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House Republicans Look to Divide and Conquer by Using Progressive Attacks Against Obama

Last updated on April 12th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

On CNN this morning, Wolf Blitzer let the fifth-highest ranking member of the House Republican leadership, Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, spew lie after lie about Obama’s budget, repeating that President Obama’s budget was an “attacks on seniors”, just like ObamaCare was.

A teeny tiny edited video clip of Walden on CNN via the Republican Party:

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Walden claimed that ObamaCare cut millions out of Medicare, and with the Social Security cuts in Obama’s budget (which Walden clearly hasn’t read yet because it’s huge and Walden is so busy bashing it with bumper sticker slogans on TV that he cannot have gotten to page 3 yet), seniors will be left with no health insurance.

In point of fact, the spending reductions aimed at Medicare in ObamaCare were mainly aimed at insurance companies and hospitals, not beneficiaries. ObamaCare did not make the same cuts to Medicare that were in the Ryan budget, which in fact did cut benefits. This lie is old and worn out from Romney’s 2012 Medicare slip and slide.

White House officials explained their reasoning for including chained CPI in the budget to Salon:

The officials said the president would never enact chained CPI on its own and that no one in the administration likes it, but that it’s the least bad option on a menu of bad things to hand Republicans. They say this all started when the entire GOP leadership demanded entitlement cuts, and specifically mentioned chained CPI and/or raising the retirement age to 67. The administration and Democratic leaders in Congress all agreed chained CPI was less bad, so Obama embraced that.

Notably, when asked by Salon why they didn’t instead propose more progressive alternatives to addressing Social Security than chained CPI, such as raising the income tax cap, the White House officials said there had been no talk of it. Their reasoning: Republicans would never accept that (because it raises taxes) and the discussion has not been about fixing Social Security, per se, but about deficit reduction via the bipartisan negotiations.

Chained CPI is bad policy and furthermore, Social Security is a trust fund. It has no business being a part of a budget, as former President Ronald Reagan once famously pointed out. But since when did Republicans care about healthcare, seniors, Medicare, or health care availability?

It recently came out that during the 2012 election, Republicans were claiming they were going to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare, when in truth, they had not developed any plan to replace it. They stopped at repealing.

This is a full on Romney attack; a nefarious and twisty lie, doubling down on its two-facedness.

It’s no surprise that Republicans would join gleefully in progressives’ anger at the President, pouncing upon it to dance their hatred of ObamaCare dance, but there’s a very specific and relevant difference between Republicans and progressives.

Progressives actually care about Social Security and Medicare, whereas Republicans have tried to destroy the social safety net ever since FDR. For Walden to pretend concern for seniors as his party touts the Ryan budget is beyond hypocritical, but to be fair, the man isn’t known for being bright. He is a faithful regurgitator of right wing talking points, so it should come as no surprise that he looked into the camera and boldly concern trolled over seniors’ healthcare, spewing ObamaCare lies as he disingenuously pretended to care about Senior citizens having access to health care.

The President’s budget is just that– a guiding light of policy intentions. It’s the House’s constitutional responsibility to come up with a budget that can pass both chambers, but they’ve shown zero interest in doing anything of the sort.

The President called Republicans’ bluff by putting chained CPI on the table, which Republicans claimed last December was the one thing they had to have or else they would not negotiate. Now that they’re getting it, it’s no good and the President is a bad person attacking Seniors. In other words, when the President did what Republicans demanded he do, he is attacking seniors. This is an admission that what Republicans want is to attack seniors.

Have House Republicans shown any willingness to compromise thus far? No. Chances of them taking the bait on chained CPI are slim, because it involves raising revenue. Republicans claim they already raised revenue, but in fact what they did — after severe arm twisting — was finally allow the supposedly temporary Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire. That’s technically not new revenue, and hardly makes up for the trillions in cuts the President already gave them.

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