House Majority Leader Eric Cantor closes the loop
on all the groundwork Republicans have laid—with the deep pockets of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation—to wreck social insurance programs, and to prove to Americans that government doesn't work. After years of making the claim, they think they're in striking distance of making it true.
Cantor says that "promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many," making the eviscerating of Social Security and Medicare a done deal, a reality that Republicans are just trying to avert any way they can by "saving" the programs. Like with the Rep. Paul Ryan voucher plan.
As a matter of policy, this is still hopelessly ridiculous, for all the reasons we talked about in the Spring. But on a political level, this is just as misguided. The more Cantor and his allies base their agenda on ending Medicare, the happier Democrats are.
Also note the rhetoric the oft-confused House Majority Leader uses: the United States has made promises to the public, and as far as Eric Cantor is concerned, “many” Americans will simply have to accept that those promises “are not going to be kept.”
Why not? Because Republicans say so. Promises to Grover Norquist are sacrosanct, but promises to senior citizens are not.
This is, to put it mildly, a gift for Democrats. I’ll look forward to the DNC running ads in, say, Florida, telling voters that the leading House Republican believes the United States committed to the Medicare program, but now believes those promises “are not going to be kept.”
It would be a gift for Democrats, if Democrats knew how to use it. While Cantor is spouting about the need to kill Medicare in order to save it, and the tea party is planning August 2.0 to push the Ryan plan, the RNC is pushing out this: "For The Record…It Was Obama Who Offered To Cut Hundreds Of Billions In Medicare During The Debt Debate."
Yes, President Obama and the Democrats kept Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid out of the initial round of cuts, and isolate them to a degree in the automatic triggers. But will the general public remember that in a year's time, or will they remember that it was Obama who put the programs on the negotiating table? The debt-ceiling debacle could completely neutralize the advantage Democrats have held on this issue, particularly if the Super Congress works as it threatens to work.