Behold “liberal” cartoonist/columnist David Horsey’s latest horsey—- in the Los Angeles Times.
It is no wonder Florida Sen. Marco Rubio needed to grab a bottle of water in the middle of delivering the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. The speech he was given to recite was like a hunk of stale, dry sourdough and it surely caught in his throat….
Rubio tried to portray the president’s address as just another crazy liberal, tax-and-spend, big-government screed. That only made it more obvious that his own speech had been written well before Obama spoke. When Rubio chastised the president for failing to address the financial problems of Medicare, he looked a bit silly, because Obama had, in fact, spoken about creating a bipartisan plan to fix Medicare, one that will demand compromise from Democrats. [emphasis added.]
Here’s what the president actually said (cue the straw man argument):
Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms. Otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations….
Poor Rubio. Who could compete with fresh ideas like that? Now cue the laugh track (emphasis added):
And that’s the approach I offer tonight. On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.
Hahahaha. Stop it, Mr. President, you’re killing me. Ah yes, Simpson-Bowles. Let us count the ways the president enacted its recommendations. (You can stop at zero.)
Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.
Now, pace Horsey, let’s revisit the bold approach to Medicare that the president proposed in his 2012 SOTU:
As I told the Speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.
But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. (Applause.)
And here’s his Medicare cite in the 2011 SOTU:
The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.
This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.
That was preceded by Obama’s fresh, bold idea from 2010:
Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. (Applause.) Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will. (Applause.)
And now, to bring the laughter back full circle, here’s how Horsey closes:
Rubio shouldn’t have been reaching for a mere bottle of water. What he really needed was a stiff drink chased with a big dose of reality.
If this is what constitutes reality, then Obama really has been the transformational president he aspires to be.