The Talking Dog

September 3, 2012, PR


Happy Labor Day.

"PR" in running circles means "personal record," in commerce it usually means "public relations"... and in politics these days, it could mean "Paul Ryan" (full name, Paul Davis Ryan, or "PDR" usually meaning "Physician's Desk Reference"). Since Familia TD was happily on vacation in an area with pretty much no electronic media (and right here in America... stick around, folks!), I missed much of the mirth and merriment of the GOP convention, such as Clint losing a debate with an empty chair, and, of course, Paul Ryan making up his best marathon time.

Like me, Paul Ryan ran his first marathon while in college, and like me, his time was over 4 hours... his was 4 hours and a minute and a half in Duluth, MN in 1990, mine 4 hours 22 minutes and 38 or 39 seconds in Charlotte, NC in 1982. Nonetheless, in lying speaking to friendly right-wing talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Ryan suggested that he was a bit faster... well, here's the excerpt:

HH: Are you still running?

PR: Yeah, I hurt a disc in my back, so I donít run marathons anymore. I just run ten miles or yes.

HH: But you did run marathons at some point?

PR: Yeah, but I canít do it anymore, because my back is just not that great.

HH: Iíve just gotta ask, whatís your personal best?

PR: Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.

Sub-three marathon times are very, very good... the stuff of elite runners. And so, if Mr. Ryan were, even in his past, an elite runner, this would be very interesting indeed. And so, his need to casually lie about something that millions of runners take with the utmost degree of seriousness... is quite interesting. Perhaps it's the nature of being in the political bubble and surrounded by yes-persons and toadies (of which Ryan himself is one), and of being constantly told that you are [what passes for] a deep thinker and intellectual. Or perhaps it's something even more troubling.

I'm on record as saying there's no meaningful substantive difference among and between "the two parties," and indeed, "our" [presumptive] Vice Presidential candidate, Vice President Joe Biden, has his own history of confabulation (or at least plagiarism). But Biden's "thing," like most political confabulations, was politically self-serving; Ryan's was merely gratuitously ego-aggrandizing... more the stuff of [juvenile] mental health "issues," especially given the certainty it would be immediately debunked. Also, note how easily he just rolled into the huge, throbbing lie (when he could have said "I don't remember, Hugh... three, four hours... it was a while ago")... indeed, the campaign attributed the lie gaffe to a rounding error or some such lame-ass excuse. Obviously, that Ryan's "budget plans" would increase the deficit by trillions, rather than decrease it, could also be a simple "rounding error." Really, that this rather unserious person is taken for "deep" and "wonky" just shows how cartoonish the whole thing has become.

Barack Obama has been a disappointment; worse than that, actually, as he hasn't even tried to implement the agenda he campaigned on, and he has made no bones about demonstrating where his actual allegiances lie (that would be "to his donors, especially in the financial sector"). Obama has expanded the wars, tightened the national security state, stepped up the war on Black people drugs, doubled down on Dubya's "health care reform means throwing more taxpayer money at Big Pharma and Big Insurance" and refused to prosecute the most blatant crimes committed by Wall Street... and even extended the Bush tax cuts when he didn't have to... and while Dubya gave himself the right to throw citizens in the dungeon, Barack Obama has claimed the right to outright murder citizens (as long as the decision is made on Tuesday, apparently).

So don't tell me Mitt Romney (or Sarah Palin, or Paul Ryan, or Ron Paul, or Rand Paul, or any Republican) is going to be particularly worse in any meaningful, substantive way. The same? Absolutely. Because that's how sham democracies work: you have "a vote" (well, White people do, anyway)... but it's not exactly "meaningful," now, is it?

So then, why do some tall-tales told by Ayn-Randian sociopath Vice-Presidential candidates matter? Because it reflects a broader socio-systemic problem here: the political process, and much of American life, purports to behave as if reality doesn't matter... but, as Kuntsler reminds us... reality always wins. Just as actual sub-three hour marathoner Lance Armstrong recently found out.