(Editor’s Note: Bloomberg News report on November 13, 2013 - Throwing-Grandma-Off-Cliff Ads Dim Odds Of U.S. Entitlement Cuts )
A television ad that aired briefly in August 2012 stands as a warning today for lawmakers who want to cut Social Security and Medicare.
A man in a dark suit acting as Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, then the Republican Party’s vice presidential candidate, pushes a wheelchair carrying a panicked-looking grandmother to the edge of a cliff. He dumps her over the rocky ledge. “Is America Beautiful without Medicare? Ask Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress,” the ad says.
The commercial, produced by the Democratic-aligned Agenda Project, ran only a few times in Ohio, Florida and Colorado during last year’s presidential campaign. Its enduring impact illustrates the power of the lobbying coalition that guards the health and financial programs for seniors.
The effort is led by AARP and its 37 million members. They’re joined by unions and Democratic-activist groups such as MoveOn.org, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and the New York-based Agenda Project and its action fund.
Lawmakers are “terrified” of the pro-seniors lobby, said Steve Bell, a former Senate Republican budget adviser.