House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) did not approve of President Obama’s final SOTU. What is remarkable is his steadfast refusal to stare facts in the face while claiming President is the one failing to “confront reality.” Ryan’s response is the classic case of a straw man argument: putting words in your opponent’s mouth and then refuting them.
So last night, even though he sat there and was present for every inspiring word out of the president’s mouth, he took the time last night to issue the following statement following President Obama’s final State of the Union and Governor Nikki Haley’s Republican Address to the Nation:
“It was an honor to preside over the State of the Union address, and I’m hopeful this year we can find common ground to make progress for the American people.
“That being said, I can’t say I was disappointed by the president’s speech, but that’s because I wasn’t expecting much. As usual, the president tried to manage people’s perceptions instead of confronting reality: His policies aren’t working. He didn’t have an answer for how to defeat ISIS. If everything were as great as he said it was, two-thirds of the American people wouldn’t say the country is on the wrong track. Success doesn’t need hype; it speaks for itself. I just wish the president had leveled with the people—or at least with himself.
“On the other hand, Governor Haley drew a remarkable contrast with the president tonight. She is one of the most effective leaders in our party. She has turned conservative principles into real solutions in South Carolina. The vision she outlined for our country was inclusive and optimistic, and perhaps most important, it was grounded in reality. This is someone who’s done the tough work of governing. I think that showed in her remarks, and I commend her on a job well done.”
Right, like Haley’s lie that government has kept getting bigger every year even though, as The Washington Post points out, “federal government employment has dropped during the Obama administration” and “at one point in 2014 federal employment reached the lowest level since 1966. There has been a slight uptick since then, but even so as a percentage of total employment, the federal government now has the smallest share since World War II” (emphasis added).
It is truly amazing that Haley does not see the vast new intrusiveness of government under Republicans as they seek entry to every woman’s vagina. I begin to suspect Republicans see vaginas as terrorists. But that’s for another day.
Common ground, Ryan says. Not likely when Republicans base their priorities on circumstances that do not apply – like a shattered economy (fixed), employment rates (going up), the Islamic State (not a threat to our existence), an adherence to trickle-down economics (doesn’t work), austerity measures (unless you’re rich or a corporation), and so forth.
The same policies that crashed the economy in 2008. And they’re still pushing them as the path to success, even though it’s been proven they only take us to hell.
Ryan accuses Obama of “managing people’s perceptions” but that is precisely what the Republican Party has been about for over a decade. The Bush administration changed reality faster than anyone could track it, to fit the needs of the moment, and since Obama took office in 2008 the GOP has been engaged in a concerted effort to forget Bush and blame Obama, to reject every gain we have made under Democratic governance.
Manage perceptions? Ryan’s party invented the term. And it’s funny to hear him tout Fox News propaganda’s success as evidence that the American people aren’t satisfied. What does he expect when they are fed a steady diet of lies all day and all night?
What Ryan ignores are the vast numbers of Americans rejecting the Republican message. Neither Democrats nor Republicans may be very popular right now, but fewer people identify as Republicans than Democrats (26 to 29 percent). What does that say to Ryan’s arguments?
The Republican reality bubble has nothing in common with our shared reality. Of course Obama cannot address Republican problems, because Republican problems are not America’s problems. Don’t blame Obama for that. Don’t blame Democrats that we won’t share your fevered delusions.
It is hardly a surprise that he praises Nikki Haley instead, because Haley did what she was asked to do, and trotted out the same old Republican lies we’ve been hearing since 2009.
Ryan is, at least, honest in saying she “drew a remarkable contrast with the president” last night. She did: Obama’s soaring hope buoyed by facts versus Haley’s hateful, fearful despair weighted down by lies and an invented reality.
That Ryan can call Haley’s rantings “inclusive and optimistic” only goes to show how little respect Ryan has for your intelligence, America.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.