In an appearance on The Ed Show Wednesday, Howard Dean compared the Republican strategy to muddy the waters on Medicare to "propaganda techniques" used by the Soviet Union.
"What they're using is old propaganda techniques that were actually used by the Soviets many years ago," Dean, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, told Ed Schultz. "They say something that's not true, and then they're gonna spend $200 million saying it again and again and again hoping that somebody beleives it."
Lately, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have been claiming that President Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare. As we and many others have noted, the claim is deeply misleading: Those cuts affect providers and insurance companies, and leave seniors' care untouched. Meanwhile, Ryan's own plan for Medicare would end the program as we know it, turning it into a system of vouchers, and leaving many seniors unable to foot the bill for coverage, studies have shown.
Dean, who came close to capturing the Democratic nomination in 2004, argued that Romney and Ryan will have trouble convincing Americans that they're the defenders of Medicare, because the party's reputations on the issue are so well-established.
"Here's the problem that they have: Very few people in America believe that the Republicans care about Medicare, because they've tried to hurt it in so many ways," he said. "Nor do they believe that they care about middle-class people. They do believe that whatever the faults of the Democrats, they have stood up for Social Security and Medicare."
Dean concluded: "So propaganda didn't work in Russia and it's not gonna work here. It generally does not work when people know that it's a lie."