Donning my prognosticator cap on April 15, I declared Barack Obama the winner of the 2012 election. (See that bold prediction here.) The Republicans’ doom was sealed the moment they embraced the Paul Ryan plan for reforming Medicare, and the GOP death knell began sounding on Tuesday when the Dems picked up a New York House seat that had been reliably Republican for years. Their winning slogan could be summed up this way:
The Republicans Want Old People to Die in the Cold While Eating Cat Food And Cutting Their Blood Pressure Pills Into Small Pieces !!!!!!
My crowning of Obama had nothing to do with the substance of the issue. It had nothing to do with what might or might not be good for the country. (For the record, I see entitlement reform as unavoidable, we have to reduce military spending, and I’m not against raising taxes on the wealthy.)
But none of that matters now. It’s o-vuh, baby. To use a baseball analogy, the ‘Pubs served up exactly the kind of slow floater that the Dems have always known how to murder, and they are going to blast that ball out of the park all the way to the 2012 Election. It’s as if Barry Goldwater came back from 1964 to lecture Americans about self-reliance and the folly of the welfare state. And we all remember what happened to AU-H20.
Sure, sober voices will continue to call for that “serious national conversation” on entitlement reform as the American stagecoach rumbles toward the cliff’s edge, but you can forget that. The Ryan plan is–was– probably our last unforced effort to reform entitlements; now the reforms, when they come, will be forced down our throats by multiple crises. And perhaps that was inevitable. Perhaps we were never going to build a storm shelter before the tornado destroyed the house.
Anyway, I’d hate to be a high-school government teacher trying to explain this to the kids.
By the way, “if facts matter,” as Ross Perot used to say, check out this lucid video explanation of why Medicare has to be reformed even if Republicans lose every House and Senate seat over the next few years, and this piece recounting the well-known and lamentable fact that Medicare squanders billions of dollars each year on procedures that the best medical research says are useless.