In the Arena

Facts Are Stupid — or Maybe Stubborn — Things

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It seems Paul Ryan has run into fact-checker hell after his fantastical convention speech on Wednesday night. I suspect that if Republicans have found a holy grail in President Obama’s “You didn’t build it” trope, then Democrats are finding similar succor in Mitt Romney pollster Neil Newhouse’s pronouncement that the campaign “will not let the fact checkers get in the way.”

The question is, How much can you actually get away with? Are you not telling the truth, or merely misleading the public, if you say the President walked away from his deficit-reduction commission — when you served on that commission and walked away from it? This applies to all the other neo-whoppers — the closed General Motors plant, the Medicare cuts that Ryan supported, the work requirement for welfare — that the Congressman attempted to retail on Wednesday.

Certainly, politics allows some hyperbole. But Romney and Ryan seem intent on crashing through previous borderlines. My guess is that the fact checkers will be on high alert when Romney takes the stage on Thursday night.