Political Animal


September 01, 2012 7:48 AM There goes Lyin’ Ryan (Rosie Ruiz edition)

By Kathleen Geier

The latest controversy involving Rep. Paul “Lyin’” Ryan concerns whether, in a recent interview, willfully misrepresented the time it took him to run a marathon, some 20-odd years ago. He claims it was under three hours, but apparently it was actually over four. While I do believe he’s probably deliberately lying here, rather than innocently “misremembering” (runners tell me they remember their marathon times like other people remember their SAT scores), normally I think it would be way too petty to make a big deal out of it.

However, given that: 1) for some time now, Ryan has had a reputation for playing fast and loose with the truth, a reputation that notably enhanced by his convention address, a speech that was unusually mendacious even by the standards of the contemporary G.O.P.; and 2) during the 2000 election, the Republicans, and (especially) their enablers in the mainstream media, hung Al Gore for far less (see here, for example), I think going after Paul Ryan for this is totally fair game.

Yes, it’s trivial BS. And no, I don’t by any means believe that this should be the focal point of attacks on Paul Ryan — the fact that he and his party are such ruthless champions of the immiseration of working people should be the main focus of said attacks, always.

That said, ridicule is a powerful weapon, and one which progressives should not shy away from (though sadly, some of the more misguidedly high-minded ones among us do). Besides, if you think I’m going to pass up the opportunity to crack snarky Rosie Ruiz jokes at Ryan’s expense, you are so, so wrong. Clearly!

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee


  • Nancy Cadet on September 01, 2012 10:07 AM:

    Welcome back, Kathleen. Re: the Lyin Ryan. The Onion online has several hilarious, credible stories up. I never thought I'd be living in a Philp K Dick/George Orwell world, after GW Bush and his crew left the stage, but here we are!

  • PattyP on September 01, 2012 10:12 AM:

    I don't remember my SAT scores, just that they were good enough to get me into college. I'm not sure if it means anything but now I'm concerned. But at least I don't lie about them, which is a good thing. ;-)

  • c u n d gulag on September 01, 2012 10:12 AM:

    Jayzoos H. Keerist in Air Jordans,
    FINISHING a maraton is enough an accomplishment - let alone doing that in around 4 hours!
    But is that good enough for Herr Ryan?


    The blue-eyed sociopathic "Der Vunder Junge" had to knock over an hour off of his real time.

    Four hours, you see, is a good average time.

    But Ubermenschen aren't, by definition, "average."
    Zey are VELL ABOVE ZA average.

    And of course Herr Ryan couldn't say he'd actually WON a marathon!
    That is usually done nowsdays by dusky folks from the 'Darkie' Continent.

    I swear, if this lying sociopath told me the sun was going to rise in the East, I'd sit outside overnight with a compass and a thermos full of coffee until at least an hour after it rose. Just to be sure.

  • SadOldVet on September 01, 2012 10:18 AM:

    Found no marathon records earlier than 2000.

    Paul Ryan finished the 2000 Philadelphia marathon in 3:13...

    Paul Ryan finished the 2001 Philadelphia marathon in 3:14...

    Paul Ryan finished the 2002 Chicago marathon in 3:25...

    It is not out of the realm of possibilities that Paul Ryan posted a sub 3 hour marathon earlier. Of course, this Paul Ryan is from Mount Laurel, NJ.

  • stormskies on September 01, 2012 10:22 AM:

    The saddest thing about all these pathological lies of his, and the corporate automaton Romney, not to mention the entire Repiglican party, are the millions of our fellow citizens who make a conscious choice to believe in all those lies despite knowing the actual truth.

    And given that even much of the corporate media has pointed out all those lies, given the overwhelming nature of them they ended having no choice, all those fucking loons did in fact become exposed to the actual truth.

    And yet they march on with their stupid signs, slogans, and red and white balloons swirly around them as the froth of those lies spittle from their stupid mouths.

    And it's these group of our fellow citizens that may end up deciding the election ? If true, our country is done for some time to come.

    Fucking a .........

  • mudwall jackson on September 01, 2012 10:25 AM:

    "That is usually done nowsdays by dusky folks from the 'Darkie' Continent."

    actually long distance running is dominated by 'dusky folks' from the east side of the 'Darkie Continent.' ethiopians and dare i say kenyans in particular.

  • RepublicanPointOfView on September 01, 2012 10:25 AM:

    What bullsh!t...

    You forget the rules for politicians. Democrat politicians can be accused of lying if they say they took a deep breath. Republican politicians cannot be accused of lying unless you have proof that has been upheld in a court of law. And then Tweety Matthews would tell you that you still cannot call a republican politician a liar because you cannot read his mind to know that he knowingly lied.

  • SYSPROG on September 01, 2012 10:35 AM:

    BS. Ryan is a LIAR. Not 'misrepresenting'. Not 'confused' He is a LIAR and it is provable. Instead of the old canard 'Are you better off than you were...' the NEW one should be 'If they lie about the 'little' stuff what makes you think they won't lie about the BIG stuff?' Oh wait. They DO.

  • Lifelong Dem on September 01, 2012 10:44 AM:

    I met Bill Rogers once. He won four NYC marathons and four Boston Marathons. When he signed my book on the history of the Boston Marathon, he wrote his time for each one that he had won. I checked later, and he was accurate to the second.

    Yeah, runners remember their times, and they especially remember 'milestone' times like sub-3 hour marathons. Ryan is incapable of telling the truth about anything.

  • Daryl McCullough on September 01, 2012 10:56 AM:

    The odd thing is how popular Ryan is with the conservative Republican base. And if you ask what's so great about him, many of them will say: "Because he tells the truth".

    People said exactly the same thing about Sarah Palin. To the liberals, she was a serial liar and ignoramus, but to many conservatives (before they realized that she was making a laughingstock of them) she was a truth-teller.

    It's because for conservatives, being a truth-teller means saying the right things, regardless of whether they are true or not. It's true if its what their gut feelings tell them is true, and gut feelings count more than facts.

    Stephen Colbert nailed it when he coined the word "truthiness". Truthiness is better than the truth, for conservatives.

  • Amuzing Syde Notez on September 01, 2012 11:20 AM:

    So this guy fudges numbers and is in charge of developing a plan for the federal budget? That is as logical as Michelle Bachmann on the intelligence committee.

    Could this be part of the reason why the American people have no confidence in their government?

  • Hedda Peraz on September 01, 2012 11:22 AM:

    I once HAD the runs, for over three days. . .

  • Vince on September 01, 2012 11:22 AM:

    You make an excellent point, Kathleen. Yet & still, I cannot quite make the mental image of Mr. Ryan concurring with Ms. Ruiz's choice of public transportation, even if victory and glory were on the line. A limo perhaps? Were we talking about triathlon competition, I could certainly imagine Mr. Ryan surreptitiously completing the swim portion on the back of an aged sea-turtle, leaving the creature with naught by coupons for Johnson & Johnson products to care for its injuries once he makes landfall.

    But, then again this is a guy from Janesville. So, I suppose a regular old Chevy would do just fine.

  • Ronald on September 01, 2012 11:30 AM:


    So Ryan has now admitted he never ran that sub-3 marathon.

    The issue, of course, is that if he'll lie about something as inconsequential as a marathon, what else will he lie about? like...everything?

  • Renai on September 01, 2012 11:47 AM:

    I lie, I retract. Trust me with your government.

  • Mimikatz on September 01, 2012 11:51 AM:

    Paul Ryan is not just a liar, he is a piker. Just Google Kip Litton, or better yet Kip Litton New Yorker to see how it is really done.

  • DJ on September 01, 2012 11:56 AM:

    This should now be the standard cheap-laugh theme of the Democratic Convention. Making fun of Clint Eastwood would get very old, and cruel, very fast. Calling Paul Ryan a liar will have long-lasting benefits.

  • schtick on September 01, 2012 12:23 PM:

    I'm kinda ticked at Clint. I like him and thought he would be worth watching at the convention. He sucked. I still like him though.
    Now, Ryan and Romney, they always suck and I still don't like them.
    Then there's Annie Willard Romney. She does so well, she should be running for prez. She at least has a personality.

    crapcha....municipal OneFun....sure, just one.

  • smintheus on September 01, 2012 12:25 PM:

    Hand-wringing because a Republican candidate has been caught in a blatant and personally embarrassing lie? Seriously? How could it possibly be that tokens of a candidate's character even conceivably should be treated as out of bounds?

    Anyway, this episode also reflects badly on Romney. Ryan is more than just slippery with the facts. His entire career was built on sucking up to others. Already in high school his classmates considered him the 'biggest brown-noser'. Most people find that type of personality repulsive as well as treacherous...suck ups carry a lot of psychological baggage around beginning with a deep sense of inferiority and, if given power/authority, they can become irrationally punitive.

    A competent person won't hire suck ups and yes men because their views are hard to know and their judgment can't be trusted. It's remarkable that Romney would choose such a blatant suck up as his running mate. To me, that implies that Romney is unsure of himself, an incompetent who surrounds himself with incompetents.

  • exlibra on September 01, 2012 12:35 PM:

    That ribbon-like R of Romney's logo, now serving both of them, would look even better with the R at the end. Of the word LIAR. liaR and liaR, 2012.

    Craptcha: the hesnonya. In English, it's "he's none of ya"

  • Neildsmith on September 01, 2012 12:35 PM:

    Sometimes I wonder if it really is worth it. Maybe, given how despicable our politics have become, America deserves to have the GOP in control. I survived the Bush years just fine. There is little reason to think I won't similarly survive a R&R administration.

    Is the only reason to vote for Obama to save America from the evil republicans? I'm not sure I care.

  • Christopher Hobe Morrison on September 01, 2012 12:41 PM:

    "I don't by any means believe that this should be the focal point of attacks on Paul Ryan."

    I can't remember, is the phrase target-rich environment the right one to use? I think when someone is called a pathological liar it means that if they want something to be true, it is true so if they say it it isn't a lie, it is the truth. That seems to be true of tea partyers and right-wing Republicans. Maybe we should all be taking up a collection to buy indigestion medications for any moderate Republicans who are still around, such as my old Congressman Ben Gilman, who was engineered out of office years ago after having been Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee because he had the wrong opinions about gun control and abortion.

  • jjm on September 01, 2012 12:47 PM:

    To @Neildsmith: Did we really 'survive the Bush years just fine'? Tell that to the victims of 9/11 and the thousands who died in the unnecessary Iraq war. Tell that to the millions who lost their retirement savings and their homes. Tell that to the victims of Katrina. Tell that to ....

    Well, you get my point. Maybe you personally didn't lose your life savings, your home or your life. But that could only mean you are very probably not of the 99%...

  • c u n d gulag on September 01, 2012 12:54 PM:

    If you're white, straight, male, rich, and an evangelical dominionist Christian American citizen, then there's not reason to care a bit.

    If, however, you're not in even just ONE of those, let alone a few, then there's cause for concern.
    A lot of cause for concern.

    And making it through past George W. Bush performance is NO guarantee of surviving future returns with Romney and Ryan Republicans in control.

    Think about Republicans wanting to insure a one-party future for America.

    Until they regain some sense of sanity, any Republican President with a Republican Congress, and a SCOTUS with a Conservative majority, is going to lead in the direction of a Dominionist Christian Fascist country.

    Again, if you're ALL of the above, "no worries!"

    But if you're not ALL of them, then "I'll see you in the GULag!"

  • bluestatedon on September 01, 2012 12:55 PM:

    Lord, deliver us from high-minded liberals, those sensitive creatures who are so broad-minded that they wouldn't take their own side in an argument.

  • knightphoenix2 on September 01, 2012 12:59 PM:

    @Neildsmith, 12:35 PM, you *MIGHT* survive a Romney & Ryan Administration, but what of those who WON'T - and didn't vote for them? Do we deserve to be destroyed, too?

  • Neildsmith on September 01, 2012 1:05 PM:

    Well, cund gulag and jjm, I am white. What if the only way to save America is to turn it over to the enemy and let them wreak havoc? Apparently those who plan to vote for R&R haven't learned the lesson yet. Maybe more suffering - hitting bottom like an addict - is what it takes to make a change.

    "...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

    Just a thought.

  • I need more coffee on September 01, 2012 1:10 PM:

    Yes, Don. Because high-mindedness cannot be tolerated in a nation of fools.

  • Alpha Proffatt on September 01, 2012 1:12 PM:

    What worries me more than anything else... If Ryan has so much trouble with numbers, just how reliable are the numbers in his budget plan, the one he and Mr Romney plan to execute once in the White House? A 25% misunderestimation of one's running time might not be a big deal but, when translated into the economic area, could mean a world of difference to the investor class.

  • DJ on September 01, 2012 1:21 PM:

    . What if the only way to save America is to turn it over to the enemy and let them wreak havoc?

    Didn't Ralph Nader make that same argument? That worked out REEEEEEAL well.


  • Jim H on September 01, 2012 1:36 PM:

    At the risk of sounding like nothing but a mee-tooer:

    Brava, Kathleen.

    Ridicule is indeed a powerful weapon. Especially when the target is, in fact, ridiculous.

  • Neildsmith on September 01, 2012 1:46 PM:

    DJ - I'm not saying there isn't a differnce between the parties. I'm wondering what it will take to peel off the 10-20% of voters who seem to think Dems aren't the answer. Ridicule and name calling only get you so far. It is true that I, as a college educated professional, will survive another GOP administration. I have little to lose if R&R win. I'm just continually surprised that those who do have something to lose, aren't yet convinced the GOP is the problem. Maybe they need another dose of reality.

  • Anonymous on September 01, 2012 1:46 PM:

    ently “misremembering” (runners tell me they remember their marathon times like other people remember their SAT scores),

    And if you ask Ryan, he'll tell you he scored a 1600.

  • mr.peabody on September 01, 2012 1:47 PM:

    @neildsmith-As long as you're prepared to live without SS and Medicare in your old age, that's an excellent approach.

  • jcricket on September 01, 2012 1:55 PM:

    Maybe more suffering - hitting bottom like an addict - is what it takes to make a change.

    What makes you think that hitting bottom guarantees change? What makes you think that addicts hitting bottom turn around and climb back up?

    Most addicts hit bottom and die. Either by overdose or their bodies suffer such devastation major organs can no longer function.

    It's folly to play with the idea of letting our country hit bottom. There would be no recovery for anyone alive today. It would take that long to recover back to being a first world economy - if at all.

  • James M on September 01, 2012 1:57 PM:

    (Re-posting my earlier comment from the Days End section (sans typo)

    James M on September 01, 2012 3:57 AM:

    Wow....he lied about his marathon time?

    As The Sandtress and Gretchen pointed out, people tend to remember their marathon times. I ran in the NYC marathon 31 years ago (sigh...!)and I remember my time to the minute: 3:56. I was thrilled because I finished and met my target of running a sub-4 hour race.

    When I was training I was told that sub-4 and sub 3:30 were big points. Of course, a sub-3:00 would be HUGE to any non-professional/elite runner:something to brag about for life. If he turned a 4:01 into a sub-3.00 he's just a stone liar!

  • c u n d gulag on September 01, 2012 2:13 PM:

    Yes, neildsmith, let's extend that great Vietnam War philosophy of, "To save the village, you must destroy the village," to the entire nation.
    THAT'LL work!

    I don't think you realize how close we are to a literal one-party dictatorship, where voting will be a privilege for the few.
    So, change will not be able to come from within like now - but only through violent revolution. Power tends to cling to power.

    And asking innocent people to pay for the stupidity of others - especially when many of the "stupid" ones have little choice of where they live, who they're sorrounded by, where they pray, or what they watch or listen to.

    Go into "The Heartland" and try to find something besides right-wing talk radio while you're driving. Hell - try to find NPR in some parts.

    And even a white college educated professional such as yourself may not be able to crawl through the wreckage alive.

    My solution is to split this country into two parts.

    I'm not so sure you'd pass the entrance exam for the Blue State part though - not enough empathy for other people.

  • Neildsmith on September 01, 2012 2:24 PM:

    Call it tough love, cund gulag. Tell me what changes in 2013 if Obama wins. I'll vote for all Democrats just like I always have, but I'm not convinced anything short of a landslide with dems regaining control of Congress with bullet proof (from real bullets!) majorities will make a difference. That scenario doesn't seem like it is in the cards so the question remains... what will it take to convince the voting public that the GOP is evil?

  • DJ on September 01, 2012 2:30 PM:

    "My solution is to split this country into two parts."

    How would you do it? Split the center of the country -- so-called "fly-over country" -- off from the coasts? Do you recall East and West Pakistan? In time, one country became three.

    Split the old Confederacy off? Lincoln addressed that back in 1860. "Physically speaking, we cannot separate," he said. The Appalachians and the Mississippi both run the wrong way.

    This is our country -- all of it. It's not well-served by glib inanity or by the arrogant condescension of fools like neildsmith, whose contempt for the followers of the Tea Party is precisely the same as the contempt of the leaders of the Tea Party for their followers.

  • c u n d gulag on September 01, 2012 2:39 PM:

    If Obama wins, what may change, is that he will probably be able to appoint one or two more Centrist SC Justices.
    Liberal's may apply for the position(s), but in these times, I don't think they'll have much of a chance - until later.

    If Obama doesn't, expect the SCOTUS to increase from a 5-4 Conservative majority, to a 6-4, then a 7-3, then an 8-2 majority.

    A landslide victory in Congressional elections isn't necessary - just enough.

    As long as we can keep the Conservatives from suppressing voters, the demographics will be more and more in favor of us Liberals and Progressives. And THEN, we can make sure that we get rid of the DINO's, and put in more and better Liberal and Progressive representatives.

  • Neildsmith on September 01, 2012 2:59 PM:

    Well, thanks to those who politely responded to my comments. It's sort of a shame that even liberals can't politely disagree about strategy these days without resorting to name calling. Such is the nature of our times. Peace.

  • c u n d gulag on September 01, 2012 3:10 PM:

    If I knew how to do that, I wouldn't be sitting here on my laptop writing this bullsh*t.

    Also, there's a bit of hyperbole in some of the word-turds I leave behind.

    And I dearly I wish there was a way we could work together, somehow or other, like we did for over 200 years - with the exception, of course, of the years 1861-1865.

    But the inclusion of the Dominionist Evangelical Christians, and their Manichean views, by Reagan, and then them metatastasizing from within, to the point where they're virtually in control of the Republican Party, ideologically at least, doesn't make room for bipartisan negotiation.
    You can't make deals with the Devil(s), you see.

    So, how do we live together as two completely seperate philosophical countries within one nation, when the one side, which, as long as it kills the other side, will gladly commit suicide in the process?

    Believe me, more I'm eager to hear the solution to that problem, than anyone else is to hear mine for splitting this country in two.

  • T-Rex on September 01, 2012 3:44 PM:

    LOL! The new version of "born on third base, thinks he hit a triple" is "Took the Boston T, thinks he won a marathon." Which is not a bad description of a guy who inherited money from a family construction business that carried out mainly government-sponsored projects, but claims he was a poor orphan chile laboring to survive, and who has spent his entire adult life on the taxpayer payroll but claims to despise government.

  • Doug on September 01, 2012 5:52 PM:

    Neildsmith, the last time we "hit bottom" was in 1933. We NOW know what happened after FDR was inaugurated, but people THEN didn't. When FDR took his oath of office even HE wasn't certain what was going to happen. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote of the fear she saw in the faces of people watching the Inauguration.
    There were armed mobs in the Plains states; not only preventing farm foreclosures, but also preventing food from being shipped into towns and cities. A group of rich bastards tried to organize a right-wing military coup and failed only because the person they wanted to lead it laughed in their faces and threatened to turn them in if they didn't call a halt to what they were trying to do.
    Had the same economic conditions continued for another year, and had a different person than FDR been President, someone incapable of connecting with the citizenry and giving them hope, this country may very well have dissolved into chaos. As it was the US, as far as I know, is the only democratic country to try out a fascist economy (aka the National Recovery Act) and, with assistance from the SC, get away with abandoning it. Italy didn't. Austria didn't. Greece didn't. Well, you get my idea.
    What would have happened had there been someone other than FDR as President? Say, someone more interested in holding onto the power given the Federal government by the NRA (which was immense), than abiding by his Constitutional duties?
    We were lucky once, let's not even consider pushing our luck, OK?

  • Ron Byers on September 01, 2012 7:35 PM:

    According to news reports, Ryan now admits that he was lying. He says his brother is the real marathon runner in his family and he told Lyin' Ryan that he has never run a sub-3:00 marathon. Outed by his own family. What a shame. Such a nice looking young man. Just doesn't know how to tell the truth about anything.

  • Rcola on September 02, 2012 6:49 AM:

    This needs to be publicized more, as runners and athletes, a significant electorate, will recognize this misstatement as a falsehood.

  • zandru on September 02, 2012 10:31 AM:

    "it's trivial BS"

    No, it isn't. Let me explain - the folks who care about marathon times and other athletic records REALLY CARE about these things. If you get a chance, check out that Runners World link - and the comments.

    Runners appear to run the political spectrum. So if Lyin' Ryan turns off this part of the electorate, maybe they'll be less likely to vote for the Mittster.