Kristol And Hayes Agree It Would Be Good For GOP Presidential Candidates To Run On 'Entitlement Reform'


Another Sunday, another week where Bloody Bill Kristol proves himself to be wrong about everything. After some discussion on whether President Obama is going to have trouble being reelected and The Hill's A.B. Stoddard pointing out that he might unless he ends up being fortunate enough to run against someone who voted for Paul Ryan's budget plan, Bret Baier asks Kristol if the GOP would make make "reforming" "entitlements" into an asset. Kristol of course thinks that would be a winning issue for them.

And naturally he and Stephen Hayes refuse to admit that privatizing Medicare would be putting an end to the program as we know it and no one on the Fox News Sunday panel bothered to point out that Social Security is not responsible for any of the problems we have now with our deficit.

Jon Perr has been writing a lot about what was in Paul Ryan's budget for some time now and lays out very plainly why Hayes is not telling the truth on what his plan would do to Medicare and Social Security in one of the earlier posts he wrote on it here -- GOP Budget Proposes to Ration Medicare, Privatize Social Security.


BAIER: Bill, can you imagine any scenario where entitlement reform could be an asset to Republicans in 2012?

KRISTOL: Sure, because people understand, I think, and certainly the right candidate can help the American public further understand, that we need to fundamentally reform entitlements. We're $1.5 trillion in debt. Where's that debt coming from? It's coming from entitlements, which are 60 percent of the federal budget and which are going up much more quickly than the rest of the federal budget.

Despite President Obama's irresponsible domestic discretionary spending, it's entitlements that are at the core of the problem. So of course Republicans are going to run on entitlement reform, as they should, and I think they can do so successfully.

BAIER: Now, you have spoken out in favor of Congressman Paul Ryan getting in this race.Is there any development on that? Do you really believe that he's getting in?

KRISTOL: Well, the main development -- and maybe I can hold this up -- is I get sent this in the mail, a Ryan/Rubio 2012 button, which shows huge grassroots support for this effort. You know? People all over the country are having these buttons produced at their own expense.

BAYH: It's the alliteration ticket.

KRISTOL: Well, "RR" is good for Republicans -- Ronald Reagan, Ryan/Rubio. I think Steve's done a lot of reporting on this. Paul Ryan is thinking of running. I think it's 50/50. I think we'll know in a week.

If I had to bet, I would bet that he would run. I also think that if he doesn't run, Chris Christie may run. I don't think the current field is likely -- it could be, but I don't think it's likely to be the final field.

BAIER: Do you agree?

BAYH: It's getting a little late in the day. If they don't act within the next couple of weeks, just pragmatically it's tough.

And if I could just say one thing about Paul, he's a serious person. I admire the fact that he's focusing on entitlements, but if he's the nominee, it's going to be a referendum on Social Security and Medicare. And it doesn't help when you have serious publications out there that have said his plan would end Social Security and Medicare as we know it. People want to reform the programs, but they get a little scared when they say you're going to end something that's become such a fabric -- part of the fabric of American life.

BAIER: But doesn't that fall into the whole demagoguing that issue, even at a time when some people say that the American public is ready for this adult conversation beyond what we've heard in the past about entitlements?

BAYH: Well, both sides are going to engage in a little demagoguery, but what people want is reform, but it done in the right sort of way. And I'm afraid when they say end Social Security or Medicare as we know it, to most people that may raise the specter going a little too far.

HAYES: I think we have different definitions of what serious publications are, perhaps, because I don't think -- look, it's explicitly --

BAYH: The Wall Street Journal.

HAYES: They said it was going to end Medicare as we know it?

BAYH: They did.

HAYES: I don't know. I think it would change Medicare and the way that Medicare is funded.

It explicitly -- the House Republican budget explicitly argues that it is meant to preserve Medicare while changing the funding mechanism that makes it solvent. If you look at what Nancy Pelosi has said, she has no plan. She has said, basically, our plan is Medicare. There's no argument there. So I think it's entirely possible that Republicans will run on structural reforms to Medicare so that they can preserve Medicare. And I think -- look, if you want to talk and take a step back and look at the way that the race is likely to unfold, there's no question that it will be, in large part, a referendum on jobs. But given the financial situation that the country is in right now, given the enormity of the problems that we have right now, it's going to be in some respect a debate about our long-term fiscal situation. And I think there are some Republicans who think that incorporating a debate about entitlement reform is actually a positive.


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