Other GOPers likely to follow Gingrich’s lead in criticizing Ryan’s budget plan, say political analysts

Though former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been skewered by conservative opinion makers since criticizing House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan on “Meet the Press” Sunday, political prognosticators expect that other Republican candidates will soon follow Gingrich’s lead.

Popular entitlement programs like Medicare, which would be drastically altered in Ryan’s budget proposal, have historically been the third rails of American politics, issues which politicians on both sides of the aisle are reluctant to target for change. While cutting spending is the GOP’s current mantra, political reality says that a large portion of voting Republicans are senior citizens, aged 65 and older, who don’t want politicians to tinker with Medicare.

In 2009, Gallup presented a breakdown of Republican voters that showed that since 2001 only one percent of senior citizens had abandoned the Republican Party. It showed that all other age groups left for the Democratic Party in droves.

Another Gallup poll released earlier this month revealed that more than any other age group, senior citizens are less worried about the financial state of Medicare and other entitlements programs. Only 29 percent of respondents over the age of 65 said they see the Medicare entitlement as causing a fiscal crisis within the next ten years.

Dr. Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told The Daily Caller there are a number of reasons why Republicans will be seeking to distance themselves from Ryan’s budget proposal in 2012.

Chief among them is the fact that senior citizens are scared away by any talk of a major Medicare overhaul. Moreover, “any state with a disproportionate number of senior citizens will be affected,” said Sabato, who pointed specifically to Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

One Florida Democrat source familiar with the state’s political process told TheDC that “Floridians of all stripes — Democrats, Republicans and independents — are rightly concerned about the Republicans fighting to end Medicare.”

The source went on to predict that the Republican mantra for the 2012 election will be: “I am not Paul Ryan.”

When TheDC contacted the campaigns, official or otherwise, of Republican contenders, only former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum publicly attacked Gingrich for his comments.

“For several years, Newt Gingrich has deserved a lot of credit for thinking through a great many issues I a serious and interesting fashion,” said Santorum. “But his criticism of Congressman Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform plan yesterday was a big departure from Speaker Gingrich’s often sound policy proposals.”

Spokespersons for Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Tim Pawlenty simply pointed to past statements praising Ryan’s proposal as a step in the right direction when contacted by TheDC. Representatives for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman did not return requests for comment.

  • tommiec

    Oh, I see…so other Republican candidates will be following Newt’s lead in criticizing Paul Ryan’s budget, huh?

    Is that why Newt personally apologized to Ryan for what he said?

    You people who write for The Daily Caller are such idiots.

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  • sas

    You people can’t talk about IDEAS and not me. That shows you cannot defend the indefensible.

    Too bad, you lose.

    • 8second.ride

      It was well refuted on the previous page. You look pretty silly saying nobody addressed it.

  • keister7

    the writer of this article couldn’t be more out of touch with reality…

  • righthere

    Any Republicans that make that mistake do so at their own peril…

    Newt’s Presidential run ended the moment that piece aired.

  • Dee2008

    This article is all headline and no content. The author makes claims about “political prognosticators” but only comes up with one believable comment, from Dr. Sabato, who says that senior citizens will be scared. He knows that Democrats will do everything they can to scare seniors, even though the changes only affect those under 55.

    But late last month, Gallup reported that pluralities of middle-aged and seniors prefer Ryan’s plan to Obama’s cuts and status quo plan. I think the jig is up on the scare tactics. People are getting wise to the games being played in Washington.

    • The_anniebanannie

      “This article is all headline and no content.”

      Welcome to the Daily Caller.

    • Ventura Capitalist

      Oh, there’s content here all right, but it’s crap, and Sabato is full of it.
      There will be no changes to medicare if you’re over 55.
      Without changes, there will be no Medicare if you’re under 55.

      Why is DC running this Plouffe press release?

  • Texas Chris

    Is Newt even in office right now?

    • gladius

      I have good news. I found a proctologist for sas to help him look for his head. The Doc. says he has a good idea where to start looking.