Atlanta teen Reuben Lack was Student Body President at Alpharetta High School until last February, when he suggested that the school’s prom should be inclusive of same-sex couples. His simple proposal was to have a gender-neutral “Prom Court” instead of a “Prom King and Queen,” and for trying to advance that idea on multiple occasions, his faculty advisors removed him from his leadership position. Now, Lack is suing the school, and the complaint explains the negative impact of the decision:
By removing him as Student Body President, Defendants sought to punish Lack for advocating for his position on issues of student concern, and sought to restrain his ability to advocate for those positions in his elected capacity as Student Body President… Defendants? actions serve to silence Lack, and have a chilling effect upon student expression in general.
The school has declined to comment on the matter. This morning, Lack discussed the case with a local news station, describing how the teachers were “visibly agitated” and “very, very uncomfortable, to the point where they were almost angry” at the mere idea same-sex couples might have a chance to participate in the prom court. Watch it:
Be wary of reviews by female critics, as they’re probably more susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise than most. I don’t even know what to make of this declaration by Movieline’s Stephanie Zacharek: “The surprise of The Hunger Games isn’t that it lives up to its hype — it’s that it plays as if that hype never even existed, which may be the trickiest achievement a big movie can pull off these days.” If there’s one thing that defines Gary Ross’s film, it’s a feeling that he and his Hunger Games producers were acutely aware they were adapting a wildly popular literary property, and that they’d best serve the fantasies and sensibilities of its young female readers.
Because if you’re a female critic, and you happen to find art that’s about people of your gender, and about people of your gender being strong, and emotions women sometimes have about choosing romantic partners and being providers, you are just heeding the siren song of your easily-duped ladybits. But if you’re a dude who appreciates stories about, oh, I don’t know, chauvinist advertising executives, or violent automobile drivers, or self-absorbed Hawaiian landowners who happen to have your particular variety of sexual equipment, you’ve got discerning taste.
While Congress still hasn’t passed legislation to restore the Gulf, strengthen oil spill regulation, or punish BP, Louisiana marshes are continuing to be hit hard by the Gulf oil disaster. In a National Wildlife Federation boat trip to Louisiana, “oil remains in various stages of weathering and decomposition,” including thick tar mats and oil seeps. The group also found a “dead and decomposed American White Pelican” wit liquid oil on its wings.
Supporters of Voter ID laws routinely justify them by claiming they are necessary to combat an epidemic of people showing up at the polls and claiming to be someone else. And yet, when asked to prove that such an epidemic exists, their case immediately falls apart. When the Supreme Court abdicated its responsibility to strike down these unconstitutional assaults on the franchise four years ago, it was only able to cite one actual example of voter fraud in the last 140 years.
The laws’ opponents, however, do not have this problem. Here are just nine examples of the kinds of people being denied voting rights by Voter ID laws:
The National Center for Transgender Equality has released a new “Blueprint for Equality” that outlines 99 steps that could be taken to advance the lives of transgender Americans. The report highlights various areas of concern for transgender people and the ways policies do not currently ensure transgender protection:
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: “Passing a federal law to prohibit gender identity discrimination in the most specific terms is essential to ensuring that employers understand and consistently follow the law, and therefore to eliminating anti-trans discrimination.”
HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS: “Whether it is fair participation in the rental and homebuying market or access to homeless shelters, the pervasive nature of discrimination follows trans people home.”
SAFE AND SUPPORTIVE SCHOOLS: “Bullying and violence in schools constitute a safety crisis, impacting the health and educational achievements of transgender and gender nonconforming youth.”
ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTH CARE: “In a groundbreaking 2011 report, the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that transgender people in the United States face serious health disparities and systemic barriers to care… At the same time, transgender people are more likely to be uninsured, to be unable to afford to pay for health care out of pocket, and to delay seeking health care because of cost or fear of discrimination.”
FIGHTING HIV/AIDS: “Overall, transgender people face HIV infection rates many times higher than the general population, and rates for transgender people of color are even higher. Estimates are that one in four Black transgender people in the U.S. is living with HIV/AIDS. Discrimination, stigma, social isolation, bias among health and social service providers, and a lack of targeted prevention efforts have all contributed to these high levels of infection.”
ENDING ANTI-TRANSGENDER VIOLENCE: “Transgender people today face an epidemic of antitrans violence. Whether it occurs on our streets, in our schools, in our homes, or even comes from law enforcement or other officials, staggering levels of violence persist even as trans equality advances.”
IMPROVING THE LIVES OF TRANS OLDER ADULTS: “According to the national Caring and Aging with Pride survey, transgender older adults are a ‘critically underserved population at heightened risk of physical and mental health disparities often combined with less social and community support.’”
COUNTING TRANS PEOPLE IN FEDERAL SURVEYS: “We need data about the lives of transgender people that is comprehensive, systematic, and collected regularly on a large scale.”
ID DOCUMENTS AND PRIVACY: “Government should not compel unnecessary or unaffordable medical procedures for purely bureaucratic purposes, nor should it needlessly compel the disclosure of a person?s medical history or transgender status.”
THE RIGHT TO TRAVEL: “While NCTE has long worked with TSA to promote better staff training, respond to individual complaints, and educate the trans traveling public, the agency?s lack of transparency and persistent use of invasive and unproven security procedures are a continuing cause for concern.”
EQUAL ACCESS TO PUBLIC PROGRAMS: “All people should be able to access government services and publicly funded programs without fear that they will be turned away or mistreated because of who they are.”
IMMIGRATION REFORM: “The government?s failure to recognize LGBT families exacerbates the hardships on our community, and transgender people frequently find their relationships challenged regardless of the gender of their partner. For trans people who have legal status, documents that reflect the wrong gender contribute to the discrimination trans immigrants face.”
PRISON AND DETENTION REFORM: “Nearly one in six transgender people (16%) (including 21% of transgender women) have been incarcerated at some point in their lives?far higher than the rate for the general population… These high rates of incarceration are driven by disproportionate poverty, homelessness, discrimination, participation in street economies, and in some cases, law enforcement bias. Trans people are also at high risk of abuse in prisons, jails, and juvenile detention.”
OPEN MILITARY SERVICE: “The military maintains its own rules for who is eligible to serve, which can be changed without congressional action. The transgender ban is the result of archaic rules that treat transgender people as mentally and medically unfit, rules that are based on outdated, unfounded stereotypes.”
HONORING OUR VETERANS: “Estimates put the number of transgender veterans in the hundreds of thousands… However, many of these veterans have been denied access to medical care and other services guaranteed through the Veterans Administration (VA), and have faced discrimination and harassment at VA facilities.”
FAMILY AND RELATIONSHIP RECOGNITION: “Transgender people and their spouses can be impacted by the federal Defense of Marriage Act even if they married as a different-sex couple under state law, due to inconsistent interpretation and application of the law by federal agencies.”
ADVANCING GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS: “As a member of the Council for Global Equality, NCTE works with the Council to ensure that the United States uses its diplomatic, political, and economic influence to oppose human rights abuses that are too often directed at individuals because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
House Republicans last night rejected the Senate’s bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill and said they would instead adopt a short-term resolution that would maintain current funding levels for 90 days. With just 10 days until the current short-term authorization plan expires, that means House Republicans have made possible a transportation shutdown that could force more than 1.9 million workers off the job.
The Senate approved MAP-21, its transportation bill, 74-22 last week. The bill “is the biggest jobs bill that Congress will consider this year,” according to its main Democratic sponsor, California Sen. Barbara Boxer. The bill is also fully paid for. A long-term House bill that was rife with problems — not least that it would have bankrupted the Highway Trust Fund — has already been defeated.
According to the Department of Transportation, MAP-21, which continues the current levels of funding plus inflation, would save 1.9 million transportation jobs that would temporarily disappear during a shutdown. The bill would also create roughly 1 million new jobs, according to Democratic estimates, bringing the total number of jobs in jeopardy to nearly 3 million, Boxer told the Washington Post:
?The clock is ticking on the shutdown of our transportation programs,? said Boxer, who was floor leader in crafting bipartisan support for the Senate bill. ?We?re talking about almost 3 million jobs, and the House is playing games. This is a jobs bill ? make no mistake about it.?
If Congress fails to authorize a new transportation package, it wouldn’t be the first time House Republicans have forced workers off the job. Last August, the GOP skipped town after voting on a debt package without reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, forcing the agency to temporarily furlough 4,000 workers while others worked without pay.
Moments ago, embattled Sanford, Florida police chief Bill Lee announced he would be stepping down temporarily, saying his leadership has become a “distraction” for the investigation into Trayvon Martin’s killing. Lee said he stood by the Sanford police department’s actions, but then added, “It is apparent that my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process. Therefore, I have come to the decision that I must temporarily remove myself.” Watch it:
Earlier in the week, calls for firing Lee were met with standing ovations at an NAACP meeting. Also, the Sanford city commission voted 3-2 to express no confidence in Lee. The resignation comes hours before a massive rally is scheduled to take place in support of Martin and his family.
Critics have faulted the police chief for botching aspects of the investigation from the start, including failing to immediately launch an investigation, failing to administer drug/alcohol tests to the shooter George Zimmerman, and failing to take Zimmerman into custody.
The centrist Democratic think tank Third Way has a new paper disputing the contention?from political scientists?that independents are a myth, and most voters lean in one direction or the other:
While analysts have often looked at Independents who lean one way or the other in a single election and concluded they are simply ?closet? partisans, in reality those who label themselves Independent are much more likely to switch parties, and their votes, over time, from election to election. In this memo, we demonstrate that while some Independents may lean toward a certain party and vote for that party?s candidate in that same electoral cycle, when you follow the same people across multiple elections, a very different pattern emerges: these leaners don?t fall with their partisan friends.
The core of Third Way?s argument depends on a medium-term study of voters from 2000 to 2004, where they show that independent leaners?voters who have an orientation toward one party or the other?swing between parties, which runs contrary to the political science view that leaners are indistinguishable from partisans in their voting habits:
In 2000, 73% of Democratic-leaning Independents voted for a Democrat and only 27% for a Republican. This seems to confirm conventional wisdom?Independents largely vote for the party they lean towards. But by 2002, only 54% of Democratic Leaners were voting for the party and 46% had defected; by 2004, 38% of Democratic Leaners were GOP voters. When we follow the same voters across successive elections, the data clearly revealed that leaners are not party loyalists.
But this doesn?t actually prove Third Way?s point. For starters, all voters aren?t created equally, and Democratic voters in the Northeast are significantly different from Democratic voters on the West Coast or Democratic voters in the South. To wit, there?s a fair chance that leaners in the South are likely to belong to the cohort of voters who are transitioning from Democratic identification to complete allegiance to the Republican Party.
These voters are thoroughly conservative, and don?t support Democrats in statewide or presidential elections, but because of historic circumstance, still belong to the party. If this is the case, then Third Way hasn?t found evidence of genuine independent voters as much as they?ve captured the messiness of party identification in the formerly solid South.
Beyond all of this, it?s also true that Third Way has ignored the wave elections of 2006 and 2008, where voters gave Democrats the White House, as well as large majorities in the House and Senate. It?s possible, and likely, that some ?swing voters? identified by Third Way moved back to the Democratic column and remained there, which suggests that they do act in ways similar to weak partisans.
It should be said that even if independents are genuinely independent, it says nothing about the kind of policies President Obama?or Mitt Romney?should propose. Most voters evaluate incumbents on the basis of their personal circumstances?whether they have a job and whether they have money in their pockets. Tepid, middle-ground policies don?t appeal to independents, and have the downside of angering activists, advocates, and the voters who actually lay the groundwork for victory.
In a Washington Post column, Richard Cohen justified a potential Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities by claiming that it would delay Iran's ability to build nuclear weapons, as evidenced by Israel's 1981 strike on Iraq's Osirak reactor. But experts say that the Osirak reactor strike did not delay -- and might even have accelerated -- Saddam Hussein's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Cohen: Israel "Has A Short-Term Objective" InRegards To Iran's Nuclear Program -- "And That Is To Play For Time." From Cohen's March 19column, headlined "Playing for time through a strike on Iran":
Nations havedoctrines. The Soviet Union had the Brezhnev Doctrine and the United States hadthe Monroe Doctrine, among others. Even little Israel has one. I call it theMaybe the Dog Will Talk Doctrine, and it is based on a folk tale of the rabbiwho makes a preposterous deal with a tyrant: If the tyrant spares the lives oflocal Jews, the rabbi will teach the tyrant's dog to talk. When the rabbi tellshis wife what he has done, she calls him a fool. But, he says, "A year is along time. In a year, the tyrant could die or I could die" -- and here he givesher a sly, wise-rabbi smile -- "or maybe the dog will talk."
All sorts of people-- defense intellectuals, military officers and even the president of theUnited States -- either have not heard of the Maybe the Dog Will Talk Doctrineor do not recognize its importance. (It was cited to me by an Israeliofficial.) Both Barack Obama and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the JointChiefs of Staff, have characterized any Israeli attempt to disrupt Iran'snuclear program as a short-term affair. An Israeli raid "wouldn't achieve theirlong-term objectives," Dempsey said on CNN -- and he is surely right.
But Israel also has a short-term objective --and that is to play for time. Israel notes that its 1981 bombing of a nuclearreactor in Iraq set back Saddam Hussein's program -- and did not result in somesort of massive retaliation. Something similar happened with the 2007 bombingof a Syrian installation. Neither operation was conceived as a long-termsolution, but both accomplished short-term goals. In a year or two, much couldchange in the Middle East. The region's in turmoil. Dogs are talking all overthe place. [The Washington Post, 3/19/12]
Former Pentagon Official: "The Attack OnOsirak Actually Increased Hussein's Determination To Develop A NuclearDeterrent And Provided Iraq's Scientists An Opportunity To Better Organize TheProgram." Ina March 2 Washington Post opinion piece, Colin Kahl, an associateprofessor in the Security Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School ofForeign Service at Georgetown University and former Deputy Assistant Secretaryof Defense for the Middle East, wrote:
For Israelisconsidering a strike on Iran, Osirak seems like a model for effectivepreventive war. After all, Hussein never got the bomb, and if Israel was ableto brush back one enemy hell-bent on its destruction, it can do so again. But acloser look at the Osirak episode, drawing on recent academic research andmemoirs of individuals involved with Iraq's program, argues powerfully againstan Israeli strike on Iran today.
By demonstratingIraq's vulnerability, the attack on Osirak actually increased Hussein'sdetermination to develop a nuclear deterrent and provided Iraq's scientists anopportunity to better organize the program. The Iraqi leader devotedsignificantly more resources toward pursuing nuclear weapons after the Israeliassault. As Reiter notes, "the Iraqi nuclear program increased from a programof 400 scientists and $400 million to one of 7,000 scientists and $10 billion."[The Washington Post, 3/2/12]
International Security Policy Professor:"There Is No Evidence That Israel's Destruction Of Osirak Delayed Iraq'sNuclear Weapons Program. The Attack May Actually Have Accelerated It." In a spring2006 National Interest article, Richard Betts, a professor ofInternational Security Policy at Columbia University and a senior fellow at theCouncil on Foreign Relations, asserted that "there is no evidence thatIsrael's destruction of Osirak delayed Iraq's nuclear weapons program."From the article:
Contrary to prevalentmythology, there is no evidence that Israel's destruction of Osirak delayed Iraq'snuclear weapons program. The attack may actually have accelerated it.
Osirak is notapplicable to Iran anyway, since an air strike on a single reactor is not amodel for the comprehensive campaign that would be required to deal, evenunsatisfactorily, with the extensive, concealed and protected program that Iranis probably developing. As the United States crafts non-proliferation policy,it should soberly consider the actual effect of the Osirak attack and thelimitations of even stronger air action.
In contrast to aground war, air power has the allure of quick, clean, decisive action withoutmessy entanglement. Smash today, gone tomorrow. Iraq's nuclear programdemonstrates how unsuccessful air strikes can be even when undertaken on amassive scale. Recall the surprising discoveries after the Iraq War. In 1991coalition air forces destroyed the known nuclear installations in Iraq, butwhen UN inspectors went into the country after the war, they unearthed a hugeinfrastructure for nuclear weapons development that had been completely unknownto Western intelligence before the war.
Obliterating theOsirak reactor did not put the brakes on Saddam's nuclear weapons programbecause the reactor that was destroyed could not have produced a bomb on itsown and was not even necessary for producing a bomb. Nine years after Israel'sattack on Osirak, Iraq was very close to producing a nuclear weapon. Had Saddambeen smart enough in 1990 to wait a year longer, he might have been able tohave a nuclear weapon in his holster when he invaded Kuwait.
If anything, thedestruction of the reactor probably increased Saddam's incentive to rush theprogram via the second route. It is unlikely that Saddam would have been ableto develop nuclear weapons much faster through the Osirak reactor--given thathe would have had to plan, construct and operate a reprocessing plant--thanthrough enrichment. Israel's preventive strike was not an example of effectivedelay. [The National Interest, Spring 2006,via Findarticles.com]
Expert On Weapons Of Mass Destruction: ClaimThat Osirak Strike "Delayed Iraq's Efforts To Acquire NuclearWeapons" Is Based On False Assumptions. In a May 2010Huffington Post column, Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer, a post-doctoral fellow at theHarvard University Kennedy School, and an expert on weapons of massdestruction, argued that the strike on the Osirak reactor resulted in a concertedand clandestine effort by Iraq to create nuclear weapons. From the article:
Advocates of amilitary strike believe that the Israeli destruction of the Osiraq reactorcomplex in June 1981 delayed Iraq's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Thisbelief rests on two assumptions: that Iraq was pursuing a weapons option in adetermined manner before the attack and that the destroyed reactor was intendedto serve as a key component of these efforts. Both assumptions are false.
In the mid-1970s Iraqbegan to develop a nuclear weapons option as part of a wider expansion of theirnuclear power program. Iraqi sources demonstrate that there was no dedicatedorganization, staff or funding for the purposes of acquiring nuclear weaponsprior to June 1981. In other words, Iraq had not begun to act on Saddam'snuclear weapons ambition in a serious or determined manner.
The Israeli attacktriggered Iraq's determined pursuit of nuclear weapons. In September 1981,three months after the strike, Iraq established a well-funded clandestinenuclear weapons program. This had a separate organization, staff, ample fundingand a clear mandate from Saddam Hussein. As the nuclear weapons program wentunderground the international community lost sight of these activities and hadno influence on the Iraqi nuclear calculus. [The Huffington Post, 5/11/10]
National Security Policy Expert: "TheOsiraq Attack May Have Actually Stimulated Rather Than Inhibited The IraqiNuclear Program."In a July 2005 article in The Nonproliferation Review, DanReiter, now the chair of the Emory University Department of Political Scienceand a specialist in international conflict and national security policy wrote:
It may be that even amarginal delay in the Iraqi nuclear program might have been politicallysignificant, given some reports that at the time the Gulf War broke out, Iraqwas as little as one year away from acquiring a nuclear weapon, though theOctober 2004 Duelfer report notes several remaining obstacles to Iraqiweaponization in 1991. Paradoxically, the Osiraq attack may have actuallystimulated rather than inhibited the Iraqi nuclear program. The attack itselfmay have persuaded Saddam to accelerate Iraqi efforts to become a nuclearweapons power. While we can only speculate on this point, we do know thatSaddam publically portrayed the attack as having successfully destroyed theIraqi nuclear program. Following Osiraq, the entire Iraqi nuclear effort movedunderground, as Saddam simultaneously ordered a secret weapons program thatfocused on uranium separation as a path to building a bomb. Saddam may haveincreased his support his support for the nuclear program after the Osiraqattack, rehabilitating an important Iraqi nuclear physicist from prison and byone account increasing the man power and resources devoted to the nuclearprogram by more than 15-fold.
In short, before theOsiraq attack, both the French and the IAEA opposed the weaponization of Iraq'snuclear research program, and had a number of instruments to constrainweaponization, including control over, including control over reactor fuelsupply and multiple and continuous inspections. After the Osiraq attack, theprogram became secret, Saddam's personal and material commitment to the programgrew, and the non-proliferation tools available to the international communitybecame ineffective. [The Nonproliferation Review, July 2005,emphasis added]
Hayden:Iran Attack Would "Guarantee That Which WeAre Trying To Prevent -- An Iran That Will Spare Nothing To Build A NuclearWeapon And That Would Build It In Secret." Atan event hosted by a non-partisanpublic policy institution, the Center for theNational Interest, Michael Hayden, director of the CIA during the Bushadministration, warned that an attack on Iran would "guarantee thatwhich we are trying to prevent -- an Iran that will spare nothing to build anuclear weapon and that would build it in secret." [DeepJournal.com, 1/26/12]
JustifyingA Possible Israeli Strike On Iran, Cohen Claimed That "Iran's Program LooksDifferent From Tel Aviv Than It Does From Washington." From Cohen's column:
Sanctions may cause Iran to abandon itsnuclear weapons program, if indeed that's where it is now heading. But criticsof Israel's approach have to understand that Iran's program looks differentfrom Tel Aviv than it does from Washington. In the long run, an Israeli attackon Iran will accomplish nothing. In the short run, it could accomplish quite alot. [The Washington Post, 3/19/12]
ButA Haaretz Poll Found That 58 Percent Of Israelis "Opposed An IsraeliStrike On Iran, Without U.S. Backing." The Israeli newspaper Haaretzreported:
Most Israelis believe that if the UnitedStates does not attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Israel must no try to do soalone, according to a Haaretz poll.
TheHaaretz-Dialog poll, conducted under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs ofTel Aviv University on Sunday and Monday during Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu's visit to Washington, also showed that the prime minister's Likudparty would win big in the next election, taking between 35 and 37 seats.
Likud, the rest of the right wing and theultra-Orthodox parties would get between 71 and 74 mandates. Under such ascenario, only Netanyahu would be able to form a government.
However,Netanyahu, who returned to Israel on Wednesday, is facing a complex politicalsituation.
On the onehand, he and his party seem to be in top political form. On the other, 58percent of those polled opposed an Israeli strike on Iran, without U.S.backing. [Haaretz, 3/8/12]
Israel DemocracyInstitute: 62.2 Percent Of Israelis "Moderately Oppose" Or "Strongly Oppose" AnIsraeli Attack On Iran Without U.S. Cooperation. A poll by The GuttmanCenter at the Israel Democracy Institute in February found that 36.1 percent ofIsraeli's "moderately oppose" an Israeli attack on Iran without U.S.cooperation and 26.1 percent "strongly oppose" such an attack. From the poll:
[TheGuttman Center, February 2012]
Poll:56 Percent Of Israelis Oppose A Pre-Emptive Israeli Strike On Iran. Israel National Newsreported on March 22:
A new poll released Wednesday finds that mostIsraelis are against a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
The poll, which wasconducted by Panel Project and reported on Channel10 News, asked Israelis about their feelings regarding an attack inIran, the performance of the prime minister and who is best suited to serve asprime minister of Israel.
The poll found thatthe majority of Israelis, 56 percent, are opposed to an Israeli attack againstIran. Only 23 percent support such an attack, while 21 percent said they had noopinion. [Israel National News, 3/22/12]
A trip down memory lane: how Paul Ryan's last budget was received.Remember the disaster that was last year's House Republican budget? Remember how Rep. Paul Ryan was booed out of a town meeting, but still remained doggedly insistent that people loved his plan? And was just as insistent that those who didn't love it only did so because the Republicans messed up on the marketing of the plan, they didn't sell it quite right. It wasn't an upopular plan, it was a misunderstood plan.
Fast forward to this week, and the roll out of the second go at Ryan's dystopian vision for America. This time, they were prepared.
The party polled on Medicare in 50 battleground districts. It vetted the plan with a dozen conservative groups. It reached out to rank-and-file lawmakers and asked them what they needed to support the sweeping conservative spending plan. Ryan briefed the Republican presidential candidates and won a quick public endorsement of the plan from Mitt Romney.This year, Republicans seem to think their only problem will be with seniors, despite the fact that the budget Ryan presented would kill millions of jobs, cut off food assistance to millions, gut Medicaid (which would include funds for nursing home care for the elderly), slash education funding, and essentially make every function of government other than defense wither away and die. Good luck getting moms to act as props for that.
And perhaps most important, the GOP learned how to use the right poll-tested words. [...]
The 2012 plan is?simply put?to not talk about the plan too much.
Ryan and Republicans no longer talk about their plan as a stand-alone. They frame it as a contrast with President Barack Obama?s health care law, which they believe cuts $500 billion from Medicare. The presence of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as a co-author of Ryan?s Medicare overhaul gives them bipartisan cover.
GOP leaders are suggesting members use props. In a presentation, the NRCC said members should try to ?inoculate? themselves in a campaign season by using ?credible third-party validators (mom or seniors),? according to a party document.
But because Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) was willing to work with Ryan in developing a Medicare proposal, the GOP can slap the "bipartisan" label on the thing and tell America's seniors they'll be just fine. For his part, Wyden says he's very much opposed to Ryan's budget, and to the revision of their Medicare plan Ryan included in it, though he is still committed to the ideas in that plan. But Wyden is easily isolated from other Democrats, and he alone is unlikely to provide the cover the GOP thinks they have.
There's far more to this budget, and the vision for America it presents, than Medicare. Democrats only need to talk about how bleak that vision is to answer the GOP's messaging.