The video: Politicos were already sniping over a Republican proposal to makeover Medicare, but a "disturbing ad" by the liberal Agenda Project has further soured the rhetoric. (Watch the video below.) The spot shows a man in a suit — presumably House budget guru Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) — pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair through a wooded park. Birds chirp. "America the Beautiful" trills in the background. The woman smiles. The ad notes that Medicare provides health insurance for 46 million Americans, half of whom live on less than $28,000 a year, and that a Republican plan would privatize Medicare (by transforming the program into a voucher system). The man pushing the chair then veers unexpectedly. As they reach a cliff, he overpowers the struggling woman and unceremoniously dumps her off. The ad then asks, "Is America beautiful without Medicare?"
The reaction: "Every time you think the Democrats can't possibly sink any lower, they do," says John Hinderaker at Power Line. Hey, there's nothing wrong with "dramatically illuminating the consequences of the plan on our nation's elderly population," says Peter Rothberg at The Nation. The ad may be unsettling, but so is Ryan's plan to hand over Medicare patients to the insurance industry. Watch the Agenda Project's controversial ad:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Ban PowerPoint!
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- It's time to kill school picture day
Subscribe to the Week