Democrats have effectively scared seniors as a political tactic for many years. Republicans turned the tables in 2010, using the Medicare scare tactic against Democrats. Now Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has given President Obama and his party a chance to reclaim the low ground, and they haven’t hesitated.

Democrats have effectively scared seniors as a political tactic for many years. Republicans turned the tables in 2010, using the Medicare scare tactic against Democrats. Now Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has given President Obama and his party a chance to reclaim the low ground, and they haven’t hesitated.

Ideally we’d have a debate about the relative merits of these proposals, or of possibly combining both. It’s reasonable for each side to point out the dangers of the other approach. Instead, Republicans demagogue against the commission as a national “rationing board” of unelected bureaucrats, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) have described it. Democrats do the same for Mr. Ryan’s premium support plan; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House panel that seniors would “die sooner.” The Democratic National Committee proclaimed in an ad: “Their leaders have called for cutting Medicare, and now for killing it.”

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