David Brooks, in conversation with Gail Collins, explains that all that lying was really not Paul Ryan's fault:
DAVID It was weird. Part of the speech was compelling and sounded very much like Paul Ryan -- the indictment of the stimulus package and Obamacare. Part of it sounded like it was written by people with the intellectual moorings of jellyfish.In case you don't understand, when Brooks says Ryan is "a guy famous for truth-telling," what he means is: Ryan is a guy famous for telling people in a much lower tax bracket than mine that they have to suffer.
The stuff about the G.M. plant was stupid on many levels. Ryan voted for the auto bailout; the plant in his hometown was closed pre-Obama; an elemental fact of capitalism is that sometimes corporations close plants and are right to do so. If you’ve got a guy famous for truth-telling, why feed him a bunch of semi-deceptions?
The Simpson-Bowles section was more of the same. I've interviewed Ryan many times and I've never heard him utter sentiments remotely like that. He doesn't believe in their approach because he doesn't believe it fixes the Medicare problem. Yet there he was in the biggest speech of his life pretending he thought it was God's gift to policy making. Paul, sometimes you just have to put your foot down and tell the campaign you won't do it.
Brooks has read a lot of sociology since his undergrad days, and he actually thinks this qualifies him as an expert on how people tick, but he's a godawful judge of human character. Confronted with this go-getter, this man on the make -- a guy he's actually spoken to on multiple occasions -- Brooks is completely oblivious the hustle, the striving, the self-branding (Paul Ryan, Teller of Hard Truths®). He just gets gulled like the dumbest mark at the carny. Brooks can't imagine that Ryan, left to his own devices, would say something dishonest now in pursuit of professional advantage because it's literally never occurred to Brooks that -- in a world full of Randian right-wing billionaires bearing bulging checkbooks -- Ryan might have said and done a lot of dishonest things throughout his career in pursuit of professional advantage. He says he's a Truth-Teller®, so he really must be one!