Will Republicans’ Budget-Cutting Mania Hurt Them In 2012?

The budget debate is far from over, but the Democratic Party is already trying to use the GOP’s most drastic proposals as a political bludgeon. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched an ad campaign on Tuesday against a handful of vulnerable House Republicans, tying them to the party’s hatchet-wielding budget chair, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). Politico has the details:

The DCCC will target 10 Republican lawmakers – including eight freshmen – with newspaper ads, e-mails and automated and live phone calls, tying them to the House Budget chief’s pledge to overhaul Social Security and Medicare. “Cutting retirement benefits but protecting big oil?” one newspaper ad reads. “Paul Gosar and his leaders want to CUT your hard-earned Social Security and Medicare benefits rather than cutting big tax breaks for big oil.” 

Ryan has proposed some of the party’s most aggressive cuts to discretionary spending and entitlement programs. The “roadmap” he unveiled last year would privatize Medicare by turning it into a voucher system and partially privatize Social Security, and he’s expected to push for similar proposals early next month when the House GOP unveils its 2012 budget. Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have already vowed not to touch Social Security, and they’re hoping that voters will be equally incensed about the GOP’s proposals. 

The DCCC has also launched a website, www.stopbenefitcuts.com, to support their new campaign, Politico notes. The sites warns of “dangerous cuts or privatization” to Social Security and Medicare, exhorting visitors to sign a pledge that reads, “I WILL FIGHT ALL EFFORTS TO IMPOSE DANGEROUS CUTS ON SENIORS.” 

Interestingly, the Democrats make no mention of Medicaid, which Ryan and his fellow Republicans have also vowed to overhaul through cuts and privatization. This will make it all the easier for the GOP to gut health care for the poor, as I’ve reported previously. For both Democrats and Republicans, it seems, seniors are a much more powerful voting block, leaving poor constituents all the more vulnerable to cuts.