When basically the entire House Republican caucus voted for Paul Ryan’s budget, which includes a “plan” to destroy the very popular Medicare program and replace it with insufficient private vouchers, I couldn’t tell if they made such a terrible political move because they were so trapped in their own ideological bubble that they actually thought Americans wanted to eliminate Medicare, or they were so ideologically driven that they were determined to push radical right-wing social engineering despite it being highly unpopular.
Politico reports it is was mainly the latter. The Republicans were warned it was a horrible political move but did it anyway:
The poll numbers on the plan were so toxic — nearly as bad as those of President Barack Obama’s health reform bill at the nadir of its unpopularity — that staffers with the National Republican Congressional Committee warned leadership, “You might not want to go there” in a series of tense pre-vote meetings.
But go there Republicans did, en masse and with rhetorical gusto — transforming the political landscape for 2012, giving Democrats a new shot at life and forcing the GOP to suddenly shift from offense to defense.
This was a truly insane move. It is one thing to be willing to accept a political backlash as the price of pushing through big changes you think are important, but taking a politically toxic vote on a bill that has zero chance of becoming law is just absurd.
Normally, the Republican party taking a principled, unpopular vote that let the American people know what the GOP’s true goals are would at least gain them some respect from me and others for its honesty. But since they spent the entire 2010 campaign completely lying about their intention to “protect” Medicare from cuts, this vote just carries the extra politically toxic sting of also proving that House Republicans are dishonest and hypocritical.
The fact that over 200 professional politicians would make such an worthless and politically toxic move is truly mind boggling.