Guy Benson
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Karl Rove, writing in today's Wall Street Journal, offers a keen take on the lessons of NY-26 (a subject we tackled yesterday):
 

[Democrat Kathy] Hochul pummeled Ms. Corwin over it. The GOP candidate did not respond with TV ads until the campaign's closing week, and only then with an ad many voters thought lacked credibility. It alleged Ms. Hochul had endorsed Medicare and Social Security cuts that she claimed she had not.

An earlier, more aggressive explanation and defense of the Ryan plan would have turned the issue: 55% in the Crossroads survey agreed with GOP arguments for the Ryan reforms while just 36% agreed with the Democrats' arguments against it.

Next year, Republicans must describe their Medicare reforms plainly, set the record straight vigorously when Democrats demagogue, and go on the attack. Congressional Republicans—especially in the House—need a political war college that schools incumbents and challengers in the best way to explain, defend and attack on the issue of Medicare reform. They have to become as comfortable talking about Medicare in the coming year as they did in talking about health-care reform last year.

There needs to be preparation and self-education, followed by extensive town halls, outreach meetings, visits to senior citizen centers, and the use of every available communications tool to get the reform message across.


Nail, meet hammer's head.  Medicare reform was not the decisive factor in NY-26, but it was a factor.  Republican Jane Corwin, distracted by efforts to fend off a phony tea party candidate, did not have the wherewithall to beat back Democrats' Medicare demagoguery.  If the GOP hopes to win on this issue -- or at least not lose on it -- they should follow the brilliant models exhibited over the last 48 hours by Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio.  I posted this clip of Ryan yesterday, but it richly deserves additional play.  This could be the very best conservative primer against the status quo, and in favor of the Republican plan, that I have seen.  Anywhere.  And it's less than five minutes long.  Watch, absorb, and repeat:
 


Sen. Marco Rubio is also going on the offensive, delivering this short address -- which mirrors an excellent op/ed he placed in yesterday's Miami Herald (as highlighted by my colleague, Erika):
 


America needs Medicare. We need it to continue without any benefit reductions for those like my mother currently in the system. And we need it to survive for my generation and my children’s generation.

But Medicare is going bankrupt. Anyone who says it is not is simply lying. And anyone who is in favor of doing nothing to deal with this fact is in favor of bankrupting it. Medicare will go broke in as little as nine years. No one likes this news, but it is the undeniable truth. And the sooner we begin to deal with it, the better off we are all going to be.

...Rep. Paul Ryan has offered a plan that would make no changes whatsoever for anyone age 55 and older. I support it because, right now, it is the only plan out there that helps save Medicare. Democrats oppose it. Fine. But, if they have a better way to save Medicare, what are they waiting for to show us? What is their plan to save Medicare?

...They have no plan to save it, and they do not plan to offer one. They have decided that winning their next election is more important than saving Medicare for my mother and retirees like her.


Bravo, Mssrs. Ryan and Rubio.  This is precisely what must be done to win this fight:  Tell the truth about the Republican plan, expose the lies Democrats tell about it, and then hit the Left -- hard -- on their cynical and irresponsible refusal to even suggest a viable alternative.  It also helps to remind people that Democrats voted last year to cut Medicare by half a trillion dollars in order to partially fund a new bloated entitlement program, and that President Obama's new "vision" calls for harsher, immediate Medicare rationing by an unelected panel of bureaucrats. 
 
Simply put, the only plan on the table that doesn't kill Medicare is Paul Ryan's.
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Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography