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A Line-in-the-Sand Moment

From National Review:

Yesterday’s Senate vote on the Ryan budget was a line-in-the-sand moment for Republicans.

Forty Republican senators, including Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, stepped forward to lead the way on saving Medicare and providing the first real alternative to out-of-control Washington spending that our nation has seen in decades.

Every single Democrat, including Florida senator Bill Nelson, voted in lock step with the Obama administration to oppose Ryan’s plan.

There are three Republicans vying to replace Bill Nelson in Florida. Two of them, former U.S. senator George LeMieux and current Florida state senator Mike Haridopolos, refused to say how they would have voted on the Ryan plan. That makes them no better than Bill Nelson.

Only one candidate, Adam Hasner, had the courage to step forward and unequivocally announce his support for the Ryan budget.

“I would vote for the plan without hesitation,” Hasner said, “because I know that the alternatives are rationed care and declining healthcare options, watching Social Security and Medicare slowly go bankrupt, or America faltering under the weight of unsustainable entitlement programs.”

The 2012 election is the most important in our lifetime. If President Obama is reelected, and Democrats retain control of the Senate, the transformation of America into a European welfare state will be a foregone conclusion.

Simply electing more Republicans to Washington is not enough. We need to elect conservatives who will have the courage to take the tough votes, and stand with the conservatives already serving in the Senate.

A good place to start will be to support only those Republicans who had the courage to support the Ryan budget.

Ryan Hits Obama on Medicare: Panel of Bureaucrats Will Lead to ‘Waiting Lists and Denied Care’

From The Weekly Standard:

On a day when many pundits and (allegedly) objective news reporters are declaring the Medicare reform Paul Ryan proposed caused the Republican to lose in New York’s special congressional election, Ryan is out with a new video defending his plan and attacking Obama’s.

Ryan begins the video explaining the reasons why Medicare spending is growing out of control, and then draws a sharp contrast with Obamacare. “The President’s plan is to let a panel of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats decide how much, or how little, Medicare will pay doctors and which services Medicare will, or will not, pay doctors to provide for their patients‬,”Ryan says.

If we go down Obama’s path on Medicare, says Ryan, “many doctors will stop seeing Medicare patients altogether, restricting access to health care for seniors and leading to waiting lists and denied care.”

The ominous background music then turns optimistic  as Ryan explains the House GOP’s proposed reform. “Those in or near retirement should not be forced to reorganize their lives because of government’s mistakes.  That’s why our budget ensures no changes for those 55 years old or older.  But for future generations, we need real reform,” he says, explaining the guaranteed coverage plans that would be offered under his premium support model.

“The urgent need to reform Medicare and the President’s misguided approach have left us with a serious question to ask,” Ryan concludes. “Who should be making health-care decisions for you and your family? A government monopoly and a panel of bureaucrats in Washington DC? Or you?”

Oh my: Pawlenty calls for Medicare and Social Security reform — in Florida

From Hot Air:

First he goes after ethanol in Iowa, now this. What’s next? Telling Texans it’s time to wean themselves off of barbecue? Good lord. This isn’t a campaign, it’s an intervention.

Alternate headline: “Tim Pawlenty now unelectable in not one but two early primary states.”

A day after telling Iowans their beloved ethanol subsidies will have to go, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty used a stop in senior-heavy Florida to call for reining in Social Security and Medicare benefits for future retirees…

It’s part of a tough-medicine tour, designed to highlight Pawlenty’s willingness to tell “hard truths.” He’s also planning to visit Washington to call for less-generous pay and benefits for public sector employees and to New York to call for an end to Wall Street bailouts…

Pawlenty said Social Security’s retirement age must “gradually” increase for people who are not yet in the system. He also called for ending cost-of-living increases for wealthy retirees. He said he’ll release details soon and said the changes would not affect current retirees.

That’s from today’s Facebook town hall, where he also took a question that seemed geared towards winning a certain fiscal-con icon’s constituency:

“In the state of Indiana, our governor has been really hard on teachers,” asked one girl. “What is your view of education?”

Pawlenty voiced a position on education similar to the reforms passed by Daniels in the last Indiana legislative session: school choice and vouchers, support for charter schools, and saying that education policy should be geared to help children and should “put their needs first, rather than the interests of adults in public employee union movement.”

The choice of the question seemed deliberate, as a way to position Pawlenty as the natural alternative for Daniels’ supporters.

The straight talk on entitlements, I think, is mainly geared towards giving him cover with the base for when he starts inching away from Ryan’s Medicare plan. He praised Ryan’s budget when speaking to reporters after the Facebook town hall today but reminded them that he’ll be introducing his own plan in the coming months. With good reason: The more Senate Republicans bail on Ryan — Olympia Snowe is the latest — the closer we get to the sort of tipping point imagined by Nate Silver. It’s easier for the GOP to deflect concerns about Ryan’s Medicare reforms if they’re voting party-line, less easy when the RINO contingent of Snowe, Collins, and Brown defects and thereby implicitly signals to centrists that Ryan’s budget is “extreme.” T-Paw’s trying to massage both sides here (much as he did in Iowa), hinting without saying that he thinks Ryan’s plan is extreme too but not so much that entitlement reform should be avoided. Exit quotation: “What I know is this: There just can’t be any more sacred cows.”

Team Ryan Responds to Newt

From National Review:

Conor Sweeney, Rep. Paul Ryan’s spokesman, tells National Review Online that he is not worried about Newt Gingrich’s comments on Meet the Press. Ryan’s budget, he says, “remains the only serious proposal put forward on either end on Pennsylvania Avenue that saves Medicare.”

“The solutions offered by Chairman Ryan and advanced by House Republicans make no changes to Medicare for those in and near retirement, while offering a strengthened, personalized program that future generations can count on when they retire,” Sweeney says. “Far from claims of radicalism, the gradual, common-sense Medicare reforms ensure that no senior will be forced to reorganize their lives because of government’s mistakes. The most ‘radical’ course of action on Medicare is continue to cling to the unsustainable status quo.”

“Serious leaders,” he adds, without naming names, “owe seniors specific solutions to avert Medicare’s looming collapse.”

God Bless America

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