Just because Republicans won't have Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) Medicare-busting couponization plan in the House Ways and Means Committee's version of their 2012 Budget, don't think the the GOP is backing off their dream of pilfering all of Medicare's money, handing it to their insurance company cronies and ditching future seniors with a handful of worthless vouchers.
Just ask poor old Newt Gingrich, former GOP House Speaker, serial philanderer, Tiffany and Co. platinum preferred customer and, once, the world's most powerful amphibian. Newt went on Meet the Press Sunday to get his 2012 Presidential bid off to a rousing start, and, possibly conscious of the fact that 84% of Americans think Ryanizing Medicare is slightly worse than blowing your brains out while electrocuting yourself in a bathtub filled with piranhas, mentioned that he might not be all for the GOP darling's senior death march scheme.
Gingrich said he thought Ryan's plan was "too radical," and "too big a jump." Ryan's plan would replace Medicare, which pays doctors and hospitals for medical care, with vouchers future seniors would use toward the purchase of private insurance. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office figures Ryan's coupons wouldn't cover a third of the cost of premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and other expenses. Newt, known for shooting from the hip, apparently did a little arithmetic, figured out most seniors wouldn't be able to pay cash for two-thirds of their medical needs, and worked out what being old, sick, and broke without a doctor added up to. He told Meet the Press, "I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering."
Now, Newt is trying to get the number of the truck that flattened him on the interstate.
Newt has had to crawl, or slither, or whatever it is Newts do, on his knees to the Great Ryan and beg His forgiveness. "I made a mistake," a chastened Gingrich told Fox News.
Newt cheated on his wife, repeatedly, excused himself for patriotic reasons, realized that was a bit much even for Newt, ran up a half mil bill at Tiffany's, and now he's made a mistake.
This shows just how committed the GOP is to plundering Medicare. If Republicans were backing off Ryanizing Medicare, they wouldn't be going Mad Max on any errant salamander trundling across a two-lane blacktop after questioning whether cutting future seniors off from medical care was the best idea ever.
"The fact is, I have supported what Ryan's trying to do on the budget," Gingrich backpedaled to Fox.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Gingrich's comments were, "a tremendous misspeak."
While pondering the grammatical stiltedness of contemporary Republican leaders, one has to wonder what sort of field the GOP is going to field for the 2012 presidential plebiscite. The ever amusingly tousle-haired "The" Donald Trump has decided being a billionaire reality TV-star is much more fun than being leader of the free world. Haley Barbour went back to his dinner, and Jeb Bush, revealing a remarkable lack of confidence in his party's current chances, has decided to wait 'till 2016. Mike Huckabee explained he wasn't running for anatomical reasons, misplacing his heart.
Now, it's clear that anybody who does run will have to carry the banner of Ryan's Medicare voucherization program. Whether it's Tim Pawlenty or Mitch Daniels, he will have to stand up in front of the American people and tell them how great it will be to get old without Medicare, and how much fun it will be to die horribly and miserably because they can't afford the 68% of health care costs Ryan's coupons won't cover. Whether it's Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann, she'll have to sit before network news cameras and say Democrats are just trying to scare folks by making the ridiculous claim that emptying your bank account in a desperate bid for medical care, then facing bankruptcy, ruin, pain, and death while agonized loved ones look on helplessly is somehow frightening.
Paul Ryan is an Ayn Rand sycophant who believes society owes nothing to losers who hadn't lied, cheated, and stolen their way to personal fortune when they had the chance. With his Medicare giveaway to insurance companies and voucherization as the cornerstone of the 2012 GOP Presidential platform, and the vast majority of the electorate fervently opposed to same, Republicans have pretty much signalled their election campaign must be nothing more than some sort of ignoble coup d'etat attempt. No one except the GOP brain trust wants to gut Medicare so billionaires can keep getting unlimited tax subsidies. If Barack Obama is going to be the thin blue line standing between seniors and death without health care, Republicans must figure they're going to gain the White House by some means other than the ballot box.
Unless that ballot box was built by Diebold.