Romney flip-flops and Ryan lies an unlikely road to the White House

After their performances at the Republican National Convention drew criticism for Mitt Romney’s refusal to take a position and hold to it, and Paul Ryan’s propensity for distorting the facts, both men are in the news again for the same failures.

Romney had distinguished himself as a master of the flip-flop even before his nomination speech added more confusion as to what, if anything, he actually believes. Even some of his supporters are beginning to wonder about his suitability to lead.

In a recent editorial, the conservative British journal, The Economist, wrote, “Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done. Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected.”

That “fawning PR man” was in evidence again last weekend as Romney performed a flip-flopping tour de force by changing positions four times on a single issue — health care — within 24 hours.

After months of vowing to repeal Obamacare immediately after he is sworn in as president, Romney announced to NBC’s “Meet the Press” host, David Gregory: “There are a number of things about Obamacare I like.”

He said he would “make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage,” and that children could remain on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26.

Then came the flip-flops. As summarized by the liberal website, The Daily Kos, there was a ... clarification’ from his campaign ... then there was a clarification of the clarification back to the original statement, then another reversal and then finally, what may be the actual position Romney has settled on.”

The initial “clarification” by a Romney staffer claimed Romney had not changed his position on Obamacare.

“In a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He (Romney) was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features,” the staffer said.

A further amendment of the Romney campaign position said Romney would preserve protection from being dropped by an insurance company for a prior condition, and allow children to remain on their parents’ policy until age 26.

“But no matter what Romney is trying to make you think about his position on repealing Obamacare,” Daily Kos contributor Joan McCarter wrote, “there’s one reality: his actual, written plan will leave millions without coverage.”

Meantime, Paul Ryan, whose nomination acceptance speech was one of the most fact-challenged on record, is once again defending his own veracity. And losing badly.

Ryan maintains he did not vote in favor of cuts to defense spending that he did, in fact, support.

He was confronted by “Face the Nation” host Norah O’Donnell, who asked Ryan why he had voted for sequestration, including automatic cuts to defense spending, if a bipartisan plan to reduce the federal deficit is not reached by Jan 2, 2013.

Not only did Ryan vote for the sequestration bill, including the military budget cuts, he even bragged about it to Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“Why don’t you give us your take on it?” Hannity asked Ryan in August 2011. “You voted for it. Why do you think this is good for the American people?”

“Because we are cutting spending,” Ryan replied, as he launched into an explanation of how the bill would cut between $2.1 to $2.4 trillion from federal budgets.

“The budget cut out of defense in the first fiscal year will be $9 billion from what we call the security accounts.” Ryan told Hannity. “That’s not just defense. That’s all security. The Homeland Security, National Security. And then $2 trillion to $4 trillion the next year.”

Despite these easily verifiable facts, Ryan insists he did not vote for the defense budget cuts.

When confronted with this inconsistency by O’Donnell, Ryan replied, “No, no, I have to correct you on this, Norah.”

Ryan then unconvincingly tried to explain that his vote in favor of the Budget Control Act, which included the defense budget cuts, was not a vote for the cuts.

As O’Donnnell confronted him with the reality of his vote to cut the defense budget as part of the sequestration deal, Ryan insisted to the end, “Norah, you’re mistaken.”

What is unmistakable, as the polls show Obama maintaining a small lead over Romney, is that Romney is unlikely to flip-flop, or Ryan to lie, his way into the White House.

Bill Grant lives in Grand Junction. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Recent and ongoing events in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen have made Bill Grant’s Tuesday column (“Romney flip-flops and Ryan lies an unlikely road to the White House”) all the more timely – demonstrating again that the world is a dangerous place demanding wise and experienced U.S. leadership, not a “cowboy foreign policy” and jingoistic rhetoric.

While Senator Obama initially lacked foreign policy experience, he sat on the Foreign Relations Committee for 3+ years, focusing on dismantling nuclear weapons and securing fissible materials from around the world, and traveled extensively with then-Chairman, former Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), with whom he drafted security-enhancing legislation signed by President Bush.

Candidate Obama publicly espoused a multi-lateral and cooperative approach to foreign policy that resonated both here and abroad.  President Obama then inherited two wars, responsibly ended one, and has waged an unyielding assault on Al Qaeda.

Therefore, Paul Ryan’s insipidly juvenile claim—that he “has more foreign policy experience” than President Obama had four years ago—merely mimics Sarah Palin’s similarly bogus claims in 2008, and is both demonstrably false and contemporaneously irrelevant, because President Obama clearly has more actual foreign policy and practical military experience now than Romney-Ryan have combined and/or could ever hope for. 

Romney would increase defense spending to 4% of GDP, while Ryan’s “budget” (which Romney also embraced) would reduce all discretionary spending (including for defense) to 3½ % of GDP, leaving nothing for any domestic programs (like food stamps, etc.)—prompting former President Clinton to mock Romney-Ryan’s dubious “arithmetic”.

Bipartisan experts insist that defense spending could be cut by $100 billion annually without compromising national security.  “Sequestration” would cut only $60 billion annually, which Ryan voted for but now disingenuously dissembles that he didn’t. 

True patriots shouldn’t want draft-dodging, tax-avoiding, duplicitous amateurs at the helm—again.

                Bill Hugenberg

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