We generally try to reserve the "pure gold" label for truly irresistible instances of flagrant hypocrisy and irony. To wit, our last usage came while flagging a clip of President Obama ripping into President Bush's "unpatriotic" accumulation of $4 Trillion in debt over eight years ... just after Obama eclipsed the $4 Trillion mark himself after just two-and-a-half years on the job. That reminder seems especially relevant this week, since we now find ourselves on the precipice of blowing past the $16 trillion national debt mark. It'll probably happen by week's end. In any case, and without further ado, here's candidate Barack Obama in 2008 informing voters about John McCain's risky and dangerous Medicare-slashing vision for healthcare reform:
"It turns out that Senator McCain would pay for part of his plan by making drastic cuts in Medicare! (Boos) $882 Billion worth. (Boos) $882 billion in Medicare cuts to pay for an ill-conceived, badly-thought-through healthcare plan...even though Medicare is already facing a looming shortfall...If you rely on Medicare, it would mean fewer places to get care, and less freedom to choose your own doctors."
It's uncanny, isn't it? Four years hence, the Republican ticket has managed to swipe this potent attack from Obama's arsenal because the president's own plan is now doing precisely -- and I mean precisely -- what he warned about four years ago. Allow me to update and paraphrase:
This president has paid for part of his plan by making drastic cuts to Medicare. $716 Billion worth. $716 Billion in Medicare cuts to pay for an ill-conceived, badly-thought-through Obamacare plan. If you rely on Medicare, it will mean fewer places to get care, and less freedom to choose your own doctors.
Lefty "fact-checkers" are tripping over one another to declare this Romney/Ryan criticism of The One a "myth" (in a stunningly deceitful piece) and "half true," but Obama cannot escape the empirical fact that he has, in fact, cut hundreds of billions from a program "already facing a looming shortfall" in order to fund his unpopular, unaffordable and destructive Obamacare power grab. Team Obama can scream "lie!" until they're blue in the face. That won't change the reality that President Obama has admitted to these Medicare cuts on national television, and that his Deputy Campaign manager touted the cuts as a presidential "achievement" as recently as last week. The new Lefty spin is that the Medicare cuts aren't really "cuts" per se, because (a) they merely reduce the rate of increase in Medicare spending (which liberals always label as cuts -- see the video above), and (b) they won't affect Medicare beneficiaries anyway. On the first point, welcome to our world, Lefties. Live by "cut" demagoguery, die by "cut" demagoguery. Tough. As for the second item, it's simply not true. But don't take my word for it; listen to the non-partisan government actuaries who spelled this out plainly throughout the Obamacare debate. Here's the chief Medicare actuary, Richard Foster, admonishing Congress about Obamacare's impact on seniors back in 2010:
Providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries). Simulations by the Office of the Actuary suggest that roughly 15 percent of Part A providers would become unprofitable within the 10-year projection period as a result of the productivity adjustments.
Congress' chief budget officer on Tuesday contradicted President Barack Obama's oft-stated claim that seniors wouldn't see their Medicare benefits cut under a health care overhaul. The head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, told senators that seniors in Medicare's managed care plans could see reduced benefits under a bill in the Finance Committee. The bill would cut payments to the Medicare Advantage plans by more than $100 billion over 10 years. Elmendorf said the changes "would reduce the extra benefits that would be made available to beneficiaries through Medicare Advantage plans."
Adding credence to the GOP's case: Polls conducted in 28 battleground districts for the National Republican Congressional Committee, obtained by National Journal, which suggest Republicans aren't as vulnerable on the Medicare debate as the conventional wisdom suggests. Their pollsters tested both the Republican message on Ryan's plan (Ryan's plan doesn't touch anyone over 55, preserves Medicare for future generations, invokes ObamaCare), and the Democratic message against it (end Medicare as we know it through voucher system, seniors pay more out of pocket, rates will go up). When the results of all 28 polls were aggregated together, the GOP argument prevailed 46 to 36 percent.
In a switch, Obama on the defensive over Medicare cuts; The unpopular Medicare cuts in Obamacare are making it easier for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to combat the president's attacks...
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