For me, Medicare is not a political talking point. My parents immigrated to the United States in the late 1950s. They worked hard for over 40 years to provide their children the chance to do all the things they themselves could not. But they never made much money.
As a result, they retired with precious little in savings. Medicare was and is the only way they could access healthcare.
Having lured his listeners with emotionally charged personal evocations of the American Dream, he reels us in:
Rep. Paul Ryan has offered a plan that would make no changes whatsoever for anyone age 55 and older. I support it because, right now, it is the only plan out there that helps save Medicare. Democrats oppose it. Fine. But, if they have a better way to save Medicare, what are they waiting for to show us? What is their plan to save Medicare?
Either show us how Medicare survives without any changes or show us what changes you propose we make. Anyone who supports doing nothing is a supporter of bankrupting Medicare.
Politico's Ben Smith reports that “American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas said in an interview today that he thinks the eventual Republican nominee would be well advised to offer Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio a slot on the ticket — and that Rubio, if asked, would likely assent.” According to a new Gallup poll, Romney and Palin are leading the field. Palin/Rubio. Rolls right off the tongue.
This is probably all a pipe dream, but you have to agree with Jonah Goldberg when he says ”politics is about moments, and this one is calling [Ryan]. Unless someone suddenly rises to the challenge, the cries of ‘Help us, Paul Ryan, you’re our only hope!’ will only get louder.”
"Mr. Gingrich has done great harm to his party and the cause of reform with his reckless criticism of Mr. Ryan, forfeiting any serious claim to be the GOP nominee," the WSJ editorialized earlier this week. "But equally as culpable are the self-styled conservative pundits who derided Republicans for dropping the reform mantle during the Bush years but now tremble that Mr. Ryan has gone too far." Above, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (AP Photo). Update: New Ryan video "The Path to Prosperity (Episode 2): Saving Medicare, Visualized."
The narrative's in. Democrat Kathy Hochul beat Republican Jane Corwin 47 to 43 percent — with 9 percent lost to faux "tea party candidate" Jack Davis — in New York's 26th District Congressional special election yesterday, and here's the spin, courtesy of The Associated Press:
The Democrat rode a wave of voter discontent over the national GOP's plan to change Medicare and overcame decades of GOP dominance here …
The special election that became a referendum on the health care plan for the nation's seniors may serve as a warning shot to further GOP efforts to cut popular entitlement programs.
"The three reasons a Democrat was elected to Congress in the district were Medicare, Medicare and Medicare," DCCC Chairman Steve Isarael, D-N.Y., said.
Many observers see the NY-26 race as a precursor for election 2012. As such, it looks as if Democrats may be poised for victory in 2012, while House Republicans try to get distance from a politically toxic GOP agenda.
Among those "many observers," a salivating E.J. Dionne appears to have his JournoList talking points in order at the Washington Post:
Of course, all the usual caveats apply: It’s a long time to November 2012; this is just one special election; special elections offer voters relatively cost-free opportunities to cast protest ballots; and such elections aren’t always a good guide to the future. But some of them are. Scott Brown’s victory in January 2010 in Massachusetts was a harbinger of the big Republican gains that came in November. Brown ran against the Democratic health-care plan. Hochul ran against the Republican Medicare plan. Brown mobilized angry conservatives and restive moderates. Hochul mobilized angry progressives and restive moderates.
They included a new Democratic group, House Majority PAC, and American Crossroads, a Republican-leaning group founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove …
Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said Hochul's victory was a sign of a tough time for Republicans to come.
"What is clear is that this election is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks that 2012 will be just like 2010," he said. "It's going to be a tougher environment, Democrats will be more competitive, and we need to play at the top of our game."
Nobody said anything worthwhile was going to be easy. Blind paleontologist Geerat Vermeij's fundamental insight applies:
This is no time to go wobbly. Glad to see Paul Ryan out there front and center on Fox and Friends this very minute countering the spin:
We need truth. We need leadership. If we allow the demagoguery to work, America will have another recession, and the people who benefit from these programs are going to get hurt the worst … Once they understand the facts, they want this solution.
Update: It just occurred to us. Paul Ryan is following Sarah Palin's advice to Fight Like A Girl!
Update II: Professor Jacobson is on the same wavelength in "The Lessons of NY-26":
"I followed my heart — as always — and have held dear the wise words of my former college professor to "sit down, trust it, and write” when I feel lost. It never disappoints me," Jedediah explains the eureka moment in March of 2009 when "my focus on writing political commentary was born."
It's a fun and easy read — sweet and savory — and sticks to the ribs. We downloaded Outnumbered onto our desktop Kindle app yesterday morning and finished before cocktail hour, devouring tasty morsels amongst the usual multitaskings of a busy day. Arranged as a series of vignettes based upon everyday encounters with the politically correct multiculturalists of the upperclass milieu she moved in as a Spanish teacher at a Manhattan private school, Jedediah's story is full of aphoristic quotable quotes suitable for promulgating on Twitter. A sampling:
Kids are supposed to go to school to learn HOW to think, not WHAT to think.
I learned that what people say about you has a lot more to do with them than with you.
It's incredible how a mind prone to collectivism will quickly try to impose that same branding on you.
I treasure people who come to this country with big goals, loads of ambition and an inspiring work ethic.
"They felt the need to 'remind' me that Obama is a 'genius,' Palin is an 'idiot,' and anything and everything is George W. Bush’s fault," Jedediah recalled sitting through lockstep faculty-lounge chatter in the aftermath of President Obama's election.
Back to that quote in the title to our post:
I always have thought that elitism — on the left and the right — is what's eating away at our country.
"I thought the academic elite were supposed to represent the pinnacle of sophistication?" notes Jedediah in mock surprise:
Oh, wait. That's only when they agree with you.
William Staneski observed the phenomenon — a case of "epistemic closure' in the trendy parlance of the day — as it applies to another of our cultural institutions, the media, in an American Thinker piece awhile back:
It is said that a fish is not aware of the water in which it swims since it is totally immersed in it. This is the way cultural Marxism is taking over our world in its inexorable Gramscian march. We swim in it. It enters every pore of our existence. It is everywhere. We can't escape it. Many people accept this world without even realizing it, just as the fish accepts the water in which it swims. They don't realize it as the left creates new conventional wisdom and new intuitions about truth …
Curiously, whereas the conservative media know they are conservative, much of the liberal media believe themselves to be neutral.
Their constant support for Democratic views has nothing to do with bias, in their minds, but reflects the fact that Democrats just happen to be right about everything. The result is the same: for much of the media, the fact that Republicans keep winning can only be due to the backwardness of much of the country.
If you wanna know why there haven't been any large-scale attacks on the U.S. homeland since 9/11, 2001, just look at this map (below). Imagine if Mexico and Canada both became radical Muslim Nations like Iran or Saudi Arabia. Where do you think our attention would be?
Armchair strategerist that we are, we'd noticed something similar — including the geographically strategic importance of Pakistan — way back in July of 2004 in "Between Iraq and a hard place":
"Could the President know something that the Media and the Left don't?" asks Speed of Thought (found 'em in our Site Meter stats). Iran is getting the squeeze as The Bush Doctrine makes slow but steady headway on the ground. The old board game of "Risk" comes to mind.
Something that the Media and the Left don't get. That's the larger subject of Bill Whittle's tutorial. Stumbling over their "all-about-oil" meme, BDS sufferers, then as now, missed the big picture:
Memes are cultural beliefs that were not [Ed note: Much thanks to Joy McCann aka Little Miss Atilla for typo correction] taught in school or in religion but that take on a life of their own because large numbers of people have emotional reasons for wanting them to be true …
My joy about hearing about the death of Osama bin Laden lasted for about 20 seconds until I turned on the TV to see Andrea Mitchell crowing about how this really was "Mission Accomplished," not the premature "Mission Accomplished" that Cowboy George Bush claimed during his speech on that aircraft carrier, which happened, coincidentally, eight years earlier to the day …
Only George Bush didn't claim "Mission Accomplished." In fact he said just the opposite.
"So, where did this meme come from?" asks Whittle:
Well, the press made it up out of whole cloth. They not only distorted, they actually reversed everything that George Bush said on the deck of that aircraft carrier …
"Now that day on the carrier, President Bush didn't say 'Mission Accomplished,'" but he did say this:
The advance of freedom is the surest strategy to undermine the appeal of terror in the world … Where freedom takes hold, hatred gives way to hope … When freedom takes hold, men and women turn to the peaceful pursuit of a better life … American values and American interests lead in the same direction: We stand for human liberty.
A disturbing new element has crept into our political life: organized efforts to intimidate private citizens who choose to support certain political causes or otherwise participate in civic affairs. This, as far as I know, is unprecedented in our modern history. Our democracy depends on citizen involvement, and until now, Americans have felt free to participate in public life and to support whatever causes, political and otherwise, they choose. But if the Left has its way, that may be about to change.
Update: Thank you, dear old friend Ed Driscoll, guest posting during Glenn's vacation, for the Instalanche!
A gray catbird outside the kitchen window catches Little Cat's eye in the early morning light. Click on above image for larger-than-life image of the cat who came to stay. We've tried Tillie (Little Miss Atilla the Hon) and Cleo (note Egyptian profile), but we think Little Cat's the one.
New worlds opened for the Little Kitteh that came to dinner when we screened the kitchen window for the season. She'd shown up on our doorstep just before Christmas Thanksgiving (Thanks, Tuck, for the correction). Now that our angel baby's gone, it's up to TLK to mend our breaking hearts. Fun and funny and totally fruity feline. Attacks your entire leg when you walk by, suddenly switches gears during a head rub and goes for the jugular.
First retrieving cat we've ever known. You throw a superball down the hallway and Little Cat leaps and bounds and brings it back in the jaws, dropping it, with a challenging "meowl," at your feet. If you're not alert enough to engage in replay, she takes it to the top of the cellar stairs and pushes it down for further self-initiated retrieving.
Update from our imail correspondent:
The Kitteh Who Came In From The Cold, and warmed the hearts of the bereft.
The left does not win its battles in debate. It doesn't have to. In the twenty-first century, media is everything. The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. The left is the media. The narrative is everything.
"You're saying you've seen through it," says Hugh. "Does the rest of the country see through it?" Here's Andrew:
We can't let them weigh the narrative down. If you just sit back and say oh, it's just twitter, oh it's just Think Progress … Twitter and Think Progress certainly feed the MSNBC beast so we can't play by Marquess of Queensbury Rules, we can't expect that George Will, Charles Krauthammer columns are going to win the day. Those are afterthoughts. We have to fight at the moment that these people start to lay their vile narrative.
. . . "It is astonishing to realize, despite his advanced education and his perfectionism, how primitive the American really is in his views on life," Qutb wrote upon his return to Egypt. "His behavior reminds us of the era of the caveman. He is primitive in the way he lusts after power, ignoring ideals and manners and principles." Qutb was impressed by the number of churches in America—there were more than twenty in Greeley alone—and yet the Americans he met seemed completely uninterested in spiritual matters. He was appalled to witness a dance in a church recreation hall, during which the minister, setting the mood for the couples, dimmed the lights and played "Baby, It's Cold Outside." "It is difficult to differentiate between a church and any other place that is set up for entertainment, or what they call in their language, 'fun,' " he wrote. . . The American was primitive in his art as well. "Jazz is his preferred music, and it is created by Negroes to satisfy their love of noise and to whet their sexual desires," he concluded.
. . . Qutb returned to Egypt a radically changed man. In what he saw as the spiritual wasteland of America, he re-created himself as a militant Muslim, and he came back to Egypt with the vision of an Islam that would throw off the vulgar influences of the West. Islamic society had to be purified, and the only mechanism powerful enough to cleanse it was the ancient and bloody instrument of jihad. "Qutb was the most prominent theoretician of the fundamentalist movements," Zawahiri later wrote . . . "Qutb said, 'Brother push ahead, for your path is soaked in blood. Do not turn your head right or left but look only up to Heaven.' "
Similarly, when Zawahiri was in the market for a wife, "He had made a favorable impression on the Nowair family, who were a little dazzled by his distinguished ancestry. 'He was polite and agreeable,'" Essam says. "'He was very religious, and he didn't greet women. He wouldn't even look at a woman if she was wearing a short skirt.'"