Bill Murchison

Watch the Obama "progressives'" glee and mirth spreading across their countenances as they chunk mud balls at Mitt Romney's running mate-designate, Paul Ryan.

That Ryan -- he's "a certifiable right-wing ideologue," says Obama strategist David Axelrod. ("Certifiable," don't cha know, means "legally insane.") From Robert Shrum, a Democratic strategist: "(H)is mind is rooted in Ayn Rand's idolatry of selfishness." He's "Robin Hood in deep dark reverse," according to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the left-wing magazine, The Nation. That's besides being, in the mind of Congressman Steve Israel, the Democrat charged with retaking the House, "a nightmare for seniors who have earned their Medicare benefits."

Ah. There we get down to brass tacks. The Obama campaign sees Romney's selection of Ryan as meaning, among other things, the determination to destroy "Medicare as we know it."

Lordy, I could almost hope so, says a Medicare recipient -- the one pounding out these words. "Medicare as we know it" -- strapped with unsustainable obligations to people deceived by their own government -- needs to go. Obama himself calls the present program "unsustainable."

My fellow oldsters, the money Congress promised us for health care, along with those who limp into senescence just behind us, ain't there, and it ain't a goin' to be there. Not with $700 billion of Medicare money going into Obamacare and the government's future plan to ration what we do get on the say-so of an unelected panel of experts. Tell me (SET ITAL) that's (END ITAL) " Medicare" as we know it!

Ryan, joined by former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden - both Democrats, be it duly noted -- has a rescue plan. The plan leaves Medicare benefits untouched for Americans 55 years old and up, who could either participate in the traditional government-run program or receive a government subsidy for investment in a private plan. That must be the "nightmare" of which Congressman Israel speaks: doing something sensible to fend off a coming calamity -- or shaping messier mud balls.

There will be more, infinitely more, to say during the campaign. One has the sinking feeling that no other topic will bulk so large, on account of the stakes; and yes, on account of the juvenility of people such as Shrum and Axelrod, who are so focused on winning an election that they can't see the point of winning through intelligence.

We hear often enough that the parties view the election as a referendum on something or other -- Obamacare, Wall Street, George W. Bush, hope and change.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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