How Obama uses Paul Ryan

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Like him or not, Paul Ryan is no dummy. There’s a reason the Wisconsin Republican has had such a quick ascent within the House GOP leadership. It appears that he has even become a subject of Obama’s new strategy to engage the Republicans (or at least to pretend to engage them).

Obama praised Ryan for having ideas at the retreat, contrasting him with Republicans who offered only talking points. But Obama also criticized Ryan, saying his plan would too strictly limit Medicare benefits.

Ryan proposes that the deficit be closed by shifting some seniors away from Medicare. He would have Americans 55 and younger be issued vouchers to buy private insurance approved  by Medicare instead of being placed in the Medicare system. when they grow older.  Those older than 55 would stay in Medicare.

Ryan is a movement conservative. He is a Buckley-reading son of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. He is the idol of campus conservatives all across America. An intellectual in an anti-intellectual party. But there’s a reason Obama was comfortable highlighting his intellectualism. His ideas are radical, and they strike against the most sacred special interest in Washington: the elderly. Obama welcomes the opportunity to showcase Ryan’s alternatives because they are incompatible with American public opinion.

The perception that Obama’s health care plan would covertly starve Medicare to pay for increased Medicaid etc. is one of the most important barriers that Democrats need to address in order to win the health care debate. By so generously giving the floor to a Republican who is overtly anti-Medicare (relatively speaking), Obama can remind voters that it is in fact Democrats who wish to protect the elderly.

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5 Responses to “How Obama uses Paul Ryan”

  1. nohiddenmagenta Says:

    Thought you might enjoy this commentary:

    http://nohiddenmagenta.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/paul-ryan-a-magenta-path-to-the-presidency/

  2. Brad V Says:

    His ideas aren’t at all radical, even if they may be unpopular with some seniors at present.

    And let’s look at one of the graphs from the excerpt you included above. Here’s the first sentence:

    “Ryan proposes that the deficit be closed by shifting some seniors away from Medicare.”

    Really? Well, let’s look at the last sentence in the same paragraph:

    “Those older than 55 would stay in Medicare.”

    People 55 and under aren’t seniors. Obama, despite his claims at the GOP Retreat, did not seem to have read Ryan’s Road Map. He did not understand the basic idea that shows how savvy Ryan’s plan is – it doesn’t touch any of the sacred third rails for actual seniors.

    It’s solely about changing those rails for future seniors who still have time to adjust and incorporate the changes into their life plans.

    Ryan’s plan is actually almost too gracious. But it actually attempts a moderated, gradual shift to head off the entitlement implosions to some extent.

    • Jack Says:

      Technically you may be right, but politically you are way off mark. The “senior lobby” includes much more than people who are presently over 65. AARP and company does not just stick up for current seniors –– it sends out its newsletter to anybody over 50.

      In the context of liberal democracies, I think Paul Ryan’s ideas are radical. He is against any semblance of a welfare state.

  3. The anti-Ryan strategy emerges « The Sconz Says:

    […] anti-Ryan strategy emerges By Jack Just a few days ago I wrote about how Obama was setting up Paul Ryan as a Republican straw man. Now Republicans are catching on: In just a week, Ryan had gone from being seen as the smart […]

  4. Sony Xperia Sola is Powered by 1GHz Dual Core Processor Says:

    Sony Xperia Sola is Powered by 1GHz Dual Core Processor…

    […]How Obama uses Paul Ryan « The Sconz[…]…

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