When not looking to press that specific button, Romney of late has focused on another fact-free claim: Obama has cut $716 billion from Medicare. Once again, fact-checkers rushed to put out this fire, and Romney ignored them. The use of this lie was understandable. Romney was counterpunching. Once he placed Ryan on the ticket—perhaps the only bold move of his uninspiring campaign—Romney became more vulnerable to negative ads targeting his support for Ryan's budget plan that would end the Medicare guarantee and replace it with a voucher-like system, causing seniors to pay thousands of dollars more for their health care (while well-to-do Americans would receive tax breaks beyond George W. Bush's wildest fantasies). Romney's empire struck back and issued a claim that was both false and absurd, for Romney and Ryan fervently contend Medicare savings must be produced and Obama did just that by reducing future spending on Medicare Advantage, a certain kind of premium Medicare plan run by private insurance firms.Unfortunately, unless the Obama campaign effectively counters it, this false charge will be as effective as it was for the Republicans in 2005 - when the savings estimate they exploited this way $500 billion - or even more so.
This Medicare assault was another wildly cynical move—an indication that no matter what Romney and Ryan profess, they are not truly interested in a serious debate about public policy and hard choices. The only rule: Anything goes.
Tags: 2012 election, medicare