Republicans believe they have a 6-and-a-half-foot shield to fend off attacks that they want to end Medicare. And his name is Sen. Ron Wyden.This story demonstrates better than anything that Democrats would rather have the issue to demagogue than to solve real problems. That Medicare isn't the only thing Wyden has been working on:
To the thrill of Washington wonks and the irritation of fellow Democrats, the lanky Oregonian has been collaborating with the man Democrats hoped to use as an election year battering ram: Rep. Paul Ryan.
The powerful Budget Committee chief is the House GOP’s chief advocate for transforming Medicare from its current government-run system into one that allows seniors to buy private health insurance. Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich infamously dubbed Ryan’s initial crack at accomplishing that “right-wing social engineering” as Democrats licked their chops in anticipation of excoriating the Republicans who dared to endorse it.
But now, by teaming up with Ryan on a more modest Medicare overhaul, Democrats fear Wyden has given the GOP an out.
Wyden and Ryan are floating an idea to allow seniors to choose between traditional Medicare and private insurance programs. Ryan is considering adding provisions in his 2013 budget that would pave the way for this approach.
As if that weren’t enough, Wyden also teamed up with another favorite Democratic whipping boy, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), to tear up a carefully scripted anti-piracy bill backed by one of the Democratic party’s most loyal constituencies: Hollywood.The problem is the Democrat party has no values other than to promote itself and gain power. Wyden is raining on their parade by actually proposing solutions that have a chance of gaining GOP approval. I think Washington could use a few more guys like Wyden.
To Wyden’s fans, he’s a genuine policy pro who wants Medicare to survive and the Internet to thrive. They say he’s the rare creature in Washington willing to cut a bipartisan deal in a highly polarized political environment.
But his critics — and they are legion in Democratic ranks — say he’s a political opportunist promoting himself at the expense of the party and its values.