Saint Rachel Maddow had a dustup on Meet the Press with right-winger and editor of National Review Rich Lowry. Following the lead of his lying leader, Lowry was pushing a two-year-old lie (which Democrats failed to adequately address in 2010) that Obama’s health care reform law slashed billions out of Medicare:
RICH LOWRY: …Republicans should go on offense on Medicare, because the president, as part of Obamacare, passed $700 billion in cuts in Medicare. And Romney wants to repeal Obamacare, including those cuts…So at the top of a ticket Romney versus Obama, there’s only one of those guys who wants any cuts affecting current seniors…That’s not Mitt Romney.
Of course that is blatantly false. There were exactly zero cuts in Medicare benefits to “current seniors” or, indeed, to future seniors. The “cuts” were actually reductions in the future payments the program makes to participating hospitals (and other providers but not including doctors) and reductions in Bush-era overpayments to private insurance companies participating in Medicare Advantage.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Gail Wilensky, former administrator—under W. Bush—of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare:
There are no reductions in the Medicare benefits promised in law.
Obviously, that fact hasn’t stopped Romney, Ryan, and other Republicans, including the national Chamber of Commerce, from lying about the issue—going on offense, as Lowry described it—which is made worse by the fact that, as Maddow tried to point out on Sunday, Paul Ryan’s budget contains the same “cuts” to Medicare!
At the end, Maddow asked Lowry a question:
What I want to know is the logic of attacking somebody for something that you yourself are proposing to do?
Logic? Ah, the logic in lying about imaginary Medicare cuts is in the fact that Republicans have so much money this year they can lie, and lie continuously, with impunity. Like here in Missouri, where, as Bloomberg points out, the Rovian smear group, Crossroads GPS, is doing damage to Claire McCaskill:
…an ad sponsored by Crossroads that’s run 858 times says Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill voted for Medicare cuts that could slash benefits for the program’s enrollees.
That ad ran 858 times as of June 28! It has undoubtedly run a gazillion times since, as McCaskill has become, in the words of Andy Kroll at Mother Jones, “Dark Money’s Top Target.”
Well, McCaskill is at least fighting back with charges of her own. This morning on Fox and Friends, the show with the ambitious mission of extirpating IQs everywhere, she was treated rather rudely by host Steve Doocy, but before he went on an inelegant Romney-Ryan offensive, she managed to get in a shot at Paul Ryan:
I think he’s willing to blow up Medicare to give more tax cuts to folks at the very top…I have worked in a bipartisan way to bring down federal spending, but I’m not willing to blow up Medicare in the process—especially when you consider that Paul Ryan believes that at the same time we blow up Medicare, we need to give another tax cut to people who make more than a million a year.
“Blow up Medicare.” I like that phrase because it perfectly describes what conservatives have wanted to do to the program since it was created. Blow it up, obliterate it, or, as they phrase it these days, “save” it.