Democrats are celebrating
their victory yesterday in the special election in New York’s 26th congressional district by touting it as a repudiation of House budget committee chair Paul Ryan’s proposal for Medicare reform.
Never mind that, as in NY-23 in 2009, Democrats needed a three-way race to win. Never mind that, also as in NY-23 in 2009, they needed one of those three candidates to be a second Democrat in disguise.
They’re not just proud of taking a Republican seat; they’re proudly claiming that they have made Medicare reform the “third rail” of American politics, together with Social Security.
Never mind that Ryan’s reforms poll better among seniors than any other age group
. Never mind that Ryan’s proposals would not affect anyone over 55 years old--except by making sure Medicare is still there for them
by the time they reach their 70s.
Convicted tax cheat and fraudster Robert Creamer, who is helping to lead Democrats’ Mediscare campaign, taunts Republicans in today’s Huffington Post
, reminding them that it’s tough to get people to give up an entitlement once they depend on it. He predicts that Obamacare will last for the same reason, and that the GOP will be stuck arguing for “a society based on social Darwinism” where “we’re all in this alone.”
Creamer’s wrong about what NY-26 means for 2012--just like he was wrong about the 2010 elections, when he declared before Election Day that “Democrats will keep control of the House
.” Candidates that have used Creamer’s scare tactics have often come to regret it--like Democrat Dan Seals in IL-10, for instance, who was up by 13%
before taking Creamer’s advice and launching attack ads about Social Security
before losing to Bob Dold
Creamer always predicts victory in hyperbolic terms because he believes that “[i]f we act like winners, we’ll win.
” He tries to appeal to primitive psychological instincts--and he is proud of it, just as he was proud to tell Democrats to use “fear, revulsion, anger, [and] disgust
” in selling Obamacare. He doesn’t care about the consequences, to our politics and our finances, of misleading, demonizing, and scaring people. He just wants to win.
He won’t--if Republicans find the courage to defend their ideas.
Ryan has responded with an excellent new video about Medicare
. Yet facts alone won’t win. Last year, when Ryan pointed out the false accounting in Obamacare, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz replied
that as a breast cancer survivor, she didn’t care to get “in the weeds” with Ryan--she was just glad “being born a woman” would no longer be a “preexisting condition.”
Nor is it enough to tell Americans the hard truths. Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has launched the “adult conversation” on our nation’s budget that President Barack Obama claims
he wants to have (and has done everything to avoid). Pawlenty told an audience in Iowa that he opposes ethanol subsidies
, for example, and told seniors in Florida about the urgent need to reform Medicare and Social Security
. But “straight talk” didn’t work for John McCain in 2008, and it won’t be enough in 2012.
Republicans need more than truth to overcome the seductive power of identity politics and the primitive propaganda of Creamer and the left.
We need a proud, positive vision of what freedom does for the individual and for society, in the spirit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refreshing defense of liberty in Congress yesterday.
In short, we don’t need better budget proposals. (Democrats are certainly in no hurry to provide theirs.) We need the courage to turn the “third rail” of American politics into an ambitious debate about the future of freedom in America.
Let the Democrats celebrate their own cynicism in NY-26. The party that claims to love public transportation has forgotten that that the third rail is the one that gets the train to where it’s going.