Paul Ryan

More Liberal Concern Trolling on Paul Ryan: He Questioned the Integrity of Military Leaders!

He didn't cut military spending, but he questioned whether the Pentagon needed as much as it said it did. That's controversial?


latest two minute hate target

Obama apologists are looking for anything they can to throw at Congressman Paul Ryan, selected by Mitt Romney this weekend to be his running mate, and Steve Benen at Rachel Maddow's blog has found something new:

The incident has been largely forgotten, but in the spring, Ryan, in his capacity as chairman of the House Budget Committee, insisted that he — and not America's military leadership—should be trusted when it comes to defense spending levels that keep Americans safe. Ryan went on to say, without proof, that he suspected Pentagon leaders may have been deliberately misleading Congress.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not at all pleased with the right-wing congressman. "There's a difference between having someone say they don't believe what you said versus … calling us, collectively, liars," Dempsey said at the time about Ryan. (The lawmaker later said he "misspoke." A closer inspection shows otherwise.)

Paul Ryan's famed budget was not serious about cuts to military spending and he questioned the military brass' sincerity as a way to increase military spending by more than the president had requested. As economist Veronique de Rugy noted in a review of Paul Ryan's budget proposal earlier this year:

It reneges on sequestration-induced reductions in military spending (it finds the "savings" elsewhere). I think a serious plan would put everything on the table. More importantly, this will guaranty that no one in their right mind will ever agree to make a deal with Republicans since they will turn around and try to change the terms of the contract they don't like. If they didn't want defense cuts, they shouldn't have made them part of the debt ceiling deal.

an anti-war romney

Paul Ryan may have been channeling a little bit of his own inner George Romney in questioning the sincerity of what military leaders told Congress. In the late 60s, before the full folly of the Vietnam War was widely known, questioning the intentions of military leader was actually a candidacy-ending "gaffe." The story, from the Minnesota Post:

[T]he other thing we usually hear about Romney's political demise is that he was ruined politically because he had confessed to being "brainwashed" in Vietnam. Romney's "brainwashed" statement ranks pretty high in the list of famous political gaffes, so much so that you might not know that Romney's statement made perfect sense and that he was obviously using "brainwashed" as a perfectly reasonable metaphor…

Romney had said in 1965, after a visit to Vietnam, that the U.S. involvement there was "morally right and necessary and had probably reversed a shift in the balance of power greater than If Hitler had conquered Europe." Pretty strong stuff and an example of the kind of idiocy that got us so deeply into that war…

In 1967, as he prepared to challenge President Lyndon Johnson, Romney took a completely different position that U.S. involvement in Vietnam had been a mistake from the beginning. In a TV interview with a Detroit station, he was confronted with the previous statement and basically accused of a flip-flop. (Plus ca change.)

Romney replied: "When I came back from Viet Nam, I'd just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get." He added that after the trip, he made a deeper study of the history of the conflict and concluded that it had been a "tragic" blunder to get U.S. troops into an Asian land war and that in fact it hadn't been necessary to send U.S. soldiers to prevent a Chinese takeover of Southeast Asia.

Now there's a lesson for Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Barack Obama and even Joe Biden: study history and question what you're told by those with staked interests.

Less than five years ago, liberal partisans at labeled the current Democratic president's CIA director "General Betray Us." Back then David Petraeus was in charge of the Republican president's Iraq war, and the sincerity of his testimony on the progress of that war was questioned. He was even accused of "cooking the books." Since then, he's become President Obama's top man in Afghanistan before being appointed director of the CIA.

Today, a Republican vice presidential candidate who made no cuts to military spending is being attacked for daring to state the obvious, that military leaders may embellish the facts to guarantee bigger and bigger budgets for themselves.

Principles? So long as your party wins!

NEXT: Texas A&M Shooter Nabbed

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others-after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism? ? Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others’ shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour-you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy.

    1. I haven’t read Mongoliad. Is it any good?

      1. Haven’t read it either. Still slogging the through that one thousand page chase scene in REAMDE.

  2. I bet Ryan was the one who fed the General Betrayus line!

  3. You mean, Paul Ryan said that the military was subject to civilian authority, and that authority includes their budget!

    Quelle horreur!

    1. Ryan, in his capacity as chairman of the House Budget Committee, insisted that he — and not America’s military leadership — should be trusted when it comes to defense spending levels that keep Americans safe.

      Maddow’s blog writer thinks it should be the military.

  4. Ryan went on to say, without proof, that he suspected Pentagon leaders may have been deliberately misleading Congress.

    If “Pentagon leaders” includes Leon Panetta, I think Ryan’s on pretty solid ground.

  5. I remember in 2008 that there were many prominent Libertarians and independents who rightly accused McCain of being just as useless and business-as-usual as his opponent. Many of these folks argues that letting Obama win would bring about the type of catastrophic financial governing situation that would force people to reject the status quo and vote to return again to the libertarian principles enshrined in our constitution. One could argue that the GOP tea party rebellion in 2010 was a glimpse of what was to come.

    But here we are again with Team Pretty Fucking Bad Vs. Team Maybe Not So Quite As Bad, and I’m not sure why anyone thinks this is any different from last time. I agree that another four years of President Not My Fault will end any hopes of salvaging the thousands of dollars I’ve involuntarily surrendered to Soc Sec and Medicare through my taxes, thus the Romney ticket would be a viable alternative. But they seem terrible from a civil rights standpoint. Again, Obama isn’t any better.

    So is the argument I’m better off voting for Gary because at least at shows SOMEONE is voting for him?

    Just trying to understand the argument here.

    1. Well, consider where voting for Republicrats has gotten you, which is to this pile of feces.

      There are other reasons to throw away your vote involving things like ballot and debate access.

    2. The argument is: “Vote for who you want to be President”

      If you want Romney to be President, then that is what your vote expresses. To be clear, what your vote does not express is “not Obama”. That’s not on option on the ballot.

    3. Several reasons to vote LP over the “lesser of two evils” even disregarding any personal support for GJ (and I do actually think he’s the best candidate):

      1.) Ballot Access – Third parties spend most of their limited funds on ballot access because the major parties have gamed the system to make this very difficult in many states. This alone was the reason I voted for Barr in 2008, and this alone would justify a vote for Gary, even if he isn’t ideal to you. If you think the duopoly is bad, joining it or staying home doesn’t is conceding their control.

      2.) People that don’t vote for third parties because they supposedly can’t win are the reason third parties can’t win. If all the people who were libertarian voted LP (say 10% of the population), the LP would certainly get media attention, get into debates and may have a chance to make a real case.

      3.) Being a perceived spoiler also gets media attention. A candidate that makes up the difference between Big Party A’s vote and Big Party B’s vote leads the media to label them a spoiler, although this is ludicrous logic. That gives a third party even marginal legitimacy in the eyes of people who otherwise wouldn’t care less.

      1. 4.) All of the above are important for one realistic political goal. The LP or whatever third party we’re talking about needs to grow enough support and attract enough media attention to win enough House seats to prevent both major parties from having a majority without their support. Then the third party becomes the kingmaker and controls the game. That alone should be the goal for a third party in a duopolistic system.

        The presidential campaign is a third party’s biggest PR campaign and can shape or change the perceptions in the media and public about the party, leading to this outcome.

        1. At one time the Libertarian Party billed itself as “The Largest Third Party” largely because there was a greater emphasis on winning local elections and, indeed, there were thousands of LP members elected across the country.

          All of the effort seems to be for the White House (go Gary!) but the LP needs to get back to its roots if it wants to survive.

          And it needs ballot access to allow these lower-level people to get into play.

          … Hobbit

  6. He added that after the trip, he made a deeper study of the history of the conflict and concluded that it had been a “tragic” blunder to get U.S. troops into an Asian land war

    Tragic blunder? I thought it was a classic blunder?

    1. I’m sorry, Inigo. I didn’t mean to jog him so hard.

  7. Oh noes! He wasn’t sufficiently polite to a military leader! Somebody call the military’s Self-Esteem-Preservation-Unit immediately!

  8. Damn Ed, you read Rachel Maddow’s blog? I can only the imagine the horror.

  9. Even if I were to accept John’s premise that our only choice is between the two major parties and were to vote purely on the basis of my top issue (spending), the HitUndRunpublicans would have trouble convincing me that their foreign interventionism fetish and military-industrial complex extravagance will cost less money than the marginal difference in spending rates between Obama’s entitlement budget and Ryan’s.

    I hate Obama’s foreign policy, but I can only imagine if McCain was president, we’d probably be involved in a full-fledged war with Syria right now, considering his comments on how shameful and disgraceful the Obama administration has been for not sending our troops into harm’s way for yet another country that isn’t a threat to us.

    1. Military spending can’t hold a candle to the entitlement crisis.

      1. But is Romney serious about doing something that would significantly reduce entitlement spending?

      2. I don’t disagree that the entitlement crisis is a much bigger deal. The question is whether the difference between the GOP and Democrat plans on entitlements is bigger than the cost difference between the GOP and Democrat plans of foreign policy. The GOP is not cutting entitlements or solving the crisis. They are slowing the rate of spending increase, just like the Democrats are on foreign policy.

    2. I disagree. The wars we’ve had/been having under Obama might be replaced with other wars, but I’m not sure we’d be in more full-fledged wars. That’s because the Republicans who scream about Obama being too passive only do so because THAT’S WHAT THEY DO. They say Democrats are weak militarily, just like Democrats claim Republicans are too bloodthirsty. In reality, they’re pretty much the same when it comes to declaring war. If McCain were president, the same shit would be going on, and people like Obama would cry out about how bad and evil and warlike the Republicans are.

  10. Seems to me that everyone should question the integrity of all government officials, all the time. God, these people are desperate for anything to beat their opponents with, aren’t they. You would think that there would be enough real stuff to criticize them for.

  11. This line of attack is pretty hilarious given that the one item in the budget that Dems have said they’re willing to cut is defense. Please find me the four-star that will testify before congress that his branch’s budget should be cut. Doesn’t this mean that all of the Dems are traitors?

  12. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not at all pleased with the right-wing congressman. “There’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus … calling us, collectively, liars,” Dempsey said at the time about Ryan.

    Because the Pentagon has never, ever, ever lied to Congress.

    1. Yeah. I kind of am disappointing that the article didn’t go into the details.

      Did the military lie to Ryan?

      1. Not sure, but Dempsey did engage in some pretty egregious whining before the Senate about sequestration:

        Sequestration is absolutely certain to upend this balance. It would lead to further end-strength reductions, the potential cancellation of major weapons systems and the disruption of global operations,” Dempsey said. “We can’t yet say precisely how bad the damage would be, but it is clear that sequestration would risk hollowing out our force and reducing its military options available to the nation. We would go from being unquestionably powerful everywhere to being less visible globally and presenting less of an overmatch to our adversaries, and that would translate into a different deterrent calculus, and potentially, therefore, increase the likelihood of conflict.”


      2. cont’d

        Of course, if Heritage is to be believed, Steve Benen is manipulating Dempsey’s quote to provoke a “let’s you and him fight” situation.

        “First of all, I think there’s a difference between being – having someone say they don’t believe what you say versus – (inaudible) – calling us collectively, liars. Stated another way, I mean, my impression is that the chairman has indicated that he hasn’t been persuaded that this process was strategy-driven.”


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.