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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Politics | 25 comments

To Some Republicans “Denial” IS a River

One of the things that was stunning last night was to read some of the comments on weblogs and on Twitter about the NY 26 election insisting…shouting…that this had nothing to do with Medicare. That’s like saying Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus’ birth. This is a problem now locked into our political debate where there is a belief that if you say something over and over and over it must be true.

This may work with listeners of talk shows who hear a host suggest Barack Obama wasn’t born here or to followers of a guy who says the world will end on one day and then when it doesn’t happen pushes up the date of his prediction a few months. But it does not make for election-winning politics.

The Republicans now face a fundamental messaging problem. David Frum NAILS IT HERE.

If you couple this with Scott Walker in Wisconsin, a Democratic strategist will have a field day with anti-Republican messaging unless some in positions of power in the GOP step back and stop smelling the tea. The assertions of a Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity may feel good but they’re not the stand back analysis of a David Frum or a Larry Sabato or a Nate Silver.

Most fascinating: Despite the 24/7 partisans who insisted that anyone suggesting Medicare played a role in their GOP defeat in NY-26 MUST be a hack Democratic partisan, Paul Ryan himself acknowledge as much.

So — by their line of reasoning — he must be a Democratic party mole.

Actually, given the election results, who knows?

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Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • JSpencer

    There was a time not so terribly long ago when false narratives and lies were considered liabilities and character flaws, but the GOP and it’s media mouthpieces have worked long and hard to turn that once sacred standard on it’s tail. Of course this could never have become acceptable without consent of the base. I’d be curious to know how much is due to ignorance and how much is intentional.

  • dduck

    Change GOP to Dems and you got a two baser.

  • davidpsummers

    The Republicans will claim it is about local issues. The Democrats will claim it is about how they are right on the issues. The next time the GOP wins an election, they will switch sides. Whoever wins in Nov. 2012 will claim the right to push their partisan positions without regard to checks and balances, not noticing (or pretending not to notice) that the much of the electorate is merely swinging back and forth of which party has been the worst recent (since they have no other choice).

    And, in the end, anyone who wants to break out of partisanship will stuck all this until we get structural change to electoral system.

  • SteveinCH

    For fun, I’d suggest typing scott brown into the history bank here at TMV.

  • JSpencer

    All false equivalence reflexing aside, medicare and social security are issues republicans will need to treat seriously and honestly if they hope to maintain influence with that segment of the population that votes the most – including thier own base.

  • dduck

    Everybody into the pool.

  • JSpencer, you have it exactly wrong. Although the Ryan plan sucks, so does the current course. The Republicans messed up by suggesting a change, where the Democrats have sat on the sidelines watching them suffer for it.
    The lesson is pretty clear: empty talk is politically safer than addressing the budget.

  • SteveinCH

    Prof E

    Spot on. My only addendum is that the current course sucks more than the Ryan plan because the current course won’t work.

  • Harvesting votes has everything to do with perception and [almost] nothing to do with reality.

    When the perception was that D’s would set up “death panels” and reduce Medicare benefits as part of ACA, they got creamed. Now that the perception is that R’s want to “throw grandma over the cliff” and end Medicare, guess what?

    Same dance, different step.


    And the “River” keeps flowing:

    Washington Post:

    The Senate voted 57 to 40 against GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal, with all but five Republicans supporting the spending plan. The vote comes a day after Republicans lost a special congressional election in New York that was dominated by debate over the Ryan proposal, an election that underscored the political peril in the GOP plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

  • JSpencer

    Sure, the “current course” clearly needs correction, I think we can all agree on that. Those corrections will require creativity, honesty, and compassion though. Sad to say, those are all endangered qualities in today’s GOP. It takes two to tango and it sure helps if both partners are willing and able to dance.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    I must say I love watching the “the current course is horrible but at least they have a plan” arguments flip parties from ACA to MediReform. Both sides basically making the reverse of the argument they made last time and most seem to miss or deny it.

    For added amusement a special election was lost by the D’s as a price for the ACA and all the GOP said it was a warning to stop and the Dems ignored them and now the R’s pay a price for MediReform and the Dems warn them and the GOP is ignoring them.

    The dems took a “principled stand” to supporters and were only trying to gut the nation in the GOP’s eyes. Now R’s see Ryans as a “principled stand” while D’s see it as gutting the nation.

    The GOP wins in 2010 primarily on “the ACA will kill medicare” and now they are screaming and crying when a slightly more valid argument is made against them. (slightly more valid because Ryans plan goes a lot closer to ending it as we know it than the ACA did)

    I feel like I am in an Iron mine here, this is absolutely awesome.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Here is a difference between MediReform and the ACA a Republican will never accept or admit but it remains true. The GOP flat refused to join in on health reform unless it was purely their brand, meaning double down on “free market” in a nonfree market filled with regulations(and only whispered about that when defending their refusal to join in). The Dems on the other hand have not refused to find a fix for MediReform or even the budget, they have instead refused to do it while avoiding cutting GOP pet programs and redlines (tax increase, oil subsidies and the like).

    The truth is the Dems are willing to make deals, the GOP is willing to yell really loud. Like say putting up an extreme idea when you have a single house of congress. I know…I know I am utterly wrong and evil and lack any memory of the ACA debate and recent history, say what you will but it makes the R’s look like jacka**es that hope voters have 30 second memory spans.

  • SteveinCH

    BS MSF. I’ll ask you for the fourth time. Show me the Dem plan for Medicare. Not a think tank plan but an actual plan supported by actual Democratic politicians.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    NO I did not say plan, I said they are not refusing to make deals. They just are not being asked, with the ACA the Dems asked from the start until the end. With MediReform it is the Ryan plan or the highway, with the ACA it was “lets see what we can put together” and the GOP sat it out. A subtle difference I suppose but an important one. I mean I suppose the Dems could put together a BS proposal like the GOP did during ACA but since it will go nowhere and is more about posturing than reality I am not sure that will help. When the GOP wants to make a deal like the Dems begged to on the ACA let me know, until then it is “my ideological extreme or bite me” and I find it comic that people think that will work.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Am I the only person that finds this all rather funny???

  • SteveinCH

    Sure the GOP can make a deal like the Dems did on the ACA. It would go like this.

    GOP: We’re going to turn Medicare into a voucher system. Would you like to sign on to how we do that?

    Dems: Are you crazy? Medicare should not be a voucher program. We want no part of that.

    GOP: See, the Dems have no interest in making a deal.

    Something like that.

    And btw, I find this very funny. The short answer is nobody knows what will happen in 18 months and anyone pretending to is full of manure. The same was true when Brown was elected although at least that was 40 percent or so closer to the actual election.


    Those corrections will require creativity, honesty, and compassion though

    The last of those most of all, imo. Compassion? Pretty much a dead letter in contemporary politics.


  • ShannonLeee

    So I am still trying to understand how tax cuts for the rich…which is part of the Ryan plan…is going to balance our budget?

  • SteveinCH

    And I am still trying to understand the factual basis for the tax cuts for the rich accusation. Do you know what effective tax rates will be under the Ryan budget? If so, can you post the assessment?

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    From David Stockman former Reagan budget director

    “I think both parties are delusional in thinking that this is a long-run problem. The Ryan plan gets the balanced budget in 2030, the fiscal hereafter. We have a here-and-now problem,” Stockman said. “Now, what does Ryan do in the next two or three years? Nothing. He cuts $600 (billion) or $700 billion of spending, mostly from a small part of the budget, discretionary and the safety net, leaves Medicare totally untouched for three years, leaves Social Security totally untouched for 10 years, leaves defense totally untouched for the next three years, and then, after cutting that small amount, gives it all back by extending all the Bush tax cuts that we can’t afford. … In three years, he does not cut one dime from the debt.”

    Ryans plan kicks the can down the road until around 2030 so we can keep all of the Bush tax cuts permanently. The tax rates will be as they are now, and we cant afford that. We especially cant afford that if we have to on the double quick start gutting programs…fairy dust.

  • SteveinCH

    And your preferred solution MSF?

    I agree the Ryan plan doesn’t do enough fast enough. It is still the best bill that has been passed on that score. We both favor a variant of Bowles-Simpson (although my variant would require substantial savings in Medicare). Too bad Ryan’s the only politician to table a plan that does anything

    Taking him to task for not doing enough soon enough is fine. Of course, you should be taking the Dems to task as well but somehow that equivalence seems to escape you.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Ryan should have made a clean bill, meaning focusing on the cuts and changes and left the Bush tax cuts out of the mix. This would have made the bill more difficult to malign but instead his ideology got the best of him. When the Dems move to an extremist remedy I will go after them, currently they are not offering up anything. I will be happy to laugh at them if they pull a Ryan though and try to “fix” the problem by creating something that gives them everything that their ideological blinders adore and cutting everything that offends them all while raising taxes to the sky on just top earners. So far the Dems are, and have, avoided doing something that extreme and the GOP has embraced it. I am screaming not for a D or an R idea but one for those in the middle which neither the R’s nor the D’s seem to have any interest in doing but of course its election season. We will not see anything sane until 2013 and if it happens then it will happen because both parties think they will have political cover.

    If you think I should embrace the Ryan plan merely because it exists will you feel the same if an equivalently ideological liberal bill is introduced once Ryans is pronounced DOA?

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    To say it plainly Ryans plan is akin to the Dems ACA package actually being a fully socialized system, which it was not, and then demanding that the GOP support it because that is all there was. The GOP would have used that as a club to beat them with in the PR wars and rightly so and the same goes for Ryans plan. He could have avoided the PR debacle but he wanted the entire GOP ideology in a single bill and he crafted a bill that got rather close to that goal and is now crying that people see it for what it is.

  • JSpencer

    Compassion? Pretty much a dead letter in contemporary politics. ~ Kathy K.

    I think it’s a little more dead on one side of the aisle than the other. 😉

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