When Bill Clinton Engaged In "MediScare"
Bill Clinton talked some nonsense yesterday about Medicare and how Dems should address it politically and in terms of policy:
"So anyway, I told them before you got here, I said I’m glad we won this race in New York," Clinton told Ryan, when the two met backstage at a forum on the national debt held by the Pete Peterson Foundation. But he added, “I hope Democrats don't use this as an excuse to do nothing.”
This is ridiculous coming from Clinton, who rejuvenated his political fortunes by drawing a line in the sand on Medicare and Medicaid cuts in his budget and debt ceiling battles with Newt Gingrich in 1995 and 1996:
Clinton dubs latest budget proposal "dead on arrival"
November 18, 1995
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton vowed again Saturday to veto the Republicans massive plan to balance the budget. The House was expected to finalize the budget measure Saturday and send it to the White House.
During his weekly radio address, the president again expressed his concerns over budget expenditures for social programs. "This budget is dead on arrival when it comes to the White House," said Clinton," and, if the price of any deal are cuts like these, my message is no deal.
As Matt Yglesias writes, the term "MediScare" was first applied to Clinton. William Safire wrote "President Clinton [. . .] engage[d] in “Mediscare.” This is his shamelessly demagogic campaign to frighten older Americans into thinking that deficit reduction might soon leave them destitute in the snow, and to bamboozle them with pie in the medical sky." And Bob Dole whined "Instead of working with Republicans and with the Democrats to try to secure, preserve and strengthen Medicare, the President chose to engage in a campaign to scare American seniors. We call it Mediscare! Mediscare! Mediscare! All the ads you see in Florida, all the ads you see in Florida, are negative Mediscare ads!"
Now putting aside the policy merits of Clinton's statements today (and there were none imo, YMMV), it's funny how willing Clinton is to advise other pols to forego political advantages he exploited to the hilt when he was still a pol. I doubt very much he would be saying anything like this if Hillary was President. We all know the whole "elder statesman" thing goes out the window when he's got a personal dog in the fight.
My advice to Dems on Clinton and Medicare - watch what he DID, not what he says now.
Speaking for me only
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