Last night, for the first time ever, a Democratic candidate won the congressional seat from the deeply conservative 26th District of New York. Congrats to Team Hochul.
But there’s only one reason this happened (well, two counting Craigslist): Paul Ryan’s Horrifically Awful Politically Poison Plan to Kill Medicare.
What’s great about the Paul Ryan budget that kills Medicare is two-fold. First, any Republican that comes out in favor of it becomes vulnerable in the general election. The ones in danger become toast, and the ones safe become in danger. Secondly, the Paul Ryan budget is the New Republican litmus test. As Newt Gingrich’s implosion last week showed, if you don’t want to kill Medicare, you’re now persona non grata among the Republican base. So Republicans are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
And that’s what Republicans know for sure after last night’s election. Well, at least the smart ones do. And speaking of smart Republicans, how about the (tactically) smartest one in the entire country, Mitch McConnell?
Remember, this is the jaw-dropping statement of Mitch McConnell on Sunday, defending the Ryan plan to kill the most popular government program in America:
“What Paul Ryan would do is to empower grandma in the private market, to shop and get the best possible deal.”
Yes, that’s right, our 80-year old grandma (or mother by that time, or you) will just surf the free market and pick out her reasonably priced private insurance plan with the help of that voucher that isn’t even remotely close to enough to pay for it.
Feel the power of your bootstraps, Grandma!
So here’s where we all need to grab the popcorn: Mitch McConnell will be asked by everyone under the sun today about if he’s still going to vote for the Ryan plan, and if he still enthusiastically supports it.
Does Mitch see the writing on the wall and bail? Or does he not want to face the same wrath as Newt Gingrich? Is Mitch more afraid of losing in 2014 to a Democrat (like one already calling out the Ryan plan), or to the tea party who wants to gut commie pinko programs like Medicare?
Well, this has always been my rule of thumb when it comes to Mitch McConnell: the man has zero ideology, and only looks out for his own power.
Based on this, I think we might see some marvelously entertaining backtracking today. Mitch McConnell knows that the only way to save his party and himself is to abandon ship on the plan to end Medicare as fast as possible. Though this is not an easy option, as everyone in the Republican base would take fire at him, pointing out that he’s one of the big spending Republicans that got us into debt in the first place. The only thing that could possibly cushion the blow, if handled properly, is the fact that Rand Paul will likely vote against the budget (for completely different reasons). The KY tea party revolt against McConnell in 2014 would be a little more difficult if Mitch voted against it, or at least criticized it.
Or, Mitch McConnell could take option B, which is an old standard for him. Simply make up a new reality. Argue forcefully that the Paul Ryan plan actually doesn’t end Medicare, that black is white, and 2+2=5. It’s worked many times before, and he very well might think that it’s going to work again.
But it won’t. When it comes to the Ryan plan ending Medicare, these aren’t shades of gray. This is black and white.
So, Mitch…. your move.
P.S.- Don’t hold your breath for the KDP to even make the minimal effort of putting out a press release slamming McConnell on killing Medicare. They didn’t back when the opportunity was best, and they certainly won’t know. I guess they can’t spare that hour of man time.