Prologue—The press corps' novel: As it turns out, Paul Ryan is the person the press corps invented in 1999.
At the time, they called him “Al Gore!”
At the time, the mainstream press corps was in Year 7 of a very dumb serial novel. In this amazingly stupid novel, major Democrats were cast as Big Liars (“just like Bill Clinton”).
People who opposed those Democrats were cast as The World’s Most Honest Men. So was any major figure who posed as a “budget hawk.”
The press corps has been typing this novel for the past twenty years. By the rules of their stupid game, Paul Ryan was the world’s most recent Most Honest Man, even though the things he said never made any real sense.
As recently as last year, even “liberals” like Ezra Klein were playing this game of behalf of bold honest truthful Paul Ryan. But in the last week, the truth about Ryan emerged with such force that even the press corps took notice.
For one thing, Ryan told a series of ridiculous whoppers in his convention address. And uh-oh! Just a few days earlier, he had told a ridiculous whopper in a radio interview.
Smart truth-telling honest Paul Ryan spoke with conservative hack Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt asked him about his vast greatness.
Ryan began to expound:
HEWITT (8/22/12): Hey, in high school, what did you do in high school? Were you a speech and debate guy? Were you a bandie? What were you?I was “kind of well-rounded,” Ryan modestly said. But Hewitt wanted more.
RYAN: No, I was student government and athletics, honor society, you know, that kind of thing. I was kind of a combination. I was class president my junior year, I was the school board rep my senior year. I lettered in varsity, you know, my first year in high school, mostly soccer and track. I was a distance runner and a soccer player. So kind of well-rounded.
I can’t—I can play a cowbell. That’s about it for instruments.
“Are you still running?” the gentleman asked. And just like that, The World’s Most Honest Man emitted his latest whopper:
HEWITT (continuing directly): Are you still running?“I just run ten miles or less,” Ryan modestly said. But uh-oh!
RYAN: Yeah, I hurt a disc in my back, so I don’t run marathons anymore. I just run ten miles or less.
HEWITT: But you did run marathons at some point?
RYAN: Yeah, but I can’t do it anymore, because my back is just not that great.
HEWITT: I’ve just gotta ask, what’s your personal best?
RYAN: Under three, high twos. I had a two hours and fifty-something.
HEWITT: Holy smokes! All right, now you go down to Miami University—
RYAN: I was fast when I was younger, yeah.
Hewitt didn’t leave well enough alone. He asked for Ryan’s best marathon time—and Ryan issued his latest whopper, as you can see above.
Modestly saying how fast he once was, Ryan uttered his latest weird misstatement, concerning his very best time.
Absent his history and his status, Ryan’s latest weird misstatement would just be a weird misstatement. But as Paul Krugman notes in this morning’s column, Ryan has been making weird misstatements about budget matters for a very long time.
And not only that! Krugman omits this from his column, but Ryan’s misstatement to Hewitt came just a few days before the series of weird misstatements around which he built his convention address. How strange! The press corps’ latest Most Honest Man keeps making weird misstatements!
In fact, there's nothing new about this peculiar conduct by Ryan. For the past twenty years, the press corps has invented a string of Most Honest Men:
Paul Tsongas, Bill Bradley, Saint John McCain? All were pronounced The Most Honest Man—and all were soon issuing gruesome and weird misstatements.
Colin Powell was The World's Most Honest Man too. After that, he made that peculiar presentation at the UN! (When the time came, the ferocious Maddow knew that she mustn't ask why!)
During these horrible years, the press corps invented a string of The World's Most Honest Men. At the same time, the corps was also inventing a series of The World’s Biggest Liars. In 1999 and 2000, they pretended that Gore was a Big Major Liar. They invented a series of ludicrous statements, then pretended that Gore had made them.
But how odd! As it turns out, Paul Ryan’s the person the press corps invented and gave the name “Al Gore!”
We’ve mentioned one omission from Krugman’s informative column. Presumably for reasons of space, Krugman failed to mention the series of whoppers in Ryan’s convention address.
But Krugman omitted a second point about Ryan’s whoppers. He failed to mention the role the press corps has played in this misadventure—the role his colleagues have played in inventing the myth of Paul Ryan.
In the highlighted passage, Krugman makes a perfectly accurate statement. He also leaves something out:
KRUGMAN (9/3/12): Obviously nobody cares how fast Mr. Ryan can run, and even his strange marathon misstatement wouldn’t be worth talking about in isolation. What makes this incident so striking is, instead, 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.Krugman is right in what he says. Without question, Ryan has “positioned himself as an icon of truth-telling.”
For Mr. Ryan, as you may recall, has positioned himself as an icon of truth-telling and fiscal responsibility, while offering policy proposals that are neither honest nor responsible.
But uh-oh! Perhaps for reasons of space, Krugman fails to say that the mainstream press corps has “positioned” Ryan the very same way! Ryan couldn’t have “positioned himself” without the help of a lapdog press—without the help of liberal strivers like the aforementioned Klein.
Once again, the larger story:
For twenty years, the press has been writing a serial novel—a novel so dumb that Ayn Rand would have liked it.
In their novel, some major pols were Big Major Liars. Others were Most Honest Men.
All the liars have been big Democrats. In 1999, the press corps produced its greatest confection, it string of fake claims about Gore.
Joan and David and Jonathan let them. George Bush went to the White House.
Thirteen years later, the truth has emerged. In reality, Paul Ryan is the person the press corps invented under the name of “Al Gore!”
All week long, we’ll help you relive the history of that serial novel—the novel in which Gore was cast as The World’s Biggest Liar and Ryan was cast as The Most Honest Man. Krugman omitted this theme this morning, and make no mistake: This is a story your liberal heroes will work very hard not to tell.
For twenty years, the liberal world slept in the woods while this stupid novel was written. Career liberals allowed Al Gore to be slandered. Even worse, some of them played leading roles in the war which sent Bush to the White House.
Career liberals also agreed to pretend that John McCain was The Most Honest Man. As recently as last year, careerist climbers were still pimping this theme on behalf of Bold Honest Paul Ryan.
Joan and David played this game; we will recall their story all week. People are dead all over the world because of the game these liberals have played.
This story explains how lyin’ Paul Ryan came to be known as The Most Honest Man. Krugman omitted this story today.
Will this truth ever be told?
Tomorrow: What Fineman said