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Pelosi’s fiscal-cliff ace in the hole

In my latest column,
“Les GOP Misérables,” I wrote that the GOP obsession with pursuing
losing issues (e.g., cutting Medicare and Social Security) has led to
recent defeats and will lead to more. The right might love it when
Republicans say Obama “does not need the left,” but on Social Security
and Medicare the Democrats and the left win big. Republicans and the
right lose big. This is the ace in the hole for House Minority Leader
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during the fiscal-cliff negotiations:

chessboard is now being arranged in a way in which House Republicans
will vote to cut Medicare and Social Security while their Democratic
challengers in the next election will not.

Why do you think, dear reader, that Pelosi wrote her recent op-ed regarding Medicare?

{mosads}Republicans today make the same mistake Obama made last time when he offered major concessions on Medicare and Social Security and a) underestimated the liberal backlash and public support for Medicare and Social Security, so that b) Obama backed off, which c) left Republicans holding the Medicare and Social Security bags, leading to d) a huge Democratic election victory in 2012.

My advice to Speaker Boehner would be to accept means-testing for wealthy Medicare recipients in return for accepting tax cuts for the middle class being continued and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans being ended. And to avoid like the plague asking GOP members to vote for any increase in the Medicare age or for any cut in Social Security benefits or cost-of-living adjustments.

I do not expect my advice to be taken by the GOP. This is Pelosi’s ace in the hole. Democratic House challengers in 2014 will clobber GOP House incumbents in 2014 who vote against Medicare and Social Security. This is why I titled my latest column “Les GOP Misérables.”

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