There was a moment on this weekend's "McLaughlin Group" that is guaranteed to make conservatives all around the country smile from ear to ear.
After Newsweek's Eleanor Clift predictably attacked Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and his just-released budget proposal, National Review's Rich Lowry caught her in a serious contradiction and said, "With all due respect, Eleanor, you're talking out of both sides of your mouth" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK: Paul Ryan's budget is not going to go anywhere because even Republicans aren't going to fully support it. I give him credit. He's a serious legislator, but it's a deeply flawed document. It makes wild claims about reducing unemployment. At one point he said 2-point something percent, and then the Heritage Foundation where he allegedly got the number quickly scrubbed that number from their website and adjusted it up to 4-point something percent which he can't really document.
So, there are wild claims he can't back up and second, two-thirds of the heaviest cuts come from the poorest people in this country, and he rewards people at the top, which would only accelerate the distance between the super-rich and everybody else in this country. So it's a starting point for conversation, which we need to have, and you know, I think he has given the politically he's given the Democrats a great gift because his comments about Medicare and Medicaid are simply too good to not demonize.
So, Clift admitted that she and her beloved Democrats are going to demonize Ryan and his budget. Got to give her credit for at least being honest.
But she didn’t stop there:
CLIFT: He’s a hero in the small segment of the electorate and that is the conservatives who think that liberal programs are the fault of everything that’s going wrong. The rest of the country depends on those liberal programs, and he wants to turn Medicare into what is called a premium support program.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Right. What is wrong with that?
CLIFT: Well, what is wrong with it is the government then pays a certain premium as health care costs go up.
RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any way…
LOWRY: This is a key point.
MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any way…
CLIFT: As costs go up, the recipient then bears the cost. He touts support from Alice Rivlin, who has said she does not support the plan as he has put it all. And also he gets credit for all this courage, but he doesn’t touch anybody over the age of 55 because they're the ones who vote!
Amazing. So, on the one hand, Clift complained that Ryan was taking benefits away from people that depend on them, but he’s a coward for not taking them away from people over the age of 55.
Makes you wonder how this woman does at intersections with stop signs in every direction.
Moments later, Lowry pointed out another Clift hypocrisy:
LOWRY: With all due respect, Eleanor, you're talking out of both sides of your mouth because five minutes ago you’re saying how this is going to get demagogued and so politically vulnerable. Then you turn around and say he's not politically courageous. Of course he's politically courageous, even to touch these programs for people under 55.
And this is a key thing about Medicare: Medicare is a driver of health care inflation in this country. And what Ryan is trying to do is inject an element of market competition into health care that is not there now.
MCLAUGHLIN: Right! Right!
LOWRY: Medicare is a giant check-writing operation that drives fraud and costs up.
CLIFT: And Medicare is the most popular and the most efficient program in this country.
LOWRY: It's not efficient! It is not. No one, no serious health care economist would say Medicare is efficient.
Yeah, Medicare is so efficient it's guaranteed to go bankrupt when the baby boomers retire unless serious changes are made to it.
Of course, what Lowry marvelously exposed here is something conservatives that have been watching the "McLaughlin Group" and/or reading Newsweek have known for years: Clift is legendary for talking out of both sides of her mouth.
She would have had a far more successful career as a ventriloquist, although given her grasp on the facts and reality, possibly on someone's lap rather than the other way around.
Nicely done, Rich. Bravo!