Voters to GOP: Hands Off My Medicaid and Medicare

Protests disrupt Republican town hall meetings.

Posted: 04/28/2011 07:01 PM EDT
Filed Under budget

Allen West, GOP, budget

History may be repeating itself, but not in a way that pleases House Republicans, who’ve been getting some unexpected heat from voters back home.

Their constituents, it seems, don’t like some of the proposed cuts in the GOP 2012 proposal, now that they realize how they’ll be affected. Moreover, they don’t understand the logic of giving corporate giants huge tax breaks while cutting programs that are needed to preserve the nation’s safety net. When lawmakers try to defend their position, voters have been reacting strongly with boos and jeers.

It’s the same sort of reception that Democrats got two years ago when they tried to sell the American public on health care reform. And they’re watching with glee as reports roll in of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), author of the controversial budget, being jeered and hecklers being escorted out of town hall meetings hosted by Rep. Allen West (R-Florida).

West told one man at a town hall that he wouldn’t be intimidated, but he and other GOP lawmakers may have to decide what’s more important: standing firm on the budget cuts or being re-elected next year. A recent McClatchy survey found that 80 percent of respondents oppose cutting Medicaid and Medicare and 60 percent support raising taxes on incomes over $250,000.

While Republican voters are doing a pretty good job of expressing their outrage, they’re getting a little help from liberal groups and activists. An organization called Americans United for Change is running ads in four Republican districts that ask what the respective member was thinking when he voted to end Medicare while giving millionaires another tax break. MoveOn.org has been dispatching its members to Republican town hall meetings, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has invested in ads in 25 GOP districts and robocalls in 42 vulnerable Republican districts.

(Photo: AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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