Democrats and the media -- but I repeat myself -- have been up in arms over Paul Ryan's RNC speech last week, angrily accusing the Republican Vice Presidential nominee of "lying." I've already addressed their principal complaints at some length (there's not much there), but one gripe in particular continues to linger. Ryan, they say, wrongly blamed President Obama for the closure of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin because the factory in question shut down under President Bush. These contentions fail on several levels. First and foremost, Ryan didn't attribute the plant's failure to Obama. Here's what he actually said:
His point was not that Obama should be held responsible for the factory shutting down. His statements were entirely accurate in that regard. His critique was of Obama's penchant for hope-filled and unrealistic pandering. Obama's 2008 speech in Janesville was designed to win votes by serving up what sounded like wonderful promises. The plant could be "re-tooled" through the government's help and last 100 more years as a result. Here is video of Obama's remarks at the time:
I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give the assistance you need to retool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another 100 years. So, that’s our priority... I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America, I want it to thrive right here in Janesville, Wisconsin. And that’s the future I will fight for as president of the United States of America.
The Wall Street Journal notes that Obama sowed this explicit hope on another occasion in Janesville:
In October of the same year, when Mr. Obama paid another visit, he promised that "As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America."
Flash forward to 2011, and the decision that government-owned GM made, on Obama's watch:
General Motors Co. has committed to reopen its idled plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., and keep its shuttered assembly plant in Janesville on standby status. The commitment to the former Saturn plant in Tennessee was part of a contract settlement reached late last week between GM and the United Auto Workers union. Since they were shut down in 2009, both the Janesville and Tennessee plants have been on standby status, meaning they were not producing vehicles, but they were not completely shut down.
No re-tooling. Just sitting, despite Obama's lofty assurances. That was Ryan's point. Oh, and the plant actually did close in 2009, not 2008. Yes, the first -- and larger -- round of layoffs happened at the tail end of the Bush administration, but the final coup de grace came during The One's benevolent reign. More video proof:
Since the press is posturing as fearless pursuers of truth in order to "expose" Ryan's "misleading" statements, maybe they'd be interested in this column from Tim Carney. It deconstructs just a small fraction of Obama's partial-and-non-truths, with plenty of evidence to boot. Any takers, MSM "fact-checkers"? Speaking of whom, this satirical piece ripping the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler in The Atlantic is pretty fun.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography