Why is it every time we hear the word "serious" it always means sticking it to the working class and the poor? David Brooks takes his turn throwing Newt Gingrich under the bus during this segment on the PBS Newshour for daring to call Paul Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system "right-wing social engineering" on Meet the Press last week.
While Brooks admits that a lot of Republicans are running scared now after voting for Ryan's budget plan, he pretends his problem with Gingrich isn't so much what he said, but the manner in which he said it. I hate to break it to David Brooks, but all the talk in the world of how "serious" that plan is from you and your fellow Villagers isn't going to make the voters like the idea of getting rid of Medicare. And the problem with what Gingrich said is not how he said it. It's that he dared to tell the truth.
And now that almost every Republican in the House of Representatives has hitched their wagons to Ryan's plan by voting for it, we can't have any of that, now can we?
Transcript via PBS below the fold.
JIM LEHRER: Now, do you agree? I mean, is he damaged beyond repair?
DAVID BROOKS: I have always thought he was damaged. I think I mentioned...
JIM LEHRER: Sure, before.
DAVID BROOKS: ... that he -- I wouldn't trust him to run a 7-Eleven.
And there's sort of the reason. Somebody made the point, you have to -- always have to use the Newt Gingrich translator for everything he says. So, when he says something is world historical, that means it is sort of moderately important. When he say it is fundamental, that means it is tangential.
So, you got to -- the bombast meter always has to be ratcheted down six levels. And -- but -- so, this was just bombastic out of control. But there was a serious element. He is not the only one in the Republican Party who is worried about what Paul Ryan stands for.
JIM LEHRER: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And I happen to think...
JIM LEHRER: You mean the Medicare thing.
DAVID BROOKS: The Medicare thing. And he has been involved in Medicare in the past when he was speaker.
JIM LEHRER: Sure.
DAVID BROOKS: And I happen to think one of the important things Ryan did was, he said, if we're going to be serious, we have to be serious about entitlements. We can't just be for expanding Medicare coverage forever.
But there are people in the party on talk radio and also people like Gingrich who have said, we should never, never touch this.
JIM LEHRER: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: And so he was speaking to something serious. He did it in the most damaging way to his party possible.