Guy Benson

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.

In short, one out of every six hospitals and nursing homes that primarily serve Medicare recipients would go out of business, due to Obamacare's Medicare cuts.  Those are cuts to current seniors.  Now let's check in with Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf, who issued this warning in 2009:
 
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."

We now know that four million current seniors are expected to lose their Medicare Advantage, thanks to the Obamacare cuts.  FactCheck.org also dismissed Obama's promise that today's seniors would be unaffected by his Medicare axe as "fiction" in 2010.  Again, these cuts and savings weren't deposited into the Medicare trust fund to help shore up our nation's faltering promise to seniors.  They were double-counted to partially pay for a brand new, gigantic entitlement program.  That's the only way Obama had a prayer of assuring Americans Obamacare wouldn't add to the deficit with a straight face.  That "deficit neutral" fantasy hasn't come to fruition either, of course, but the Medicare cut double-counting was a key to the charade at the time.  This comes as no surprise to Congressional Democrats, who repeatedly voted down Republican efforts to prevent the Medicare cuts from occurring in the first place.  The president and his allies are beginning to reap what they sowed during their reckless Obamacare rush.  A new messaging memo from the NRCC draws a roadmap for GOP candidates to take the fight to their opponents on this topic, with internal polling reinforcing the Republican position.  National Journal reports:
 
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.

With Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan leading the charge, even mainstream media sources are beginning to recognize that this fight is shaping up to be a lot tougher than Obama had expected.  Remember this egregious banner headline from the Miami Herald just after Paul Ryan was selected as Romney's running mate?  The same newspaper ran a follow-up story on its front page this past weekend:
 
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...

"The unpopular Medicare cuts in Obamacare:" Not what the Obama campaign was hoping for, but music to the Republican ticket's ears.  I'll leave you with the latest web ad from Team Romney, going straight for the jugular:
 


Guy Benson

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

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography