Now that Mitt Romney has named Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running-mate on the Republican ticket, dishonest liberals are dusting off their old standby of "Mediscare," making false accusations that conservatives want to completely dismantle Medicare and Social Security simply because they wish to make some changes in order to preserve them. Democrats, it is implied, would never dare to change such programs.
Unfortunately for this argument, there is one prominent liberal Democrat who has not only reduced Medicare spending growth, he's even touted his willingness to do the same to Social Security.
That liberal Democrat is none other than President Barack Obama.
You may have already seen his deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter boast about how her boss had successfully pulled off the "achievement" of reducing Medicare spending growth by $700 billion as part of Obamacare.
What you may not know is that far from being an unwitting gaffe on the part of a flunky, Cutter's comment was actually expressing the views of her boss.
Obama himself has boasted about his willingness to reign in spending on so-called entitlement programs, at least if you believe the reporting of the New York Times.
In a piece published several days ago, Times reporter Amy Chozick discovered that not only does Obama wish that the national press would refrain from quoting conservatives altogether, he also believes that he and fellow Democrats "do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security."
Obama's desire for such kudos is, according to the Times, quite significant. He "particularly believes" that Democrats ought to be praised for their desire to curb future spending on those programs. (Such spending growth reductions are mistakenly called "cuts" by many, including Chozick.)
While one may question the seriousness of Obama's desire to reduce spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, he is quite correct that he has expressed a desire repeatedly to do so as Ed Morrissey notes. That $700 billion cut to Medicare spending increases suggests Obama is quite serious.
While it's nice to see that the president is willing to concede to the reality that so-called entitlement programs are fiscally unsustainable, this is also the same Barack Obama who is allowing his campaign to frighten senior citizens about cutting Medicare.
Unless the New York Times horribly mangled the facts, Barack Obama believes that cutting Medicare and Social Security is a good thing.
This poses a dillema for president's journalistic loyalists: Either President Obama is acknowledging a real fiscal problem this country is facing or he wants to toss Grandma from a cliff. Ditto for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Actual legitimate journalists have a duty to ask which alternative is the correct description of reality. Both cannot be true.