Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Bill Clinton's former White House Chief of Staff and Barack Obama's hand-picked Democratic co-chair of the debt commission:
“Have any of you met Paul Ryan? We should get him to come to the university. I’m telling you this guy is amazing, uh. I always thought that I was OK with arithmetic, but this guy can run circles around me. And, he is honest. He is straightforward. He is sincere. And, the budget that he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, serious budget and it cut the budget deficit by $4 trillion…just like we did.
The President came out with his own plan and the President came out, as you will remember, with a budget and I don’t think anyone took that budget very seriously. Um, the Senate voted against it 97 to nothing. He, therefore, after a lot of pressure from folks like me, he came out with a new budget framework and, in the new budget framework, he cut the budget deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years. And, to be candid, this $4 trillion cut was very heavily back-end loaded. So, if you looked at it on a 10 year basis and compared apples-to-apples, it was about a $2.5 trillion cut.”
Go re-read this guy's partisan pedigree. He's a true-blue Democrat whose services have been enlisted by the last two Democratic presidents. He is serious about our nation's debt crisis. And he is a huge fan of Paul Ryan. Also note well his less-than-subtle dig at Obama's budget. Between the revelation that Ryan's own mother is a Florida senior on Medicare and this clip of Erskine Bowles, it's going to be significantly more difficult for Democrats to demonize Ryan as a wild-eyed radical. Not that they won't try, of course. Another inconvenient item is the fact that Ryan's Medicare reform is co-authored by liberal Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. Democrats are trotting Wyden out to denounce Ryan (he's been "Bookered"), but they can't erase his name from the plan. Here's the op/ed he wrote with Ryan when the pair introduced their bipartisan plan in late 2011:
Our plan would strengthen traditional Medicare by permanently maintaining it as a guaranteed and viable option for all of our nation's retirees. At the same time, our plan would expand choice for seniors by allowing the private sector to compete with Medicare in an effort to offer seniors better-quality and more affordable health-care choices. Under our plan, Americans currently over the age of 55 would see no changes to the Medicare system. For future retirees, starting in 2022, our plan would introduce a "premium support" system that would empower Medicare beneficiaries to choose either a traditional Medicare plan or a Medicare-approved private plan. Unlike Medicare Advantage, these private plans would compete head-to-head with traditional, fee-for-service Medicare on a federally regulated Medicare exchange.
The phrase "our plan" appears eight times in the piece. Incidentally, Ryan's updated plan isn't even the proposal Bowles is praising above. In that clip, he's talking about Ryan's initial "Path to Prosperity;" since then, Ryan has introduced a new, more bipartisan plan, described in the column above. Remember these things when you encounter shrieks that Ryan's plan is cruel and radical and dishonest and crazy. Consider passing along both this video and the Ryan-Wyden column to undecided voters, and to others who are open to critical thinking. I'll leave you with this 2008 clip of Barack Obama pledging to accomplish in his first term exactly what he's demonizing and demagoguing Paul Ryan for attempting to accomplish:
Obama appointed a fiscal commissions to devise solutions for these reforms. Erskine Bowles was one of the Democrats tasked with this job. When they published their recommendations, Obama didn't like them, so he shelved them. He did, however, "reform" Medicare by robbing it of $700 Billion in order to partially fund Obamacare -- which is either an "achievement" or a "lie," depending on which Obama aide you speak to.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography