So to the chagrin of their corporate overlords and insurance company masters, the Republicans are backing away, notes The New York Times:
While top Republicans insisted that they remained committed to the Medicare initiative, which had become the target of intense attacks by Democrats and liberal groups in recent weeks, the lawmaker who would have to turn the proposal into legislation said he had no plans to do so any time soon.Now, I'm happy that Republicans are admitting that it's Democrats who want to save Medicare, but I don't think it's Democratic opposition that is making it pointless to proceed. After all, following the same logic, an attempted repeal of health reform would also be "pointless" since Democrats, including President Obama, would never let it happen, but that didn't stop the Teapublicans in the House from passing a bill doing exactly that. And oh, they can squeal all they want, but they can't get away from their record. House Republicans are on the record voting for RyanCare.
The lawmaker, Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said that while he still supports the party’s Medicare approach, opposition from Democrats made it pointless to proceed.
Their own constituents are abandoning them. It kind of all started here. President Obama took on Paul Ryan's plan, and exposed it for what it is: a scam on the American people to end the basic social compact that Americans have built for ourselves. The President went after Ryan's plan to end Medicare as we know it, and pointed out that Ryan's tax cuts for the average millionaire is paid for by asking 33 seniors to each pay $6,000 extra in health costs. Every year. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee followed up with this ad, making individual Republicans' votes to end Medicare front and center:
And so, things like this started happening:
Hoo, boy. Not good. And then, it started hurting their electoral chances. In deep blood-red districts, big leads are vanishing right in front of the eyes of RyanCare supporting candidates.
- Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) sparred with a woman who wanted to know why he voted to "abolish Medicare," to which Meehan stumbled around saying he didn't vote to abolish Medicare, but voted for a blueprint to abolish Medicare.
- Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) got drilled with question after question about voting for Ryan's budget. "It's important to speak with people who disagree with me," Bass said, presumably because, otherwise, he wouldn't have anyone to talk to at all.
- Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL), after failing to make it through his opening remarks and parrying broadsides aimed at his Medicare couponization stance, retreated to the GOP's tried-and-true tax cut pitch. He told the crowd if corporations didn't get ever larger tax subsidies they'd say, "Fine, I'll take my jobs overseas." The crowd responded by yelling "Let them leave!"
- Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) found out getting by on his measly $174,000-a-year was getting harder all the time with constituents yelling at him about supporting Medicare couponization. Duffy tried to say Ryan's coupon plan wasn't a coupon plan, but rather "premium support." The crowd wasn't buying what he was selling.
- Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) told folks in Carbon County he wanted to let people get things off their chests, and quickly discovered the crowd had plenty on their chests to get off. The townfolk accused Barletta of voting to destroy Medicare, to which Barletta replied, "I won't destroy Medicare. Medicare is going to be destroyed by itself." The scene degenerated into a shouting match.
- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the grand poohbah of Medicare couponization and tax cuts for the rich, ran into a bit of a buzz saw from folks who took exception to being condemned to death should they, as seniors, be unable to come up with upwards of 70% of their health care costs while Ryan's plutocrat overlords sipped champagne and nibbled caviar.
Thus, retreat. Throwing a bone to their crazy base, "See, we really wanted to end Medicare, but the Democrats won't let us." President Obama picked this fight very carefully. And once he picked it, he pounced on it. The DCCC joined him and made life difficult for Republican members of Congress. Harry Reid is threatening to call the Senate Republicans' bluff on it. Let's be sure about something. Had President Obama not taken the lead on this and made the choice crystal clear - ending Medicare and making 33 seniors each pay $6000 extra a year in health care in order to fund enormous tax breaks for millionaires - we quite likely today would be talking now about whether we end Medicare but how quickly. Instead now, the Republicans are falling over themselves to run away from their own plan.
This event should, beyond any shed of doubt, demonstrate President Obama's commitment to America's social compact in the form of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It should end, right now, silly, cynical, lying allegations from the poutragists pretending to be on the left, to the effect that Barack Obama is trying to gut those social safety nets. It should also end, once and for all, all whining and moaning from the Professional Left that the President isn't willing to fight. President Obama is willing to fight to protect progressive priorities, and win.
But of course, it won't. It won't stop the whining and moaning just like bin Laden's death didn't stop the likes of Michael Moore - the expert in Navy SEAL operations that he is - from waxing poetic about how bin Laden should have been arrested and tried instead. Just like the birther crowd did not shut up now that both a short form and a long form birth certificate has been produced for President Obama. Just like passing the most significant financial reform netted a whining chorus of "not strong enough." Just like health reform - something presidents and Congresses have failed to do for generations - got a handwringing and "public opshun!!!!" screamfests.
Or maybe this achievement by President Obama and the Democrats and the total and embarrassing defeat of the Republican budget and RyanCare just months after a GOP electoral triumph will get the same reception by the whiny Left as things like children's health insurance expansion, credit card reform, student loan reform, and the President's NLRB vigilantly enforcing the law and protecting the rights of labor to organize. Which is to say it won't get any attention at all from the fauxgressive media. In fact, I have been checking the major Professional Left blogosphere for featured stories on this, and it's just not there, or, when mentioned, mentioned in the frame that the Republicans aren't really retreating - you know, lest any credit be laid at the feet of Congressional Democrats and President Obama. I mean, when your goal is to become the Fox News of the Left and not advance the progressive agenda, you can't expect much else.