PolitiFact ignores facts, plays politics | Wis.Community

PolitiFact ignores facts, plays politics

Does Paul Ryan's Roadmap want to privatize Social Security?

Is the Pope Catholic?

The Journal Sentinel's PolitFact team might rule the Pope is Lutheran, if they did they kind of "investigation" they did on the Ryan issue.

I use quotes on "investigation" because the word is that the findings are determined by a committee before the reporters are assigned to put together something to justify the result. That may be an overstatement, and maybe a PolitFact check will discover my pants are on fire, but that's what's leaking out of the newsroom from some folks who think their integrity is being compromised.

Be that as it may, let's get back to Ryan.

My friends at the Greater Wisconsin Committee (I'm a board member) have been running some radio spots and sending mail that say some Republican candidates for the legislature are support' a and/or being supported by Ryan -- who wants to privatize Social Security.

The JS, at the behest of the GOP, "investigated" and concluded that was wrong -- Ryan doesn't want to privatize Social Security, it turns out. He just wants to privatize it.

One of the sources Greater Wisconsin provided the paper was a recent report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analyzing Ryan's plan. PolitiFact dismissed it:

The report predicts cuts in Social Security benefits would result from Ryan’s plan, but that doesn’t address the question of privatization, and the report doesn’t mention the targeted candidates.

Excuse me, but maybe they missed the report's TITLE:

The Ryan Budget's Radical Priorities: Provides Largest Tax Cuts in History for Wealthy, Raises Middle Class Taxes, Ends Guaranteed Medicare, Privatizes Social Security, Erodes Health Care

And the report by a national research organization in DC didn't even mention four yahoos running for the state legislature in the hinterlands of Wisconsin? What a surprise.

Greater Wisconsin provided plenty of support for its statements about each of the candidates, but the paper chose to ignore most of it and shared very little of it with readers. So here you go:


"Travis Tranel supports the Washington, D.C., politicians who want to privatize Social Security -- taking away its guaranteed benefit and ending Social Security as we know it." The statement simply says that Tranel is a supporter of politicians who have that position. In an interview with the Telegraph Herald, Tranel calls Paul Ryan the Republican lawmaker that he most admires. Tranel goes beyond that and talks about Ryan’s “courage” to talk about the “entitlement crisis” (a fancy name for Social Security and Medicare) and to propose “concrete solutions” (i.e., the Roadmap) to solve it here

“What GOP lawmaker do you most admire? ….A current Republican lawmaker that I admire is US Rep. Paul Ryan. When far too many Republicans at the national level were caving to the big spending special interests, Ryan held true to his conservative principals. Today he is one of the only legislators in either party with the courage to speak openly about the growing debt and entitlement crisis, and to propose concrete solutions to stop it. If elected, I would follow in his example by standing for what is right even when it isn’t politically popular.”

Tranel has also received financial contributions from Paul Ryan for his campaign on two occasions: a $500 contribution on 12/31/2008 and a $500 contribution on 10/24/2010 (Travis Tranel Campaign Finance Reports).

Tranel was also a big fan of George W. Bush who also proposed privatizing Social Security (USA Today, 9/28/2004).


"Howard Marklein is backed by Washington, D.C., politicians who want to privatize Social Security -- taking away its guaranteed benefit, and ending Social Security as we know it."

As proof that Marklein is backed by him, Ryan held a fundraiser for Howard Marklein on July 24, 2010 at the Wintergreen Lodge in Spring Green.

Marklein also proudly posts a picture of himself with Ryan at a Badger football game on his facebook page ( Link)


"Clinard even supports the Washington politicians who want to privatize Social Security."

Clinard listed “Paul Ryan” and “Ryan’s Roadmap” as people/things that he “likes” on his personal Facebook page.

Paul Ryan also held a fundraiser for Dennis Clinard on August 31st in Tomah.


Man: "Have you heard about some of those Tea Party candidates with their wacky, extreme ideas?" Woman: "Oh, yeah, like the ones who want to eliminate Social Security? Man: "Yeah, we have one right here. This guy Jack Cummings, who's running for the Legislature."

As is clear from reading the exact language of the transcript of the ad, the comment about Social Security is about Tea Party candidates in general, and never do we say that Cummings has those positions. The man is the one who mentions the Tea Party candidates and then calls Cummings a Tea Party candidate. We only identify Cummings as a Tea Party candidate. The rest of the ad is about Cummings’ own “wacky” positions.

The proof that Cummings is a Tea party candidate is that in the primary he went through the vetting process: Story

Tea Party calendar

In conclusion, if the Republican candidates do not want to be associated with Paul Ryan they should refrain from making complimentary statements about him, they shouldn’t have him host fundraisers for them and they should return the money they raised with him and from his campaign.

In addition, the Republicans may complain that we are associating them with the Roadmap, but their own party platform officially endorses Ryan’s plan. We have yet to find any evidence that these Republicans have publicly criticized their party’s position on this issue. To the extent that any of these Republicans are receiv' a any support from their party, they are being helped by backers of the Roadmap.


October 28, 2010 - 10:57pm