Whoomp! Whoosh! That was the sound of Tim Pawlenty self-immolating. T-Paw (what kind of presidential candidate gives himself a nickname like that?!?) was thought to be one of the “serious” candidates. While he had been a very conservative governor, there was still this impression that he was one of the smart ones, if also one of the most boring ones.
However today he drank the Republican Jonestown Kool-Aid. This is what ABC News is reporting he said:
“First of all, I applaud Congressman Ryan for his courage and his leadership in putting his plan forward. At least he has a plan. President Obama doesn’t have a plan. The Democrats don’t have a plan. And I really applaud his leadership and his courage in putting a plan on the table. Number two, we will have our own plan; it will have many similarities to Congressman Ryan’s plan, but it will have some differences, one of which will be we’ll address Social Security. He chose not to; we are addressing Social Security. And the Medicare part of our plan will have some differences, too. It will have some similarities also. So we’ll have our own plan. But if I can’t have my own plan — as president, I’ll have my own plan – if I can’t have that, and the bill came to my desk and I had to choose between signing or not Congressman Ryan’s plan, of course I would sign it.”
You know he is trying. You really have to give him that, he is trying. He takes a disingenuous swipe at the President and the Democrats by saying they don’t have a plan. It is true, the White House and the Democrats have no plan to privatize Medicare or Social Security. Those ideas are strictly Republican ones.
Still he has done it, he has signed on with the suicide pact that is the Ryan Budget. He has said out loud and in front of reporters that if he were president and the Ryan budget came to his desk he’d sign it.
It is more than a little astounding that Republicans are starting their campaign season by defending and doubling down on a plan that is massively unpopular. No one is willing to see Medicare cut to give more tax breaks to the wealthy. We should always keep sight of the fact this plan does not just cut funding for Medicare so drastically that seniors would have to pay an estimated $6,000 year in out of pocket expenses, it does it so that we can give the wealth another massive tax break.
For a long time I and others have talked about epistemological closure in the Republican Party. It is the idea that no new information or information that contradicts a pillar of Republican orthodoxy is allowed into the world of Conservatives/Republicans or Teahadists. For a long time is was a question of having a very little opening to the real world where some new data could slip in through the cracks.
Now it seems the Republican informational horizon has sealed itself and is cut off from most of reality, like the other dimensions that are rolled up smaller than the Plank length and can’t really be seen.
With Pawlenty caving and saying he would support the Ryan budget, this is going to become the litmus test for all Republican candidates. They won’t be able to dodge the question and there is only one acceptable answer. They are all going to have to say they’d sign the Ryan budget if they were President and that is going to pretty much doom them all.
Sure it is a requirement for getting the Republican nomination, but it will be an albatross around the neck of whoever does get the nod from the GOP. They won’t be able to avoid the fact they support ending Medicare as we know it. The seniors that they counted on know it is a lie when they say they are saving it and they won’t be able to run away form the fact they support ending this program.
So, while Pawlenty’s campaign is not over, there is a slow fuse burning towards fifteen milk gallon jugs filled with gasoline. Sooner rather than later it is going to explode and take any chance Timmy had at being president up with in him a column of political smoke and flame.
What is on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours!