You can crunch the numbers all day long, but in politics it’s perception that matters.

And though it’s still early, Republicans have a chance to turn the Medicare debate into a political advantage (or a wash, which is as good as a win). The conventional thinking, the media thinking, and actually, the thinking (if we’re to believe Politico) of the entire hand-wringing GOP establishment, was that Paul Ryan’s vice presidential candidacy would make Medicare an issue and surely sink the ticket. Democrats, we were told in story after story, were just giddy over the prospect of facing the Wisconsin congressman.

The debate hasn’t exactly evolved the way we were told it should. Why?

One: It’s possible that voters have already priced-in the hysterical warnings from liberals about the GOP’s intent to destroy all entitlements. They’ve heard it all a million times, yet the programs’ price tag continue to grow exponentially, and often under Republican rule. Add to that increasing numbers of Americans who believe that Medicare is unsustainable and the issue has probably lost some potency for Democrats.