This week, Paul Ryan is set to roll out a new version of the Medicare plan he introduced last spring. Republicans are hoping that this time around things will be different, because the new rendition has the blessing of Dem Senator Ron Wyden, which Republicans will point to as proof that the new plan is “bipartisan.”
Democrats, meanwhile, are going to do all they can to ensure that this year’s plan proves just as controversial and politically potent against House Republicans as last year’s version proved.
Along these lines, here's an amusing data point.
Ryan has just put out a new Web video — starring himself — that seeks to lay the groundwork for the coming rollout of his budget, which is likely to argue that spending cuts, with no tax hikes on the wealthy, are what’s required to solve our fiscal problems.
It turns out, however, that the new video is extraordinarily similiar to another video he released a year ago on the eve of releasing his previous plan.
The two videos feature the same ominous atmospherics. They feature the same warnings from Ryan of imminent debt armageddon. They feature very similar shots of Ryan gazing portentiously into the camera. They feature eerily similar footage of Ryan stalking the halls of Congress in the grip of excrutiating and existential deficit angst. And they even feature the same music.
Here’s the new version:
And here’s last year’s version:
As Steve Benen notes, the newly released video showcases exactly the kind of debt fearmongering and phony straight talk that will likely lead Beltway commentators to grant him an unearned presumption of fiscal seriousness. What’s funny is that precisely the same thing happened last year. Ryan’s warnings about the deficit, and his insistence that the only way to solve them is with deep spending cuts — as featured in last year’s video — got him widely designated as the Most Serious Person in Washington when it comes to our fiscal future.
With the same thing likely to happen all over again, this really is shaping up as Groundhog Day in more ways than one.