August 17, 2012

CEDING CHANGE TO THE GOP:

How Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan Is Coming Back to Haunt Obama : Last year, Democrats went ballistic on the Republican's reform plan. Now Team Romney's put resolving the politically lethal issue squarely back on the president's lap. (Mark McKinnon Aug 17, 2012, Daily Beast)

Ryan's original plan also cut Medicare spending at a similar level, but through consumer choice, competition, and market forces, not punitive cost controls. And he planned to return those dollars to the Medicare trust fund. Sensing the shifting winds, Romney has stepped up the messaging battle, promising to restore the president's cuts. Critics charge this will speed the program's insolvency, but those arguments are moot if costs are lowered with the fixed-benefit, premium-support system he has proposed. Of course, the devil is in the details, and more are needed.

But at some point, folks will stop listening to all those confusing details about baselines and budgets, and all of the charges and countercharges. The decision will come down to a matter of trust. Who has earned it? Who has shown leadership? Sadly, all of this could have been avoided had President Obama simply led and acted on the 2010 Simpson-Bowles plan.

How Obama Created the Greatest Threat to His Presidency (Ezra Klein Aug 15, 2012, Bloomberg)

The Obama team never could have predicted that its efforts would help vault Ryan into the nomination for vice president. But Ryan is a remarkably talented politician -- so good, in fact, that he managed to convince Romney and the Republican Party that the argument the Obama administration pursued so aggressively is actually an argument that Republicans will win.

The result, to paraphrase H.L. Mencken, is that the Obama administration knew the fight they wanted, and now they're going to get it good and hard. [...]

[I]f Obama loses, Republicans will have won the presidency with a mandate to enact a deeply conservative agenda. Left to his own devices, Romney might have been a relatively pragmatic and cautious president. Instead, the Obama administration's three-year effort to enshrine the Ryan budget at the heart of the Republican Party would prove to have been a crucial push toward enacting that budget into law.

Posted by at August 17, 2012 9:51 AM
  

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