How are Republicans responding to the unpopularity of the Medicare plan in their budget? Phase one is for anybody not already committed to the plan to slowly, slowly edge toward the door:

Pawlenty congratulated himself on Tuesday for speaking bold truths. “I promised to level with the American people,” he said. “To look them in the eye. And tell them the truth.” Here’s a truth: The biggest fiscal threat to the country is the exploding growth of health care costs, especially through Medicare. Pawlenty’s speech did not mention the word “Medicare” a single time.

It will be interesting to see if Republicans let this stand. Pawlenty's plan involves staggeringly high tax cuts -- will that be enough to get him off the hook for leaving health care untouched?

Phase two is for everybody already committed to vouchercare to try to get to the left of the Democrats:

Here is the most amazing example of this yet — a remarkable new ad from the NRCC that accuses Dem Rep. Jerry Costello of Illinois of supporting a “Democrat plan” that would “decimate” Medicare, “shred the social safety net,” and “leave seniors at risk”:

The final stage, I suspect, involves Paul Ryan speaking to the nation from Lyndon Johnson's ranch.