The thing with repackaging a bad idea is that it’s still a bad idea. The Republican Party recognizes that it is facing stiff, possibly fatal opposition from liberals and progressives as well as from some of their own party over the Medicare issue. Not only did the Senate vote fail 40 to 57, but five Republicans defected:
- Scott Brown
- Susan Collins
- Lisa Murkowski
- Rand Paul
- Olympia Snowe
Four of these Republicans voted against the bill – and this is significant – because they said it went too far; only one (Rand Paul) said it did not go far enough.
Sadly, Dick Lugar, after talking big about standing up to the Tea Party, caved and voted with his party’s extremists, abandoning any claim to a moderate position.
But even four is big in the wake of Democrat Kathy Hochul’s victory over Republican Jane Corwin in a “safe” New York District, a battle which centered around the Republican approach to Medicare.
But rather than recognizing why they are facing that opposition – namely that it’s a bad idea – they are pushing ahead with it, coming to the conclusion instead that all that they need to do is do a better job of selling the idea.
But it will remain a bad idea. Let’s be clear: they are not changing the idea itself. And rephrasing the eradication of Medicare will still mean the eradication of Medicare, a fact of which voters are by now well aware, as evidenced by Hochul’s victory.
It makes you wonder what, precisely, the GOP thinks they’re going to accomplish by this choice of tactics. We’re well aware by now that Republicans think they make their own reality. Maybe they think they make our own reality as well. Now that we’re on to them, that’s not as likely as it once was. We can keep up with them now. We recognize that such mundane things as facts, reason, logic, etc, don’t mean much to them. We recognize that they won’t argue the issue but will resort instead of ad hominem attacks, attacking the source rather than the argument.
They can’t make a valid argument as to why gays and lesbians should be deprived of the rights every heterosexual American enjoys, so they resort instead to the “ gay agenda” meme, arguing that homosexuals are trying to destroy American values, and marriage, and to recruit our children into some sort of dark cult akin to bestiality and the Black Death. They can’t make a valid reason why Medicare should go, especially while they’re handing our tax dollars hand over fist to the oil companies who are already recording record profits while they gouge us at the gas pumps, so they don’t try.
And all too predictably, the party of demagoguery and dishonesty has resorted to calling Democrats the demagogues and liars. Witness Paul Ryan, prime culprit in the Great GOP Medicare Misstep and still smarting from the loss in New York, speaking to CNN:
“If you’re willing to lie and demagogue Medicare and scare seniors, then yeah, they have a political weapon.”
And he should know since those are exactly the tactics he and his party have used throughout this battle. Amazingly, Ryan says,
“Americans want the truth. They want facts. And so we have a year and half to get the truth out. Our budget’s so clear. It doesn’t change benefits for people over the age of 55 and it saves Medicare for the next generation.”
The trouble is, they won’t get it from Paul Ryan and the Republican Party. And the American people now recognize this after drinking the Kool Aid in 2010. The American voter has seen the alternative. They have seen in Wisconsin and Michigan and Ohio and Indiana what a Republican America would look like.
Surely the Republicans see this. But apparently they don’t. A Florida Republican, freshman Allen West, says much the same thing as Ryan (must be in the GOP’s Big Book of Lies and Demagoguery):
“The other side has done a good job of demagoguing something when we should probably do a little bit better job of marketing the message and getting it out there.”
So now telling the truth is demagoguing. How warped reality has become for the invent-your-own reality crowd!
The thing is, guys, you’ve done a bang-up job of marketing. But the facts don’t support your efforts. It’s like trying to sell the idea that the sun is blue and the sky yellow. What’s that expression from the McCain-Palin campaign? A pig with lipstick? I think that applies.
Michael Moore had the right idea, appearing on the Lawrence O’Donnell show:
The proposal that Democrat should refuse to deal with Republicans until they “Act Like a Sane Person” has merit. After all, isn’t it insane to blame Democrats for the failure of a really bad idea? Shouldn’t it occur to them that maybe they’re to blame? The American people can smell a crap sandwich when it’s offered to them. Who is to blame?
Let’s look at it another way. A person makes a crap sandwich and tries to sell it to another person as a steak sandwich. Who is to blame? The bystander who says, “Hey, wait, that’s a crap sandwich! Don’t eat that!” or the person who offered the crap sandwich on the pretense that it was steak?
I think the answer is obvious, and maybe we shouldn’t expect an ideologue to get it.