Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, who wants to be President primarily so that he can fly around the globe on Air Force One, recently caused a firestorm when he said on Meet the Press that Representative Paul Ryan's budget plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system was "right-wing social engineering." He was right of course, but that was not what the corporate and crazy elements of the party wanted to hear.
Yesterday the public finally had an opportunity to weigh in on Republican attempts to screw around with Medicare. During the run-up to a special election for Congress in New York's heavily Republican 26th District, Democrats decided that it might be interesting to make Republican plans to gut Medicare the central issue. It wasn't a pretty campaign, of course, and the Republican Party didn't know whether to shit or go blind, but the result was predictable to everyone with a brain - the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, won!
So, in the immortal words of Mitch McConnell, when it comes to fiddling with Medicare - "that dog won't hunt." And those budget geniuses shouldn't plan on balancing the budget with Social Security cuts either, because that dog really won't hunt!
So Medicare and Social Security are here to stay. What can be cut? The wars, perhaps, or tax breaks for the richest Americans and corporations? But if the Republican's get serious about balancing the budget and decide to go where the money is, they stand a very real chance of offending their sugar daddies. Ouch!
Unfortunately for the Republican Party, their social engineering goes well beyond destroying Medicare and Social Security. They want to teach creationism as some form of science in public schools, defund public schools by giving people vouchers so they can use public money to send their children to private and religious schools, deny the rights of public employees to join unions, kill National Public Radio, make abortions illegal or so difficult to get that women are forced into using risky providers, deny the scientific fact of global warming because it snowed last winter - and their oil company benefactors are opposed to the notion because it impinges on their obscene profits, keep America white, and make Christianity the de facto national religion.
The Republicans have lots of colorful talking points, and they manage to keep each other fired up. The trouble is - as it was in New York's 26th - there just aren't enough of the crazy ones out there to win an election.
2012 is going to be so sweet!
Run, Sarah, run!