Bait And Switch
Reihan defends the GOP:
Many have noted the hypocrisy of conservative Republicans defending Medicare. Given that the composition of the midterm electorate is heavily weighted towards over-65 voters and that President Obama's health reform rhetoric initially centered on generating significant cost savings in the Medicare program to finance expanded coverage, this seems like a rational response to a political opportunity.
Another way of looking at this is to say that Democrats, who have effectively used the notion that Republicans intend to "slash" Medicare to great political effect, most spectacularly in the late 1990s after the Gingrich Republicans attempted to slow the rate of growth in Medicare spending, in a sense unilaterally disarmed. Republicans, meanwhile, expanded the Medicare program during the Bush years, sensing in part that Medicare represented a serious vulnerability for them. Republicans could have chosen to ignore this unilateral disarmament on the part of the Democrats, just as McDonald's could decide to refuse to sell french fries to the parents of young children. Past experience suggests, however, that if McDonald's were to take such a stance on principle, Burger King would step in.
Huh? While Reihan has made the case that fear-mongering over Medicare might be good political maneuvering, he hasn't refuted the hypocrisy of the attack or considered the long-term consequences of the GOP embracing entitlements.