Porkies from Paul Ryan

At last, playing to the crowd: an attack on Paul Ryan. Via CIP comes the news that Ryan has been lying about his marathon times: he claimed sub-three, but never ran sub-four. The folk at runners world weren’t impressed. I too find it implausible that anyone could possibly get their PB that wrong if they care about running at all. Mine is 3:54, from memory. Was I correct? Yes, though that was only back in April.

But it looks like I still have a way to go before I work my way up the celeb lists. Bush Jr has 3:44 which is quite respectable. Matthew Parris has an astonishing 2:32 according to wiki (and the beeb, who also note that a Stoate ran it. From which I see that there are 13 MPs who, in 2009, had better PB’s than me. Including, to my surprise, Rhodri Morgan. Who I could stuff now); I see that Paul “mendacious” Ryan has just been added, ha ha.

36 thoughts on “Porkies from Paul Ryan”

  1. Some blog somewhere wondered out loud about why somebody would lie 1) to a broadcast audience 2) about something easily verifiable 3) when they had no need to.

    [Its not that easily verifiable; stuff from that far back isn’t on the web. But as to why lie, its a good question. The reply from his campaign folk isn’t convincing -W]


  2. I pleased someone thinks sub-3 is sufficiently impressive to lie about.

    Not nearly as famous, an Australian politician http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bannon ran sub-3’s annually in the Adelaide marathon for over a decade – the last in his late 40s after he became premier of South Australia.

    The wiki list make me sad – Alan Turing,
    with 2:46 in 1947 when the WR was 2:26,
    languishing at the bottom of list of including minor celebs run-walking 5 hour times.


  3. Alan Turing was a track athlete, indeed “he was a gifted athlete, nearly qualifying for the 1948 British Olympic track and field team.”

    Apparently his PB placed him 9th best among British marathon runners at the time, though apparently 5 minutes off the olympic qualifying minimum – pretty remarkable for someone who didn’t start running seriously until after the war, and apparently never receieved any professional coaching (though this was probably fairly typical for long-distance runners at that time).


  4. A sub 3 would have put him in the top 3% of finishers at this years Boston Marathon. Perhaps he should have lied a little harder and said he did a 2:40 something. That would have put him in the coveted top 1%!


  5. You know, after pushed the submit button I thought of this. 40 years ago I was young (very young) and rode my PB century in 5:06. I remember that time, it is etched in my memory. I am proud of it. I sat on a bicycle for 5 hours, pedaled that thing hard, and finished 100 miles at an average speed of just under 20mph. (This included stops for taking a leak and filling water bottles). I was the first to finish. I will never forget that time. If someone were to ask me on the day I die “what was your best time in a century ride?” I would say 5:06. (BTW, I was 14).

    Who the hell is going to lie about their PB in something as difficult as a marathon? Why lie about it? This doesn’t matter that much — Ryan told 5 whoppers that I was able to catalog in his convention speech — but it does indicate something about his character, just as Seamus on the top of the car says something about Mitt. #mittismean


  6. Being able to run that fast does not, in itself, make them fit for office.

    [Naturally not. But running a 3:44 marathon is difficult. It requires hard work and endurance of pain. It provides a counterpoint to the “frat boy” type image -W]


  7. Clarence Thomas ran a 3:11! That’s pretty impressive for a guy who is on the chubby side.

    I’d think these guys would be in even better shape, seeing as their careers have been built on running away from the truth …


  8. > Thomas’s time …
    > Or did he?

    Wow. It claims he ran it faster than all but one of the celebrities listed on the page? If true, he’s

    Faster than a human, but slower than a stuffed animal!

    I wonder who posted that — was it a spoof by someone pretending to be Justice Thomas?


  9. The Clarence Thomas time may come from an interview as well: http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3664638&page=1#.UEXivo5u9vc

    Note that the stuffed animal (mascot) finisher was actually only for a 10K, not for a full marathon… so good ol’ Clarence the “unofficial” is actually the fastest marathoner on the list… and in the ABC interview he claims he had never run a marathon before… this gets more questionable by the web-link…

    [Um yes. 3:11 isn’t believeable from that kind of story -W]


  10. I find a 3:11 hard to believe for someone with his build. However, his “unofficial” time might be due to the fact that it is the earliest time shown. Electronic timing/data collection might not have been in place in 1980. I remember doing races during that time frame that were hand tabulated.


  11. Regarding the political gloating here, let’s remember that Obama has just been shown to have made up rather significant parts of his autobiographies. Clinton’s abilities as a liar were prodigious, well-documented, and involved a lot more than sex.


  12. Tom C: Yeah, it is the earliest shown… but only by 2 years. Still, that is a possibility.

    ps. Could you cite some specific statements from Obama and Clinton? I acknowledge that I am totally more likely to remember porkies from Republicans than from Democrats, but (with the exception of Clinton’s women issues, which is admittedly a pretty huge exception) equivalent porkies aren’t immediately coming to mind. (at the risk of moving the goalposts before you’ve even scored, there’s also a question of density of porkies per unit time in the spotlight)

    (And no Gore-like misquotes such as “I invented the Internet”)


  13. MMM –

    A Washington Post reporter just wrote a 700 page book on Obama and documented several dozen instances where he fabricated or exaggerated siginifcant events in his life in his autobiography. This has been much commented on so I’m amazed you claim to not know about it.

    [I don’t know either. I’m afraid you’re going to have to provide actual examples, rather than vaguely wave at an unnamed book with unknown content, if you want to convince anyone -W]

    Regarding Clinton, you are kidding, right?.

    Hillary Clinton told us she was named after Edmund Hillary, and that her plane landed in Bosnia under sniper fire. The press protected her on both of these until the sheer ludicrousness finally broke through.

    All in all, the Ryan marathon claim is stupid but certainly par for the course with politicians. Re Thomas, I don’t think he would have put it in the book if it could not be defended, but who knows.


  14. Thank you for the Hillary Clinton example. The Bosnia quote definitely qualifies. The Edmund Hillary example probably qualifies (snopes agrees with you, but there is some room in there for sloppy childhood memories on the subject). (I will note that you just switched Clinton’s midstream, but given that Hillary is Secretary of State, I’ll count it)


  15. Google tells me you are probably referring to the Maraniss book, which I have not seen commented on at all. Google also tells me that while Maraniss does find “inaccuracies”, the fact was that the 1995 Obama memoir stated upfront that it was an approximation that combined characters where necessary, and some of the other inaccuracies could well have been family lore that was wrong rather than Obama lying. So I still want specific examples of equivalent Obama porkies. Which I wouldn’t be surprised if they are out there… but waving your hands doesn’t cut it.


  16. Re Obamas book: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/20/david-maraniss-obama-biography-barack-obama-the-story_n_1613758.html

    This is “waving my hands”?

    These are not inconsequential lies. Obama claiming that his grandfather was tortured by the British and step grandfather killed by Dutch forces creates an illusion of personal victimhood where none existed. Likewise, the dozens of raciallly oriented “inaccuracies”, like claiming that a white friend was actually black, were meant to establish a racial identity he did not have but would serve him well politically.


  17. “Obama claiming that his grandfather was tortured by the British and step grandfather killed by Dutch forces”

    As MMM says “some of the other inaccuracies could well have been family lore that was wrong rather than Obama lying”, and these certainly could fall into this category. I have family stories about my grandfathers that are, well, interesting. I accept them as true as they’ve been passed down to me, but a hard-nosed journalist with far too much time on their hands might be able to skewer portions of the story.

    And on my grandmother’s side I’m descended from an unnamed German Count, but that one’s dodgy and non-specific enough that I doubt I’d include it in an autobiography.

    “The president also described breaking up with a white girlfriend due to a “racial chasm that unavoidably separated him from the woman,” writes Maraniss. But Obama’s next girlfriend in Chicago, an anthropologist, also was white.”

    And this is just silly, it might’ve been the first girlfriend who had the racial issue, and it’s possible the second didn’t.

    Or perhaps the situation did repeat itself … after all, she’s white and not named “Michelle” …

    These and the other relevations are pretty slim pickings … Romney and Ryan are in the lie-a-minute club. Proclaiming that Obama’s a liar on the same scale’s going to require a lot more evidence.


  18. ” meant to establish a racial identity he did not have but would serve him well politically.”

    Yeah, like being black is a well-known advantage for a presidential candidate … don’t believe me? Just ask the Tea Party …


  19. Tom C, the “Hillary” issue is quite fun, and shows that distorting a story for political reasons is quite common. What is the horrible thing Hillary Clinton said?

    That her *mom* told her she was named after Edmund Hillary…somehow no one claims *that* is wrong.

    Family lore tends to be wrong (for a long time my granddad was in the resistance, until, well, I got the real story which wasn’t all that exciting – he did hide for a while to not get picked up and send to Germany to do labour there).


  20. Tom C: that’s feeble. Repeating what your grandfather told you is not lying. Cutting an hour or so off your marathon time is, and in a particularly dishonourable way.


  21. The subject here is small lies told to enhance an image or reputation. I have not defended Ryan, though he did set the record straight quickly and the matter seems very inconsequential to me.

    Hillary’s remark about Edmund H is also inconsequential in itself. What is troubling is that for several years she doubled down on it, making up alternate explanations that all fell apart. Something like 5 or 6 years later Bill still put the claim in his autobiography. Most people find it weird to continue defending such a ridiculous claim, as do I.

    Re Obama, these incidents are supposedly foundational in his self-identity. One would think that they would be confirmed prior to putting them in an autobiography. I agree that the story of the split from the white girlfriend is not invalidated by whom he subsequently dated. Unfortunately, Maraniss uncovers a half dozen other simlar distortions regarding race: invented people, incidents, quotes, etc. The overall picture is not pretty.

    dhogaza, your comments are as expected. For a movement that brought literally millions of people into the streets for protest, the evidence of Tea Party racism is lacking to an extraordinary extent. And yes, these stories did help him establish a racial identity that he needed. You forget that in his Chicago days his black political opponents portrayed him as too white.


  22. Tom C, the “Tea Party” is just a re-branded version of the GOP activist base. As such, racism is one of its defining characteristics. That said, I don’t think that racism is “the cause” of the TP/GOP’s hatred for Obama. They hated Clinton and Kerry and Gore just as virulently. Obama’s race just provides a convenient outlet for that hatred. If Hillary had won the primary and beaten McCain in 2008, the crank emails being forwarded around by everyone’s angry-old-white-guy relatives for the past four years would be misogynist instead of racist.


  23. Awfully short on evidence Ned. Now let me summarize your position: If my candidate is a woman or black man you can’t criticize them or I will call you a name. Real classy.

    [This particular sequence looks like its run out of utility. Unless there is anything new to say, don’t say it -W]


  24. “dhogaza, your comments are as expected. For a movement that brought literally millions of people into the streets for protest, the evidence of Tea Party racism is lacking to an extraordinary extent.”

    Uh-huh. Right. Surely. Splurf.


  25. Well, I’m a small-time politician and I’ve run a sub-3 half marathon. I’ll just forgot to say the “half” part and it’s at least half-correct.

    And if my stupid heel ever heals, maybe I’ll actually run again….


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