Skip to main content

Photo by Lauren Victoria Burke

On a conference call with progressive new media types today, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi made her view on the Republican plan to end Medicare crystal clear: "This has to be snuffed out."

Pelosi expansively defined the ultimate goal in the fight over Medicare as winning the debate in the eyes of the American people, rather than just winning the next election. This is standard political organizer thought. First, get the public on your side, and then the public will influence Republican behavior no matter the outcome of the next election.

Under the political circumstances we have faced for most of the last several decades, that line of thinking certainly makes sense. However, one has to wonder if the public at large is really what influences Republicans anymore. Will the real decision makers in the GOP—the uber-wealthy, the tea party, big corporations—ever back down from their proposals to privatize Medicare and Social Security, no matter how unpopular those ideas may be with the general public? For that matter, will the front groups that those right-wing decision-makers have inserted into the Democratic Party, most notably Third Way, ever back down from their support for watered-down versions of those ideas?

Pelosi also talked of the strategy Democrats should use to win the public debate. She spoke of drawing a contrast with Republicans, and alluded to a tactic employed by Democrats in the 2005 Social Security fight. During that fight, she noted,  "We couldn't have our own proposal on Social Security," since presenting one would only lead to confusion and blur the differences between the parties. So instead, Democrats decided that "we have a proposal on the table—it's called Social Security."

One imagines, or at least hopes, that Democrats will adopt the same plan on Medicare. The proposal they will put on the table will simply be called "Medicare," while the Republican proposal is to end Medicare. Such framing would help provide the strongest possible contrast.

When I asked her to comment on the Republican offer of a one-week continuing resolution (even though a two-week recess is coming up) that funds the Pentagon for a full year at elevated levels while making $12 billion in cuts elsewhere, Pelosi didn't mince her words. "Out of the question." "Going nowhere." "A waste of time." "Clearly not even a good faith effort." "As a policy, terrible." "April Fool's day came and went." Due to the clarity of her response, I did not ask a follow-up.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 03:50 PM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site