September 2, 2012

In the Aug. 30 editorial “Mr. Ryan’s attack,” The Post joined the chorus claiming that Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention was deceptive. Only an overly narrow and literal reading of his speech could justify such criticism.

Mr. Ryan did not nakedly blame President Obama for raiding Medicare, closing an auto plant or ignoring the deficit commission’s recommendations. His criticism of the Medicare cuts was made in the context of discussing Obamacare. Mr. Ryan rightfully pointed out that the billions in cuts to Medicare were made to fund the new entitlement, rather than cut the deficit or shore up Medicare’s future. Mr. Ryan did not blame the president for the General Motors plant closing but noted that Mr. Obama promised a better, and yet unrealized, future for industry. Finally, Mr. Ryan’s point on the Simpson-Bowles commission was that Mr. Obama formed the panel but later ignored its recommendations with little explanation.

Mr. Ryan should have said more about his involvement, but that doesn’t diminish the substance of his criticism of the administration.

Anthony J. Marcavage, Silver Spring

There are many strong differences in the positions of Democrats and Republicans, but the most important reason the country cannot afford a Republican victory has less to do with ideology and more to do with tactics. A Republican victory would signal that holding our government hostage for the stated goal of retaking the White House by making the president look ineffective is a successful formula that would become the norm against administrations to come.

Patriotism is not about wearing an American flag lapel pin; it is about making sacrifices for the good of the country. Placing party above country is the antithesis of patriotism.

A Republican defeat would serve the country well by showing that tactics such as withdrawing support of your own congressional initiatives simply because the president, in the name of compromise, decided to support them will not be tolerated by the American people as a way of government conducting its business.

Paul K. Schwartz, Brookeville

As a Democrat interested in learning how the Republicans plan to win the fall presidential election, I watched several hours of their convention. I began to think that I mistakenly had tuned in to a convention of the Chamber of Commerce. Again and again speakers attested that the purpose and greatness of our country lay in creating businesses. They prided themselves in their stories of how their hard work had paid off in riches. It was as if work by wage earners and salaried workers was of no value. But not everyone works to become rich. How do Republicans think their singular worship of making money sits with the many people in this country who work hard but are motivated by a desire to achieve excellence in other ways?

Traer Sunley, Washington

The stretching of the truth in the current presidential campaign is emerging as a major issue for both sides. The Aug. 31 Post had a vigorous discussion of this situation [“Fact checkers face quick push-back on Ryan speech,” “We are all fact checkers now, of necessity,” “Paul Ryan, whopper king”].

An opportunity to cut through this dissembling will be presented in the presidential and vice-presidential debates. The moderators should ask each candidate to cite the two (or more) ads (or characterizations) from his opponent that most distorted the truth and explain why, then let the opponent respond as to why his claim is justified. These exchanges will allow voters to evaluate the candidates’ veracity and could shed some needed light.

Rob Rudick, Takoma Park