Saturday, May 21, 2011

Liberal group attacks GOP Medicare cuts with ad in which elderly wheelchair user gets pushed off cliff

From Yahoo! News:

Passions over a GOP proposal to overhaul the Medicare system are running high--as Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich learned earlier this week, when he was forced to walk back his criticism of the plan.

And meanwhile a new political ad from the left end of the spectrum is seeking to amp up progressive outrage over the plan with an over-the-top message that appears to equate the GOP Medicare plan with, well, pushing defenseless seniors over a cliff.

In the spot, an elderly wheelchair-bound woman enjoys an outing as an unidentified man in a business suit pushes her through some seaside parkland. The birds are chirping. Strains of "America the Beautiful" ring out. The woman smiles.

Then, something appears to be wrong. The man is steering her the wrong way. She fights. She struggles--and then her sinister caretaker dumps her over the cliff.

The disturbing ad is the work of a left-leaning group called the Agenda Project; you can watch it after the jump:

Agenda Project founder Erica Payne has already been scolded for the ad's histrionics. Fox host Neil Cavuto told Payne during an interview Wednesday "this is nuts!"

"You are saying that an attempt to rein in the growth of an entitlement program ... is akin to pushing grandma over a cliff," the host said.

"I'm not saying that any effort to address the challenges the program faces are wrong," Payne stated later in the interview, but she added that she is strongly against privatizing Medicare, arguing that there is no profit margin in covering a 96-year-old such as her now-deceased grandmother.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Budget Committee, included a controversial plan to transform Medicare into a subsidized private health insurance program in his federal budget proposal.

Payne is no stranger to rankling the right--in fact it's been a staple of her group's efforts.

The Agenda Project, which was founded in 2006 to unite progressives, ran campaigns in 2010 to push back against anti-Muslim sentiment, and promoted a "Vote Sanity" campaign tied to Jon Stewart's 2010 "Rally to Restore Sanity," among other efforts.