Republican Linda McMahon’s latest mailing would have voters believe she’s “fighting for Connecticut’s seniors,“ but exactly how she will do that or what changes to Medicare and Social Security she may support isn’t a subject up for discussion on the campaign trail.
“Here’s my position: I really do think we’re going to have strengthen all of our entitlement programs, but that’s not really a discussion for the campaign trail,” McMahon said Friday evening at the Manchester Peach Festival. “I think that really needs to be in the legislative arena where we can have bipartisan debate and really talk about that earnestly.”
Would she raise the age for Medicare recipients? Would she privatize Social Security? McMahon refused to answer those questions saying the campaign trail wasn’t the place to talk about them.
She did say all entitlement programs, including Medicare and Social Security need to be “strengthened.”
“We’re going to have to strengthen, you know all of our entitlement programs, but when we do balanced budget we’re going to have to put everything—you know take a look at our programs,“ she said.
“We’re going to have to strengthen our entitlement programs because we have a contract with our seniors,” McMahon added returning to the campaign’s message, which appears in the recent mailing.
The “balanced budget“ McMahon refers to is a Republican proposal to change the U.S. Constitution to require Congress to balance the federal budget, 40 percent of which is made up of entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security.
U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1, who was shaking hands not far from McMahon Friday evening said that “most of the calls we get are about Social Security, Medicare, about getting your veterans benefits.“
“All of those programs are part of the overall budget. If you’re not talking about entitlements, you’re not talking about 40 percent of the budget,” Larson said.
He chalked up the lack of discussion of those issues in Connecticut’s U.S. Senate contest to a Republican strategy for the November election.
“I can understand why they don’t want to talk about it because they’re talking about privatizing Social Security, vouchering Medicare, and block granting Medicaid and then taking all benefits for people 55 years and younger and treating it as ordinary income. Because that’s the ownership society,” Larson said. “They want to direct fear and anger at this and say, ‘Oh, my God we’ve got these huge deficits we’ve gotta makes these cuts.’ So where are you going to cut?”
It’s unlikely a candidate as disciplined as McMahon will give an answer on the campaign trail.
But her latest mailing promises she’s going to protect senior citizens.
“Our seniors need quality care—not bigger government and higher premiums,” McMahon’s latest mailing states. She will also protest seniors by stopping the raid on the Social Security Trust Fund. “Out-of-control spending must end now because it is jeopardizing the long-term solvency of Social Security,” the four-sided mailer claims.
The McMahon campaign mailing continues with a theme that Blumenthal, who admits he misspoke on occasion about his service during Vietnam, is not being honest about his positions and would have you believe that the national health care plan which he supported will cut their Medicare benefits by $575 billion.
“Worse, the cuts to our seniors’ care are being used to increase the size of government,” the mailing goes onto state.
Blumenthal’s campaign said Sunday evening that the McMahon campaign is obfuscating the issue. Democratic proponents of the law, including Blumenthal, have said the Medicare cuts are to the privately-run Medicare Advantage plans, not the guaranteed Medicare benefits.
“Linda McMahon’s $50 million attack machine is continuing the same tired politics as usual,“ Mindy Myers, Blumenthal’s campaign manager, said Sunday. “Connecticut seniors know whether it’s protecting them from con artists or defending them against big drug companies, Dick Blumenthal has always fought for them, and that is exactly what he will do in Washington.”
“I’m talking about my commitment to the promises made by this nation to seniors through social security and Medicare. I intend to do everything in my power to keep those promises,“ Blumenthal said Friday in between handshakes.
Blumenthal’s stance on entitlement reform isn’t much more specific than keeping things the way they are. However, Blumenthal does have a specific section on his campaign website that addresses senior issues. McMahon doesn’t have a heading to address the specific issue. This was her first mailing targeting the demographic.
“Unfortunately Connecticut seniors can’t count on Linda McMahon. They don’t know where she stands on these important issues because she refuses to talk about them,” Myers said.
McMahon has been consistent in her desire to avoid conversations about entitlements.
According to the National Review Online, “She has never endorsed a specific entitlement reform,“ McMahon’s spokesman Ed Patru told the publication. “There are no plans on that end for the campaign at all. She believes any plans for Social Security or Medicare must be divorced from the hyper-partisan arena of the campaign and be done in the legislative process.”