They still don’t know what Medicare is

THEY STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT MEDICARE IS…. Mark Blumenthal highlights the script of a new campaign commercial from Sue Lowden, the leading Republican candidate for the Senate in Nevada. Note the wording Mark bolded:

“As a mom I know one-size-fits-all clothes don’t fit, aren’t comfortable and are seldom a bargain. So why does Harry Reid want to force one-size-fits-all government health care on us? Harry Reid thinks Washington knows best, but I think we the people know best. Harry Reid’s big government health care plan will raise taxes, put a bureaucrat between you and your doctor, weaken Medicare, kill jobs, push us further into debt. I’m Sue Lowden and I approve this message because government run health care is wrong.”

The ad is filled with blatantly false claims, and the fact that Lowden repeated all of this to a camera, while keeping a straight face, is a little disconcerting. Indeed, the fact that Lowden thinks the health reform proposal being considered constitutes “government-run health care” suggests she’s deeply confused about the ongoing policy debate.

But it’s the bolded sections that are the entertaining part.

As a substantive matter, the right is foolish to characterize the Democratic proposal as a “government-run” plan. But the insult to intelligent viewers is made far worse when a Republican candidate bashes “government-run” care and praises Medicare at the same time.

I realize it’s awfully inconvenient, but Medicare is a single-payer, socialized-medicine plan. It works and Americans love it. (For that matter, the V.A. system is government-run health care, and it works well, too.)

Now, a wide variety of Republicans are willing to go on the record saying they’re anxious to weaken Medicare, and effectively eliminate the entire program. I happen to think that’s insane, but there’s at least a consistent strain of thought — far-right Republicans complaining about “government-run health care” who also want to scrap Medicare.

But Lowden, like a variety of her GOP cohorts, is playing a different kind of game, embracing and denouncing government intervention in the health care market simultaneously. Maybe this will fool some voters, but it shouldn’t.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.