Probably the most effective element of the Republican campaign against the Affordable Care Act was its successful effort to persuade older Americans, the only age demographic that opposed the law (and they opposed it overwhelmingly) that efforts to expand coverage to the uninsured would come at their expense. Here, for instance, is one Republican gloating that the Scare Granny tactic works:
Take the question of Granny. In a speech last Friday defending his health-care law's effect on seniors against GOP attacks, Mr. Obama said, "I can report that Granny is safe." She may not feel that way if she's one of the 700,000 seniors whose private Medicare Advantage insurance policy was not renewed last year because her insurance provider quit the business.
Yet at some level, Republicans feel a little dirty about this, and want to believe that the public is prepared to entertain serious cuts in entitlements. They won power in part by demagoguing even painless cuts in wasteful Medicare spending, and now they think they have a mandate to impose serious, substantive reductions in Medicare benefits:
Thanks in good measure to Mr. Obama's profligacy, the entitlement crisis is no longer a vague, abstract concern. More and more Americans understand the current course leads to a disaster for the nation's finances. And so the public may be willing to go places and do things that in the past it may not have.
This is an unusual and fluid moment. My hunch is voters are more inclined than ever to reward the political party that addresses entitlement reform—and more inclined than ever to punish the one that fiddles while America's fiscal house burns.
The odd thing is that both these arguments appear in the same op-ed, by Karl Rove.