Ryan's plan: A long-term gamble for the GOP

[I]n GOP circles, the plan is still powerful. Newt Gingrich, notes my conservative source, proved this inadvertently when he denounced the plan two weeks ago. “It’s awfully hard for a dead plan to kill a presidential candidate, but that’s what happened,” says this person. “It’s not dead. It’s all anyone is talking about.” …

[T]he vast majority of Republicans run in safe districts and states. They’re going to stand by it. There will likely be no Medicare deal before next year’s election—the issue is handier for both sides as a political football. So that means negotiations might not get serious until 2013. Assuming a reelected President Obama and a GOP House and (as most people think) a GOP Senate, that will mean that this dead plan will have plenty of supporters when it counts—in Washington, if not in the country at large. Democrats who want to protect Medicare had better keep this long game in mind. Republicans are.

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