Friday, March 04, 2005

Sidney Blumenthal, Social Security, Dubya and you

In "Recycled Rhetoric", Sidney Blumenthal says that

"Bush's huge gamble on dismantling the cornerstone of the New Deal will fail."

That's how I know we're in trouble. Whenever Sidney Blumenthal says things are looking good for the democrats you should worry. He peed all over himself over John Kerry's speech at the democratic convention last summer, when Kerry got up there and saluted like a dumbass toy soldier after running away and hiding from the Swift Boat guys, and naturally nothing happened to his poll numbers. Then in the fall Blumenthal chortled in triumph after the debates, and well, you know what happened after that. I have the utmost respect for Blumenthal as a person. I think he has a great deal of integrity and is a good guy, and I'm glad he's on our side. But he doesn't have a lot of sense. I hate to say that Sidney Blumenthal is a dummy, but he's a dummy. Blumenthal is like a canary from another reality-- if you send him down the mine shaft he'll breathe just fine in spite of the fumes that birds from our reality(and with more sense) would gag and die on-- he's almost reliably unreliable.

Sure, the democrats have the poll numbers on their side in the social security debate, but so what? In the spring of 2001, before 9.11 made everybody crazy, the poll numbers were against massive tax cuts for the wealthy. Nevertheless, in the summer, again before 9.11, we got massive tax cuts for the wealthy. The same dynamic is at work here; Bush doesn't care if he wins ugly-- with the possible exception of his walkaway 1998 reelection to the Texas governorship(buoyed by the healthy Clinton economy), I don't think Bush has ever won anything any other way (although he'll still be more than happy to call it a mandate.).

Democrats are afraid of making specific proposals to shore up social security that might involve tax hikes, even indirect tax hikes like raising the flatline point from the present ninety grand a year. And they think just saying "there is no crisis" is enough. Sorry guys, it isn't. As long as democrats run away from offering reasoned arguments in favor of raising the flatline point on the SS/FICA tax and just play defense, they'll lose. As long as democrats are afraid of offering specifics, republicans, along with the cowed, compliant press, will be more than happy to tell America what democrats stand for. I have specifics. I'll have more on social security in two days.