Prominent Democrats have lobbied outlandish criticisms against Ryan since he released the first version of the House budget plan to restore Medicare to solvency in April 2011. Ryan has been compared to Hurricane Katrina and a tornado. He has been called the author of a literal death trap.
Here are the five most ridiculous attacks on the Ryan plan:
1. DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) calls the Ryan Medicare plan ‘literally a death trap’ in April 2011
“[Under the Ryan plan], no longer would Medicare be a guarantee of health insurance coverage. Instead Medicare would become little more than a discount card. This plan would literally be a death trap for seniors.”
2. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) on “Hurricane Ryan” in April 2011
“I just want to paint the picture of ‘no room at the inn’: ‘Lights out, doors wide open and the drumbeat playing as people are being rolled out of nursing homes in wheelchairs, with crutches, some on beds. Maybe we can just imagine the tragic scenes of Hurricane Katrina, when nursing home residents were pouring out of nursing homes in the wake of the disaster. …Well let me tell you we’ve got Hurricane Ryan, and there’s a disaster coming.”
3. Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius offers ‘die sooner’ as an option under Ryan’s Medicare plan in May 2011
“[Under the Ryan plan], if you run out of the government voucher and then you run out of your own money, you’re left to scrape together charity care, go without care, die sooner. There really aren’t a lot of options.”
4. Wasserman Schultz compares Ryan plan to a tornado in March 2012
“The Romney-Ryan budget would be devastating to seniors and older Americans. It is a Republican path to poverty that would pass like a tornado through America’s nursing homes where millions of America’s seniors receive long-term and end-of-life care.”
5. Democratic strategist and fundraiser Karen Finney says Obama campaign’s “Julia” would be dead by 30 under Ryan’s plan in May 2012
“I would love to see the DNC or somebody follow with a ‘Here’s what life under the Romney-Ryan plan would be like for Julia.’ [The fictional character invented by the Obama campaign whose life is entirely dependent on government programs]. Because I tell you what, she’d be in the grave by her mid-30s, I can almost assure you.”
President Obama himself suggested that Ryan’s plan was un-American in an April 2011 speech that Ryan attended at the invitation of the White House.
“It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that,” Obama said of the Ryan budget at the time. “Those are both worthy goals for us to achieve. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known throughout most of our history.”
The president went on to argue that Ryan’s budget would have brutal consequences for the poor, elderly, and disabled.
“This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit,” he said. “And who are those 50 million Americans? Many are someone’s grandparents who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.”
Obama has made no effort to stem the tide of outrageous attacks on Ryan or other Republicans, as evidenced most recently by his refusal to condemn an ad from the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA that suggests Mitt Romney was responsible for a woman’s death from cancer.
This marks a reversal for a president who once claimed his victory in 2008 would prove that “it’s possible to overcome the politics of division and distraction; that it’s possible to overcome the same old negative attacks that are always about scoring points and never about solving our problems.”