In a great overall post, Josh Marshall makes a particularly salient point:
As House Republicans cue up their Medicare Phase-out legislation, we're about to be treated, once again, to an example of how political actors use press cowardice to deceive the public. Rep. Paul Ryan's plan, which is now the official Republican plan, phases out Medicare over 10 years. Yet you'll be treated to numerous articles that call this a 'reform' or 'overhaul' or even 'saving' Medicare.But each are no better than straight outright deceptions, whether by design or ignorance....
The Ryan plan is to get rid of Medicare and in place of it give seniors a voucher to buy health care insurance from private insurers. Now, what if you can't buy as much as insurance or as much care as you need? Well, start saving now or just too bad.
Now, by any reasonable standard, that's getting rid of Medicare. Abolishing Medicare. Phasing it out. Whatever you want to call it. Medicare is this single payer program that guarantees seniors health care, as noted above. Ryan's plan pushes seniors into the private markets and give them a voucher. That's called getting rid of the program. There's simply no ifs or caveats about. That's not cuts or slowing of the growth. That's abolishing the whole program. Saying anything else is a lie.
You'll hear a lot of lies. Hopefully, you'll also hear the truth about just how radical this is. The best counter to that will be the guy with the big bully pulpit, just like E.J. Dionne says.
Will President Obama welcome the responsibility of engaging the country in this big argument, or will he shrink from it? Will his political advisers remain robotically obsessed with poll results about the 2012 election, or will they embrace Obama’s historic obligation — and opportunity — to win the most important struggle over the role of government since the New Deal?
This is all extreme and irresponsible stuff. The president knows it. The coming week will test who he is. When Ryan releases his budget, will the president finally engage?
“This is our time,” Obama liked to say during the 2008 campaign. This most certainly is his time to stand up for the vision of a practical, progressive government that he once advanced so eloquently.
We all know it's "extreme and irresponsible stuff." And there's no time like the present—the very day that Obama is announcing his reelection campaign—for him to start calling it that. Once the guy the megaphone starts saying it, chances are much better that that's how it'll start being reported. Steve Benen calls it Obama's and the Dems' opportunity, and he's absolutely right. He's also right that "[i]t's largely up to Obama, however, to actually make the case."