Usually Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is a classy guy. He's long been one of President Obama's good Republican friends, he's open to raising more tax revenue, and he actually called Nancy Pelosi a "nice lady" once. So it's strange to see him now making jokes about shooting all of his colleagues, claiming that Medicare makes things worse for old people, and making gross generalizations about black people, all in one lovely summer day of townhallery.
That nice Boy Scout from down the street who's politely offered to fix America's finances, Rep. Paul Ryan, visited the White House today along with many, many other invited House Republicans. And Ryan, who has been known to sport a sad face when people say mean things about his policy ideas, had some tough words himself for that "demagogue" Barack Obama.
What kind of figure can bring comfort and warmth to old Dick Cheney, as he lounges all day, every day, in his black ice throne, presiding glumly over his subterranean militia of damned souls? Only one such person exists: It's that nice young man from Wisconsin, the dashing and entitlement-slashing Rep. Paul Ryan. You know, America's Accountant! Well, he's Dick Cheney's new hero, too.
Were there any compassionate Democrats out there to cheer up America's Accountant, Rep. Paul Ryan, after his plan to eliminate Medicare and replace it with health insurance "premium support" for old dying people won Democrats a conservative-district seat in last night's Gawker Election? Oh, just Bill Clinton.
Newt Gingrich's trashing of Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare privatization plan on last Sunday's Meet the Press sparked a united Republican revolt against him, one much worse than anything the left is capable of doing to its own. All but four House Republicans had voted for Ryan's plan a matter of weeks ago, after all, and they're not keen on hearing internal dissent voiced in such places as Sunday morning's top political talk show, during the launch of a campaign.
There is some lightly sourced babble at Reuters today about "desire at the highest ranks of the Republican Party" for House Budget Committee chair Rep. Paul Ryan to launch a presidential bid. This is partially confirmed by more lightly sourced babble on Twitter. There's a slim chance of this ever happening — Paul Ryan, for one, has no interest — but with Obama's poll numbers slinking further into the crapper, Republican elites are still looking for new candidates with scalable support. If they decide he's their guy, they'll force him to do it.
It only took the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee four days to put together an ad blaring "REPUBLICANS voted to END Medicare," and we should expect to see a new one every four days or so through the 2012 elections. In this first one, we see an old man on a scooter working a lemonade stand and mowing lawns to pay his private health insurance premiums. Next thing you know, he's a fireman-themed stripper at a bachelorette party, dancing with all the sexy lady folk. How is this last part a bad thing, Democrats?
If anything will make it easier for House conservatives to back off on shutting down the government this week, it's the prospect of a different, and much larger fight over the federally funded social safety net. House Republicans are preparing to introduce a 10-year budget Tuesday that will eliminate Medicare and replace it with a private insurance system that closely resembles the new health care law, and end Medicaid as an entitlement program all together.
When the federal government launched the Medicare Part D program to pay for seniors' prescription drugs in 2006, it banned Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs from eligibility. Fortunately the federal government screws up and breaks the law all the time. And for a brief period in 2007 and 2008, a "software error" did, in fact, allow old men to buy boner pills on Uncle Sam's dime.