This is quite remarkable. Senate candidate and Florida state Senate President Mike Haridopolos was dumped off a conservative talk show in the sunshine state for refusing to say whether he'd support Paul Ryan's medicare plan. From the transcript with radio host Ray Junior:
Junior: Your guy that asked for you to be on the show said “Hey, I’d like to get him on the show.’ I said ‘fine. Let’s bring him on the show.’ So I’m asking you that question. The only reason people avoid questions like this, Mike, is because they don't want to be tied in -- when they don't want to actually have people see how they would do things. There's no reason to avoid this question. How could you possibly be running for U.S. Senate and not know what's in the Ryan bill?
Haridopolos: I know what's in the Ryan bill, but again, what you're asking me is a fair question. What I'm telling you is...
Junior: Ok, I'd like a fair answer...
Haridopolos:...A lot of people are talking about hypotheticals -- if they run, if they win. Let's talk about what I actually accomplished
Junior: Laughter... no, no, no. You're not doing that, Mike. Every single thing a person talks about when they're on the campaign trail is a hypothetical. A hundred percent of it. There's nothing that's not hypothetical. The only way we know whether it's going to be true or not is when they get into office is if they follow through on the things they said they would do. That's why I'm asking you: Would you vote yes or no on Ryan?
Haridopolos: Exactly what I'm bringing up. My point as well. I made a promise to balance the budget, not raise taxes, not raise fees..
Junior: Ok, does the Ryan plan do that? Does the Ryan plan do that?
Haridopolos: Look, the Ryan plan is what's in Washington
Junior: Ok, get him off my phone. I don't want anything to do with this guy. Get rid of him.
Oof. I don't think Haridopolos should be judged soley on the basis of this one interaction, he's done some solid conservative things. But it is getting harder and harder to play political games and weasel your way into office -- and that's a good thing.
UPDATE -- It's maybe worth noting that in the Florida Senate, Haridopolos was a driving force behind a Medicaid overhaul in the state, which includes some elements of privatization and tort reform:
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, May 5, 2011 -- With a sponsor calling it the "most significant transformational change" since Florida's Medicaid program started, lawmakers will vote Friday on a long-awaited proposal to shift almost all beneficiaries into managed-care plans.
Senate leaders on Thursday unveiled the proposal --- which covers 215 pages over two bills --- after days of behind-the-scenes negotiations with the House.
Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican who is the chief sponsor, said the proposal would help limit the Medicaid program's costs, while also improving care for beneficiaries.
"I don't see Medicaid as a government program,'' Negron said during a lengthy discussion on the Senate floor. "To me, Medicaid is about the people who are receiving the benefits.''
The Senate and House are expected to approve the proposal Friday, the final day of the 60-day legislative session. But it still would need federal approval and, even in the best case, would not start taking effect until next year.
The proposal also includes numerous controversial pieces, such as limiting the liability of doctors and hospitals when they treat Medicaid patients. Except in egregious circumstances, pain-and-suffering damages would be limited to $300,000 in malpractice cases brought by Medicaid beneficiaries.
Still not a great excuse for dodging questions about the Ryan plan, but Haridopolos does have a track record of taking entitlement reform seriously.
UPDATE II -- Adam Hasner, formerly Florida's House GOP majority leader and challenging Haridopolos for the GOP Senate nomination, responds on twitter:
For the record, again, I would have voted for the Ryan Plan.
UPDATE III -- Haridopolos just issued the following statement:
I absolutely support the goals of the Ryan Plan to cut federal government deficit spending and applaud Rep. Ryan's bold leadership in putting forth an intelligent and serious plan to tackle the largest issue confronting our nation. Rep. Ryan's leadership in actually putting forth a plan to tackle the deficit is in stark contrast to the irresponsibility demonstrated by President Obama and the Democratic Senate who have failed to pass a budget for over 750 days, adding trillions to the debt during that time. While I support almost every provision of the Ryan Plan, I believe that it must be amended to provided greater protections for Seniors.
Fighting for Seniors is not new to me. One of the main reasons I fought ObamaCare, including passing Florida's Health Care Freedom Act, is because of the devastating cuts it dealt to Seniors, cutting $500 billion from Medicare to fund ObamaCare-Welfare programs.
Again, I absolutely support the goals of the Ryan Plan and believe in almost all of the provisions to cut federal government deficit spending and address entitlements. As a candidate for the US Senate, I am the only person in this race with a proven record of reforming entitlements [Medicaid, Government Pensions, and Welfare] and a demonstrated commitment to making cuts to balance the budget in the state of Florida without increasing taxes or fees.