Everybody Does It: That seems to be the new Beltway line, now that the shock over the lie-fest in Tampa has died down... sure, Ryan and Romney told a few whoppers, but isn’t that just how politics is?
It’s not hard to understand why this is happening. For one thing, there’s the views-differ-on-shape-of-planet ethos that has imbued political journalism for many years now. On top of that, a lot of people in DC have major reputational capital at stake. After all the puff pieces on Paul Ryan, after all the op-eds praising his truthfulness and responsibility, after not one, not two, but three Pete Peterson-backed deficit-hawk organizations gave Ryan an award for fiscal responsibility, admitting that he’s actually a big low-body-fat liar would be extremely painful.
But the excuses just aren’t true. Read Dylan Matthews on the amazing string of false or misleading statements in Ryan’s speech; look at how Mitt Romney flipped from government spending is good to government spending is bad in just a few sentences. Can you find stuff like that in previous conventions, and in particular on the Democratic side? I don’t think so.
Yes, Bill Clinton and John Edwards lied about sex. Shame on them, but what does that have to do with policy?
This is something new in American politics, and everyone trying to deny that fact is in effect an enabler.