Going all in on Social Security
What Bush plans to do with our social security money
Bush's bait and switch
Liberal author Thomas Frank and conservative opinion maker Richard Viguerie agree that Bush roped in voters with moral issues, only to sell them out with his Social Security plan.
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By Farhad Manjoo
He may well succeed, Frank predicts. "If Bush rams it through, and I suspect he will, it could be very costly for Republicans," he adds. "It has the potential to be a huge disaster for them politically."
The disaster could come when social conservatives, people who've been duped into voting for the GOP on the assumption that it was the party of morals (rather than of money), might finally see the truth. If, as some economists predict, Social Security privatization goes badly for working people, with traditional benefits cut and stock market gains diminutive, wouldn't family-values voters realize that the Republican Party has diminished the value of their checking accounts? Couldn't Republicans possibly lose some elections over it?
Possibly. That's why most Republicans in Congress aren't jumping for joy over the Bush plan. But when it comes to Social Security reform, Frank argues, the White House and other Republican leaders may be willing to pay any price. Social Security is, after all, the linchpin of the American welfare state, the most popular and well-regarded entitlement program. By privatizing it, Republicans will achieve a long-standing ideological goal. They'll be fundamentally altering the government's responsibility to its citizens, profoundly realigning the nation in favor of the stock-market-invested rich and against the interests of the poor. As Frank says, they'll be repealing the New Deal -- and such a grand mission, they may feel, might be worth losing a few elections over.
"The leadership and the big thinkers don't care that this is going to be an extremely disastrous issue 10 years from now," Frank says. "They think they can get out of bearing the consequences of anything with some slick talk. After all, nobody blames Reagan for budget deficits anymore. And here, you're talking about such an enormous change, it will be impossible for Democrats to put it back the way it was. It's such a huge change that it will be permanent; they can't put it back once it's done."
Josh Marshall reports that the WSJ has the Bushies talking out of their ass again
PRESSURE RISES on Social Security.
A senior Bush adviser sees "ice breaking" around opposition of some Democrats to the administration plan. Fellow Democrats, chafing at Lieberman's flirtation with Bush, circulate his criticism of "risky private accounts" in the run-up to his 2004 presidential run.
Despite White House courting, Democratic Sen. Nelson of Nebraska is unlikely to embrace Bush's private-account plan, an associate predicts. House Democratic campaign committee seeks donations to fuel "caught-on-tape" drive to weaken Republican members by publicizing alleged flip-flops on the issue.
Plan B? Republicans insist Bush could "win" without legislation by hitting "anti-reform" Democrats.
They ought to have some of that ice break around Congressional Republicans.
What Josh, who spent his formative years in corrupt as the day is long Rhode Island, doesn't realize is that Connecticut is not just Greenwich and Yale. It has some of the poorest towns in the region like Bridgeport. Social Security matters there. I think, in the end, Lieberman can be hammered into line, but only if the stakes are raised considerably, like AARP tossing ad to the state's largest newspapers demanding Lieberman stop with his Third Way politics. He keeps trying to make deals with people who idea of deals is your capitulation.
Let the Bushies go after the Dems who are against theft. They can then point out how many Republicans are also against the theft of Social Security.
I think Thomas Frank is wrong. I don't think there is enough support to make any real changes in Social Security and USA Next could be a legal nightmare. The people in their opening ad are looking to sue. If they get a lawyer, and get into USA Next's financial records, which would be part of discovery, this could blow up on Rove badly.
posted by Steve @ 4:13:00 PM