Oh, what the Paul Ryan nomination has wrought. GOP candidates aspiring to be elected to Congress now have to walk the plank. On one side, there are angry senior citizens who know exactly what a Romney-Ryan ticket would do to Medicare. In fact, there were more than a few of them at "young gun" Tony Strickland's campaign event Friday morning, which I was fortunate enough to attend in person. Don't these folks look threatening?
Mr. Strickland is hoping to defeat progressive Democrat Julia Brownley* in November to claim what he (and Eric Cantor) view as his rightful ascendance to Elton Gallegly's throne. And they are so concerned about keeping this seat, so very concerned, that they've got a website where you can make donations but sadly, you can't learn what Mr. Strickland's opinion on the issues might be. That will be coming soon, we're told.
Evidently Strickland's staffers were worried about the threat, and asked the police to come and make sure they all behaved. Which they did, cordially. The police didn't seem to be too worried.
The purpose of this particular event, beyond the obvious fundraising and opportunity for some good old fashioned Republican lies, was for Strickland to sign his "Social Security & Medicare Protection Pledge" with great aplomb and faux sincerity. Here it is, signed by the man himself before the grannies and grampies off to the side in their wheelchairs and the young bucks sitting in front of him.
For the sake of those of you who don't want to squint, here is the text of the pledge:
Social Security & Medicare Protection Pledge
I, Tony Strickland, pledge to the people of Ventura County that I will work to protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare. I will oppose all efforts to change our sacred promises for Americans over the age of 50, except in cases where benefits are increased. America's seniors have worked and paid into these programs and deserve their benefits.
Well, bless his tiny little bleeding heart. Isn't he just the sweetest thing? As someone over the age of 50, I feel so gratified that he will work to "strengthen and protect" Social Security and Medicare. Please, let us all now refer to the Luntz instructions for how to sell seniors on the destruction of Medicare and Social Security, shall we?
He earnestly explained that the reason he lowered the "protection age" to 50 was because people who are 50 are already counting on Medicare and Social Security as they are, but people like li'l Tony who are only 42 can and must make adjustments.
However, all of this earnest pledging did not stop the erstwhile Mr Strickland from lying through his tiny little straight teeth at those nice old ladies listening intently. Really, if I didn't have the video I wouldn't have thought it possible that he could hoodwink the ladies and the group of ardent young people leaning into his every word the way he did.
Here's the transcript from the top video. The audio is rough, I know. Next time I'll bring the directional mic.
Strickland: Um, yeah. Obamacare. That's Nancy Pelosi's plan on healthcare.
Side note: Evidently senior citizens don't care much for Nancy Pelosi. Seems they dislike her more than they do Barack Obama? Ok. Back to the transcript.
Strickland: Um, what this plan really does is it takes $741 billion dollars out of the current Medicare system and pays for Obamacare...
Lie #1, for all of the reasons we've stated and restated and which Soledad O'Brien hammered home so very well. But wait. There's more.
Strickland: ...and on top of that, we now have a formal board that's going to make health care decisions. And I think that's very, very worrisome.
I'm sure he does. I might actually think so too, if it were for the nefarious reasons Strickland suggests. But of course, what he fails to point out is that not every treatment is approved now for Medicare coverage. Onward.
And I believe in individuals having the opportunity to pick their doctors and the opportunity to own their own healthcare. That's one. And then two, when you talk about these panels, you talk about ways to reduce costs. What you really hear is rationing and I think that's very fearful for the senior population.
To which I reply, it's only fearful because you're bald-faced lying to their faces about this and making fear where none need exist, you fruitcake! Seriously?
This idea of not being able to choose their doctors is bizarre and a new twist on an old lie. The whole "panels" thing is just more of the Sarah Palin scary words game. But see what he did there? He said, "I'm not fearmongering, no, no, nay. I am simply fearful FOR you."
GAH. These liars make me crazy. There's more.
Um, when you look at some other areas with a government run health care system like Canada, anything more than a common cold, yeah, you can have access but you don't have the quality of care that you need. I'm very fearful that they'll ration healthcare to bring down costs.
I think we always need to keep in mind quality of care and access to care is always the number one priority.
When it comes to me, what are we going to do? Well, the first thing we're going to do when we get to Washington hopefully is repeal the Nancy Pelosi health care plan Obamacare.
Canadians, care to weigh in on Mr Strickland's indictment of your health care system? And why isn't Strickland very carefully explaining to these seniors that if Obamacare is repealed, their costs for prescription drugs and preventive care goes up on Day One? Why isn't he saying that?
Here's why. Take a look at Mr. Young Gun Club For Growth Strickland's campaign finance records. Count the insurance companies one by one, all giving him the most they can give. And I guarantee you from the bottom of his empty little heart that there's plenty more where that came from. He's raised nearly $1.5 million for a House race, nearly all of it corporate, very little of it from this actual district, and much of it from insurance companies who long to get their Medicare Advantage money back.
Yet, Paul Ryan's presence on the ticket makes this a sticky and very dodgy proposition, because senior citizens understand what benefits they have realized from Medicare and Social Security's existence, and aren't especially interested in putting theirs at risk, nor risking other generations. They all know Ryan wants to privatize Medicare and Social Security. It's just that they don't know Tony Strickland totally agrees with him.
Look at that pledge right there. He can't even make a straightforward promise without some kind of disclaimer. In this case, it's the pledge to protect benefits, provided they are not increased. What does that mean? No cost of living allowances ever for Social Security recipients? Really, Tony?
I'll leave you with this, which has a bit better audio track and restates the lies told in the first video with a bit more emphasis on death panels. I should note for the record that the only questions allowed to be asked were pre-arranged "friendly" questioners. No one was permitted to actually ask a real question or offer a real clarification. So the lady in the beginning of this is a "friendly" who claims Obamacare will cause Medicare premiums to double in 2014. She helpfully notes that it's "after the election."
More nonsense. Utter, complete fabrication. They've confused Obamacare with Paul Ryan's plan. But they're okay with that. They have an election to win, after all.
*Note: Brownley actually has her issues page complete