I’ve always liked Dana Milbank’s work, even though I haven’t always agreed with him. But in the piece below, he nails the real Paul Ryan's “DEMAGOGUERY” for what it is, cheap parlor tricks and hypocrisy:
WashingtonPost: On Wednesday morning, Rep. Paul Ryan awoke to find that his plan was being blamed for the loss of a solidly Republican congressional seat in a New York special election … So he headed over to the cameras in the Cannon House Office Building Rotunda to vent about Democrats’ “Mediscare” tactics. “The president and his party have decided to shamelessly distort and demagogue Medicare,” … Moments later, he took his complaint to Fox News … “It’s a preview of the scare tactics, distortions, demagoguery, to try and scare seniors.” And Ryan is well qualified to call out shameless demagoguery and scare tactics: Over the past two years, he has practiced both.
Speaking on the House floor in 2009, he said the Democrats’ health-care legislation would “take coverage away from seniors,” “raise premiums for families” and “cost us nearly 5.5 million jobs.” Later, he said the health plan would bring about government “rationing” of health care.
He also labeled the plan “a government takeover of our healthcare system,” claimed America was at a “tipping point” toward a “European social welfare state,” and gave a wink to the “death panel” allegations. His suggestion that the legislation would result in the IRS getting “16,000 agents” to police the health-care law was knocked down as “wildly inaccurate” by Factcheck.org.
Ryan responded just as the Democrats had responded during the health-care fight: with bookish analysis. Ryan might be worthy of more sympathy if he hadn’t been one of the people clubbing Democrats with slogans about trampled liberty as they labored to explain exchanges and cost curves. Now Ryan is the one trying to define the narrow difference … while Democrats accuse him of forcing seniors into destitution … he cast aside bipartisan solutions and said he wanted to take the issue to voters. Democrats gave him exactly what he asked for.
But Milbank, like others in the media, often creates a false equivalency between the death panel tea party low information voter, and the CBO fact based protester using sound logic and math. That’s why we’re in this mess. As long as we continue to treat the other side’s lunacy as substantive debate material, we will continue to move further to the right. For example, in the same article:
He’s right about that. Democrats and, particularly, liberal activists, are engaged in some shameless demagoguery (one group’s ad shows a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman and her wheelchair off a cliff). In both cases, the proponents decided to act without bipartisan support. Opponents whipped up opposition at televised town-hall meetings. Proponents discovered that their nuanced explanations of the policy couldn’t compete with the other side’s shrill sound bites.