Friday, May 27, 2011

The Paul Ryan Poison Pill

Speaking of going all in, the results in Tuesday's NY-26 special election are giving some indication of how the House Republicans' trumpeting of Rep. Ryan's Medicare/Medicaid-destroying budget is proving a poison pill for the party. What's extraordinary, however, is how the Senate Republicans -- willingly, even! -- followed their House brethren into the buzz-saw on Thursday by voting, almost to-the-one, their support for the Ryan plan. While the bill failed anyway, intended from the start as a purely symbolic sop to the GOP's new Tea Party overlords, every senator who voted "aye" to killing Medicare now has their very own albatross to carry with them come election season.

Whether the need not to anger the Tea Partiers that make up their rank-and-file for fear of incurring a primary challenge, or the need to stay in good with the multi-millionaires and corporations who fill their purses, there are several degrees of shortsightedness here working at cross-purposes for the Republicans. Their confused and, frankly, dangerous approach to Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlement programs (don't think Social Security isn't on the block too) -- nicely crystallized for us with the Paul Ryan budget -- demonstrates the ideological travails afflicting the modern day GOP as its far right moves even farther to the right. As Robert Reich argues, this gives the Democrats a huge leg-up for the 2012 elections.

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