Paul Ryan, feeling a little defensive

If it looked like your radical budget plan was bringing down your entire party’s electoral prospects, you’d be feeling defensive, too.

One day after his party – as well as his 2012 budget blueprint – was dealt a stinging defeat in a New York special election, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday that the election was not a referendum on Republicans’ proposed changes to Medicare, and he argued that Democrats had distorted the issue for political gain. […]

“[T]he Medicare takeaway from this is that the Democrats are happy to shamelessly distort and demagogue the issue trying to scare seniors to win an election,” Ryan continued. “We have a year and a half for the truth to come out, and when it does, the American people are going to know they’ve been lied to, and I think we’ll be doing very well. If you demagogue entitlement reform, you’re hastening a debt crisis; you’re bringing about Medicare’s collapse. And I don’t think seniors are going to like that truth when they discover it.”

I know the media continues to look at this guy like a sincere, credible voice, and efforts to point to evidence that he’s a fraud have fallen on deaf ears, but Paul Ryan probably needs to enjoy a little quiet time away from the spotlight.

It no doubt makes Ryan feel better about himself to think his plan would be wildly popular were it not for those rascally Democrats, but he hasn’t been able to point to a single falsehood told by his detractors. And really, therein lies the point — Dems don’t need to lie about the House Republican plan to end Medicare; they need only tell the truth. The public recoils, not because of demagoguery, but because the plan to end the existing program and replace it with a privatized voucher scheme just isn’t going to be popular.

As for hastening a debt crisis, Ryan clearly struggles with arithmetic, but his plan doesn’t actually address the debt problem his party created. On the contrary, Ryan wants to shift Medicare costs burdens from the feds to families, and apply the savings to more tax cuts.

Also today, Ryan whined repeatedly that “scare tactics” are wrong, only to note in the next breath that government bureaucrats and rising deficits are likely to destroy all that is good in the world.

I was especially entertained when the right-wing Wisconsinite lamented the notion that new proposals always generate knee-jerk attacks, which in turn will discourage well-intentioned policymakers from even trying to deal with problems. The irony: Paul Ryan was a relentless and dishonest critic of Democratic health care reform efforts in 2009 and 2010.