DONATELLI: GOP Mustn’t Go Wobbly on Medicare Reform

Public will listen if we just point out the impending financial crash 

In light of the results of the special election in upstate New York, where Democrats scored an upset victory by accusing Republicans of wanting to “end Medicare,” the GOP is being urged to abandon the effort spearheaded by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to reform this most giant entitlement program. Lyndon B. Johnson once ran an ad accusing Barry Goldwater of wanting to blow up the world. In this election, Democrats followed up with an equally subtle pitch showing grandma being pushed over a cliff. What liberals won’t do in pursuit of the Great Society.

It would be a mistake if the GOP abandoned this critical effort. Even if nothing will move before 2012, it is important that the issue be discussed as a prelude to a serious reform effort after 2012. Remember that President George W. Bush tried to introduce Social Security reform in 2005 without a proper foundation. He got nowhere. And though it may not matter in the hothouse of national politics or in the minds of national pundits who chuckle about Republican overreach, it is the right thing to do and is key to fixing our trillion-dollar deficits and restoring our economic future.