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The Historically Incorrect Smear of Paul Ryan

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Recently announced Vice Presidential pick Paul Ryan is being called a radical by the left for his fiscal policies. But no one would expect that anyone would imply that the Roman Catholic family man would be a Black Panther. Yet, the
New York Times ran the headline "Paul Ryan, Black Panther?" on the day after the announcement was made. This was in a series called “Historically Corrected.”

(So when will the New York Times allow me to blog in a series titled “Why You Should Read George Orwell and Other Novelists”?)

This of course was false advertising, for anyone reading it could see that the three (three!) authors were stretching to make a connection between what Paul Ryan's father had often told him and a possible membership in the Black Panthers.

These three authors took a phrase that has over the decades become part of our everyday parlance--"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem"--traced its use back to Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, and speculated that Ryan had made the "Republicans' big tent a little bigger." Is it a joke, or do they really want to imply that the Republican Party welcomes the Black Panthers who did more than serve breakfast to poor children, like rape and murder, including their own members?

And the three authors are not the proverbial Tea Partiers sitting around in their pajamas blogging about various conspiracies--as the left so often characterizes conservative bloggers.

No, these three individuals are professors at Washington College, where they are affiliated with the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

The regularly featured New York Times blog post, "Historically Corrected," under which this post ran, is a project of the Center's faculty and students. These three authors of the 680-word blog post were assisted by two student researchers.

The eminent scholars are:

The Center Director, Adam Goodheart, a Civil War historian, who blogs regularly for the New York Times "Opinionator" series, as well as for such publications as the Atlantic and American Scholar.

Peter Manseau, Scholar in Residence, also a lecturer in English, who is working on his doctorate in religious studies. Most of his writing is in fiction and memoir. His scholarship seems to veer toward the creative and religous--and not to "historical correction."

Ted Widmer is described as "former presidential speechwriter" and founding director of the Center. What is not stated in the byline is that Widmer was a speechwriter for Bill Clinton. I did not need a student assistant to soon find that Widmer is an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for American Progress. CAP, of course, is heavily funded by billionaire George Soros who was convicted for insider trading and who bankrolled Barack Obama's election. According to the website, Widmer "designed the prototype for the American Studies Institute, a collaborative project with the State Department that brings young Muslims to the United States for summer programs." We are told that his research "concentrates on U.S. history particularly presidential history, the colonial period, and the 19th and the 20th centuries." He is also "doing scholarly work on how U.S. history shapes electoral politics." Methinks it might be the other way around, especially given this latest account of Black Panther history.

We can expect smearing and innuendo during campaign season. We can expect it from the liberal media. We know about the campaign of personal attack begun in 1964 when it was honed so well by Daniel Schorr and Bill Moyers who went on to fame and fortune at the government media outlet NPR. But when supposed scholars engage in the smearing of a candidate through a stretch that would not meet the standards of the supermarket tabloid and under the pretense of correcting history that is a new low. These three scholars, instead, are acting like members of the Ministry of Truth, er, I mean Obama's "Truth Team."

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