When I saw the headline this morning on the front page about Republican reformer Paul Ryan’s new Medicare plan, my first thought was “this could open up a run for him.”
Truly, the only reason he would have for forgoing the opportunity for bring the conservative reformer movement into the White House would be his fear over his budget plan, which overhauled Medicare.
His new plan, which would add private subsidies to the options for seniors, has already drawn criticism from the White House. That, in an of itself, is enough for me to support it (kidding…sort of).
What is so stunning about Democratic opposition to Medicare is this phrase we hear over and over, “The plan would end Medicare as we know it.”
The Medicare program, as we know, is a behemoth of government debt, is wildly inefficient and wholly unsustainable. We need to end Medicare as we know.
White House officials claimed this new plan would cause Medicare to “die on the vine.” Think about it, the only reason that would happen would be if people were opting out of Medicare (part of the change to Ryan’s old plan was to give seniors the option to choose to stay in the current Medicare plan).
The only reason people would do that is because it’d be cheaper to do that.
So, let’s recap: People are spending less on health care and insurance and since people aren’t choosing Medicare, the government is also spending less.
Where’s the problem here?
To be sure, the problem for Democrats is that it makes people less reliant on government, something the left is terribly afraid of because it means people don’t have to vote Democrat to maintain their livelihood.
Funny that Republicans are the ones accused of fear-mongering when keeping people scared of living without government is a staple of modern American liberal policy.
On the other hand, Ryan crafted this bill with Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, meaning it’s a bill which actually may draw Democratic support in Congress. In truth, my joke about the White House being opposed to the bill, may actually make it more attractive to Democrats, afraid to have their record contrasted with Obama’s in the 2012 election.
Back to Paul Ryan.
The most recent polling numbers have Newt Gingrich moving comfortably ahead of Mitt Romney, but if Paul Ryan were to get into the race, he’d zoom ahead of the field, much as Gingrich has.
Whether it’s as a Presidential candidate or Vice Presidential candidate, Ryan would be a formidable political force because of his intelligent, articulate style and his unmatched knowledge of policy, particularly fiscal policy.
Ryan seems genuine in earnest, not the type to try and pass legislation for political gain. In other words, Ryan truly does care about making serious changes to our political system and has a history of galvanizing support.
He could, quite literally, be the perfect foil for Barack Obama: everything Obama claimed he could be, only Ryan has a record of reform.
Ryan has stood up to corporations, urged Congress to close loopholes, simplify the tax code and get spending under control, all while making government work better for the people.
He’s done this, passed bill after bill in the House, only to see them “die on the vine” in the Senate. Ryan has done the things he’s said, the things people want to see.
All of the promises Obama couldn’t keep, the ones about changing Washington, fighting the status quo, making the government work for the people; Ryan has been an agent for change in all of them.
Even if he doesn’t run in 2012, his proposal, if passed, would assure Obama wouldn’t be able to use fear over Medicare to vilify Republicans.
It would seem to me, it would be an uphill battle for Obama to try and score fear points based on a proposal that wouldn’t change anyone’s life in the short-term.
The failed policies of the Obama administration, ones already negatively impacting millions of lives, have people awfully terrified as it is.