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Don't Like Michael Steele's Position on Medicare? Wait a Day.

When last we saw RNC Chairman Michael Steele, he was telling seniors that "we need to protect Medicare and not cut it in the name of 'health-insurance reform.' " Today? Well, today he's telling Fox News that "the reality of it is, this single-payer program known as Medicare is a very good example of what we should not have happen with all of our health care."

"I really don't understand how Michael Steele is in a position to head a major political party," comments Steve Benen. I think that's getting it backwards: The question isn't how Michael Steele came to head the modern Republican Party. They voted for him. He represents them. This is the group, after all, that was pushing end-of-life options before they decided they were "death panels." The question is how the Republican Party that once elected Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush as chairmen became the party that selects Michael Steele to lead their charge.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 25, 2009; 2:49 PM ET
Categories:  Republicans  
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It is ironic that Klein mentions how much he respects Bob Dole. Dole blames much of his 1996 loss to Clinton on Clinton demagoguing Dole's position on Medicare.

I think Klein is overstating the importance of the position of Chairman of the party. I for one cannot even name the GOP Chairman prior to Steele, and I doubt 95% of Americans can either. The position of Chairman does not constitute the leader of the party, as Klein infers. It's largely a ceremonial, unelected position that is deferential towards the party's elected stakeholders.

I also find it curious how much Klein reveres Bush 41 and Dole. When these two gentleman were still in active politics, they were despised by Democrats and Leftists. This is a familiar pattern for the far Left - they disdain current conservatives in power, and then once they are retired, they compare the current active conservative movement unfavorably to the retired conservatives that they once hated. (See Reagan, R.) If I were obnoxious, I would do the same thing with Democrats. The Democratic presidential candidates in 1992 favored paring entitlemet spending (Tsongas), a flat tax (Brown), and welfare and union reform (Clinton). Today, Obama has ruled out any entitlement cuts, he wants to hike marginal tax rates to ridiculously confiscatory levels, he wants to expand welfare, and his trade policy, the stimulus bill, much of health care reform, and the climate change bill appear specifically designed to advance union interests.

Posted by: Dellis2 | August 25, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I've thought about this more. I agree with you that the GOP has put out inconsistent positions on Medicare. Medicare is popular with seniors for two main reasons: first, it involuntarily confiscates money from the working population and hands it out to seniors, regardless of their financial need. Second, it pays doctors considerably less, to the extent that doctors view Medicare patients as charity.

In short, Medicare is popular with the special interest group of seniors, in part because it preys on the rest of the population to fund it. This is no model for universal health care, as there is no outside, unorganized demographic to fund health care for the entire population. The Democrats seem to be hoping that the small demographic with high calendar-year ordinary income will comprise the benefactor, but their number is too small, and they can easily work less, defer more income, and recharacterize ordinary income as capital income.

Posted by: Dellis2 | August 26, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I listened to an interview with Michael Steele on Senior Health Care (PBS) this morning and was shocked with his response to the questions on Senior Health Care Reform. My opinion from the interview is that this man should not be allowed to be involved with any part of Senior Health Care Reform. He clearly left me with an impression of an inconsistant position and not an individual that would take Senior Citizens welfare into consideration in his decision making. He is trouble waiting to happen.

Posted by: daveselle | August 27, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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