John McCain, Guardian of Entitlements

Sen. John McCain just offered the first Republican motion as part of the Senate health care debate, which would remove roughly $500 billion in Medicare cuts and send the legislation back to the Finance Committee.

While Republicans don’t have the votes to pass their amendments, the Senate floor debate gives Republicans the opportunity to highlight areas of the Democratic health care bills that are unpopular, and the proposed cuts to Medicare are a large reason why older Americans remain among the most opposed to the health care push.

But even though it’s true that Democrats should be called out on their claims that the proposed cuts will not affect benefits, Republicans have gone overboard in demagoging the issue to the point where they themselves are protectors of entitlement programs that are bankrupting the nation.

McCain, who typically raises hell about any earmark, no matter how tiny, was just on the Senate floor urging his fellow lawmakers to “preserve the solemn obligations we have made to our senior citizens.”

Statements such as these, aside from making a mockery out of the idea of Republicans as the party of small government, help enshrine the third rail status of entitlement programs that need to be substantially cut if we have any chance of averting the looming fiscal collapse of the United States.