LAST WEEK seemed like an especially crazy week. The Republicans kicked off their Presidential bids with attacks on Medicare, misleading rhetoric, exaggerations, and twisted "facts." Conservative Republicans in Texas tried to end Medicare -- a federal, NOT a state, program.
By the end of the week AARP was airing ads to prevent "harmful cuts to both Medicare and Social Security." Then, the 60 Plus Association was attacking AARP for having a hidden "anti-senior agenda." If you've read anything about conspiracy theories, then you know that there's always something sinister and hidden that someone powerful and deceitful is doing. AARP conspiring against aging people?
On the more positive side: polls continue to show Medicare's popularity across party lines, and Democrats appear finally to have a better focused Medicare message -- saving benefits and curbing costs.
Conservative Republicans continued to face Medicare trouble all week, as they spun their intentions, put the best face on constituent reactions to their move to repeal Medicare, and tried to salvage some face. They have been trying to have it both ways. However, their extreme commitment to protecting (and promoting even greater) tax cuts for the wealthiest, combined with their advocacy to repeal Medicare, has created political difficulties for them that are just as extreme.
It seems that few are buying their mantra that Medicare financing difficulties (which, in fact, are pretty minimal) somehow have an overwhelming impact on the budget and the debt. They don't mention the fabulously huge tax cuts given the wealthy or the wars initiated under President Bush.
Yet, everyone understands that it's the Conservative / Tea Party philosophy of minimal or marginal government (with a strong and profitable private sector) that is driving the Republicans. I hope that sometime soon Republicans will be more honest in their assertions. Tax cuts for the rich benefit no one except the rich; the economy does not gain. Repealing Medicare does not benefit the aged and disabled; it benefits the insurance industry. The list goes on.
Instead of hiding their agenda, the Republicans should come clean. I think the American People will appreciate a straightforward debate about the Conservative vision of small, uninvolved government and how it would serve the common good of the American People, particularly in terms of the aged and disabled who will not be able to purchase adequate health insurance coverage.