It’s now painfully apparent that Colorado’s Democratic party, faced with a credible challenger to Sen. Mark Udall, will revert to type. In order to retain one of President Obama’s most reliable rubber stamps in the Senate, they will misrepresent, smear and lie. They’ve already begun.
Consider their response to an ad by “Americans for Prosperity,” one of the myriad of political action groups spawned in response to the last effort to “get money out of politics.” In this offering, a likeable young woman ironically bemoans political ads, then goes on to say “Obamacare doesn’t work.” An opinion with which the president concurs, judging from his increasingly desperate attempts to delay, exempt and otherwise stave off the logical results of the increasingly inaptly named “Affordable Care Act” until after the midterm elections. In the end, the narrator urges us to “tell Sen. Udall to stop playing politics …”
The Democrat riposte, funded by a party campaign committee, features Son-of-Satan graphics and impending-doom music. The messages are simple, as befits what Democrats think is the intelligence of Colorado voters: First, “Americans for Prosperity” is Funded! By! The! Koch! Brothers! Oh, the horror! Also the hypocrisy, coming from the party which crawls hat in hand to Nanny Bloomberg and others of his ilk when it runs low on funds for its latest government-knows-best scheme. “Gun control,” anyone? Amendment 66?
Then there is the “Stampede the Seniors” nonsense. Corey Gardner wants to “end Medicare guarantees,” thereby enriching insurance companies. He wants to “cut Social Security.” Both claims have been identified as “badly wanting context” by fact-checkers; a polite way of saying that they are a bovine product neither moo, nor milk.
Rep. Gardner has expressed concerns — as have other legislators — about the economic effects of expanding Medicare coverage to populations at higher multipliers of the poverty level; in Washingtonese this is “ending Medicare guarantees.” Similarly on “cutting Social Security:” He has embraced several proposals to ensure the system remains solvent, including a change in the way inflation-driven increases to benefits are calculated — the so-called “chained CPI” that the president also supports. While some have qualms about this, most thinking folks would agree that a reduction to the rate of increase is not a “cut.” Save, apparently, to those infected by Potomac Fever, including the camp of Sen. Udall.
Finally, as to “enriching insurance companies:” These companies base rates on actuarial tables, not hope and promises. So when a single political party pushes a program which forces companies to insure older, sicker people without compelling younger, healthier people to pay the freight through enrollment and premiums because it wouldn’t be politically expedient, that party is actually behind the massive rate increases the insured will see when bills must be paid — and behind the need for insurance company bailouts that will inevitably follow. Remember that, when it’s finger-pointing time.
Remember also what former Obama White House senior advisor and high-level Democrat operative David Plouffe said last Sunday on “This Week:” Democrats need to “get aggressive” and “do what we did to Romney.” In other words, lacking ideas, fall back on misrepresentation, manipulation, half-truths and outright lies. It’s going to be an ugly season.
For Rep. Gardner, the ugliness will not all come from Democrats; already, the ranks of the professionally outraged on the right are seething with anger at the “chicanery” involved in Mr. Gardner’s run. Others are offended at his “flip-flop” on personhood, apparently demanding political leaders who possess such flawless vision, moral reasoning and foresight that they will never change their position on anything, ever. In doing so, they expect something that never was, and can never be in a world of imperfect humans. And they are condemning their political viewpoint to a future of irrelevancy.
A perfect example of this was our last presidential election. More than three million Republican voters sat the election of 2012 out, petulantly pouting about a candidate that did not conform exactly to their expectations. Their childish fit of ego assured the re-election of Barack Obama so, whoever they are, they have no reason to complain about the outcome.
For those who would argue that principle trumps everything, a thought: If you hold the Constitution dear, you give your allegiance to a document produced in a series of compromises so gut-wrenching that several of the delegates refused to sign it. I know the Constitutional-Scholar-in-Chief doesn’t realize it, but he is part of a political system in which no one gets everything they want. Ever. So if one sees agreement on 85 percent of any topic, one should heed the sage advice of Ronald Reagan and seal the deal. The remainder may see to itself.
If not, there’s always next time.
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County and pens a weekly column for the Summit Daily News.