Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

No kaboom from Paul Ryan Medicare bomb (Democrat's Mediscare tactics a huge bust so far)
Politico ^ | 08/29/2012 | Edward-Isaac Dovere and David Nather

Posted on 08/29/2012 6:39:12 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Democrats thought Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal would shift the focus away from Mitt Romney, terrify the elderly and take places like Florida and other key states off the table.

That’s not happening. Not yet, anyway.

Polls and interviews show that for now, Romney’s selection of Ryan hasn’t fundamentally shifted the dynamics of a deadlocked race.

The polls leave no question that huge numbers of people oppose the core of Ryan’s plan. But they show something else too: Democrats haven’t yet been able to turn that opposition into a way to take down the Romney-Ryan ticket.

They’ve still got time, with millions of dollars in TV ads, three presidential debates and a vice presidential debate to chip away at Ryan. And the economy is still the most important issue for voters — so important that some voters who don’t like the Ryan Medicare plan may vote for Romney anyway because they like him better on the economy, pollsters say.

But Republicans have used years of attacks on the president’s health care law as a model for a fresh assault on Obama’s own Medicare record, charging that he cut the cherished entitlement program to pay for “Obamacare.”

And so far, that seems to have at least neutralized Democrats’ attacks on Ryan.

“Medicare just may not be the killer issue that a lot of people thought,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “That doesn’t mean it won’t be, but so far it is not.”

The polls show “a positive development for the Republicans that they could be even on Medicare at this point,” said pollster Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, in what could be the understatement of the year.

Democrats tend to blame the lack of traction on misinformation from the Romney campaign — and all the outside spending that’s drowning out what they say is their more accurate version of what the Ryan plan would do.

“The lies and the falsehoods have muddied the waters on the real impact,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) said.

But the Romney campaign isn’t backing down, and the airwaves are just going to get more crowded in the fall.

That means the Obama campaign will have to change up to keep up, said Bob Shrum, a veteran of many Democratic presidential campaigns.

“Long term, as the campaign plays out, I would be very surprised if this issue didn’t redound very strongly to Obama’s benefit. But,” Shrum said, the Romney campaign has “thrown up the static of the $716 billion cut in Medicare.”

He added, “There’s a real advantage for Obama here, but he’s going to have to develop it, and he’s going to have to block the static that’s coming from Romney.”

Democratic consultant Joe Trippi said the Ryan Medicare plan could help Obama’s team link its portrayal of Romney as a cold-hearted venture capitalist to fears about his agenda. But Trippi said the Obama campaign’s response to Romney’s counter-attack is cause for concern.

“I don’t get the sense that they expected that attack or were ready to thrust back on it, and that’s something that they may now regret or try to fix,” Trippi said. “The Republicans were better prepared for the attack coming than we were for the response.”

Paul Begala, an adviser to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, pointed out that his group’s first ad of the cycle back in January was an attempt to link Romney to the Ryan budget — and though Begala wouldn’t get specific about future ads, he said he’s grateful Romney has made drawing that connection so much easier by picking Ryan.

Begala acknowledged that injecting Medicare into the race hasn’t done anything to tilt things toward Obama over the past two weeks. But he said the polls so far are no indication of what’s to come.

“How did the atomic bomb change World War II in June of 1945? Not at all. But smart people knew that it was the most destructive thing ever created,” Begala said.

The bigger problem for Obama might be just how few undecided voters are left, and how much Ryan’s Medicare plan has become just one more issue — and not one that’s going to break through and sink Romney on its own.

“If you want to believe Ryan, you also probably believe that Obama’s a Muslim. You also probably believe that Democrats are really just socialists. You probably already believe a lot of stuff like that. You’re impervious to facts,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus. “And if you already believe that Romney is just a pampered rich man who wants to be in office to just take care of people just like himself — as I kind of do believe — you’re probably not going to be persuaded by Romney and Ryan saying, ‘Oh, we’re not really making any changes to Medicare.’”

Ryan’s plan doesn’t have majority support among any major voting group — even among Republicans, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll this month. And seniors — the most reliable voting group of all — are the plan’s strongest opponents, preferring the current Medicare program by a 71 percent to 23 percent margin.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll released Monday had Romney winning 47 percent of registered voters to Obama’s 46 percent. Obama didn’t even win on Medicare itself. When asked who would do a better job on Medicare, 42 percent of registered voters picked Obama — and 45 percent chose Romney.

The poll showed a big disconnect: Two-thirds of those same registered voters said they didn’t like the Ryan Medicare plan. When asked about his proposal, 33 percent supported it and 62 percent opposed it.

Last week’s Quinnipiac/CBS/New York Times numbers in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin tell a similar story — hugely lopsided opposition to turning Medicare into subsidies for private insurance, but a static race between Obama and Romney.

Democrats can take solace in the idea that there’s still room to shape people’s opinions on Medicare. Last week’s Pew poll found that 28 percent of adults still hadn’t heard anything about the GOP Medicare plan, and when it was explained to them, only 23 percent knew it was Ryan’s plan. But that same poll showed 44 percent didn’t know whose proposal it was — and 17 percent thought it was Obama’s.

“We’ve always said this race will be close, but Americans recognize the stark choice they face on Medicare in this election. President Obama used Medicare savings under Obamacare to extend the life of Medicare and provide new benefits, including closing the prescription drug doughnut hole, and ensuring seniors have access to preventive care with no out of pocket cost,” Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher said.

The Romney campaign thinks the fact that the Obama team is even being forced into the argument is proof the Romney side is winning.

“Our campaign is on offense on Medicare,” Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said. “We’re very happy to compare Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan’s plans to preserve Medicare with President Obama’s inaction and lack of leadership on this issue. If the Democrats wanted to demagogue the issue of Medicare, then Barack Obama shouldn’t have cut Medicare by $716 billon. He’s not credible on the issue given his own drastic cuts to the program.”

Republicans may be able to stay even with the Democrats on Medicare if the voters hear competing charges on who’s the bigger threat to the program.

A survey released this week by Resurgent Republic, a conservative research firm, found that the two competing Medicare attacks — the Democrats’ charge that Republicans would “end Medicare as we know it,” and the Republican counter-charge that Obama “cut 700 billion dollars out of Medicare to fund his new health care law” — are basically tied in public support. Forty percent sided with the Republicans, while 41 percent preferred the Democratic argument.

Another survey, by Republican pollster David Winston, found similar results, with 47 percent preferring the Republican “$700 billion cut” attack while 48 percent sided with the Democratic charge that the GOP would “end Medicare as we know it.”

If Romney and Ryan can convince voters that the overhaul is needed to prevent Medicare from going bankrupt as the baby boomers retire, GOP pollster Whit Ayres said, “then the Republicans can get in the game. Maybe not win it outright, but they can get in the game.”

Castor, whose Tampa district is home not just to the Republican convention but to many seniors and prospective future Medicare users, said she believes the attention that’s going to be put on the Ryan plan post-conventions is eventually going to sway people.

Past experience, including serving on the House Budget Committee with Ryan, makes her confident of that.

“We have been having this debate over Medicare and Medicaid for a couple of years, and AARP would speak out to say this is a threat, and people just didn’t believe it,” Castor said. “As soon as Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan, I noticed people began to take it more seriously.”

“It’s almost like when you have a storm out in the Caribbean and it’s floating around out there and you’re not sure where it’s headed,” Castor said. “Now it’s becoming a real hurricane threat. It’s like Hurricane Romney heading toward us, and people will start paying attention.”

Begala cited two famous lines to preview what lies ahead: from “The Wizard of Oz” — “All in due time, my pretty” — and from “Pulp Fiction” —“We’re going to go medieval on their ass.”

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: medicare; paulryan

1 posted on 08/29/2012 6:39:26 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

Why would seniors be concerned by Ryan’s plan ?

2 posted on 08/29/2012 6:41:11 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (I didn't post this. Someone else did.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

The lesson here is that you can’t believe anything Obama and the Dims say. It’s all BS and will continue to be all BS

Stop listening and caring what they say, that’s what the public should do.

Romney is not a felon
Ryan isn’t going to push Granny off the cliff
etc, etc, etc

They have lost all credibility so it does’t matter what they say. They have cried wolf too often.

3 posted on 08/29/2012 6:48:31 PM PDT by Helotes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

4 posted on 08/29/2012 6:52:12 PM PDT by SeekAndFind (bOTRT)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Helotes

5 posted on 08/29/2012 6:54:24 PM PDT by SeekAndFind (bOTRT)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks
Liberals routinely underestimate the common sense of seniors. They think if you are over 65 you are a senile idiot. But the fact is, in 2008 seniors proved more wise than 18-30 year old skulls full of mush--seniors supported McCain while the newbies sucked down obama-spew. Not many will be fooled by Obamacare, especially when they start getting discharge letters from retiring doctors.
6 posted on 08/29/2012 7:15:29 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

I think it has done the opposite of what they intended. It made very public the 750 billion taken away from Medicare to pay for Obamacare.

7 posted on 08/29/2012 8:12:59 PM PDT by Moorings
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

See, seniors aren’t merely “sickish old people who crave free health care”.

Most of ‘em are GRANDPARENTS, too.

They love their grandkids — sometimes more than the kids’ parents seem to.

Lots of ‘em are genuinely concerned about the massive economic screwjob that’s headed for their grandchildren. And a little sensitive that their watch has just about expired and they haven’t done a damn thing to fix it.

The (R)s ought to gently nurture this very genuine concern; not only is it the right thing to do but it will pay off handsomely, politically speaking.

8 posted on 08/29/2012 8:32:43 PM PDT by Nervous Tick ("You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

R&R should welcome the idea that they intend to “end Medicare as we know it.” Medicare as we know it is GOING BROKE. Jiujitsu.

9 posted on 08/30/2012 12:29:36 AM PDT by karnage
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson