On Medicare, the Romney campaign is borrowing the strategic logic of a long-ago military legend.
Taking command of the French ninth army in 1914 as it retreated before the Germans, Marshal Ferdinand Foch uttered his immortal words: “Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I attack.”
The best Mitt Romney ad of the campaign is the current spot on President Barack Obama’s cuts to Medicare. It points out that the president took $700 billion from Medicare to fund “Obamacare,” robbing one unsustainable entitlement to create a new one. The ad is truthful, unadorned, and — for any senior who feels protective of Medicare — damning.
In the Medicare debate, schoolyard rules apply: Punch the bully in the mouth twice as hard.
It’s impossible to have a reasonable discussion with people who insist you are going to “kill people” (Paul Krugman’s words). If Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t yet said that the Romney-Ryan Medicare premium-support plan will lead to the reinstitution of chattel slavery, just wait until the next time he gets worked up before a largely African-American audience.
Never before, though, have Democrats passed the largest Medicare cuts in history immediately prior to launching their tried-and-true assault. This time, it is a case of the pot calling the kettle a danger to America’s seniors.
Confronted with Obama’s Medicare cuts, Democrats and their friends in the media resort to denial.
On Meet the Press the other day, I asked Rachel Maddow if she supported the $700 billion in cuts, and she simply wouldn’t say. Here was the Oxford-educated pride of liberal punditry professing to have no opinion on a primary means of funding what she considers a glorious legislative achievement.
Others pooh-pooh the significance of the cuts. They supposedly hit only “nonessential services.” This may be the first time in the debate over entitlements that Democrats have deemed anything related to Medicare “nonessential.”
What Democrats mean is that $156 billion of the cuts fall on the Medicare Advantage program. They have always hated this feature because it gives seniors access to private-sector coverage options. But seniors like it.