Monday, May 23, 2011


Politico tells us today that Republicans always knew that the evisceration of Medicare in the Ryan budget plan was extremely risky for them politically, yet they went ahead with it. A lo of people seem to think that they should have known they couldn't get away with it. John Cole:

No one could have predicted that 4 trillion in tax cuts for the rich while gutting Medicare and doing nothing to balance the budget would have been unpopuar with the public. It’s a mystery!


Any political observer with even a modicum of sense could see that the Ryan Plan was going to be a complete disaster. And most of us have been wondering ever since what the hell made them go for it.

I haven't been wondering. To me, the only wonderment is that Republicans don't seem to be getting away with it.

Yes, I know: Politico says their spin doctors could never figure out how to sell it:

No matter how favorably pollsters with the Tarrance Group or other firms spun the bill in their pitch -- casting it as the only path to saving the beloved health entitlement for seniors -- the Ryan budget's approval rating barely budged above the high 30s or its disapproval below 50 percent, according to a Republican operative familiar with the presentation.

But I'm sure they were amazed that they had to work hard to spin it at all. From the beginning they had a significant portion of the mainstream press on their side, and I'm sure they expected the Democratic reaction to be what it usually is when they propose some bit of craziness and all unite around it: fear, disagreement, lousy messaging on the part of opponents, and plenty of support from Blue Dogs and others. I'm sure they thought the White House would do what it usually does and come around to the notion that the GOP proposal had to be "the basis for any serious negotiations," because Ben Nelson and Olympia Snowe said so, as did David Brooks.

At that point, Paul Krugman and Rachel Maddow and a few liberal newspaper editorial boards and even the AARP could howl all they want, and no one would care. No one would care about the facts. Republicans would have created their own reality yet again, a reality in which this simply had to be done, and we'd all be living in that reality.

The only way Republicans could have lost on this was if Democrats united and fought back? How likely was that? Not very. Nevertheless, it happened.

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