“Lyin’ Ryan” Accuses IRS Commissioner of . . . Lying.
Well, it’s been a rather surreal week what with every neocon zombie rising from the crypt to dance on the graves of the hundreds of thousands whose lives they destroyed playing their chickenhawk war games. And the media rushing to capture their every demented word on the matter as if it had anything to do with reality. Or truth. Or integrity.
The whole business seemed to blindside a fair number of Americans who registered a collective STFU you squirrelly nutjobs—we got rid of you for a reason.
I think the most galling thing about this hallucinatory political theater is that most sane, average Americans expect that when people in high places are exposed as liars, traitors, cheats and troublemakers they will somehow have the good grace to shuffle away from the limelight and lead lives of quiet desperation, grateful that their fellow citizens have not punished them as severely as they deserve.
But, as we learned this week, some people are simply not “wired” like the rest of us. They don’t play by the same rules and they are obviously not burdened by conscience. Mental health experts might diagnose such people as victims of antisocial personality disorders.
A few of the characteristics of antisocial personality disorder are:
Superficial charm and good intelligence
Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
Untruthfulness and insincerity
Lack of remorse and shame
Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience
Pathological egocentricity and incapacity for love
We all know a few—these people blend. They are not disturbed enough to commit but they are certainly disturbed enough to wreak havoc in the lives of those they touch.
And while the neocon nutters of the chickenhawk squadron were scoring most of the headlines this week, it wouldn’t be fair to let Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) display go completely unnoticed.
Mr Ryan was busy doing grunt work in the Not-Quite-Vice-Presidential venue of a House Ways and Means Committee investigation aimed at keeping the GOP’s “IRS-Gate Scandal” on life support so they can beat that dead horse one more time around the track in November.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was “uncooperative” in that he was failing to provide Mr Ryan with a “smoking gun” over some IRS internal emails that have gone missing. Republicans apparently believe that the emails in question contain damning evidence that will make President Obama go up in a puff of smoke and clear the way for Republicans to win elections again.
Since it was late, on a fair-weather Friday, and Mr Ryan was probably longing to be back in Janesville climbing mountains, running marathons or topping squirrels with arrows, or some such—he lost it.
And none other than Lyin’ Ryan, Post-Truth crusader, a man proven to be “profoundly dishonest in ways large and small” accused Commissioner Koskinen of lying to Congress . . . under oath.
Koskinen did not take that well, at all . . .
“I have a long career,” said Koskinen, who came out of retirement to run the agency in the wake of a scandal over possible IRS targeting of conservative groups. “That’s the first time anyone’s said: ‘I don’t believe you.’”
Ryan responded “I don’t believe you.”
Another member of the committee, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MASS) said:
For him [Koskinen] to take the oath and then have people suggest to him, ‘We don’t believe you,’ that is not the way this committee has functioned in the past, and it ought not to be the way we function going forward.
I tend to agree with him but, frankly, I have little hope that this Congress, with its utter lack of professionalism and the approval rating to go with it, has the will or the moral fiber to do anything but go further downhill.
Now I’m sure I don’t need to go into a lot of detail about the utter and abject irony of this situation. Google “Paul Ryan Lies” and you’ll have access to 17,000,000 or so hits.
The man lies about everything—from his marathon time to the state of the economy. When Mitt Romney asked Ryan to be his running mate, Ryan managed to turn what should have been a perfunctory acceptance speech into one of American politics’ all-time lows. Sally Kohn of Fox News, for Pete’s sake, had no choice but to characterize Ryan’s speech as:
. . . an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.
That was a “friendly” analysis. Headlines around the country echoed that sentiment. Fact-checkers were working overtime. Ryan’s reaction? What? Me worry?
So. Has the man learned a lesson? Not judging by his recent lies . . . there’s the now-famous apocryphal “lunch bag story.” Oh and there’s this year’s reinvention—Paul Ryan: Poverty Warrior—complete with a 204-page report, The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later, documented with hundreds of citations of academic work on that subject.
Many of the cited experts “had reactions ranging from bemusement to anger at Ryan’s report, claiming that he either misunderstood or misrepresented their research.”
It boggles the mind that a man with such a lengthy and well-documented history of blatant lies, both large and small, would actually have the brass to level a completely unsubstantiated accusation of lying at a man under oath with television cameras rolling.
But, in the end, it is sort of irrelevant whether Paul Ryan, Dick Cheney, George Bush or any number of politicians have “learned a lesson” or ever will from being caught in lying to the public. What is far more important is have the American people “learned a lesson” about vetting their representatives properly or reacting appropriately to their representatives dishonesty or lack of integrity?
When Paul Ryan delivered his famous Pack of Lies Speech in 2012 what was the fallout? Was his career damaged? was he disgraced or held to account by his party or his running mate? was he censured by his colleagues? was he called up to answer ethics charges?
After all, as James Fallows asked:
I wonder how he convinced himself it was OK to say things he knew were provably wrong in front of tens of millions of people.
I’d say that it’s not much of a leap . . . if lying will get you want you want with minimal repercussions and maximum returns, why not?