I literally fell asleep while reading David Brock’s opposition research file on Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for Vice President. The 290-page media cheat sheet, prepared by Brock’s super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, and released on the Internet so that the Obama campaign could borrow from it without coordinating with the super PAC (wink, wink), is not just boring, but a giant failure, except as a cure for insomnia.
For all the greenhouse gas generated by Democrats wailing about super PACs, Brock’s super PAC is playing a leading role in shaping the Democrats’ media message--not just through American Bridge, but also Priorities USA, the super PAC run by former Obama White House staffer Bill Burton. Brock’s Media Matters outfit was founded to combat media bias, but is now revealed as the soggy foundation of the left’s slime industry.
In any event, here are half a dozen failed attacks in Brock’s oppo dump--points that might actually convince Democrats that Ryan is a decent, capable leader willing to reach across the aisle to defend constitutional values and protect the national interest:
OCCUPY WALL STREET
Ryan Defended “Occupy Wall Street” Protestor’s Rights To Protest Government. According to Mediaite, “On Meet the Press earlier today, Congressman Paul Ryan defended the legitimate rights of the Occupy Wall Street protestors to air their grievances about the government, but criticized President Obama for dividing the country by class with proposals to increase taxes on millionaires. [...]David Gregory played a clip of presidential candidate Herman Cain disparaging the protestors, and asked Ryan if this was the official position of the Republican party on the protests, given statements made by fellow Republicans in recent days. Ryan surprisingly bucked the trend and did not immediately take the bait. ‘I don’t disparage anybody who protests their government, for better government, no matter what perspective they come from. Look, I come from Wisconsin, that’s a state where protests are sort of the new normal and I think we’re going to see a lot of it from now through the 2012 election.’” [Mediaite, 10/10/11]
Ryan Said He Would Support “Young Guns” Candidates Who Were Pro-Choice. According to The Janesville Gazette, “Young Guns might differ on social issues, Ryan said. He has endorsed candidates who are pro-choice on abortion, while Ryan is pro-life. ‘The only litmus test is whether they’re going to take on this debt and deficits and entitlement spending when they get here, or are they going to buckle when pressure occurs?’ he said. ‘We’re just going to agree to disagree on those issues like abortion, and we’ll do so with mutual respect,’ he said.” [The Janesville Gazette, 7/22/10]
Ryan And Van Hollen Forged A “Solid Working Relationship.” According to the Hill, “Ryan and Van Hollen, rising stars in their respective parties, have forged a solid working relationship on the Budget Committee that has withstood the partisan and occasionally personal acrimony surrounding the battle over spending. Doing so has been a challenge for both men. Ryan, the panel’s chairman, has had to manage a group of feisty conservative freshmen whose denunciations of Van Hollen and other Democrats have at times crossed the lines of decorum. And Van Hollen has had to make the transition from his party’s top attack dog to policy wonk, even as the White House and other Democrats have made Ryan’s blueprint their No. 1 target.” [The Hill, 6/22/11]
Ryan And Russ Feingold Proposed Bill To Allow President To Line Item Veto Earmarks. According to the Capital Times, “Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan have joined forces on legislation that would allow the president to veto so-called ‘earmarks,’ or pork barrel projects, from congressional budget bills. Feingold and Ryan announced plans at a joint news conference Monday at the Oak Creek police station to introduce the legislation. ‘Under our proposal, wasteful spending won’t have anywhere to hide,’ Feingold said. ‘It’s out in the open, so that both the Congress and the president have a chance to get rid of wasteful projects before they can become law.’ ‘This new level of sunshine, of accountability, of transparency, will do a lot to embarrass a lot of wasteful spending out of these bills in the first place,’ Ryan.” [Capital times (Madison, WI), 4/24/07]
CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES
Ryan Voted in Favor of Protections for Journalists and Confidential Sources. On October 16, 2007, Ryan voted in favor of a bill to protect journalists and their right not to disclose confidential sources. According to the Washington Post, “Setting up a potential confrontation with the Bush administration over press freedoms, the House on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed legislation to extend new protections to journalists and their confidential sources. The so-called shield law would for the first time establish standards that limit the power of federal authorities to compel reporters to testify or to disclose documents and unidentified sources they have used in their reporting. [...] Media groups also softened their demands, agreeing to exceptions that would allow a federal judge to compel disclosure of documents or sources if it would prevent an act of terrorism or if a source would be ‘critical’ to resolving a criminal case. Responding to criticism from the Bush administration, the sponsors also added an exception Tuesday to allow a judge to order disclosure if it is ‘essential’ to the investigation or prosecution of a leak of classified information. The exception requires a judge to find that the unauthorized leak ‘has caused or will cause significant and articulable harm to the national security.’ And in a concession to business groups that had opposed the bill, the measure allows a judge to order the disclosure of individuals who have divulged trade secrets or private medical records protected by federal law.” [Roll Call 973, H 2102, 10/16/2007; Washington Post, 10/17/07]
Ryan Voted for Creating Programs to Decrease Infant Mortality. On September 22, 2010 Ryan voted for a bill that would authorize the creation of pilot programs to reduce infant mortality. According to the Banger Daily News, “the bill would establish $10 million in 1-year grants for each year from fiscal 2011 through fiscal 2015 for the purpose of cutting infant mortality in 15 metropolitan U.S. areas that have had the highest infant mortality rates over the last three years. The grants will help to develop improved access, utilization and quality of social, educational, and clinical services to promote healthy pregnancies, full-term births, and healthy infancies through counseling on infant care, feeding and parenting, postpartum care and the prevention of premature delivery.” [Roll Call 533, H 3470, 09/22/2010; Bangor Daily News 9/25/2010]
Of course, one of the purposes of an opposition research file is to inform users of facts that might seem on the surface to help the target, so that they might prepare for them in advance. But the contrary arguments are so weak--horror! Ryan’s a conservative!--that the entire exercise fails. There is only one way to fight Ryan: debate his ideas. Obama, Biden and Brock can’t, or won’t. That is why they they may lose--and they know it.