Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 4, 2011

WHAT DEMINT CONSIDERS 'A NEW BEGINNING'.... In the late '90s, there was a catchy little four-chord single called, "Closing Time" from a band called Semisonic. If you listened to the radio at the time, it was hard to miss.

One of the lyrics was repeated a few times, and it always stuck in my head: "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." It has a certain logic to it.

I wonder if Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has ever heard the song.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is the latest Republican to use verbal gymnastics in an attempt to muddle the Ryan budget's changes to Medicare. In an interview with ThinkProgress this past weekend, DeMint first declared -- incorrectly -- that most Americans would favor a plan that privatizes Medicare. He then went on to argue that the Republican budget is "not an end of Medicare, it's a new beginning."

It's been one of the oddities of the past few weeks -- we've been stuck trying to define "end." It's really not that complicated, but everyone from PolitiFact to Republicans to journalists are unhappy with the left using the word to describe the GOP's Medicare plan.

DeMint's spin is especially interesting -- he doesn't want to "end" Medicare, he just wants to give it "a new beginning."

Isn't that a bit like redefining "retreat" by saying one is advancing in the other direction?

Look, semantics debates can get pretty tiresome, but this need not be complicated. If you give a program a "new beginning," you have to end the old program. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

In this case, DeMint and his party want to end Medicare and replace it with a privatized voucher scheme. It would still be called "Medicare," but it wouldn't be Medicare.

It seems foolish to have to parse the meaning of the word "end," but if there's a program, and it's replaced with a different program, proponents brought an end to the original program. That's what the verb means.

Steve Benen 4:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (10)

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Comments

Its unfortunate that the GOP didn't come up with this technique (the inverse of rebranding?) before. Newt Gingrich could point out that he has always been married to Mrs Gingrich and Politfact would have to concede that he has only had one wife. Any problems with the religious right and pesky leftists would be solved instantly.

Posted by: rk on May 4, 2011 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

"DeMint's spin is especially interesting -- he doesn't want to "end" Medicare, he just wants to give it "a new beginning."

Yeah, like dying and going to heaven.

Medical costs rise on average about 8.3% a year. Instead of traditional Medicare, the Republicans want to issue vouchers to older people to buy insurance on the private market. the vouchers would increase in value by 1% above CPI. In ten years they would be lucky to afford the worst HMO. Medicare only exists because the private sector will not sell affordable insurance to seniors.

There is a great quote about health care by Andrew Sullivan - [paraphrasing]. - "Health, one recognizes, is not like any other thing. Health is a precondition for every other thing". It should not be bought and sold in a for-profit meat market.

Posted by: max on May 4, 2011 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Other Republicans, including Paul Ryan, have claimed that their plan is the way to "save" Mecicare. I keep waiting for someone to ask if that's similar to our "saving" villages in Vietnam by destroying them.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on May 4, 2011 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

It is not particularly reassuring, but as we hear these Republicans try to tell us in tortured language what it is they are trying to do by shielding their true intentions with convoluted, confusing language representing exactly the opposite of their intentions, we can surely watch as they twist and turn trying to explain to us "it really comes down to what the meaning of 'is' is"!

History serves up irony even if it takes a generation or two to do it!

Now back in 1997, I think DeMint was rooting for the "is" that Bill Clinton denied was the "is" that mattered!

Today, I don't even think DeMint knows "is" is "is" no matter what he wishes to call the destroyed federal program once known as Medicare!

We are witnessing doltish democracy from the Republican forces all around us! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 4, 2011 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

It's true but it's not the truth.

Posted by: SquareState on May 4, 2011 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

A new beginning.

Sounds Mayan.

Posted by: Kill Bill on May 4, 2011 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

It seems foolish to have to parse the meaning of the word "end," but if there's a program, and it's replaced with a different program, proponents brought an end to the original program. That's what the verb means

Oh, why the hell not? It happens in the corporate world all of the time. Business get bought and gutted but the name gets kept for marketing purposes. Why would you thing the party that wants to run government like a business wouldn't operate in that manner?

Posted by: martin on May 4, 2011 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

A new beginning for the über rich who will profit insanely off this, the same old story of exploitation by the wealthly of the poor and middle classes.

To quote U2, "How long? How long must we sing this song?" until people understand it?

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on May 4, 2011 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

This is just the Republicans Social Security debacle all over again. First they said they wanted to privatize Social Security, that the majority of the American people were in favor of their plan, and it had to be done because it was going bankrupt.

Then they found out that the majority of American were NOT in favor of their plan, so they claimed they weren’t going to privatize it, they were just going to SAVE it, and none of the current retirees or those close to retiring would be affected.

To quote Haley Barbour, that dog won’t hunt.

Posted by: Joe Friday on May 4, 2011 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

I like new things.

Except when they are trojans from politicians.
That solve nothing.
And further delay the obvious.

Why does Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) hate America?

Posted by: Kevin (not the famous one) on May 4, 2011 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK
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