John Boehner and Paul Ryan double down on destroying Medicare by attacking AARP
Remember the above ad?
As the American public turns its back on Paul Ryan's Medicare-killing budget, part of his similarly popular Roadmap to the Poorhouse, the GOP is doubling down by attacking the AARP:
Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) political group went on the attack Monday against AARP, calling one of the most powerful lobbies a "left-leaning pressure group."
Ryan's Prosperity PAC sought to push back on attacks by AARP against the House Budget Committee chairman's 2012 budget, specifically its proposed changes to Medicare.
"Last week, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a left-leaning pressure group with significant business interests in the insurance industry, launched a national ad campaign that intentionally misleads seniors about the Medicare debate," wrote Pat Shortridge, a senior adviser to Ryan's PAC, in an email to supporters.
Ryan's Medicare proposal has been a particular point of criticism by Democrats and groups on the left, which say that the Medicare plan would significantly revamp the entitlement program to the detriment of seniors. Democrats have homed in their attacks against that part of the Ryan budget, which has sparked some degree of heartburn among Republicans.
AARP launched ads last week warning against "harmful cuts" to Medicare and Social Security it said Republicans favored.
Fox News pushed a phony seniors' group led by Art Linkletter called USA Next in 2005 when they tried to privatize Social Security, and they too attacked AARP -- which failed miserably.
Now some people on the right want you to think of gay marriage and Sunni insurgency. The New York Times this morning reported that the lobbyists who brought you the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" have been contracted to promote the agenda of USA Next, a conservative lobbying group. To build support, USA Next is portraying AARP – which opposes the White House's pseudo-plan for privatizing Social Security – as some kind of liberal extremist group.
They even produced a smear ad attacking gay marriage to try and rile up some old folks against AARP.
So now Ryan's PAC is doing the same thing and attacking AARP. Good luck with that.
Second up was John Boehner, who told Wall Streeters that he is indeed for going after Medicare:
Speaker John Boehner is more blatant even than most politicians about telegraphing which constituency matters to him most: Wall Street. While his caucus leadership can't run away from abolishing Medicare fast enough, Boehner is assuring Wall Street that it's still on the agenda.
In a speech to the Economic Club of New York in Midtown Manhattan, the Ohio Republican is set to reiterate to leading financial executives that he believes that reforming Medicare should be part of negotiations in raising the debt ceiling, saying that there needs to be “an honest conversation,” because the program is on an “unsustainable path if changes are not made,” according to sources familiar with the speech. Boehner also is expected to advocate for immediate cuts rather than deficit and debt targets preferred by some Democrats.
After his talk, Boehner will take questions from two prominent Wall Street players at the intersection of Washington power: Peter G. Peterson, the private-equity giant who worked for President Richard Nixon, and Observatory Group CEO Jane Hartley, who worked for President Jimmy Carter....
Boehner’s public insistence that reforming Medicare stay a part of debt ceiling negotiations could reaffirm a concern among Wall Street types that Republicans are driving a hard bargain on the limit and will take the negotiations up to the last minute. Boehner said last week Congress must now cut trillions, not billions....
Friday evening, in a sign of unity after a disjointed week, GOP leadership, along with Ryan and Camp, released a statement saying “everything must be on the table except increasing taxes.”
Freshmen, who voted en masse for the Ryan budget, largely want entitlement reform dealt with.
It'll keep Pete Peterson and his crowd happy, no matter how disastrous the plan is with actual voters. But more than anything, this is reflecting the very thin ice Boehner is skating. He's got to try to convince the powers that be that really, his caucus isn't a bunch of nihilists perfectly willing to blow up the economy over the debt ceiling vote.
Lesse: the Speaker of the House is going to use the debt ceiling vote to "reform" Medicare, and Paul Ryan's PAC is attacking the AARP. Let's see how that all works out, but attacking AARP failed once and it will fail again. Millions of seniors have been members of AARP and they have tangible proof of how good an organization they are because they've used their services and love them. Using the debt to scare seniors is something that's not tangible or even felt on a material level, so pragmatically speaking, which side would you choose if you're fifty-five and older?
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