Oh my: New Romney ad hits Obama on … Medicare

posted at 8:01 pm on August 14, 2012 by Allahpundit

A lesson learned the hard way after weeks and weeks of anti-Bain attacks: If you’re not playing offense, you’re playing defense. And Mitt can’t afford to play defense on an issue as toxic as Medicare. As Rick Wilson put it, “The more we’re up in their grill, the less they can lie and demagogue.”

Looks like this will be part of a sustained, and welcome, push to neutralize the Democrats’ entitlements scaremongering. We don’t have to “win” this argument, exactly; a mere stalemate would demoralize the left given their eagerness to demagogue the issue. But winning would be nice. Romney, on the stump today in Ohio:

“There’s another promise he made. You know that every time you get a paycheck you see there’s a deduction there. It’s going to Medicare. It’s going into a trust account to make sure that when you retire, that there’s a health program there that will care for you. One of the things the President did which I find extraordinary, something he never mentioned when he was running for office. You see, when he ran for office, he said he’d protect Medicare. But did you know that he’s taken $716 billion out of the Medicare trust fund. He’s raided that trust fund. And you know what he did with it? He’s used it to pay for Obamacare, a risky, unproven federal government takeover of health care. And if I’m President of the United States, we’re putting the $716 billion back.”

Guy Benson recommends this post from Yuval Levin yesterday at the Corner arguing that the GOP should welcome a Medicare debate for precisely this reason. It’s not merely that Medicare will go bust in a few years if the Democrats’ 59-point plan to do nothing whatsoever about it is put in place. It’s that The One’s already stripped Medicare in order to fund his new pet boondoggle, which gives Republicans plenty of political cover to be aggressive on this issue — provided that they talk about it the right way. If they don’t, major backfire. Philip Klein explains:

[W]hile it’s tempting to attack Obama on this point, the danger is that it could turn the race into a finger-pointing match about who wants to cut Medicare more. This would reinforce the third-rail status of a program that’s desperately in need of an overhaul.

In 2010, back when Republicans were highlighting Obama’s Medicare cuts during the midterm elections, Ryan acknowledged, “We have to be careful about how we use our rhetoric so we don’t dig ourselves into an unsustainable fiscal path.”

The clear difference between Obama’s and Ryan’s approaches is that Obama would use the savings from Medicare cuts to pay for an entirely separate $1.7 trillion health care entitlement. Ryan, on the other hand, would use the savings to rescue Medicare and put it on a sustainable fiscal path. Obama’s law creates a new bureaucracy of 15 unelected officials to dictate how money should be spent, whereas Ryan’s proposal is aimed at giving seniors more control over those dollars.

Yeah, the greatest virtue of picking Ryan as VP is that it mainstreams the idea of entitlement reform in an unprecedented way. (The greatest risk of picking Ryan as VP is that, if Romney loses, it could scare all but the most committed fiscal conservatives in Congress away from entitlement reform for years to come.) If Republican candidates jump up and down in indignation that O would dare lay a finger on Medicare, it undermines the grand project of convincing the public that the program shouldn’t be sacrosanct. The problem with Obama’s Medicare gambit isn’t that he messed with it, it’s that he messed with it in order to make it even weaker and less solvent than it was before. It needs to be messed with; convince the public of that and you’re over the hump in convincing them that letting Romney/Ryan mess with it will make it sustainable long-term.

You know who I bet feels kind of awkward this week? This guy. Exit quotation from Ryan in his first solo interview as VP nominee: “President Obama is actually damaging Medicare for current seniors. It’s irrefutable. And that’s why I think this is a debate we want to have, and that’s a debate we’re going to win.”

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Good points ajacksonian, Zomcom.

Trolls, anyone want a serious discussion about the debt?



itsspideyman on August 15, 2012 at 9:10 AM

A new Congressional Budget Office (July 24, 2012) report updated the amount of money Obamacare robs out of Medicare from $500 billion to a whopping $716 billion between 2013 and 2022.

According to the CBO, the payment cuts in Medicare include:

A $260 billion payment cut for hospital services.
A $39 billion payment cut for skilled nursing services.
A $17 billion payment cut for hospice services.
A $66 billion payment cut for home health services.
A $33 billion payment cut for all other services.
A $156 billion cut in payment rates in Medicare Advantage (MA); $156 billion is before considering interactions with other provisions. The House Ways and Means Committee was able to include interactions with other provisions, estimating the cuts to MA to be even higher, coming in at $308 billion.


pastselldate on August 15, 2012 at 9:22 AM

No, the federal government picked up the slack.


ddrintn on August 14, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Not in the same way.

Mitt did not distress an automatic withholding account champ….

“oops” yeah just like it….

“State” really IS different than federal….

“I had to work with my political opponents in our Legislature, how’d you do on that front Barack?”

harlekwin15 on August 14, 2012 at 10:32 PM

So we’re back to the same old excuses. LOL State vs federal, poor ol’ super-effective Mitt had to work with a lib legislature, blahblahblah…

Romney can’t attack Obama on O-Care. This isn’t offense on the part of Romney, it’s still playing defense by playing offense in a pre-emptive attempt to cover a weakness. Genius, right.

LOL, the GOP candidate is running as the guardian of the Welfare State. Courageous, Mitt!

The Democrats will outpander you every. Single. Time. Wasted energy.


Ironic, coming from someone who worships the Queen of Wasilla who signed “Earned Income Tax Credit Day” into law, lol.

Gollee, if I were a conservative right now I’d feel a bit duped.

xblade on August 15, 2012 at 5:02 AM

When you have no argument, drag in Palin right on cue, lol.

Romp in the hay. ROFL…

ddrintn on August 14, 2012 at 10:23 PM

yeah, like get laid already…he was being nice, little did he know that you had gave up all hope on that front after l’il Mary rejected you in front of everybody who was riding the school bus that day…oh, well…

jimver on August 15, 2012 at 4:08 AM

‘gave up hope’ that us…

jimver on August 15, 2012 at 4:09 AM

You mean a bunch of dorky ‘bots who hang out in here 24/7 defending a square-ass squish against the criticisms of the “worshipers” of the purdy woman are going to give sexual advice? ROFL…

And I think you mean “gave up hope” that IS.

ddrintn on August 15, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Love a substantive discussion of the issues……

itsspideyman on August 15, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Pic of the Day: You Don’t Thank The Clown At The Drive-Thru


M2RB: Pennywise, The Dancing Clown

Resist We Much on August 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Love a substantive discussion of the issues……

itsspideyman on August 15, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Hey, I tried. But if you say anything other than “Romney and Ryan are geniuses and they are going to kick ass!!!!!” you get a load of ad hominem.

ddrintn on August 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

“Ending Medicare ‘as we know it'”.
1. “Medicare
as we know it“(e.g. the current system) is circling the drain. It will go bankrupt — soon. This is universally acknowledged.
2. There is not enough money in the universe to save Medicare as we know it. Also pretty much universally acknowledged.
3. Not as universally acknowledged, but I believe has always been proven correct: Price controls never work (in the long term). The ‘fix’ that Obama (and many other Dems and Republicans) have proposed is simply paying providers less for the same services, in effect price controls. Hasn’t worked yet, don’t believe it ever will.
So, something has to change, therefore ending “Medicare as we know it” before it ends itself (completely). To save it, you have to change it! (Duh!) I don’t see how it can be any more obvious than that!

John_W on August 15, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Mediscare and SS are both ponzi schemes. They should be ended. Why should I have to pay for OTHER people’s healthcare?

Why are Ryan/Romney playing this game..why don’t they just come out and say it. Us younger folk know we aren’t going to get it when we retire…why should we pay in?


nazo311 on August 15, 2012 at 2:19 PM

The poster up above about their 80 year old relative with the expensive blood thinner medicine – they get it – IPAB will cancel that treatment stat. And it stands to reason that they will also eventually force docs into euthanasia on older patients as we see in some european countries.

Zomcon JEM on August 15, 2012 at 9:00 AM

This is an outrage. Let the people know.

anotherJoe on August 15, 2012 at 6:47 PM