I was born in 1958. That makes me 52 years old. So when the budget passed by the House Republicans preserved Medicare for everyone 55 or older but turned it into a privatized voucher system for me and everyone younger than me, I was concerned. Fortunately the Senate defeated that proposal and the plan died – for now at least. But the outcome of yesterday’s special Congressional election in upstate New York in a district that’s been reliably Republican forever in which the Democratic candidate came from behind and won by a considerable margin might be a preview of coming attractions. Voters in that district apparently feel as I do about this plan. The New York election was a Scott-Brown-in-reverse result and it bodes well for Democratic candidates for the House and the Senate in next year’s election.
But the challenge faced by the Republicans nationally is greater than dealing with their Medicare fiasco. They also have dozens of freshmen Representatives whose extremist positions and political tone deafness were largely overlooked by a 2010 electorate intent on casting “anti” votes motivated by the economic calamity that had befallen the country. These first term Congressmen now have track records that document for that same electorate where they truly do stand on issues. Exhibit A is the following YouTube video of Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) who, after lecturing a constituent who had lost her company-provided health care that she had to learn to be self-reliant and not depend on the government to bail her out, was asked by another constituent why the Congressman did not voluntarily forgo his own government-provided health care in lieu of private insurance he purchased on the open market so he could “lead by example.” The Congressman’s response, such as it was, will undoubtedly appear in quite a few Democratic campaign ads in 2012.