The day after the stunning upset in the special congressional election in upstate New York, Rep. Paul Ryan is a man under fire.
But ABC News was behind the scenes with the Wisconsin Congressman and GOP Budget Committee Chairman when he got some words of encouragement none other than former President Bill Clinton.
“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.”
Ryan told Clinton he fears that now nothing will get done in Washington.
“My guess is it’s going to sink into paralysis is what’s going to happen. And you know the math. It’s just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving,” Ryan said.
Clinton told Ryan that if he ever wanted to talk about it, he should “give me a call.” Ryan said he would.
Democrats make no bones about why they believe they won in a solidly Republican district – voter anger at Paul Ryan’s controversial plan to restructure Medicare.
“It was about Medicare,” Clinton said during a speech to the debt forum minutes before he met Ryan back stage. Clinton was referring to Ryan’s controversial budget plan, passed by the House this year, which would transform Medicare for those under the age of 55.
“You shouldn’t draw the conclusion that the New York race means that nobody can do anything solve the rising Medicare costs,” said during his speech. “I just don’t agree with that. I think you should draw the conclusion that the people made a judgment that this proposal in the Republican is not the right one. I agree with that, but I’m afraid that the Democrats will draw the conclusion that because Congressman Ryan’s proposal, I think, is not the best one, that we shouldn’t do anything and I completely disagree with that.”
There are two issues here: “should we” and “how do we.”
The first issue is should we provide health care to our senior citizens. That issue was settled a long time ago. The real issue facing us today is how do we pay for it.
TANSTAAFL – “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
There are a lot of options available besides ending Medicare. Controlling costs seems to be a taboo topic but it shouldn’t be. Unfortunately the Democrats don’t want to fix Medicare, they just want to gain political mileage by scaring people with it.