It'd be a time-consuming challenge to fact check Paul Ryan's entire interview on "Meet the Press," but there was one line in particular that stuck in my head after the show.
Was it the Republican congressman's claim that it's "pretty clear" that Keynesian economics "doesn't work"? That was, to be sure, a bizarre claim, especially given Ryan's previous endorsements of Keynesian economics, but that's not what stood out for me.
Was it the Budget Committee chairman's claim that Republicans "aren't preaching austerity"? That, too, was ridiculous, given that austerity is the foundation for Ryan's own budget plan, but there was something else that was more memorable.
"Look, if we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now. That's not the kind of presidency we're dealing with right now."
Ah, right. The ol' "we liked Clinton better" argument from the far-right Republicans who woke up every morning for eight years trying to think of new and creative ways to destroy the Clinton presidency. For Ryan, Bill Clinton and his team were fiscally responsible, but it's that rascally Barack Obama who's in office that Republicans can't work with.
Perhaps now would be a good time to remind Paul Ryan that Clinton was able to eliminate the deficit, start paying off the national debt, and deliver the largest surpluses in American history after -- wait for it -- raising taxes a whole lot. He raised taxes on the wealthy, the middle class, and the private sector, despite howls from congressional Republicans who said Clinton's economic plan would obviously do lasting damage to the economy and force a deep recession.
So when Paul Ryan said a President Clinton would have "fixed this fiscal mess," he's referring to a Democrat who balanced the budget by raising taxes far more than Obama did. "That's not the kind of presidency we're dealing with right now"? That's true -- on raising taxes, Clinton was further to the left.