The back-and-forth on Sen. Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare – and especially how it’s playing in NY-26 – seem to be today’s big political story. The point about NY-26, I think, though, has gotten lost. The outcome of the race isn’t the referendum on Medicare – the fact that this once-easy GOP district even became a tossup already told us everything we need to know. Even if Hochul loses, the race still became competitive even in a solid Republican district because of blowback against the Ryan plan.
The other important point to take note of today, I think, is what the GOP knew about the Ryan plan and when they knew it. Republicans have tried to portray response to the plan as a messaging problem. Turns out, they knew it wasn’t. Politico reports that GOP pollsters warned House leadership beforehand that Americans didn’t like this. In other words, even when Republican pollsters were totally in control of the message, Americans rejected the Ryan plan.
Why, then, did Speaker Boehner go ahead with the Ryan plan? Steve Benen reveals that Boehner was willing to put moderate Republicans at risk with this move, just to appease the Tea Party. The bottom line is that Boehner and the GOP knew all along this was a true assault on a bedrock entitlement. And they knew that wasn’t a flaw in their plan, it was the point of it.