Are Republicans vulnerable on Medicare? Should they cave on Medicare and wait for it to crash or should they fight back? Some people reckon that Democrats will demagogue on Medicare from now till November 2012, so there is no way of avoiding a fight.
Perhaps it is telling that Marco Rubio (R), junior US senator from Florida, the second-biggest Medicare state, has chosen to come out strongly in favor of the Ryan Plan. Reports Marc Thiessen:
For those who criticize Ryan, Rubio asks: “If it’s not the Ryan plan, well then what plan is it? The White House has not offered one. The Senate Democrat leadership has not offered one.. . . They have not offered a budget, much less a plan to save Medicare.”
Rubbish, writes Stanley Kurtz. The Democrats do have a plan. It is called IPAB; it is a monster, and Republicans should attack it 24-7.
What the GOP hasn’t yet done is go on offense against IPAB (the Independent Payment Advisory Board), the clique of Obamacare bureaucrats who are going to ration Medicare into the ground. IPAB is what’s really going to push granny off a cliff, giving her far less control of her fate than the Ryan plan.
Mediscare works best in the later stages of a campaign when Democrats get a chance to stampede seniors with scare talk. But if Republicans get started establishing a message now then the late-campaign Mediscare won't work.
It was Sarah Palin that first articulated Kurtz's strategy when she called the IPAB a "deeath panel." The president wants unelected bureaucrats and political cronies to determine who lives and who dies. Rationing means that you have to line up to get benefits. Unless you have a political pal in high places on the IPAB. How hard can it be to attack this monstrous policy?
The president has a plan for Medicare. His death panel will decide who lives and who dies. The government will decide who gets care and who doesn't. That's not just the end of Medicare as we know it. It's the end of Medicare, period.
There's another factor to consider. The presidential campaign season forces the mainstream media to ventilate Republican proposals and sound bites, if reluctantly and illuminated with unflattering light. Plus the paid media of Republican candidates puts the Republican message into America's living rooms. That makes it much harder for the Democrats to win on Mediscare.
Anyway, what's the point of being a Republican if you just run and hide whenever the Democrats try to electrocute you on entitlements. The whole point of Republican politics is that Americans are sturdy but cooperative individualists. They are proud of their independence, proud of caring for their own, and proud of giving a helping hand to those in need.
Entitlements are the opposite of Americanism. They are the politics of serfs and peasants, doffing caps to the lord of the manor as he drives by in his expensive gas-electric hybrid, hoping that he'll fight for them when grannie get sick. Because, after all, he did promise.