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: