Here’s a new DNC web ad, with the punchline “Ending Medicare: The New GOP Litmus Test.” The idea is that because Newt Gingrich enraged conservatives by calling the Ryan plan “right-wing social engineering” and “radical,” now all Republicans have to vow to “end Medicare.”
Supporting the Ryan care may not be a litmus test for Republicans. But it’s increasingly looking as though supporting fiscal reform on the scale of the Ryan plan will be, and that’s good. Gingrich’s remarks were damaging not because he didn’t endorse the GOP budget, but because he gave ammunition to Democrats trying to demagogue Ryan’s ideas.
Paul Ryan laid out his reform plan knowing full well that it would invite hysterical, over-the-top attacks from the left, and that’s exactly what happened. His plan is not perfect. It wouldn’t solve our problems if it were signed into law immediately. But it is a first step toward addressing the biggest problem of our time.
What he didn’t expect was for long-time conservative leaders to also engage in similar demagoguery, thereby fueling Democratic attacks and undercutting the Republican Party’s attempt to address our fiscal problems.
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