- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 29, 2011

A special election was held in New York’s 26th congressional district last week. There’s no question the vote was a nail-biter as Democrat Kate Hochul whomped her opponent, Republican Jane Corwin, silly with relentless attacks over her party’s support for Medicare reforms.

Ms. Corwin fought the good fight, but backing Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare weighed her down and was the reason for her defeat. That’s understandable. The Ryan plan is a tough political pill. Voters are anxious and naive. Democrats recognized that the effects of the Ryan plan don’t take place for another 10 years but they would never admit this to the elderly whom they were hellbent on scaring to death.

There were commercials with seniors in a wheelbarrow being dumped over a cliff as an indication of what the Republicans were trying to do with them and show that they had no compassion and little regard for the seniors’ well-being. It is disappointing to think that our elected officials would stoop to this level of deception and take advantage of an already fragile portion of our population.

Medicare is perhaps the largest of the entitlements that are having profound negative impact on our national debt and deficit. Unless it is tackled in the very near future there will be no future. Those who manipulate the truth for the sake of short-term political gain don’t realize that they will have no power base if this nation goes bankrupt. It is sad that political ambition blinds them to realities that should be apparent to anyone with the most fundamental knowledge of economics.

Let’s face it folks, Medicare is broke. The non-partisan actuaries dropped a few more years from its life just last week. And we still have seniors wanting something for nothing.

These are difficult times that demand serious leadership. The country saw that Democrats under Barack Obama are incapable of said leadership, so they reverted back to a party that was sober enough to admit we’re in a fiscal hurt locker.

And now, when the tough decisions come due, and voters are faced with the choice, they’re not liking the options. Republicans should count on that, and yet, they should still move forward.

Now is not the time for those of weak constitutions. Republicans were elected in 2010 to change this town, to stare down the largest of federal leviathans — entitlement spending — and do something about it.

Now is the time to fix Medicare and Social Security. Damn the fallout, let’s do the right thing!

If Democrats showed any courage, it was certainly on health care. The polls said it was a political stinker, and still they voted in lockstep for the measure. Now they think that one day they may be vindicated. Even if they’re wrong you have to hand it to them — they felt in their heart of hearts they were doing the right thing. Can someone show a Republican that playbook?

The same argument could be made for Republicans and Medicare; only with this issue, history will prove them right. Fate does not reward nor assign hero status to those who merely continue the status quo. There are no milestones that mark monotony.

It’s difficult to say if the New York race is a harbinger of things to come if Republicans don’t abandon their bid to reform Medicare.

Yet one thing is certain, there may not be a better time to mend a broken program. And if Republicans let political expediency govern their decisions this year, our grandchildren will see a different Medicare alright — one that no longer exists because it went insolvent in 2024.

Armstrong Williams is on Sirius Power 128, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook- www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside. Read his content on RightSideWire.com.

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