Most certainly, however, I am sure they are not alone. But I can’t blame ’em. Really. They’re just a victim of the tribalism going on in Washington.
So, specifically, Democrats labelled Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan as one that would “end Medicare as we know it.” And they defend this statement thusly:
“The very definition of the Medicare program is a national health insurance program for seniors which House Republicans would abolish under their budget,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in an earlier rebuttal of Politifact’s analysis of the Ryan plan.
“It seems foolish to have to parse the meaning of the word ‘end,’ but if there’s a program, and it’s replaced with a different program, proponents brought an end to the original program,” liberal blogger Steve Benen wrote at the Washington Monthly. “That’s what the verb means.”
Okay, but the silliness is obvious. Using this logic any time any program is changed, even by the slightest bit, the old existing plan would “end” and the new plan, complete with all it’s new language, would be the new plan.
Wanna change the test scoring system in public education? Well, go ahead, but be aware that you are “ending public education as we know it”.
Wanna increase the speed limit on I-40 from 60 to 65? Okay, but be prepared to defend how you are “ending the federal interstate program as we know it.”
And I am not alone. Politifact has named the Democrats charge the “Lie of the Year”.
Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact for people 55 or older, but dramatically changed the program for everyone else by privatizing it and providing government subsidies.
Democrats pounced. Just four days after the party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a Web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care “because Republicans voted to end Medicare.”
Rep. Steve Israel of New York, head of the DCCC, appeared on cable news shows and declared that Republicans voted to “terminate Medicare.” A Web video from the Agenda Project, a liberal group, said the plan would leave the country “without Medicare” and showed a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. And just last month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a fundraising appeal that said: “House Republicans’ vote to end Medicare is a shameful act of betrayal.”
After two years of being pounded by Republicans with often false charges about the 2010 health care law, the Democrats were turning the tables.
PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.
Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.
Go read the whole thing. There are worse things to do on December 20th.