In a Capitol briefing with reporters Friday, McConnell declared affirmatively that unspecified Medicare cuts are on the table in bipartisan debt limit negotiations, led by Vice President Joe Biden, and, he expects, will be part of the solution. But in response to a question from TPM, he went further than he has in the past in laying down a marker on that issue. Medicare cuts must be part of that deal to get his support — even if negotiators manage to find trillions of dollars in savings elsewhere, even if his other priorities are met.
“To get my vote, for me, it’s going to take short term [cuts, via spending caps]… Both medium and long-term, entitlements.,” McConnell said. “Medicare will be part of the solution.”
Steve Benen sorts it all out.
In fact, now that McConnell has admitted it, Democrats should probably let the public know. The talking point isn’t complicated: Senate Republicans will create a recession unless Democrats agree to Medicare cuts.
Of course, the talking point will ineffective if Dems decide to go along with McConnell’s hostage strategy and pay the ransom.
And there are more than a few Dems who I am sure will agree with McConnell, and will do so publicly. Nancy Pelosi will fight this. Will Harry Reid and President Obama do so as well before, say, Ben Nelson or Heath Shuler go on TV and say they're willing to "work with the Republicans on real entitlement reform" (and by that I mean scrapping Medicare like the GOP wants then acting all surprised when the GOP spends all of 2012 running ads that the Democrats are the ones wrecking Medicare)?
In other words, Democrats aren't really stupid enough to fall for this, are they?