Sunday, April 17, 2011

Two Remarks on the Politics of the Budget Debate

1. A milestone in Machiavellianism? We may have just seen the birth of the "open-mike fake." Obama had his supposedly private comments to supporters picked up Thursday and reported on ABC. What did he say? Did he reveal that he really does hate whites, or that Joe Biden is a pain in the neck? No. Here's some of it:

"Eliminating the health care bill would cost us $1 trillion. It would add $1 trillion to the deficit. So when Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, he's just being America's accountant and trying to, you know, be responsible, this is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill -- but wasn't paid for. So it's not on the level. And we’ve got to keep on, you know, keep on shining a light on that.”

Any suggestions about how to "shine a light on that?" No? Boy, is his face red.

2. Catch 22. Imagine you run away in battle, and then find, not only that everyone is admiring your courage, but that the enemy keeps firing at you. What can you do? You can't very well shout, with everyone looking at you, "Hey! Stop shooting! I'm running away!"

This must be about how Paul Ryan feels now. He crafts his Medicare plan to make sure it's not political suicide, by making sure it doesn't affect anyone over 55. Granted, he's open to attack on the grounds that he's helping future generations by keeping them from getting Medicare, indeed any guaranteed health insurance at all (and let's not even mention education or infrastructure). But at least you keep from being lynched by panicky seniors.

Only it turns out seniors are panicking anyway. No wonder Ryan is so ticked off about misrepresentations of the plan. Now Republicans  have to go back to their districts and say to seniors, "Don't worry. You're OK. It's only your children and grandchildren who will suffer." Relax! We're just as cowardly as anyone else!

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