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First off, great big tip o' the hat to JamieG from MD, who diaried Thompson's jaw-dropping speechifying earlier today.  I'm re-diarying because this needs more attention!

Here's Wisconsin Senate candidate Tommy Thompson with a friendly audience, speaking to a meeting of the Lake Country Area Defenders Of Liberty in Oconomowoc, WI on
May 4, 2012:

[Note 9/24/12: I have replaced the originally-embedded video with a better-synched version (h/t brinmat).  The original, poorly-synched version may be found here.]


... be able to take away the litigation that the trial lawyers are doing, so that doctors don't have to keep doing extra things to protect themselves from getting sued, which drives up our costs; change Medicare and Medicaid like I did welfare -- and who better than me, who's already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?  Let's block-grant what the state has, and allow the states to determine what's going to go into Medicaid.  And Medicare, let's wait until everyone that's right now under 55 reaches 55 by age [sic] 2020, and give them a choice whether they want to purchase health insurance with a subsidy from the federal government, or stay on Medicare.  I'm here to tell you, when you look at the situation nobody's going to accept it, because Medicare's going broke by the year 2022.
Yes, he actually said that.  Programs to DO AWAY WITH MEDICAID AND MEDICARE.  He didn't even add "as we know it."  Block grants and vouchers -- outlining the same attack that's in the Ryan plan, even before Ryan was anointed as Romney's running mate.

The audience listened without a murmur.

What a contrast to Paul Ryan's appearance at the AARP Life @ 50+ event today!

Today, when Paul Ryan said at an AARP meeting that Medicare's going broke (just like Tommy did), audience members hollered out, "You Lie!!"

When Ryan described, in weaselly positive-spin words, his plan to privatize and voucherize Medicare (exactly what Tommy was outlining) -- the angry crowd alternated between silence and loud boos.

Just imagine how the crowd would have reacted if Ryan had used Thompson's words?

[P]rograms to do away with Medicaid and Medicare
More thoughts beyond the cheddar swirl...

I would love to hang that Tommy Thompson quote around both his neck, and Ryan's as well!

Tammy Baldwin, who is running against Thompson for U.S. Senate and is a staunch supporter of Medicare and Medicaid, has quoted him on this in the past.  However, she got dinged by Politifact as "half-true" back in June for not providing sufficient context... and I haven't heard reports of the quote being a big attack line from her in recent months.

But it ought to be.

Thing is, I think that Thompson is being honest in that speech.  The idea really is to render these programs unrecognizable, as they whittle them down and divert the remaining public monies into private-insurance pockets.  The Ryan/Thompson/Romney/GOP plan to block-grant, slash and privatize is indeed intended to be the end of Medicaid and Medicare -- and Tommy feels no compunction to add the "as we know it" (at least when he's speaking to a friendly audience) because it really isn't needed.

[C]hange Medicare and Medicaid like I did welfare -- and who better than me, who's already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?
I'll tell you who's better than Tommy.

That would be Tammy Baldwin, who has recently surged ahead of Thompson in a whole raft of Senate polls.  Read her positions on Medicare and affordable health care!

Please donate to Tammy Baldwin's campaign to upgrade the U.S. Senate!

And then, we have the better-than-Ryan candidate for Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District -- Rob Zerban, whom Paul Ryan is refusing to debate!  Zerban distinguishes himself from Ryan emphatically on Medicaid & Medicare (link to fuller discussion here):

Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” Plan for the House GOP focuses on privatizing, downsizing, and radically altering Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. I could not disagree more.
Please donate to Rob Zerban's campaign to send Paul Ryan home without EITHER the VP or House seat!

Originally posted to AnnieJo on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 05:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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