Monday, August 20, 2012

Running Against Ryan

Romney really did the Democrats a favor by picking Paul Ryan to be his running mate. As others have noted, Ryan's selection means that down-ballot GOP candidates will have to scramble to distance themselves from national ticket. The reason? Ryan wants to privatize Social Security and replace guaranteed Medicare with a coupon seniors will use to purchase private insurance. Needless to say, most seniors don't want anything to do with these plans.

So, it's going to be an uphill slog for any GOP candidate in a competitive district. This will be even more true for those candidates who actually voted for one of these proposals. Enter, Chris Gibson:
Gibson voted for Ryan’s 2011 budget plan, which included the voucher system — Gibson has always insisted on calling it a system of “premium support” — but passed over Ryan’s Republican-authored budget plan this year in favor of the bipartisan Cooper-LaTourette plan, which is silent on the issue of vouchers v. fee for services, but sets cost targets to be worked out later. It also includes a framework for comprehensive tax reform and sets defense budget targets $500 billion less than Ryan’s plan.
No matter what he tries to do, Gibson cannot run away from this vote. But he has high hopes:
Gibson visited the Times Union’s editorial board Tuesday, and while he wasn’t as vocal about his advocacy for a voucher system, he didn’t repudiate it. He instead noted votes to strengthen Medicare in a funding extension last year as well as votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which because of predicted savings reduces funding for Medicare over time. (emphasis mine)
Uh, actually, that $716 billion figure that's being touted by the GOP are cost savings, not cuts, as we've been led to believe, and shame on the Times Union for not calling Gibson on this mendacity (if you don't believe me, try the Christian Science Monitor).

Given all of this, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is rolling out a new campaign in the districts of those candidates who have supported Ryan's plan, Gibson among them.

Here, for example, is an ad going after Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-1):

Whether Gibson can distance himself enough from Romney/Ryan to convince seniors in NY-19 that he's not out to kill Medicare remains to be seen. But the DCCC is going to do everything it can to remind seniors of the fact that Gibson wanted (or still wants) to replace their Medicare with a coupon.

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