Peter is right that Republicans will need to ratchet up their efforts to defend the Ryan plan after the NY-26 defeat. But they also need to go beyond that, and make the case that maintaining the status quo (which is the only alternative the plan-less Democrats are offering right now) will do serious damage to seniors. And not just at some vague point in the far future. The Medicare trust fund will be tapped out in less than a decade.
At the Washington Examiner, Conn Carroll writes:
Republicans cannot keep playing defense on Medicare and hope voters will see the light. They need to aggressively go negative on the Democrats failure to produce a viable Medicare plan. They need to explain how this well hurt seniors and that the pain is coming a lot sooner than they think.
Because the Democrats don’t have their own plan, they’ve been able to attack the GOP proposal without having to defend their own. Republicans have to continue to support the Ryan budget, but they’re not going to be able to win this fight simply by defending it. The Democrats have shown that they’re willing to spread complete falsehoods and blatant propaganda in their attempt to turn the Ryan budget into a political liability, and they’re not going to stop anytime soon.
The only way to slow the attacks on the Ryan plan is to put the Democrats on the defense. Why have they not yet produced a budget? What are they planning on doing about the looming Medicare crisis? What are their plans for tackling the deficit?
Whether or not you support all of the components of the Ryan plan, at least he has taken the first step toward tackling these issues. The Democrats, in contrast, have been too busy playing politics to even produce a budget proposal. Our fiscal problems aren’t going away anytime soon—in fact, they’re approaching the point of catastrophe. The public needs to question why the Democrats haven’t been serious about dealing with them.