Most Republicans have been dogmatic in their support of Paul Ryan’s controversial budget plan, which would end Medicare as we know it, increase the tax burden on the middle class, and largely dismantle almost every function of the federal government.
Not every Republican is on board with Ryan’s Dickensian vision for America, however. This morning, Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg — who is locked in a tight Senate battle with incumbent Democrat Jon Tester — released a new television ad touting his opposition to the Ryan budget.
“Rehberg refused to support a Republican budget plan that could harm the Medicare plan so many Montana seniors rely on,” the ad declares.
Rehberg’s attempt to distance himself from Ryan is rare for a Republican in this campaign cycle, but it’s not unprecedented. Earlier this week, West Virginia Rep. David McKinley — who won his 2010 election by a very thin margin — sent out mailers reminding his constituents that he voted against the Ryan plan earlier this year.
“Congressman McKinley recently voted against the 2012 budget passed by the House because of the plan’s negative impact on northern West Virginia seniors,” reads a flier from the congressman’s office. “The plan would privatize Medicare for future retirees, raise the retirement age…. The Congressional Budget Office determined the plan would nearly double out of pocket health care costs for future retirees.”
Rehberg and McKinley’s messages are problematic for the Republican party, because they affirm a key Democratic talking point: that Ryan’s budget would harm senior citizens who rely on Medicare.
If more Republicans who are locked in tight races decide to distance themselves from Ryan, it could make things especially awkward for Mitt Romney, who is essentially campaigning on turning Ryan’s plan into the law of the land.