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Paul Ryan and his band of not-so-merry men

Sometimes it feels like Beltway analysts are determined to get things wrong. The lessons of the Paul Ryan budget vote and how it played out in this week's special election in western New York is a perfect illustration. Case in point: The Hotline. Here, have a look:

Republicans are quickly learning that not every one of their members is Paul Ryan. And that's becoming a problem as the party's rank-and-file tries to defend his far-reaching entitlement reform package to constituents back home.

And as many effective television appearances, PowerPoint presentations or online infomercials Ryan can offer to articulate his plan, the vast majority of voters simply aren't paying attention.

This is an amazing formulation. Josh Kraushaar and Sean Sullivan are literally saying that Jane Corwin's failing wasn't her support of the Ryan plan, but her inability to sell it well. That's just nuts. The Ryan plan simply isn't capable of being sold, which is something a lot of DC pundits simply can't grok. What's more, voters most certainly were paying attention: Siena's final poll found that Medicare was the single-most important issue for respondents "in deciding which candidate to support." Voters were emphatically tuned in, not tuned out.

Contrary to some accounts of his town hall meetings, Ryan actually received a predominantly positive reception at his town halls back home — in a district that's less Republican than the one Democrats picked up in New York. But while Ryan's natural policy chops allow him to be an effective messenger, a nuanced and convincing message may not come as easily for other Republicans.

So because Paul Ryan stage-managed a few town halls semi-decently, that means his plan is winner? And what other Republicans lack is simply Paul's campaign-trail chops? That flies in the face of polling which shows the Ryan plan to be deeply unpopular, period. Ryan may have survived a few appearances back in Janesville, but he's gotten beaten up pretty badly on the national stage for this debacle, and rightly so. And if Ryan had to endure the paid media campaign that Corwin faced, he'd be doing even worse back home.

"The only way you win this, is you've got to go back and explain it, and it's not a bumper sticker explanation," said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., at a roundtable discussion with reporters last week.

"One Member — who will remain unknown — in the conference, says, well Paul, I agree with this; can I take you with me to my district to explain it? Because you understand it and can explain it, but this is not easy stuff," Davis added, about the Ryan budget.

If other vulnerable Republicans don't study up, they could suffer the same fate as Corwin. Indeed, they're quickly learning that the messaging is as important as the message.

I really and truly hope this is what Republicans think — that their failure is simply one of messaging, and not actual policy. Indeed, this reminds me a lot of the Bush approach to the Iraq war, once things started going south: Rove et al. repeatedly tried to sell the media on a phony positive storyline, hoping it would drown out reality. It may have staved off disaster for a time, but in the end, it bit them, badly. You can only out-run the facts for so long.

And in the case of the Ryan budget, the facts have long since caught up with the GOP. Tom Davis (who, amazingly, was once chair of the NRCC) is wrong when he says it's not a bumper-sticker explanation. The GOP wants to end Medicare as we know it. It's simple, it's clear, and it's the truth — which is why Kathy Hochul was able to pound that message so relentlessly and effectively. You can try to explain away the Ryan plan at dissertation-length, but there is no explanation for that doesn't boil down to exactly what Democrats have said.

But you know, maybe I shouldn't have even written this piece in the first place. If Beltway observers want to help the Republican Party learn all the wrong lessons from the Ryan budget and the Hochul victory, I'm only too happy to let them. After all, as Paul Krugman notes, it was Beltway adulation that let Ryan stumble into this horror show in the first place. Keep up the good work!

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Comment Preferences

    •  these people can say anything they want the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DEMonrat ankle biter

      fact is they are talking vouchers for medicare and if people believe how they are trying to backtrack it will be just like nov. 2010 as soon as they get in office they will be throwing grandma and grandpa out of the senior citizen homes because they don't care about nothing and nobody any time they don't want to give help to those really red states that had all those tornadoes they are cold people

      •  If you repeat it enough, they'll start to believe (0+ / 0-)

        This is the simply same principle, applied to itself.

        I.e. If you repeat "if you repeat it enough, they'll start to believe" enough, they'll start to believe.

        fpg

        •  "Catapulting the propaganda" is still in fashion (0+ / 0-)

          I see.

          Its really sad when the media thinks they need to repeat the message that was a stinker to begin with.

          Some of the media think they are being objective but they are really being indifferent to human values.
          Critical thinking is missing in their reporting.

    •  krugman the only 1 right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      beltane

      or at least the only 1 right more than any of the others

  •  "not every one of their members is Paul Ryan" (7+ / 0-)

    Good news and Bad News at the same time.

    We agree our hair is on fire, we disagree with Paul Ryan's plan to use a sledgehammer to put out the fire

    by JML9999 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:25:40 AM PDT

    •  Beltway consensus is based on self-interest (6+ / 0-)

      Too many of them have the same love for upper bracket tax cuts as Ryan, and think he must be a genius for helping them find a way to try to preserve and maybe even extend  them.

      David Frum in a blog post that was diaried yesterday hit it on the head when he said that working class and independent voters don't like big government programs (which they perceive as often wasteful and not benefiting them) but they do like Medicare, understand what it has done for them or their parents and definitely don't buy the need fir more upper income tax cuts.  So Ryan's plan confirms a suspicion that the GOP agenda is really to cut middle-class benefits to benefit the Really Rich.  That's the one thing that always gets them to vote Dem..

      So go for it, Private Ryan, double down on message.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:13:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Grok?" Am I having an acid flashback (9+ / 0-)

    from 1979 or did I just read the long disused counterculture  synonym for "understand"?

    Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights do make a left.

    by Simian on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:27:48 AM PDT

  •   Cheney Love (7+ / 0-)
    Dick Cheney: 'I worship the ground Paul Ryan walks on'

    http://www.politico.com/...

  •  Everything is about the politics and not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    the policy, in the media.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:28:04 AM PDT

    •  And everything's a horse race, even when the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dretutz, Matt Z

      winner leads by 50 points.

    •  That's eactly why this is true (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mimikatz, James Allen, TRPChicago, Matt Z
      The Ryan plan simply isn't capable of being sold, which is something a lot of DC pundits simply can't grok.
      The GOP has since at least the 1960s, subordinated policy to marketing.  

      They've sold a lot of policies that hurt the public, and they thought they could do so again.  Had they not combined steep reductions in taxes for the rich with deep cuts to Medicare funding, maybe they'd have pulled it off.  But it doesn't take a lot of effort to see this plan for what it is: a transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.

      "Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense." Steve Landesberg, 1945-2010.

      by Califlander on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:01:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One very telling early sign (0+ / 0-)

        When W was running in 2000, he was asked what subject he'd like to teach, were he a teacher.  "Politics" was the answer.  Ah, you mean, how govt works, policy, etc?  Oh no..  W meant, he enjoyed and considered himself an expert on politics as a sales job--'timing, message, you know, heh heh."

        At the time it struck me as so telling, that Junior viewed the job as getting elected (so you can enjoy the spoils), not governing.  But I had no idea how bald-faced and extreme the Rs were about to become.

        It truly does not make them blink an eye, to have as their answer for everything, either (i) the American people...[when their lies are temporarily taking hold] or (ii) our bad, our bad.  We have to do a better sales job on the American people.

      •  transfer of wealth = theft (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        investorb

        Let's stop with the euphemisms and call it what it really is: theft.

        O povo unido jamais será vencido

        by SLKRR on Thu May 26, 2011 at 11:19:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  EVEN IF Paul Ryan came and gave beautiful (8+ / 0-)

    cogent explanations at every Republican town hall, it won't matter.  EVEN IF everyone in those town halls are somehow persuaded, it won't matter.  What matters is not town hall attenders; what matters is VOTERS.  Town hall attenders make up 1% of the electorate.  The rest of the electorate will still be left saying, "They want to do what with Medicare???"

    Of course, that all presumes that Ryan, or anybody, could explain and persuade town hall attendees that this is a good deal.  It's a loser.

    Join us at the Amateur Radio Group. Serving the Left Side of the Dial since 2011.

    by briefer on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:28:47 AM PDT

  •  Now is the perfect time. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    socal altvibe

    For Progressive Democrats to sell Medicade for all.

    It saves the country money on health.

    Promotes job creation as companies no longer are on the hook for Health.

    And it is fair.  No one group gets medicare.

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

    by NCJim on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:29:32 AM PDT

  •  Just wild speculation on my part, (8+ / 0-)

    but I'd say that the pundits who are writing these analyses are fairly well-to-do and won't have a problem paying for their health care when they are older.  Many working-class Americans will, in retirement, have trouble scraping together the $6,400.00/year extra for health insurance that the Ryan proposal will require.  Lack of perspective leads to poor punditry.

    Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

    by Greasy Grant on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:30:50 AM PDT

    •  Pundits get paid the big bucks (7+ / 0-)

      to shill and lie. No one gets rich telling the truth.

      •  It takes a special kind of douchebag (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        beltane, investorb, Matt Z

        To lie to the public with a straight face, over and over, knowing full well the lies they tell will cause profound injuries - financial and otherwise - to working class families.

        Most moral people really couldn't sustain such a profession because of it's distastefulness - no matter how big the payday is.

        That kind of diabolical moral depravity is an uncommon commodity.  That's why propagandists - the really good ones - get paid so lavishly.

        If that kind of individual walked around on every street corner - these individuals would get paid - well - like common journalists.

        Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

        by meatballs on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:55:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The big problem is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z

          One side had big money on its side, and the other does not.  The big money side pays their operatives well, and is deeply loyal to those operatives.  There is so much money at stake, there is every incentive for them to buy up as many pundits and politicos and politico-wannabes.  And, they have the cash.  And now, they are revving up the huge machines they've spent the last several decades putting in place.  Including their nuclear-option railroading of W's supreme court nominees.

    •  They generally have a consensus.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J M F, Matt Z

      ....about many issues, these talking heads do. They think the debt and deficit are the worst issues and that the best way to deal with it is through entitlement cuts. They're not as constitutionally opposed to tax increases or military cuts as the Republicans are, but those aren't seen as top priorities. They are generally hawkish on foreign policy and moderate on social issues. And they think that any problem this country faces can best be solved with a commission led by Henry Kissinger, Alan Simpson, Sam Nunn, and the ghost of David Broder.

    •  Even if you have the money (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foresterbob

      you really will not appreciate scraping together an extra $6,400 for health insurance.  In some quarters that could be considered a tax increase.  And for some meaning forgoing a cruise or other vacation which those in the later years have a propensity to value.

      "Through the process of sharing and just redistribution, the needs of all can be met."
      - World Teacher Maitreya

      •  What do you have against being empowered? (0+ / 0-)

        I mean seriously.  How is every pundit in the world not swinging at that low-hanging fruit?

        Seriously?

        When smart and relatively young health care consumers, including small businesses, are helpless to contain health insurance premiums.

        When the most articulate patient is guaranteed a runaround trying to get medical treatment approved or reimbursed.

        Granny is supposed to be deeply grateful that she's been "empowered" to negotiate with the insurance industry on her lonesome?

    •  They are paying for their health care (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scribeboy, SLKRR, Matt Z

      the old-fashioned way.  They are whoring themselves out for big money.

  •  In a way, I feel sorry for Paul Ryan. (0+ / 0-)

    He seems like one of these guys who has created an elaborate rationalization for a worldview that just has nothing to do with reality, burying false premises so deeply he actually believes there is a real argument for his position.  The bulk of his Party knows better: They have an intuitive sense that what they want is simply indefensible, and the only way they're going to get it is through force and lies.

    The conundrum of stable democracy: Reform requires the consent of the corrupt.

    by Troubadour on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:34:17 AM PDT

    •  I fucking don't (9+ / 0-)

      Fuck him

      Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

      by meatballs on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:37:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have no compassion for that person (14+ / 0-)

      He is a privileged asshole following a vicious, immoral philosophy. He gets no points from me in being a true worshipper of evil.

      •  I wanna think that might be over the top (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Treg, SLKRR, Matt Z

        but, the truth is, he IS a privileged asshole following a vicious, immoral philosophy. There's really no doubt about it.

      •  Philosophy is a rare thing. (0+ / 0-)

        The conservative is by and large a mindless, grasping animal bent by hate and fear who not only can't explain themselves, but doesn't try.  So I've learned to appreciate perverted logic as something more interesting than the wasteland of unconscious, reptilian impulse that defines most right-wing politics.  

        Ryan may not have a philosophy, immoral or otherwise - he may just be a Standard Issue greed-monkey with a slightly better instinct for persuasion.  But I've argued with every subset of the right for many years, and every once in a while I run into someone who isn't an idiot or a nihilistic sociopath: People who have simply started from the wrong premise, and will never escape from it because its hold on their assumptions is simply too fundamental.

        People who are not, like pretty much the whole GOP, grasping for power and trying to impoverish everyone who isn't a member of the yacht club.  Rather, people who see money as an abstraction; who think it's common sense to cut budgets when revenues decline, and believe sincerely that government is some kind of unfortunate, cynical thing to be reduced at every chance so that "the people" (in their minds, a bunch of white upper-middle-class traditional families in suburbia) can be "free" to be businessmen.  This is the world in their minds.  And these delusions are worth pitying when they are sincere rather than, as usual, the fabrications of a thieving mind.

        The conundrum of stable democracy: Reform requires the consent of the corrupt.

        by Troubadour on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:19:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Paul Ryans of the world... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10

      accumulate millions and billions of dollars for themselves and their benefactors by selling this worldview with rationalizations of false premises.  Reality isn't important to them like it is to you and me; lining their pockets however they can, regardless of who they hurt, is all that matters to them.  I don't feel sorry for Paul Ryan one iota.

      Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

      by Greasy Grant on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:51:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have to feel sorry for people (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pinko Elephant

        who subscribe to shallow, self-centered reasoning, because there is always some larger context than we appreciate.  

        I think about my own reasoning, and realize that in an earlier era I would have believed things that fail in context - I could easily have been a Marxist if I grew up in the 1920s.  No historical context would put me in the mental frame of the GOP, but what if my acute sense of fairness and experience of human frailty were less than it is?  What if I found it just a tad easier to treat other people's suffering as an abstraction, if I myself had known extraordinary good luck in my life?  

        Paul Ryan's little adventure as a minimal-government messiah is over.  That much is as it should and must be.  But if he has a mind, and if he believes the things he says, then pity him the fact that he will never understand why his agenda is wrong and why people rejected it.  If you can pity the 20th century Eastern Europeans whose humanist crusade turned into an Orwellian nightmare, you can pity the Randian types who create oppressive, medieval cesspools thinking they're going to "liberate human initiative" through Small Government.  Pity because there are things we ourselves will never understand, that we probably could if we had the courage and perspective to see.

        This has been a long digression based on a fleeting thought.  I simply wanted to say that Ryan is at best pitiful.

        The conundrum of stable democracy: Reform requires the consent of the corrupt.

        by Troubadour on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:45:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's no way to polish this turd sandwich... (11+ / 0-)

    Ryan openly admits that it's a massive cut in benefits.  their sales pitch is that we have to destroy Medicare in order to save it.

    GOP spinmeisters are good at spinning falsehoods into truth, but spinning Medicare is hard, because seniors are rightfully suspicious of ANYTHING that changes the program even slightly.  Even if you change it for the better, they will come after you (like they did with Dan Rostentowski when they tried to expand medicare in the late 80's).  Of all the things that are impossible to spin, Medicare changes are one of them--as Dems found out in 2010.

    You'd think that after the GOP demagogued their way to office on the back of Medicare in 2010, they would have know this, but their members seem genuinely shocked that their attempts to gut medicare after their promised to strengthen it, wouldn't go over well.  Are they really that obtuse?  I guess so.  their own experience should have told them otherwise.

    GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

    by LordMike on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:34:26 AM PDT

  •  And liberals are the elites (9+ / 0-)

    who have nothing but contempt for working families.

    •  This, a thousand times this (10+ / 0-)

      Paul Ryan is brave and courageous for telling Americans what's best for them (Couponcare and more wealthy tax cuts), when poll after poll shows quite clearly that Americans want Medicare preserved and quite readily support payroll tax increases or eliminating/moving the payroll tax cap to fund it... and we're the elites?

      Republicans insist that voters were just too stupid to see the brilliance of couponcare and the only problem is that they didn't "message it" right.... and we're the elites?

      Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

      by zonk on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:53:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where the hell does this come from? (4+ / 0-)

        "If ... Republicans don't study up, they could suffer the same fate as Corwin."

        Can you name me one smart Republican with a strong work ethic that can stop me from thinking this sentence is totally absurd?  This is the party of Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle, John Boehner, Saxby Chambliss, Tom DeLay, Steve King, Adam Kinzinger, Aaron Shock, Michelle Bachmann, Joe Walsh, etc., etc., etc.    The last time they held  Congress, they were in session 2 1/2 days a week during two wars.  

        Maybe in the old days, before Reagan, Bush, and Bush.  But these Republicans just memorize the talking points and write it in.

        "What about the headless bodies, Governor?" --- Members of the press yelling after a fleeing Jan Brewer, 9/1/2010

        by Pangloss on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:13:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You get my rec... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z

          for including Chambliss in my list.  He is my senator, unforunately.  On the occasions when I send his office an email, the reply is invariably a set of talking points.

          If they guy has an original thought in his head, he hides it very well.

      •  Really funny, no? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        After years of insisting that W was a great president, because he was a regular guy and had common sense, so who needs intelligence or a work ethic or an education?

        That it's snowing outside, and Al Gore is boring, so any regular guy can see that global warming is a hoax.

        Now the problem is that Ryan's bold and brilliant plan is too brilliant and nuanced for the average bear?

  •  I wonder what the Beltway (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beltane, bythesea, Matt Z

    geniuses would write if they put scary eyed Bachmann and Ryan plus creepy red haired guy in front of the camera at the same time.  That about sums up my sense of what comes out of any Republican's mouth or pea brain.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:38:22 AM PDT

    •  Who is that red-haired guy? (0+ / 0-)

      He looks like a re-animated corpse.

    •  The GOP is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, Matt Z

      spinning like crazy already.

      They think that they can sell this better by emphasizing:

       This Plan would not affect any current seniors over 55 yrs old. That 55 and older block votes at a high rate and they will appeal to them to embrace the GOP motto of ''we got ours,screw the rest'',and also stressing how the system is in trouble and unless someone gets screwed,their own benefits could be endangered.

      Then they will lie about the HCR bill and say that the Dems plan will weaken medicare for current seniors by cutting out the Advantage bullcrap.

      They are the masters of misinformation and bait/switch politics,so the dems cannot rest on their laurels after NY-26.
      Overreach seems to always come with victory in american politics...it has just snapped the GOP in the face....now,can dems avoid it? Fine line between demonizing Ryans Plan and selling our ideas that must be struck. Medicare is not without problems by 2024,and the dems must be ready to respond with simple but plausible explanation of how to strengthen Medicare.

      •  And how is it that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hawkjt, Matt Z

        no one beats them over the head with Part D Pharma giveaways?  They are oh so concerned to save Medicare, and the Debt is the Antichrist, and vote Republican, because they are Businessmen and will run the country Like a Business....

        They refuse to negotiate medicare drug prices?

        Because apparently, that's what W learned at Harvard Business School.  

  •  They're Not Analysts, They're Advocates (13+ / 0-)

    There isn't anything the pundits "fail" to "understand."

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:41:22 AM PDT

  •  I want them to cont. to get it wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    Let them keep thinking that all they need to do is to articulate his flat out awful plan better. I want him to keep pushing it all the way up until the 2012 election. They are clueless and I couldn't be happier about that.

    "No one can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." Maria Robinson

    by skindig55 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:42:28 AM PDT

  •  "I'm tellin' ya, this stuff is Shineola!" (5+ / 0-)

    "Vouchers!  Like Groupon! Guys? C'mon! Guys?"

  •  Jumbo Shrimp (10+ / 0-)

    Hamburger Steak
    Uncontested Divorce
    Military Intelligence
    Beltway Wisdom

     . . . am I seeing a pattern here?

    Our promises are made in proportion to our hopes, but kept in proportion to our fears.-LaRouchefoucauld

    by luvsathoroughbred on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:43:58 AM PDT

  •  Keep digging, Republicans (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treg, tardis10, KnotIookin, foresterbob, Matt Z

    Hell. Go for the Full Monty and run Ryan for the Presidency.

    It's a sure winner of a strategy.

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:45:33 AM PDT

  •  Just Wait Until The Dems Rescue The GOP (0+ / 0-)

    With Obama's supersecret, ultrapartisany, 90% Right Wing budget that "cuts" entitlements but not as much as the Republicans. GOP-lite has proved such a hot seller for the ObamaCrats that they're coming back for more. Why? Because Obama and the Democrats he leads are Right Wing ideologues who believe the Conservatives are fundamentally correct and who refuse to move Left even when it costs them elections. Even when the vast majority of Americans want Left Wing solutions. Even when the Right is dead wrong and the Left offers solutions that benefit the American People.

    It is one thing to be an ideologue, as most of the GOP is today. That's bad enough for the country. But when the alleged opposition party adopts the same failed Right Wing ideology, the country is truly lost at sea.

  •  You shouldn't underestimate GOP credulity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Matt Z

    What they probably mean is, with enough repetition and echoing by the whole RW media machine, they think they can add the whole Ryan package to their credo, medicare and all. And they might very well be right.

    •  I have a bit of hope. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      They've overreached before, flew too close to the sun.

      Terri Schiavo was the first misstep.  Then Junior went after social security.  I think, I so hope, they stepped in it so big this time, they'll never scrape it off their boots.

  •  Um the sad fact is they are right (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treg, sharman, OKParrothead, TRPChicago, Matt Z

    The GOP's policies always suck and they owe every victory they achieve to messaging alone.

    Tell me any GOP policy that you think was actually good and I'll show you how it was actually detrimental to the American people.

    The reality is that the modern conservative movement is entirely a PR operation. A very effective PR operation.

    Of course they do have the advantage of owning the media so they can control what gets through to the masses.

    I sometimes wonder if the only reason the Dems win any elections is because most people don't have time to pay attention to the media anyway and thus escape the brain washing.

    •  On many things, but not this time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      Fucking around with medicare is political suicide.  Paul Ryan has torpedoed the GOP.

      The last time the GOP tried a direct assault on retirement - it took them 15 years to recover.  

      Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

      by meatballs on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:05:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes but from the GOP POV (0+ / 0-)

        It really is just a failure in messaging.

        Understand to them messaging isn't just the sound bites surrounding a particular policy but rather an complete multi-media assault on language and perception.

        From their position they simply thought they'd done a better job shaping the terms of the debate.

        My real fear is that their propaganda often seems most effective on the people who should be most immune to it. Namely our elected Democrats.

    •  Skex they have always hit a wall when the msg is (0+ / 0-)

      about privatizing middle-class entitlements

      no matter how they shake and bake it... no amount of creative messaging ever gets them to the goal line...

      3rd rail....for real...   and yet repubs flock to it like moths to a flame

    •  the only reasons Ds win elections (0+ / 0-)

      post-Civil-Rights-Act is, Rs get into power and screw up so badly the reality cannot be denied.

      What is so depressing, so unbelievable to me still, is that Americans gladly sweep the memory bank clean.  When the Ds pull the car out of the ditch, barely, the folks go back to the shiny baubles.

      I often think the only reason we had a New Deal was, the Great  Depression happened with 3 years still left in Hoover's term.

      So good news, the Great Depression of our generation happened two months before the 2008 election, and hopefully averted.  The bad news is, did you know he's a Kenyan Muslim terrorist who wants to take your guns and recruit your children to gay?

    •  Skex, you hit it on the head (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      All GOP victories have been achieved by effective messaging.

      Damn, if only the Dems could do that. They would be unbeatable. Good policy and good messaging.

      In a world of the blind, the one eyed man is a pariah. Ask Galileo. Ask Darwin.

      by OKParrothead on Thu May 26, 2011 at 11:05:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So....When do they charge up San Juan Hill again? (0+ / 0-)
  •  to cop a phrase from one of their own: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greasy Grant, LordMike, Matt Z
    water

    loo

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:51:28 AM PDT

  •  This is Good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treg

    We want the Republicans to get it wrong, because we want them to keep doing what they are doing.

    It's a basic Republican article of faith that no matter what the issue is, they NEVER have a policy problem, they only have a COMMUNICATIONS problem.  So, they never think that they should change what they are doing.  They just think that they should sell it differently.  (I have an ex-wife like that).

    The thing is, most of America thinks the policy stinks.  It isn't the communication.  They won't be able to make this sow's ear into a silk purse no matter what they do.  Still, the best thing for the Democrats is if the Republicans keep doubling down on a policy that is just doomed to fail.

  •  I don't seem to recall Ryan's plan getting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treg, tardis10, sharman, Matt Z

    that great of reception in Wisconsin.  He shut off questions after getting some flack.

    "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

    by Leftovers on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:53:04 AM PDT

  •  In the Beltway media's defense, they have been (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Treg

    systematically co-opted since the early 80's. They don't know anything else but Republican talking points and false equivalency now.

    They're sort of like a lab experiment now: what happens when you isolate journalists from reality and only feed them the right wing world view? They're the mushrooms of contemporary journalism.

  •  Yup, and "the R's" can keep being wrong, rec'ed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, sharman

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:55:25 AM PDT

  •  Villagers (0+ / 0-)

    There's a reason members of the Beltway media are often called thus.

    The_Village_(The_Prisoner)#Village_authorities

    (The reference may be a bit old but hardly old-fashioned.)

  •  Shorter: Not lying well enough. (0+ / 0-)

    This is not a good plan.
    This is an attack on the middle class and seniors.
    People don't like that idea. No matter how many times you say that denying people medical coverage through medicare is a good thing, they won't believe it.

    This is where enlightened self interest meets plain old self interest. We're not buying it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. - Poor Richard's Almanac 1755 The government exists to protect us from the thugs who got rich ripping off our ancestors. - Mungley 2011

    by mungley on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:58:34 AM PDT

  •  How is Ryan's plan not a Voucher Program? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Matt Z

    I heard expressions to that effect and wanted to know what the logic was.  I went to trusty Google and what do you know, there is a YouTube video by none other than Paul Ryan himself explaining it.

    Explanation

    What am I missing?  It seems that it is not a Voucher Program because you don't actually get a piece of paper that says "Voucher" in block letters.

    Take a look and please correct me if I'm wrong.

    •  The very same way that (0+ / 0-)

      it is a lie to say that the Ryan plan ends Medicare.

      You see, the Ryan Plan calls its program "Medicare."  Now sure, Ryan's Medicare is fundamentally different than waht-we-have-now Medicare.  But he named it "Medicare."   So it's a lie to say that Ryan's plan ends Medicare.

      Thus:  it's a lie to use the word "voucher" because that's not the word the Rs chose to use.  Call something by its synonym, go to Politifact jail.

      Hey another one.  Just like Gringrich didn't just put forth an individual mandate proposal.  No, it was a "variation on the individual mandate."  Now, next question?

    •  Because shut up, that's why. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      The standard Republican answer.  ;-)

      O povo unido jamais será vencido

      by SLKRR on Thu May 26, 2011 at 11:27:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here is what happened (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharman, ratcityreprobate, Matt Z

    Politico confused the stage-managed "standing ovation" Ryan got at one town hall, posted at the conservative RealClear Politics http://www.youtube.com/... with the reality of actual reactions from actual voters, as posted by ThinkProgress, a liberal site http://www.youtube.com/...

    You see, if you only listen to one side it doesn't matter what reality is. You just run it through the old faux equivalence machine and voila!

    If we have honest elections next year (and there's no guarantee of that) then we'll know what real is.

    http://www.danablankenhorn.com

    by Dana Blankenhorn on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:00:10 AM PDT

  •  This absolutely proves... (8+ / 0-)

    The bias in the media.  Where are the copious articles saying that 'The Obama plan is unpopular, but the Dems simply have a messaging problem.  Once the nuances are explained, they will be in good shape."  Instead we got 6 months of how the GOP is going to crush the Dems because of an unpopular plan.  Now the shoe is on the other foot, but all the pundits can do is continue to praise Ryan for his bold plan.

    [F]undamentalists pretty much fall under the same banner ie. "we cant control our junk" - LaFeminista

    by RichM on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:00:37 AM PDT

    •  And it's worse than that! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      The Rs were actively, outrageously lying about Obamacare.  Seriously, Death Panels.  Seriously, they said out loud we're going to kill grandma.  A reliable one-liner for Palin's speeches was "Grandma isn't shovel-ready."

      But it's the Rs who have a great plan, if only the message were not getting so tragically, unfairly distorted.

    •  Wrong Pundits..... nt (0+ / 0-)

      In a world of the blind, the one eyed man is a pariah. Ask Galileo. Ask Darwin.

      by OKParrothead on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:58:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Saving Ryan's Privatization is gonna bomb! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Slip? Upset? In Utah! Trail, no! M. Romney? Odd! Elder, an A.M.C. man, a Red-led doyen! Mormon liar that unites pupils?"

    by Obama Amabo on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:01:44 AM PDT

  •  Ryan needs to cut a rap "record" then go on MTV (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Matt Z

    he IS trying to sell this crap to people who are well UNDER 55... right?

  •  Message of Republicans to Seniors. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob

    Yeah, you're parasites, but if you mind your own business while we stick shivs into your children and grandchildren we'll leave you alone - for now.

  •  the ultimate "shoot the messenger" (0+ / 0-)

    It's not the policy that sucks.  It's just a messaging failure.

  •  This is an interesting reversal. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Matt Z

    The GOP has dominated the "message war" for a while now, but it seems things are finally turning around for us. Part of the reason is contained in the diary... you can only escape facts for so long.

    Republican policies were always about the rich and how to prop them up. They were always going to throw every minority under the bus, and even their "own" (white people) were liable to become victims of those in the upper echelons of the pyramid. They worship power and greed and have a "anything goes" mentality where they can simply create their own reality as they see fit.

    The problem is that there is also an external world ruled by facts and other principles, and while one can indeed create a reality for oneself based on beliefs that may not have any basis on reality, this self-created reality will be a fragile bubble, ready to pop at the slightest turbulence. Republicans have enjoyed such a delusionally-crafted paradigm where they could indefinitely hoodwink the public about whose interests they were really protecting.

    What we have today is a massive game of connect-the-dots. Explaining something is of limited use: many of us only learn through direct experience alone, painful and slow as that might be. However, here we have precisely that: many millions have gotten their asses kicked, they want to figure out what's going on and who's behind the shenanigans, and unfortunately all signs point to the Republicans. What's best, however, is that their own hubris and greed have gotten the best of them - clouded their judgment, dulled their edge - and now they're becoming victims of their own schemes. This is how life works - cheating only works in the short term, even if that short term is a few decades.

  •  This is absolutely their "defense" of Ryan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Matt Z

      The new message campaign was all over the air today, namely that the GOP is "right" on Ryan's Plan, that it was sold badly in NY26 by an inept Corwin, and that the public doesn't understand - YET - that Republicans  are trying to "save" Medicare, not kill it.

        So get ready to bash the snot out of that bullshit, namely by pointing out that turning Medicare into an underfunded voucher program effectively kills it,  that Republicans have been against Medicare since its inception, and that if the GOP really wanted to "save" Medicare they'd back off their "tax cuts for the rich" and "subsidies for the oil and gas industry" strategy.

        Don't let the R's sell their crap about Ryan's plan "saving" Medicare.  It KILLS Medicare, and worse, it panders to seniors by throwing THEIR CHILDREN under the bus instead of them.

  •  Josh Kraushaar is very conservative (0+ / 0-)

    Check out the blogroll he used to keep at his former blog: Instapundit, Little Green Footballs, Powerline, etc.

    http://allaboutjoshk.blogspot.com/

  •  Oh, I dunno...Ryan had me sold on it until I heard (0+ / 0-)

    what all those other guys had to say...ahahahahahaha!!!!!

  •  it's almost trivial to point out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z
    I really and truly hope this is what Republicans think — that their failure is simply one of messaging, and not actual policy.

    ... that this is how they always think.

    it's their mantra: conservatism never fails.

  •  You can't polish a turd. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OKParrothead, Matt Z
  •  I just hope the Dems don't make the mistake (0+ / 0-)

    of thinking this one point will win all the chips in 2012.

    The unwashed masses (you know who you are) will get tired of hearing "he's taking your medicare, he's taking your medicare" and just tune the Dems out and go back to Faux News.

    There has to be another punch coming.

    In a world of the blind, the one eyed man is a pariah. Ask Galileo. Ask Darwin.

    by OKParrothead on Thu May 26, 2011 at 10:55:57 AM PDT

  •  I remember some fur flying at Ryan's town halls (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    Paul Ryan was on the receiving end of some pretty probing questions at his town hall meetings, including one man who asked if anyone in the room  had read Ryan's budget and, of course, hardly anyone had.  Ryan was asked why his budget doesn't bring down the deficit by much especially because he insists on more tax cuts for the wealthy in his plan.  He received a lot of flak at those meetings just like other members of Congress.  So the inference that Ryan hit home runs at all his town halls meetings is false.  From the first day he unrolled his plan, however, Ryan was treated with blind deference by the beltway "journalists" including Judy Woodruff who had not one educated question to ask Ryan when she interviewed him on PBS.  Even PBS journalists seemingly caught in the glow of the courageous Ryan showed no sign of doing their homework so that they could conduct an informed interview.  Fortunately for all of us, since we cannot rely on the media, gutting medicare so that you can increase tax breaks for the wealthy does not need much explaining.

  •  I'll agree with that portrayal in one way (0+ / 0-)

    The greater the Republican candidate's ability to obfuscate the issue, the less they will be harmed by it.  In the same way that Republicans have always obfuscated their policies of whacking the working class over the head with a baseball bat with electoral success.  

    Fact are stubborn things. -John Adams

    by circlesnshadows on Thu May 26, 2011 at 11:19:23 AM PDT

  •  IT IS A SCAM; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    To reiterate, the plan 40 GOP senators voted for Wednesday night would do the following:

    1). Over the first 10 years, it would make relatively small changes to Medicare by repealing most of President Obama's health care law. That would re-open the Medicare prescription donut hole, and deep-six new wellness benefit guarantees for seniors.

    2). After 10 years, it would begin phasing out traditional Medicare hospital insurance and replace it for newly eligible beneficiaries with a subsidy to buy regulated insurance on an exchange. The value of the subsidy would shrink over time relative to health care costs leaving seniors holding the bag for more and more of their own medical bills. Still, this is a policy Cornyn himself agreed has a lot in common for with the health care law, for people under 65. Nobody claims that the health care law is anything like Medicare.

    3). After that 10 year window is closed, those who already have Medicare would be allowed to retain traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Republicans argue that they'd see no disruption. But as explained here, over time that pool of people would age and shrink, leaving the traditional Medicare program without the purchasing power to entice providers to care for Medicare patients. Over time, that plan would erode until it disappeared altogether, leaving us with a fully privatized insurance program for all eligibles.

  •  With all due respect, Mr Nir, for low info voters, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, Matt Z

    all it may take is for the GOP to repackage their plan is putting to work Luntzian twists on the phrase "Premium Care" and we could see a shift in the polls. Not because Ryan's plan isn't still horrible, but because the GOP is realy good at lying. Premium Care. Mmmmm, premiummmm. Doesn't that just sound so wonderful? Luntz will work wonders with it.

    Of course, if Dems just keep hitting folks with the truth, pounding away over and over and over, then we can overcome whatever slick trick remarketing the GOP tries to use.

    However, Dems bringing Medicare reform to the negotiating table at all in the next year and a half put the whole Medicare as weapon strategy in jeopardy so we may be fucked anyway.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Thu May 26, 2011 at 11:38:25 AM PDT

  •  Quite the posse Ryan has there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    A bunch of constipated white boys. That photo could be in the Wikipedia under "this is what you look like when you sell your soul."

    "Without LOVE in the dream it will never come true..." -Hunter/Garcia

    by US Blues on Thu May 26, 2011 at 12:00:17 PM PDT

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