By RICH LOWRY | 8/16/12
On Medicare, the Romney campaign is borrowing the strategic logic of a long-ago military legend.
Taking command of the French 9th army in 1914 as it retreated before the Germans, Marshal Ferdinand Foch uttered his immortals words: “Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I attack.”
The best Romney ad of the campaign is the current spot on President Barack Obama’s cuts to Medicare. It points out that the president took $700 billion from Medicare to fund “Obamacare,” robbing one unsustainable entitlement to create a new one. The ad is truthful, unadorned and — for any senior who feels protective of Medicare — damning.
In the Medicare debate, schoolyard rules apply: Punch the bully in the mouth twice as hard.
If Medicare reform could be adjudicated in a roundtable discussion hosted by uberwonk Alice Rivlin over tea and scones at the Brookings Institution, it would be one thing. But the tenor and substance will be set by David Axelrod, whose professional obligation is to be witlessly demagogic and wholly dishonest.
It’s impossible to have a reasonable discussion with people who insist you are going to “kill people” (Paul Krugman’s words). If Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t yet said that the Romney-Ryan Medicare premium support plan will lead to the re-institution of chattel slavery, just wait till the next time he gets worked up before a largely African-American audience.