Back in 2003, when President George W. Bush was campaigning for re-election, he praised Congress for approving a Medicare prescription drug benefit overhaul that he supported.
Democrats had been railing against him, saying Republicans were trying to kill the publicly funded health care program for seniors. But Bush was emphatic when he called out his opponents.
“They used to call Medicare ‘Mediscare’ for people in the political process,” Bush said at a hospital in the nation’s capital. “Some said Medicare reform can never be done. We’re acting. We acted on principle in Washington, D.C.”
The same thing happened in 2000 when Bush was running against Al Gore. Bush said of the vice president, “The man’s running on Mediscare — trying to frighten people to the voting booth.”
It’s an age-old tactic — scare the hell out of voters with claims that the other side will do away with everything those voters love.
Now, with just weeks to go before the midterm elections and pollsters saying it could be a bloodbath for Democrats, President Joe Biden is trying the strategy, as noted by The New York Times.
“President Biden warned on Tuesday that Republicans posed a threat to Social Security and Medicare, amplifying an effort by Democrats to make the fate of America’s social safety net programs a central campaign issue ahead of November’s midterm elections,” the Gray Lady said.
While offering few details, Biden said Republicans would cut back on entitlement programs if they take over Congress.
“What do you think they’re going to do?” Biden said in a speech from the White House Rose Garden. He held up a copy of a plan put forward by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), which he said would move to “sunset” Social Security and Medicare, phasing them out of existence.
“Folks, you know, the senator in charge of reelecting the United States senators — Senator Scott — has proposed the plan where Social Security, Medicare every five years on the chopping block. It means every five years, you either cut it, it reduces, or completely eliminate it — Social Security and Medicare,” the president said.
With inflation skyrocketing, gas and food prices out of control, and crime soaring, Democrats are frantic to change the subject by demonizing Republicans. And they’ve clearly passed out talking points, as Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) — suddenly locked in a tight race — said this week: “Republicans plan to end Social Security and Medicare if they take back the Senate.”
But another super-liberal paper, The Washington Post, did a fact-check on Murray’s claim and gave it “four Pinocchios,” it’s highest rating for bald-faced lies.
The paper noted that in 2011, then-Vice President Biden claimed House Republicans supported a plan for “eliminating Medicare in the next 10 years.” And in the 2020 presidential race, Biden said President Donald Trump had a “plan” to strip Social Security benefits and make the program disappear in three years.
“Now comes the latest iteration of this campaign attack. But it’s just as empty as the previous ones,” the Post wrote.
The paper noted that “Scott has also denied he wanted to end Social Security and Medicare.”
“During an interview with Fox News on March 27, Scott was asked whether his plan could ‘potentially sunset programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.’ He dismissed that as ‘Democratic talking points’ and said his proposal was intended to focus attention on how to deal with potential funding shortfalls in the future,” fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote.
“No one that I know of wants to sunset Medicare or Social Security, but what we’re doing is we don’t even talk about it. Medicare goes bankrupt in four years. Social Security goes bankrupt in 12 years,” Scott said. “I think we ought to figure out how we preserve those programs. Every program that we care about, we ought to stop and take the time to preserve those programs.”
On Murray’s claim, which is identical to Biden’s, the Post delivered four Pinocchios. “This is yet another example in which Democrats strain to conjure up a nonexistent GOP plan regarding Social Security and Medicare.”
But look for the talking point to pop up everywhere over the next six weeks — and again in the 2024 presidential campaign.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.