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July 09, 2012 12:42 PM Believe What You’re Saying

By Jonathan Bernstein

I don’t get the sense that people paid enough attention to a really excellent Jackie Calmes story in Saturday’s NYT about the continuing farce that is the GOP position on Medicare. Perhaps because the Times gave it a bland headline (“Delicate Pivot as Republicans Blast Rivals on Medicare Cuts”) instead of something more accurate, such as “Republicans Are Shockingly Hypocritical, Irresponsible, and Flat-Out Full of Crap on Medicare Cuts.”

To review:

1. Medicare cuts were the main specific complaint about health care reform that Republicans used in the 2010 campaign, and are still using today. At least in GOP ads, medicare cuts were probably a more common attack than general complaints about “liberty” or even the mandate. Opposing the ACA Medicare cuts was what Republicans ran on in 2010, and are running on today.

2. Republicans support the cuts that they ran, and are running, against. Soon after arriving in Washington, that Tea Party class of 2011 voted for the Ryan budget which contained the very Medicare cuts they campaigned against.

3. While also voting to repeal Obamacare, and thus eliminate the significant benefits for Medicare recipients in the ACA, including closing the donut hole and free preventative measures.

4. And while supporting the Ryan plan to transform Medicare into a new program that would certainly cut benefits far more than would be the case under the ACA.

5. All of which doesn’t even account for absolute Republican opposition to the long-term cost-cutting measures in ACA (such as the IPAB) — while at the same time Republicans also have been bashing Barack Obama and the Democrats for not being willing to do “entitlement reform.”

Calmes does a first-rate job of telling that story, which is still (I believe) very much underappreciated by the press as a whole. I’m not one to really care very much about hypocrisy, but the plain fact that Republicans actually support the Medicare cuts they’ve been running ads against for the last four years is, well, astonishing. And that’s without the rest of this whole sequence (which includes, of course, the fraud of “repeal and replace” as well).

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.