Psst. It's than, you guys. Than:
In their joyless stampede to pretend Mitt Romney is a birther, a group of Lefties in Ohio inadvertently demonstrated the genuine priority of fixing America's education system. It's one thing to make a typo in a tweet, email or (ahem) blog post. It's another to hire an airplane to drag a five-word sign around the sky, then botch 20 percent of your message. So kudos. And lest you think faux outrage over Mitt Romney's joke in Michigan is limited to some rag-tag bunch of Obama supporters, check out this web ad the Obama campaign itself produced last night:
I still can't get over just how humorless, peevish and pathetic that spot is. The president's skin is paper-thin; a useful insight that Romney seems to have internalized. I'm tempted to offer a substantive rebuttal to the ad -- Romney's the one talking about the economy, Obama's the one throwing up desperate smokescreens, etc -- but it doesn't really merit a serious response. It speaks for itself. Making matters worse for the Obama camp was Romney's pitch perfect reply to a super serious, brow-furrowed question about his joke from CBS News' Scott Pelley:
As I said, pitch perfect. In essence: "Oh, come on, I was kidding around. Of course the president was born here. There's nothing wrong with a little harmless humor on the campaign trail from time to time." And since the Obama campaign is making noises about devotion to "real issues," or whatever, let's talk about their latest ad, which (surprise!) lies shamelessly about the Romney/Ryan position on Medicare. Specifically, it repeats a thoroughly debunked, outdated claim about seniors being forced to pay $6,400 more per year under the Romney proposal. Ramesh Ponnuru sets the record straight -- beyond pointing out the obvious, which is that no current or soon-to-be seniors are impacted whatsoever by the GOP solution to save Medicare:
Under the original Ryan plan, retirees would have chosen a private health plan and the government would have contributed money toward the cost. The amount of money would have depended on the beneficiary’s age and health status. Over time the average amount of money would have risen with inflation. Critics pointed out that health-care costs have risen faster than inflation for a long time. If competition failed to change this trend, senior citizens would indeed have been left paying more. The new version of the plan cleverly fixes the problem. Insurers would submit competitive bids to see who could cover Medicare’s traditional benefits for the lowest premium. The average amount of financial assistance would be equal to the second-lowest bid. So seniors will always have an option that leaves them with no higher costs than now. If they pick something even cheaper, they will come out ahead.
Ryan’s budget includes a failsafe to make sure the plan saves money even if competition doesn’t lead to restraint in premium growth: Total spending on Medicare would be limited to the growth of the economy plus inflation plus 0.5 percent. That failsafe doesn’t rescue the Democratic attack, however, because the Obama administration caps Medicare spending at the same level. There is no scenario under which Medicare recipients have to pay more under the Romney-Ryan plan than they have to pay under the Democratic plan. The Obama campaign is, in short, responding to new thinking with stale talking points.
In brief, the bipartisan Wyden-Romney-Ryan plan guarantees future seniors at least one option that prevents any additional out-of-pocket costs. Obamacare, on the other hand, robs Medicare of $716 Billion to pay for itself, resulting in cuts and diminished care for current seniors. Liz Mair also notes a new batch of polling indicates that the Republican ticket is battling Obama to a draw -- at worst -- on this issue. The news is even better among seniors and independents. Serially unable to tell the truth about their opponent's proposals and losing the argument on Medicare, is it any wonder that the Obama camp is reduced to acting very, very angry about a throw-away Romney crack?