During congressional hostilities over Obamacare Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) famously urged Republicans to push hard “to stop” President Obama’s signature legislation because killing the bill would “break him.” It would be Obama’s “Waterloo.” It would “show that we can, along with the American people, begin to push those freedom solutions that work in every area of our society.”
After Democrats used gangster tactics that made defeat impossible, former Bush speech writer David Frum scolded “conservatives and Republicans.” He blamed “[c]onservative talkers on Fox and talk radio [who] had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible.”
“We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat,” he wrote. The process ended in “Waterloo all right: ours.”
It now appears both DeMint and Frum were wrong.
Obamacare, it turns out, is not Obama’s Waterloo – but Medicare just might be.
Through a preternatural confluence of events Republican Mitt Romney could evict the Saul Alinsky radical in the White House by running a successful campaign on reining in the obscenely expensive Medicare program and introducing market reforms.
Yes, you read that right.
Moreover, Romney may be able not only to touch this supposed “third rail” of American politics and survive but to ride the lightning all the way into the history books.
This is because the coolest, smartest president ever is hellbent on extracting $716 billion from the popular health care entitlement for senior citizens. The effect on Medicare patients will be devastating but Obama doesn’t care. He’s got to have the money in order to pay for Obamacare, an unproven, unpopular, and largely unknowable program that makes patients and businesses justifiably nervous and alienates seniors, a hugely important voting bloc.
And he’s locked into the ultra-toxic Medicare cuts. In late 2009 Obama gave an authoritative “yes” as an answer when Jake Tapper of ABC News asked if he would “veto any bill that tries to restore funding you took from Medicare?” The election is now less than three months away. Obama is committed.
In 2008 candidate Obama went on record against a similarly sized Medicare cut.
“How would your golden years turn out under John McCain? His health care plan would cut Medicare by $800 billion — that means a 22 percent cut in benefits. Higher premiums and co-pays … after a lifetime of work, senior’s health care shouldn’t be a gamble. John McCain’s plan, it’s not the change we need.”
All of this is a political godsend. Republicans get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play Santa Claus while normally spendthrift Democrats become Christmas-stealing grinches. Paradoxically, GOPers also get to position themselves as compassionate defenders of Medicare while acting like fiscally responsible grownups saving America from the monster of Obamacare.
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