At the beginning of last week, the commentariat was in raptures over the Serious, Courageous, Game-Changing Ryan plan. But now that the plan has been exposed as the cruel nonsense it is, what we’re hearing a lot about is the need for more civility in the discourse. President Obama did a bad thing by calling cruel nonsense cruel nonsense; he hurt Republican feelings, and how can we have a deal when the GOP is feeling insulted? What we need is personal outreach; let’s do lunch!
Here’s what strikes me: you’ve got Democrats correctly saying that Republicans just voted to end Medicare and the Republican response is “Obama is mean to us” and “everybody has to feel the pain.”
Who wins that message war? I know they’ve got the media cheering them on, but if it’s Paul Ryan’s fee-fees versus your medical bills, what do you think most people are going to choose?
Republicans have a huge media advantage, obviously. They’ve got Fox, they’ve got radio, and in this case they’ve got the Village cheering them on too. This reminds me of impeachment a bit, where the Beltway and right-wing media have one point of view and nearly everyone else has another.
I hope discussion of abolishing Medicare lasts. There’s no reason it should in a sane world, but with Cassius Cantor pushing it and the media cheering it, maybe it will. I sure hope it does, at least until November 2012.