By naming Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to the Republican presidential ticket, Mitt Romney offered Democrats an opportunity to reject demagoguery and engage in a serious intellectual debate about the future.

Or so says conventional media wisdom. To this point, however, no such luck. The path of least political resistance, it seems, is to scaremonger the electorate with half-truths and outright lies. Mitt Romney might be running on his own budget—though he has embraced many of the components of the Ryan plan—but that hasn’t stopped Democrats.

1. No, the Ryan budget isn’t extreme

Jim Messina, President Obama’s campaign manager, who, among countless partisans has probably never actually read Ryan’s budgets, calls his plans “radical.”

A common distortion was forwarded by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who not only claims that Ryan’s budget “would kill people, no question,” but that Ryan’s plan would “cut discretionary spending to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge.” Life under Calvin Coolidge–high growth, low taxation and peace–is nothing to sneeze at, but Ryan’s plan, alas, would only bring non-military discretionary spending back to 2008 levels. It would cut subsidies and federal bureaucracy by 10 percent and reform compensation plans of federal employees.