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Monday, September 03, 2012

Paul Krugman: Rosie Ruiz Republicans

This election is about more than just different visions of society:

Rosie Ruiz Republicans, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Remember Rosie Ruiz? In 1980 she was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon — except it turned out that she hadn’t actually run most of the race, that she sneaked onto the course around a mile from the end. Ever since, she has symbolized a particular kind of fraud, in which people claim credit for achieving things they have not, in fact, achieved.
And these days Paul Ryan is the Rosie Ruiz of American politics.
This would have been an apt comparison even before the curious story of Mr. Ryan’s own marathon came to light. ... Mr. Ryan ... boasted ... that he had once run a marathon in less than three hours. ... It eventually transpired that ... his time was actually more than four hours. ...
Mr. Ryan tried to laugh the whole thing off as a simple error. But ... the difference between sub-three and over-four is ... not something a runner could get wrong, unless he’s a fabulist who imagines his own reality. ...
What makes this incident so striking is ... the way it resonates with the essential Rosie-Ruizness of Mr. Ryan’s whole political persona, which is built around big boasts about accomplishments he hasn’t accomplished.
For Mr. Ryan ... has positioned himself as an icon of truth-telling and fiscal responsibility, while offering policy proposals that are neither honest nor responsible. ... Mr. Ryan basically told the budget office to assume that his plan would slash the deficit, then claimed the resulting report as vindication of his deficit-slashing claims. Sorry, but that’s the policy equivalent of sneaking into a marathon near the finish line, then claiming victory.
Still, Mitt Romney, not Mr. Ryan, is the presidential candidate... So how does Romney/Ryan differ from Ryan alone? It’s worse. ... Realistically, the Romney plan would explode the deficit, not reduce it. Yet Mr. Romney boasts about his fiscal responsibility... Yep, he’s another Rosie Ruiz Republican.
So what is this election about? To be sure, it’s about different visions of society — about Medicare versus Vouchercare, about preserving the safety net versus destroying it. But it’s also a test of how far politicians can bend the truth. This is surely the first time one of our major parties has run a campaign so completely fraudulent, making claims so at odds with the reality of its policy proposals. But if the Romney/Ryan ticket wins, it won’t be the last.

    Posted by on Monday, September 3, 2012 at 12:33 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (83)


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