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Senate Battle Heats Up: Hinckley Blasts Whitehouse

Saturday, May 28, 2011


GOP Senate hopeful Barry Hinckley took off the gloves Friday, blasting Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for “proudly tweeting” that he voted against Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed budget, but failing to offer an alternative to proposed Medicare cuts the Senator claims will hurt 17,000 Rhode Islanders.

“Real leaders take real action in times of crisis,” Hinckley told GoLocalProv Friday afternoon. “Where are Senator Whitehouse’s ideas? Partisan politics will not get us to a solution.”

Hinckley said Whitehouse and other Democrats are using “scare tactics” when it comes to Congressman Ryan’s budget. He says they choose to focus on Medicare because it strikes fear in elderly voters. Hinckley said the country can’t afford to have politicians who only want to “shoot the messenger” anymore.

Senator Whitehouse's office had no comment in regard to Hinckley’s statement.

Medicare and Social Security Are "Great"

Hinckley, who identifies himself as a “liberty Republican,” is currently the only member of the GOP to throw his hat into the ring against the state’s junior Senator. He said he fully supports both Medicare and Social Security, but that without changes to both programs, bankruptcy could be on the horizon.

“Medicare and Social Security are great programs,” Hinckley said. “But they’re going insolvent. We need real ideas instead of this demagoguery.”

Hinckley cited a report issued by the Congressional Budget Office, which suggests Medicare could climb to 80 percent of mandatory spending by 2020 if changes aren’t made.

Ryan’s Budget Changes Medicare

Ryan’s plan offers those changes; so much so that Democrats have become fond of suggesting the Republicans want to “end Medicare as we know it.”

They’re not completely wrong. Ryan’s budget calls for private insurers to cover the elderly, as opposed to being a guaranteed benefit. The plan would cost more – in some cases, much more – for Medicare beneficiaries.

When reached for comment, State Democratic Party chairman Ed Pacheco defended both Whitehouse and senior Senator Jack Reed.

“We're incredibly lucky to have Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed in the Senate standing up for Rhode Island seniors and fighting the Republican plan to end Medicare,” Pacheco said.

Hinckley Would Have Voted For Ryan’s Plan

Despite his support for Medicare and Social Security, Hinckley says Ryan’s proposed budget is a good starting point to getting the country back on firm financial footing. He said he doesn’t agree with everything in the budget, but he confirmed that he would have voted for it.

Hinckley (at left) maintains that Medicare needs to be “saved from itself.”

“[Senator] Whitehouse’s refusal to act (or even acknowledge the problem) is extremely irresponsible,” Hinckley said. “Not only is Whitehouse spreading falsehoods about proposals to reform Medicare (to save it from itself), he has refused to offer any plan of his own to address the problem. This inaction is akin to ordering that music play louder as the Titanic slowly slips below the surface.”

State GOP Backs Hinckley

The State GOP hasn’t formally taken a position on Hinckley’s candidacy, but Executive Director Patrick Sweeney said he supports the candidate’s decision to call out Senator Whitehouse.

"Barry is just calling attention to the fact that Whitehouse is another tax-and-spend liberal whose party has not passed a budget in 758 days,” Sweeney said. “All the Democrats care about is raising the debt ceiling so they can borrow more.”

Sweeney predicted that seniors will not buy into the anti-Medicare rhetoric during the 2012 election cycle.

“Whitehouse's 'Mediscare' tactics are not going to work on the seniors of Rhode Island this time around,” he said. “Whitehouse, however, should explain why our president cut half a billion dollars from Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. Unlike Whitehouse, Barry is a leader and his message of fiscal conservatism is resonating with the voters of Rhode Island.”

Where Is His Plan?

Hinckley maintains that Whitehouse has no plan when it comes to reforming Medicare, and that failing to figure out alternatives will hurt seniors down the line.

“Ultimately, it’s impossible to believe that Sheldon Whitehouse wants to protect Rhode Island seniors when he rejects serious proposals to restore solvency to Medicare, and offers no solutions,” Hinckley said. “Our entitlement programs are in life-threatening jeopardy. Where is Whitehouse’s plan to address this?”

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That's why they call him "SHELDON NOT TO BRIGHTHOUSE"

Comment #1 by TOM LETOURNEAU on 2011 05 28

I don't see a plan from Hinkley either. Only that he would have voted for the Ryan budget which destroys medicare. That's certainly not a solutions. Looks like HInkley is only interested in stirring the pot. Not actually offering any ideas or solutions.

Comment #2 by dawn morrison on 2011 05 28

Ryan's plan doesn't destroy Medicare. It saves it for current seniors, and makes it solvent for future ones. The Dems' refusal to propose a solution is what will strip seniors of Medicare, or at least severely cut down on the quality of care. The main point is that Ryan and Hinckley have taken a stand and proposed a solution. Whitehouse and Dems have not. They are just waiting for Republicans to propose the hard changes, so they can score political points by going negative. The key word from Hinckley was "cowardice"

Comment #3 by Jared D on 2011 05 28

all this kid is is a spoiled brat trust fund baby who has no clue what "struggling middle/lower class families" are going through.

Comment #4 by Steve Krieger on 2011 05 28

Rather interesting that Hinckley accuses Whitehouse of playing partisan politics. What does he think the Ryan plan is? The whole Republican agenda is partisan politics. It is not the Democrats who are threatening to potentially ruin the world economy unless their demands are met. It isn't the Democrats who are stridently saying "my way or not at all".

Comment #5 by John Doucette on 2011 05 28

Here we go again with the "rich kid" "trust fund kid" crap. First of all, someone's personal wealth is insignificant to the argument. Second of all, I know barry. He has no trust fund. The only way he could have a trust fund is if Whitehouse adopted him.

Comment #6 by Tom R. on 2011 05 28

I agree with Dawn's comment. Frankly, the facts are what they are. The Congressional Budget Office has clearly stated that within 10 or so years, health care spending will eat up our entire economy, and become unsustainable. That being the case .... it's a serious question: What is Whitehouse's plan? He voted against President Obama's budget ... but the Democrats never passed a budget! What?! Government can't operate like this. It's no wonder we're in such dire straits. (And that's not to say that Republicans haven't played a part - many have, and Hinckley has noted this in the past).

The problem we have here is that Sheldon Whitehouse and his colleagues are equating any attempts to reform Medicare with ending it. That is a false statement, as Dawn and Hinckley have pointed out. What will end Medicare is inaction ... and that's what Whitehouse is engaging in. It's pretty simple.

Comment #7 by Green Monster on 2011 05 28

Seriously Mr. Hinckley? Sen Whitehouse & the Dems are SCARING people? Your own campaign logo clearly states you're "sounding the alarm". Well if that's not a scare tactic, what is? Besides, the Dems couldn't possible scare average Americans and seniors any more than the GOP has since November.

Comment #8 by Joan Pucino on 2011 05 28

What I find annoying about Sheldon Whitehouse is that he doesn't seem to have an independent thought in his brain. He does whatever his party leadership tells him. The fact that he refused to comment when Barry Hinckley had questions about his position on this issue speaks to that. I'm really not a fan of Republicans or Democrats generally, but I respect any politician who at least has an independent streak to their viewpoints and can think for themselves. So far, Whitehouse has proven to be a disappointment there. Hinckley at least seems to be more of an independent minded guy, which is what we need right now.

From what I've read on Barry Hinckley's website, I don't agree with him on everything, but at least he's not just parroting the party line, as some people say. For example, he doesn't seem concerned about social issues at all even though Republican leadership made a huge deal about Planned Parenthood recently. I've gotta say, I respect that. He has also said he completely rejects bailouts and the corporate welfare that Republicans supported under Bush (which unfortunately Democrat party leadership supports too). We definitely need to elect independent thinkers, regardless of what party they are in. Some exist on both sides, but Sheldon Whitehouse is not one of them.

Also, regarding Joan Pucino's comment, if you actually look at his website it seems like Hinckley's "Sound the Alarm" metaphor is just a way of drawing attention to our national debt ... which is an actual problem that transcends partisan boundaries. I wouldn't call that fear mongering.

Comment #9 by Martha Jones on 2011 05 28

Mr. Krieger, were you talking about Mr. Hinckley, or Senator Whitehouse?

Comment #10 by Michael Trenn on 2011 05 29

Oh please, Ms Pucino. The RI Democrat playbook is to go to Senior Centers and tell the old people that the Republicans are going to take Medicare and Social Security away. Kennedy did it, and Congressmistake ChiChi certainly did it. Don't you dare lecture anybody about scare tactics. That's how lying sacks like the present and former Demmie District 1 Congressmen got in. I'm a Senior Citizen, and in the next election cycle, I'm going to be in the audience when the Demmie candidate, who I am guessing will NOT be Congressmistake ChiChi, tries to run that crap. I WILL call the candidate on it. All the cutbacks, from Notch Babies to the current two years with no Social Security increases, happened under Democrats. It was Johnson who breached the Social Security Trust Fund, to pay for the Democrat war that we know as Viet Nam. Funny how the candidates never mention these things.

Comment #11 by Michael Trenn on 2011 05 29

"Sheldon Whitehouse has sponsored 65 bills since Jan 4, 2007 of which 58 haven't made it out of committee and 3 were successfully enacted."

Now there's an influential senator.

Comment #12 by Max Diesel on 2011 05 29

Actually there are Democrats that have proposed a budget. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has a very good budget, but it's bargely gotten any press. It's called the Peoples Budget. It can be found on the web. It's gotten almost no attention because it balances the budget much faster than the Ryan Budget and the Presidents proposals. It preserves Medicare and fixes healthcare. It does what should have been done with healthcare the last time. It does raise taxes on the top 2% of income earners back to what the rate was under Clinton. Also what should have been done. Overall this budget makes much more sense, but few are bold enough to talk about it.

Comment #13 by dawn morrison on 2011 05 29


Comment #14 by Typical Resident on 2011 05 30

Hey Dawn,
There are Democrats that want to cut the budget, don't like Obamacare, and believe in controlling illegal immigration too. How's that working out for them. Big whoop!

Comment #15 by Max Diesel on 2011 05 31

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