Another Village-sanctioned political disaster

Paul Krugman rightly mocks Bobo:

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.






73 replies
  1. 1
    MikeJ says:

    Every time Ryan whines, all I see is Newt.

  2. 2
    OzoneR says:

    but if it’s Paul Ryan’s fee-fees versus your medical bills, what do you think most people are going to choose?

    why Paul Ryan’s fee-fees of course…why? Well the nice lady on TV told me he was serious and that black man was being mean to him.

  3. 3
    TheOtherWA says:

    My new rep is quoted in today’s paper:

    Herrera Beutler disagreed that the plan would create a voucher system. “It’s premium support,” she said — similar to today’s Medicare Advantage plans and the health coverage members of Congress enjoy, which allow them to choose from a range of plans that fit their needs.
    {snip}
    However, a 2009 report to Congress by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission found that the federal government pays private insurance companies on average 14 percent more for providing coverage to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries than it would pay for the same beneficiary in the traditional Medicare program.
    The commission also found that seniors often end up spending more out-of-pocket under Medicare Advantage plans, and that the higher payments do not lead to a higher level of care.

    Please keep trying to kill Medicare, it will make the 2012 elections sooooo pretty.

  4. 4
    Ajay says:

    I think you are too optimistic regarding the lasting impact of this. A vast majority forgot the destructive years under Bush and voted the same party in power with a sweeping majority in couple of years.

    Given that, I fully suspect come election time, the media narrative to be that Dems are against strengthening Medicare while Rs are going to give out $15k to old people and are against Tax cuts.

    Majority of us are very ill-informed and will stay so..

  5. 5
    Josie says:

    Cassius Cantor–I really like that and will steal it forthwith.

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    Also, as Krugman notes, there’s a rather sharp note of hypocrisy about their whining. Death Panels, Soshalism, “You Lie!”, etc. etc. seem to be all fine and A OK, but heavens forbid that the target of all that rhetoric say something unkind about them!

    They can dish it out, but they sure as hell don’t like taking it.

    dms

  7. 7
    SFAW says:

    They can dish it out, but they sure as hell don’t like taking it.

    As Aeschylus or someone else once wrote:

    Same as it ever was, same as it ever was,
    Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

  8. 8
    bemused says:

    R’s going on and on that their feelings are really, really hurt is hysterically funny. I’ve taken it for granted that it’s typical political games but then I look at the very earnest Ryan and a few other republican ideologues and I wonder. They take themselves and their fantastical visions so seriously that I wonder if some of them are truly hurt and stunned that everyone not only doesn’t see their brilliance but heaps ridicule upon them.

  9. 9
    kdaug says:

    @SFAW: Oh, well. The parking lot may be covered with daisies, but it’s still my beautiful wife.

  10. 10
    catclub says:

    @bemused: So what they are saying is that NOW empathy is needed and a good thing.

  11. 11
    SFAW says:

    but it’s still my beautiful wife.

    That is NOT your beautiful wife. (Nor your beautiful house, either.)

  12. 12
    SFAW says:

    So what they are saying is that NOW empathy is needed and a good thing.

    Sorry for being a pedant, but I think “sympathy” is a more appropriate word.

  13. 13
    kdaug says:

    @SFAW: Oh, yes it is. I can tell by the yelling.

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The sooner David Brook’s broken, wetsuit clad body is found lying in a pool of blood in a back alley somewhere, the better.

  15. 15
    SFAW says:

    Oh, yes it is. I can tell by the yelling.

    Good point, I can hear her from all the way over here.

  16. 16
    JCT says:

    @dmsilev: Hypocrisy? Whoa, now, surely you jest.

    Death Panels, Soshalism, “You Lie!”, etc. etc. seem to be all fine and A OK, but heavens forbid that the target of all that rhetoric say something unkind about them!

    No, no, don’t you see, all of that “you lie” etc., stuff was TRUE, therefore it is A-OK. Obama was telling real LIES about them, therefore it is mean and unfair.

    OK, I need a shower now.

  17. 17
    SFAW says:

    The sooner David Brook’s broken, wetsuit clad body

    I thought we had determined he was asexual, not weirdosexual. Or did I miss that discussion (i.e. re: weirdosexual)?

  18. 18
    Yutsano says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The sooner David Brook’s broken, wetsuit clad body is found lying in a pool of blood in a back alley somewhere, the better.

    The FSM doesn’t lurve me enough for this to happen. But at least we can deport both him and Frum back to Canada.

  19. 19
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    My mom is retired and receives social security benefits and Medicare. She’s registered as an Independent but tends to vote for Democrats. She called me up about Paul Ryan’s plan the other day and went on for almost half an hour in fury. What struck me was: (1) I didn’t have to tell her about it (usually I’m the one who calls her to talk about what’s going on politically), and (2) she’s started watching Rachel Maddow (she once told me that Maddow’s tone had a tinge of “hysteria” that she could not abide). Her retired friends can’t believe the Ryan plan either – and what’s more, they don’t buy the “it won’t affect you, just the people after you” bit. They have been paying attention to Wisconsin and Ohio and they don’t like what they see.

  20. 20
    kdaug says:

    @SFAW:

    I will be dead before dawn if she sees this, but I’m gonna go there anyway:

    Here’s a close approximation.

    Beautiful little angel, isn’t she?

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    @TheOtherWA: Well, starting this year, the Part C payments start getting dialed back to 100% of Medicare, so the extra payment is going away. Further, HHS has dumped a lot of shitty Part C plans and required better coverage from the remaining Part C plans for the lower payment. So, Part C plans will start looking more and more like (in services and costs) as Part A/B plans.

    That said, all of this is possible thanks to PPACA, which Ryan wants to repeal, so who knows what the fuck we’d end up with if their budget was enacted in full. My reading of his plan, however, is that the voucher system won’t be as tightly regulated as Part C is. It’ll be more like what PPACA does for low-income people meeting the mandate before they hit Medicare.

  22. 22
    bemused says:

    @catclub:

    That is always the routine. From “The Republican Noise Machine”, Matt Labash revealed the republican hypocrisy game, “Criticize other people for not being objective. Be as subjective as you want. It’s a great little racket”.

    Randians like Paul Ryan play the racket to get their goals accomplished but I can’t help but think they do feel unappreciated and a little hurt for not being recognized as the grand visionaries they have no doubt they are.

  23. 23
    JCT says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The sooner David Brook’s broken, wetsuit clad body is found lying in a pool of blood in a back alley somewhere, the better.

    Don’t forget the dildoes.

    He is truly a waste of protoplasm.

  24. 24
    geg6 says:

    Any time the media and the wingnuts are whining about their hurt feefees is a good day for me and for Democrats. The last few times they did this, they lost elections in disastrous ways. The Goldwater campaign, 1995-6, 2006, the McCain campaign, all terrible losses for them, all characterized by massive amounts of lamentation by the GOPers about how mean Democrats are and how their feeeeeeelings are the most important thing evah. More important than the subjugation of an entire group of citizens based on their race, than shutting down the government in a picque, than going to war based on a lie and then mismanaging two wars while blowing up the idea of any sort of responsibilty on the part of our leaders, than blowing up the entire economy and then picking an insulting characature of what they imagined sheeplike women would fall for, regardless of her obvious grift and stupendous lack of knowledge and intellectual curiosity.

    I hope they whine, loudly and often, for the next two years. Their tears are sweet, sweet nectar to me.

  25. 25
    maya says:

    It’s hard to reach bi-partisian concensus when one party is obviously bipolar.

    And I still think we need to label the Bipolar Party as wanting to replace Medicare with Kochcare and any variations of it as Diet Kochcare.

  26. 26
    Triassic Sands says:

    …but if it’s Paul Ryan’s fee-fees versus your medical bills, what do you think most people are going to choose?

    Beats me. The American people aren’t exactly reliable or rational.

  27. 27
    Brachiator says:

    What we need is personal outreach; let’s do lunch!

    Things were so much simpler for someone like Rodrigo Borgia. Invite an opponent for dinner, have him poisoned, problem solved.

  28. 28
    WaterGirl says:

    @bemused:
    What happened to the meme “this is politics.. if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”? Now we’ve got a bunch of republican whiners. I guess the meme above is only relevant when we have a woman running for president.

    Edit:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):
    That story is very encouraging!

  29. 29
    bemused says:

    @Martin:

    In a previous thread I got a good laugh from reading your wife gets a lot of work (home assessment value) every time Kelsey Grammer marries or divorces. Now there’s an example of an actual republican job creator.

  30. 30

    I like how when Obama called for civility, it was after some people got shot, and he was attacked for politicizing events. When the right calls for civility, it’s because Paul Ryan’s fee-fees got hurt and he didn’t get invited to the White House to make s’mores with the president, and Obama gets attacked for politicizing events. We are fucking doomed.

  31. 31
    ppcli says:

    @Josie:

    Cassius Cantor—I really like that and will steal it forthwith.

    I quite agree – excellent labelling. He *does* have a lean and hungry look. Such men are dangerous.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t say that he thinks too much, nor that he reads much, nor that he is a great observer of men.

    But I must agree %100 with:

    he loves no plays,
    As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
    Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort
    As if he mock’d himself and scorn’d his spirit
    That could be moved to smile at any thing.
    Such men as he be never at heart’s ease
    Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
    And therefore are they very dangerous.

  32. 32
    bemused says:

    @WaterGirl:
    Everyone has to man up and take the political punches except for Republicans.

    Hearing Scarborough tsk, tsk Obama for “insulting” Ryan last week without a ounce of self awareness was kind of amazing. I shouldn’t be amazed but I never quite get used to them not knowing or caring they sound like asses.

  33. 33

    @kdaug:
    Would it be safe to call somebody who cares more about his precious feelings than the health of his constituents a psycho killer?

  34. 34
    Maude says:

    Voters don’t forget things like a political party trying to wipe out Medicare.
    The example is NJ’s Corzine raised the sales tax right after he was elected. It came back to bite him in his re election bid. Now we have Christie calling teacher unions thugs. Thanks Jon.

  35. 35
    Martin says:

    @bemused: Oh, yes. She works for someone who does estate appraisals mainly of celebrities. Really interesting stuff if you like art and jewelry and such because they can afford unique things, so you get to see stuff you’d never see in a store. (Ozzy’s collection was probably the most interesting.) But every marriage, divorce, house purchase, death, etc. means income. Oh, and every time there’s an earthquake or wildfire she gets wicked busy. Those suck (especially if its work because someone lost their home) but it wakes everyone up with the ‘oh, shit, I really ought to get this assessed for the insurance company’.

  36. 36
    Keith G says:

    Ajay is correct in noting:

    I think you are too optimistic regarding the lasting impact of this. A vast majority forgot the destructive years under Bush and voted the same party in power with a sweeping majority in couple of years.

    The GOP will not be hurt if we do not hurt them continually, no matter how long this plays out. By that I mean the Democrats using a more organized message coordination.

    The pointed comments coming from Obama this week need to be just a starter course. The press loved it and played it up. I hope the West Wing takes advantage of this new found dynamic

  37. 37
    patroclus says:

    Feelings. Nothing more than feelings. Trying to forget those feelings of love. Feelings. Whoa-oh-oh. Feelings.

  38. 38
    Martin says:

    Oh, and for the idiots standing up for their ‘liberal principles’ and bashing Obama for cutting Medicare to the tune of $500B, most of the savings happen by not overpaying insurance companies to the tune of 15%. And not only do they get paid 15% less, they’re mandated to give out free testing for certain high-cost problems that aren’t caught early like cancers, free generic drugs (to help offset a little bit of the Part D costs), and a bunch of other benefits to seniors. Expect the gym memberships to go away (yes, some Part C plans do that.) So they’re getting more *medical coverage* for less government spending.

    Real sell out, isn’t he?

  39. 39
    WaterGirl says:

    @Keith G: Can you say David Plouffe? I see his hand in all the recent stuff that has made me happy. Love it love it love it.

    The “accidental” comments at the fundraiser so the idiotic media would actually cover what he said, and then the follow-up comment by Obama: “That wasn’t a critique, it was a description”.

    I LOVE David Plouffe, and I love the grounding Plouffe brings to Obama whenever he is around.

  40. 40
    GregB says:

    The fuckeheads who couldn’t bring themselves to criticize Joe Wilson are now butt-hurt about a lack of cicility.

    Funny stuff.

  41. 41
    WaterGirl says:

    @Martin: I don’t say it enough; in fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever said it, but I very much appreciate your presence on BJ.

  42. 42
    Donut says:

    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.

    Absolutely share this hope, but feel like it’s already baked in the cake – meaing I am actually pretty confident that Democrats are starting to figure out how to fucking defend the ACA and Medicare at the same time. The Ryan plan gives them the framework. Obama certainly has figured it out. Hammered Ryan to his face earlier this week, the “open mic” incident, now the weekly address hammering the Ryan plan again. This, plus Wisconsin and other Midwestern states budget battles, are exactly the shots int he arm and kicks in the ass the Democrats need. Pelosi and Hoyer pulled off one fuck of a parliamentary trick yesterday and gave the Ryan plan zero votes.

    This is getting good y’all. Yeah, Democrats are what they are, so they will revert to circular firing squads at some point, but the last few days have had some great moments.

  43. 43
    Keith G says:

    @WaterGirl: That’s part of what was missing from Obama 1.0. There is a game to be played in ol’ D.C. and being pure of heart or having audacity of hope is not enough. It’s a slight variation of the saying:

    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.

    As Nancy Smash also demonstratd this week.

  44. 44
    Tom Q says:

    @Keith G: But don’t you think Obama gained from presenting that Face of Reasonableness for as long as he did? It reaped him enormous credit with that segment of independents who long for peaceful coexistence, and makes the current GOP bleating about excessive partisanship fall on mostly deaf ears.

    I suppose some would argue it was a hugely costly stance, in the sense the Dems took a midterm beating, but I think that was going to happen anyway, given the economy, and aligning it with a harsh partisan message would have only scared more Dems into kowtowing to the right.

  45. 45

    Comparing the current Beltway media meltdown over the Ryan budget to the way the Beltway media acted and reacted to the Clinton impeachment is spot on.

    The Beltway was all “Clinton had sex with an intern! Impeach him!”, but the public at large was more humored than outraged by the “scandal” – I can still recall television crews recording celebrities reading breathlessly from the Starr Report with big grins on their faces – and the Beltway insiders never seemed to realize how big their disconnect from the rest of the nation was.

    You got this layer of resentment from the media bigwigs that the public at large “wasn’t getting it” when in fact the public could tell by themselves that the Lewinsky scandal was more manufactured, harmless, and blown out of proportion than the insiders would acknowledge.

    And we’re getting it again. The “serious” bloggers and commentators operating within the circles of power can’t seem to grok the fact that “their” obsession with cutting deficits and “being serious on Medicare” have no meaning to a national audience more worried about jobs, job security, and a possible future without Medicare or Social Security or pensions. The disconnect is there again because those Beltway insiders never have to worry about jobs (they seem to self-hire within their own circle, or can easily go on a speaking tour that pays $50,000 per stop) or being on Social Security (as their investment portfolios are more nicely well-managed, thank you kindly).

    We don’t need term limits for elected officials. We need term limits for the talking head media circus.

  46. 46
    Donut says:

    @Tom Q:

    As much as it’s been difficult to stomach since Jan ’09, speaking in purely political terms, I agree that Obama would likely be in far worse shape with independents in swing states of he hadn’t done pretty much everything exactly as he has. Sure, I’ve been frustrated and disappointed like hell

  47. 47
    Donut says:

    @Tom Q:

    As much as it’s been difficult to stomach since Jan ’09, speaking in purely political terms, I agree that Obama would likely be in far worse shape with independents in swing states of he hadn’t done pretty much everything exactly as he has. Sure, I’ve been frustrated and disappointed like hell by the guy, many times. But I recognize a deliberate political strategy when I see one. He wants the independents to come home to him, he’d better keep doing what he’s doing.

  48. 48
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Yutsano: Brooks is — Canadian-born? (Checks Wikipedia.)

    Dear God, I’m so, so sorry. We should have sent him off tree planting years ago and never let him come back.

  49. 49
    Tom Q says:

    @TooManyPaulWs: After the Dems unexpectedly picked up House seats in that 1998 midterm — putting the lie fully to the press’ contention the public was furious with the Clinton White House — New York Magazine’s cover story was entitled “Impeach the Media”.

    And it’s largely the same know-nothings in charge of misinterpreting the public mood. The biggest mistake Democrats — from Al Gore through Heath Shuler (or even Josh Marshall, sometimes) — is to assume these people have the slightest idea what they’re talking about.

  50. 50
    Yutsano says:

    @Comrade Mary: You aren’t necessarily obligated to take him back per se. But that means we’ll have to find a decent spot to release him to since he seems immune to abject humiliation no matter what he ends up saying.

  51. 51
    Pamela F says:

    @Ajay:

    Previously, I would have agreed about America’s ADD problem. However, since the midterms, the republicans toxicity is on full display, day after day.

    Now if we can just find a way for our side to get its act together by displaying some focus, unity and discipline then we have a fighting chance.

  52. 52
    Benjamin Cisco says:

    @Tom Q:

    But don’t you think Obama gained from presenting that Face of Reasonableness for as long as he did? It reaped him enormous credit with that segment of independents who long for peaceful coexistence, and makes the current GOP bleating about excessive partisanship fall on mostly deaf ears.

    I would, sadly, agree with this. One of the things about this dustup that I think many on the left are (or should be) happy about is the fact that the press actually covered it. Did it have to be made even more obvious than usual? Yes. But it got done, which is more than can be said for the previous 3,298,541 instances of Kochhead jackassitude.
    __
    Maybe, just maybe, IF the people can pay attention to this long enough, the press’ crippling fear of being scooped on a narrative with eyeballs on it can be used to our advantage for once.

  53. 53
    kdaug says:

    @Roger Moore: Run, run away.

  54. 54
    Donut says:

    Obama simply will keep being the most reasonable person in the room, but stay in campaign mode. Now that he’s officially declared for reelection, the press is obligated to give him the space to be overtly political. He has a full 19 months to play this role. He’s very good at it. He is a long stride, distance runner. Dems down ticket will start jumping on this wagon soon so long as they see some positive results.

  55. 55
    Richard S says:

    What we really need is a KP campaign. Knee-Pads for republicans. Wouldn’t want them to be uncomfortable as they suck on shiveled billionaire dick would we?

  56. 56
    Benjamin Cisco says:

    @Richard S: Damn you for that visual!
    __
    Although I must admit the thought of boxes upon boxes of said pads showing up on Capitol Hill makes me giggle.

  57. 57
    eemom says:

    @ppcli:

    I like the Cassius Cantor thing too, but the fact is, Cantor is so far from being a man who “thinks too much,” that to paraphrase another great writer, he ain’t even in the same motherfuckin game.

    Cantor is almost criminally stupid. Look closely, and observe the utter vacancy of the eyes behind those glasses. It is the expression of a man who literally is too stupid to remember to look where he’s going. God knows how he makes it up the Capitol steps each day without a wipeout.

  58. 58

    We need to make a constant point of hurting their feelings. Nobody likes a whiner, so make them whine. Every day.

    Say this:

    – You can’t trust Republicans’ so-called facts.

    – You can’t trust Republicans’ so-called analysis.

    – You can’t trust Republicans’ good faith.

    Civility is just cover for falsehood. As long as that’s what it is, fuck civility.

  59. 59
    Keith G says:

    @Tom Q: I do not view the choices as all or nothing. Sadly, its largely about marketing (think clean coal or the King of Beers, ack!)

    Seems to me that if anyone could define being a SOB with a smile if he wanted to, it could be Obama. I really doubt even the intellectually lazy, sleeping on their parents’ sofa, fucked up mess who call themselves independents would penalize Obama for fighting hard for what he (says he) believes in,

  60. 60
    Richard S says:

    @Benjamin Cisco
    Sorry for the image but what can you do with a bunch of Koch suckers but make them more comfortable – teach them what chatity is?

  61. 61
    Richard S says:

    Damn – I either left out an s or mistyped an r – oh well my bad.

  62. 62
    Benjamin Cisco says:

    @Richard S: Either way, point taken.

  63. 63
    Hewer of Wood, Drawer of Water says:

    @Yutsano: @Comrade Mary: Can’t we come to a compromise – isn’t there an icefloe somewhere we can put them on – maybe include Harper too?

  64. 64
    BombIranForChrist says:

    1. What an amazing column by Krugman, holy crap.

    2. He is shrill.

  65. 65
    maus says:

    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?

    I believe Republicans will choose compartmentalization.

  66. 66
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @eemom: Just because he “thinks too much” doesn’t mean it’s productive thought, and he does have that “lean and hungry look.” Besides, if the conspirators against JC had any brains, they would have stuck with JC. They didn’t fare too well in the aftermath.

  67. 67
    agrippa says:

    @Tom Q:

    Tom Q:

    There are very few “pundits” – the commentariat – who do, in fact, know what they are talking about. Most of the time, few of them are even plausible. Their comments lack face validity.

    They are in the entertainment business, and they only half realize it.

  68. 68
    agrippa says:

    @TooManyPaulWs:

    “We don’t need term limits for elected officials. We need term limits for the talking head media circus.”

    Most of them should not be allowed outdoors without adult supervision.

  69. 69
    SBJules says:

    @Ajay:

    But we weren’t hurting during Bush’s time. Seniors (& I’m one of them) are working longer and truly counting on medicare.

    I’m almost done with my tax season. Every year I wonder if I’ll give up doing taxes, but every year I say yes to the first phone call & I’m off & running. I’m going off to a beach farther north than the beach I live close to for a couple of days for R&R on Tuesday. Bliss.

  70. 70
    Another Bob says:

    It’s a corollary of “Truth has a known liberal bias” that it’s mean and uncivil to rub Republicans’ noses in truth. Pretty soon, the word “true” will have been made into a mocking epithet, like they’ve already done with “liberal,” “government” and “teacher.”

  71. 71
    bob h says:

    And we do need to get a Senate vote on Ryan soon, too. Worth it to watch McCain squirm and wriggle.

  72. 72
    Fred says:

    K-Thug Krugman has gone off the reservation one too many times for me. He’s just another pandering talking head to me now.

    Today he is on the good side but tomorrow he will “never trust Obama again”……AGAIN! Rinse repeat………yawwwwnnnn!

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @Fred:

    K-Thug Krugman has gone off the reservation one too many times for me. He’s just another pandering talking head to me now.

    Sorry he didn’t show proper fealty. He can be kind of shrill sometimes, you know.

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