Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Republican Denialism: Paul Ryan Edition

Joining the ranks of Republicans who appear delusional about election losses is vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan. In an interview with WISC-TV, Ryan offers his thoughts on the reason for his loss. As quoted in The Hill:
GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) on Monday said he was “surprised” by the outcome of the election, but did not believe his defeat signaled the electorate’s rejection of his budget plans.
“I think the surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race,” said Ryan to local station WISC-TV in his first post-election interview. “When we watched Virginia and Ohio coming in, and those ones coming in as tight as they were, and looking like we were going to lose them, that's when it became clear we weren't going to win.”
Ryan, though, said that the election was not a referendum on his budget proposals and ideas on reforming entitlement programs.“I don’t think we lost it on those budget issues, especially on Medicare — we clearly didn’t lose it on those issues,” he said.
First, Ryan should not have been "surprised" at his loss. Though it was a fairly close election, all the polling data clearly indicated that Obama would at least win in the electoral college which would be sufficient for re-election. What would have been surprising would be if that polling data was wrong.

In addition to this factual error, there is an inconsistency in Ryan's claim that he didn't lose "on those budget issues." As Think Progress has noted, over the course of this election, Ryan explicitly argued that his candidacy was a larger referendum on budget priorities. Here is a short list of Ryan quotes to this effect (emphasis added):
– “The president, I’m told, is talking about Medicare today… We want this debate. We need this debate. And we will win this debate.” [8/16/2012]
– “We have a big choice to make. We’re not just picking the next president for a few years. We are picking the pathway for America for a generation.” [8/27/2012]
– “We’re entering what we call the debate and choice phase of this campaign. And we’re going to give the people of this country the right and opportunity to choose a different path.” [10/01/2012]
So, prior to losing the election, Ryan held up the election as a referendum on budget priorities and Republican policies. Having lost the election, he now claims exactly the opposite. This is a clear inconsistency, and is more evidence of right-wing delusions about the election. One can be sure that had Romney/Ryan won (even if the victory were tighter than Obama's), Ryan would be claiming a mandate for his policies.

h/t to Atrios

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