by John Hawkins | January 30, 2003 2:46 pm
Ideology Vs. Politics On Medicare: I didn’t really mention this when I did the State of the Union review, but I am dead set against the new Medicare “reform” that Bush is promoting. At a time when we’re already running a large deficit and when the war on terrorism is forcing us to spend more money than we otherwise would on security, intelligence, and the military, it’s particularly irresponsible to push an insanely expensive new Medicare benefit that we all know is going to grow explosively in cost and scope over the next couple of decades.
So why is Bush putting this program forward and why are so many Conservatives supporting him? It’s pure “third way” politics. Pushing this program takes a big issue away from the Democrats & it may once and for all help kill the Dem’s shrill election time cries of, “The Republicans are going to take your Social Security away.” Besides, those senior citizens have nothing better to do than vote en masse at election time and they’ll remember this in 2004. Last but not least, blocking new spending or cutting programs is almost always a loser politically. That’s because cutting or blocking new spending makes SPECIFIC groups of people angry with you, possibly very angry, while increasing spending and leaving pork in place makes SPECIFIC people happy and almost no one REALLY mad. Sure a few Libertarians and diehard Conservatives like me aren’t going to be pleased with it, but what are we going to do, vote for John Kerry or Howard Dean in the next election?
The only hope I have is that the Democrats will block this plan just because they hate the idea of W. getting credit for it. But eventually, one way or the other, this plan is going to pass and we’re going to be paying through the nose for it from here on out. Now if I were President, I’d fight the Democrats tooth and nail on this and I’d even veto it if that’s what it took. But instead of doing that, W. is going to turn it around on the Dems and he’s going to get credit for the program. Is that the Conservative thing to do? No…but it’s the politically smart thing to do and it’s the ability to do that sort of thing that separates the politicians from the pundits.
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