TEA Party Congressman Dennis Rehberg sent out an email this week trying to give the impression that he didn’t intend to cut Medicare. Problem is, he never says he isn’t planning major cuts:
Unfortunately, some members of Congress and their special interest allies are willing to use half-truths to scare seniors. They want you to think that someone is trying to take away the Medicare benefits that you spent a lifetime earning. Fear mongering may be good theater, but it’s not good for the country and it’s not something I’m going to do.
The “it” he’s not going to do is “fear mongering.” He doesn’t say he won’t cut Medicare, rather, he only says:
I want to set the record straight. Any Medicare reform I support must first have the support of Montana’s seniors.
Which only means that when he votes again to cut it, he’ll trot out a couple of TEA partiers rounded up to say they agree with him.
You can read Rehberg’s entire email message below the fold. It includes a longish video, in which he immediately launches into a fear mongering campaign saying that Medicare is broken and in dire need of immediate changes. This appears to be his attempt to lay the groundwork for the cuts he expects to vote for later in the campaign. He says he won’t “undermine” Medicare, but specifically will not say that he doesn’t plan to propose or support major cuts.
Jon Tester meanwhile launched a petition to protect Medicare, saying that
the folks who want to cut the deficit by ending Medicare as we know it while protecting tax loopholes for oil companies and the super-rich are going to use this new committee as another path to their goal. And it’s up to everyone who supports Medicare to stop them.
Women live longer than men, so the majority of Medicare beneficiaries are women, as are two thirds of Medicaid recipients. Seventy percent of Medicaid dollars go to care for seniors and Americans with disabilities.
Here’s Rehberg’s email:
But one thing Montana’s seniors shouldn’t worry about is where I stand. I’m will never vote for any plan that undermines Medicare.
–Congressman Dennis Rehberg, Guest Opinion, July 7, 2011, Missoulian
Congressman Dennis Rehberg made it clear today not only that he lies, but that he thinks we’re too stupid to notice.
In spite of promising Montanans otherwise less than two weeks ago, Congressman Rehberg voted in favor of a controversial plan that forces massive reductions over the next several years to Medicare and Social Security, and raises the debt limit (the ninth time he’s voted to do so)–all without the possibility of ending tax giveaways for millionaires and closing loopholes that reward companies for shipping jobs overseas.
Rehberg even rejected a motion to protect veterans’ benefits from the massive cuts called for in the legislation. The bill also cuts Medicaid by 1/3. People think Medicaid is health care for the poor, but 70% of it goes to help seniors and people with disabilities. It cuts 320,000 kids out of the Head Start program, according to the National Economic Council, 7/19/2011.
As Pogie at Intelligent Discontent points out, watch for Rehberg to try to tell us that he didn’t cut Medicare, because the cuts don’t take effect in 2012. That’s ridiculous. So’s this:
Rehberg told us we could take his promise not to undermine Medicare “to the bank.” Turns out he wrote us a bad check.
Rehberg’s recent focus in the media on cracking down on lawsuits against the government is a classic example of abysmal damage control.
Rehberg seems to be attempting to get on the other side of the issue of “lawsuits against the government” by appearing to crack down on them. By doing so, one presumes, he hopes to neutralize some of the negative sentiment he dredged up over his own lawsuit against the Billings, MT firefighters who risked their lives to save his scrub brush. No doubt Rehberg has polling which shows how damaging his lawsuit could be to his U.S. Senate campaign against the popular Jon Tester.
The most recent example of Rehberg’s behavior can be found in today’s Missoulian, which reports that Rep. Denny Rehberg [is] one of 38 co-sponsors of the Government Litigation Savings Act that’s intended to reform the Equal Access to Justice Act, which says any government agency that loses a lawsuit to a private individual, group or business must pay the legal costs of the winner.
But for such a practiced practitioner of political games, Rehberg has violated the cardinal rule of Congressional crisis management: If you don’t have anything to hide, don’t behave like you do. By signing on to this bill, and pushing it in the press at every opportunity, Rehberg appears overeager– and that is causing his strategy to backfire. His focus on cracking down on lawsuits against the government is only serving to recall in voters’ minds Rehberg’s own lawsuit against Billings’ city firefighters.
…Montana’s Millionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg, who just before voting against ending giveaways to Big Oil CEOs, tried to revive
old debates on ‘welfare reform’.
In classic hypocritical fashion, Congressman Rehberg thinks job-creating Pell Grants are ‘welfare’ and wants to gut them. He’s already tried to deny Montana $15 million (with an ‘m’) in Pell Grants.
But when it comes to billions in unnecessary subsidies for Big Oil CEOs, it is definitely NOT ‘welfare’, and Rehberg wants to keep them in place. Ending the subsidies would have saved $20 billion(with a ‘b’).
Citizens watchdog groups organized a protest of the subsidies in front of Rehberg’s office this week.
Why does Congressman Rehberg hold Big Oil CEOs to a different standard than Montana students?
Because his ‘longtime friends’ in Big Oil have given him nearly $300,000 over the course of his long career in Washington DC., and because that’s what hypocrites do. For these reasons, Congressman Rehberg is being honored as the Montana Cowgirl Blog’s GOP hypocrite of the week. Go ahead and toast your award Congressman. We suggest cheap industrial cooking whisky. You deserve it.