times op-ed he penned. Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland (Ohio), Emanuel, UAW President Bob King, and others all brought this line of attack. Unmentioned is that Obama agreed with Romney. He did let General Motors go bankrupt, he just intervened to insure that bailouts would favor unions. If one took the time to read the editorial, they would learn that Romney argues that GM would emerge stronger if it had gone bankrupt in a traditional way.
Then there is the lie about a ???lie.??? Romney, we were told repeatedly told, is ???lying??? when he accuses the president of allowing states to eliminate the work requirement in welfare reform. Bill Clinton called the charge ???a real doozy.???
But the Obama administration did ???waive compliance??? with those work participation standards. It did allow states to ignore the law and create their own work requirements. Robert Rector, who helped craft the work requirement language in the 1996 law, says, the ???law has indeed been gutted.??? A Government Accountability Office report has said that the administration had overstepped its authority and that Congress should rule on the proposal.
On this point, Romney was perhaps a bit hyperbolic, but he did not lie. The same can???t be said for the majority of the DNC speakers.