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There's growing evidence that the Republican establishment is increasingly concerned about the heat members, particularly freshmen, are feeling back home over the Republican budget. Speaker John Boehner himself has inched away from it, saying "I'm not wedded to one single idea." Perennial presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich took a page from Sarah Palin, and posted on his Facebook page his own idea for the plan which would make privatization voluntary.

So that's establishment Republicans. You know that there's a serious problem with this plan when Rep. Michele Bachmann, of all people, starts to back off.

In a blog post at, potential 2012 candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) explained that she supported Ryan's budget despite concerns about the Medicare scheme. "We must keep our promises to those who receive Medicare benefits," she wrote, "and those who are nearing the age of Medicare eligibility."
The House of Representatives recently signified their support of the Republican's 2012 budget proposal which will reduce the federal budget by $4.4 trillion. It does so by cutting out unnecessary spending. It would defund ObamaCare of its unspent pre-appropriated funds which are an astonishing tens of billions of dollars that were buried in the bill by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Plus, it would make the tax code flatter and simpler, making Tax Day a less dreaded time of the year. I supported that budget blueprint, though I've expressed caution about how we approach the issue of Medicare. We must keep our promises to those who receive Medicare benefits, and those who are nearing the age of Medicare eligibility. Our challenge is to reduce the soaring amounts that government spends on health care, without burdening those who are most vulnerable.

Although other Republicans maintain that the Ryan plan will "save"Medicare, the reality is that it would make life much more expensive for future seniors, while potentially raising costs for current
as well. As Bachmann hinted toward, it does not "keep our promises" to those nearing the age of retirement, not to mention their children and grandchildren.

Of course, she already voted for the thing that she now calls "a blueprint." That Bachmann is now trying to sound like a voice of reason is kind of scary—there's far loonier than her now in elected office in the United States. But it's also encouraging, seeing that the loony branch of the party might be cluing in to just how far they've overreached.

Either way, using this vote to show the contrast between the two parties is going to be key for Democrats in 2012. But that will also have to mean protecting Medicare—and Social Security—against the rising tide of austerity fever.

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