John on May 26, 2011 at 9:47 am
ABC caught this interesting behind the scenes exchange between Paul Ryan and Bill Clinton:
Here’s what I see in this clip. Clinton is pretty non-committal. I hope they don’t do nothing could mean anything. He’s certainly not saying he’s going to personally push for them to do any particular thing on Medicare. And his offer to “call me” seems pretty lame too. Pretty much every person at a party has either heard these words or said them. Yeah, we’ll do lunch. Have your people call my people.
I actually think what Ryan said here is more interesting. You can hear the frustration in his voice at the possibility that Dems will take NY-26 as a license to do nothing on the issue. His comment about needing to do something to get the ball rolling suggests that he’s actually more committed to reforming entitlements than he is to his passing his specific plan.
I think that’s a very mature and healthy attitude. Ryan cares about avoiding a fiscal train-wreck more than he does about having his name on some legislation. That’s good because it suggests there is room to work out a compromise with Democrats. At least there would be if there were some Democrats willing to join get serious about this issue rather than demagogue it to victory as disaster looms. I’m not hopeful Bill Clinton is the exception to the rule, but we’ll see.