No wonder why the McCain campaign wants to talk about Ayers.
This is potentially explosive because it cuts into McCain's base, which he can ill afford to lose. I can't believe that for all of the pandering and compromising that McCain has done, that he would try to prove his maverick credentials by standing alone in calling for cuts to Medicare -- especially in the next term when demand will explode with the Baby Boomers retiring. This goes beyond tone deafness, and ventures into Phil Gramm's reckless territory of dismissing anyone who lives everyday economic reality as whiners and mental depression sufferers.
My parents are staunch conservatives who despise Bush because he busted the Federal budget and invaded the wrong country (they actually thought that the sabre rattling should have been directed towards North Korea). But, they are also retirees who will defend their Social Security and Medicare benefits with their votes.
SWINGING THE SWING VOTE TO OBAMA
My parents don't like either candidate and for all I know they might leave the Presidential boxes on their ballots blank. They'll still vote for conservative local and state candidates, and keep their streak alive by voting NO on every bond measure on the ballot. But, they are the swing voters that would ordinarily be swayed towards McCain. Any threatened cutbacks to Medicare would very likely push them into the Obama column.
Medicare (as well as social security) is a basic bread-and-butter issue with them. They've paid off their house, and are content to live within modest means with no debt. Tax cuts don't mean as much to them nowadays because their income's not very high. While they want to see big slashes to the federal budget, they also see the need for Medicare and Social Security, which were line item deductions on their paychecks for decades. They paid into the system for many years, and in their view it's now their turn to collect from it. Any politician that proposes to fundamentally change that will not get my parents' vote, no matter how much they might otherwise agree with that candidate. Medicare and Social Security are their political third rail -- touch it and you're toast.
HIT THIS ISSUE AND HIT IT HARD
These revelations just keep giving new ammo for the Obama campaign to use in the closing weeks of the Presidential race. Medicare cuts and McCain's votes against veteran's benefits are political dynamite, and I have a feeling that once this guilt-by-association pissing match concludes, Obama will go on the offensive.
The themes are all too easy to convey, and very difficult for McCain to defend against. It's a very simple bumper sticker-length meme -- "John McCain loves war, but hates veterans" and "John McCain thinks billionaires pay too much, and seniors don't pay enough." Spring these themes in the battleground states with two weeks to go, and this election turns into an Obama landslide.