Via Think Progress. I can’t tell: Is he seriously suggesting that America should postpone the great entitlement debate until Democrats warm to the idea of it? Or is he being sarcastic and goofing on Obama’s utter, disgraceful abdication of leadership on reforming mandatory spending? If only we had more farsighted, take-charge visionaries like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
But I digress. Is he right?
The [CNN] poll indicates that 58 percent of the public opposes the Republican plan on Medicare, with 35 percent saying they support the proposal. The survey’s Wednesday release comes as the president met with House Republicans to discuss, among other things, Medicare reform…
“Half of those we questioned say that the country would be worse off under the GOP Medicare proposals and 56 percent think that GOP plan would be bad for the elderly,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Opposition is highest among senior citizens, at 74 percent, suggesting that seniors are most worried about changes to Medicare even if those changes are presented as ones that would not affect existing Medicare recipients.”
“A majority of all demographic groups don’t favor the GOP Medicare proposals,” Holland adds. “That includes conservatives – 54 percent of them don’t like the plan. As a result, rank-and-file Republicans are split right down the middle, with 48 percent favoring the GOP plan and 50 percent opposed.”
It’s a poll of adults so the partisan split is anyone’s guess, but those conservative and Republican numbers are alarming. Nate Silver also has an analysis worth reading about the extent to which the public’s mind has been made up about Ryan’s budget. The result in NY-26 isn’t a guarantee of doom across the board next year, but if you assume that voters there were paying closer attention to the Medicare debate than the national public is — which, given the intensity of the election, seems like a safe bet — then the GOP has a stark choice. Either it can throw everything it has into selling entitlement reform to the public and try to change opinion before it calcifies, or it can pivot away and start hammering on jobs to the exclusion of everything else — which, given the hideous economic data of late, it may be forced to do anyway. It’s one thing to spend your time focused on an issue that’s of secondary importance to the public vis-a-vis unemployment (see, e.g., ObamaCare), it’s another to spend your time focused on an issue that actually frightens the public when it’s worried about the economy instead.
Whichever way Republicans go, it’s a comfort to know that the Democratic brain trust seems pretty happy with its “do nothing and let entitlements implode” plan for the next decade. They’ll have lots of fun implementing that with their new majority. Here’s to Medicare reform, one way or another.