Personal Accounts Tank in Polls, GOP Says
Republican pollsters are reporting a few aspects of the current public position on Social Security reform which are troubling but not surprising to those of us who are paying attention to the Republican's efforts on the issue.
The polls show little support for personal accounts at the expense of guaranteed benefits, but worse than that they show, quoting the AP story, that:
the public "knows little or nothing about the details and specifics" of Bush's proposal for individual accounts, "and a good bit of what they think they know is incorrect".
Unlike many issues in the recent past, on this issue the Democrats are almost 100% united. Republicans on the other hand are weak-kneed and being pushed around by tepid response in their "town hall" meetings (which are probably over-attended if not manipulated by anti-reform factions especially unions.)
Since most politicians care about nothing more than winning the next election, issues of true principle take a back seat to political expediency.
The ONLY thing which will get Social Security reform back on track is serious leadership by President Bush, something I'm not entirely sure he's capable of on a domestic issue. This is a man who has never vetoed a bill, maybe in a desire to get along which just doesn't suit his principle-laden rhetoric.
To be clear, I admire the principle-laden rhetoric...I don't admire the frequency with which Bush has abandoned his principles for politics, with everything from steel tariffs to enormous farm bills to increasing Federal government participation in our health care and education systems. But I digress....
The case for Social Security reform is absolutely compelling to those of us who take the time and effort to study the program in detail. However most people don't take the time and effort. They learn what they learn from soundbites, newscasts, maybe newspapers, and importantly from word of mouth and talking to friends. The Republicans must gain influence in this grapevine, but so far they're not getting the job done.
Most of the true foes of reform are foes of economic freedom in general and have obvious ulterior motives, namely perpetuating dependence on their organizations whether it's a teachers' union or the AARP. Very few of the opponents of reform hold their positions out of principle.
While this might make the foes of reform less worthy of intellectual respect, it makes them more worthy of political respect: It's like fighting a cocker spanier versus fighting a pit bull. These guys are pit bulls. They will not give up unless soundly beaten and scolded.
Another important factor for these pit bulls is that they believe beating Bush on this issue will weaken him on all major issues for the rest of his term. They might be right.
It's all the more reason that President Bush must bring sound and convincing arguments to the people during this 60-day marketing blitz. Then he must round up Republicans who are straying from principle out of fear and remind them that he won the last two presidential elections because he was perceived as a man of principle and not of fear, and that some of the toughest Senate elections in 2004 were similarly won by men of principle beating men of politics, with Tom Daschle being the clearest (and most pleasing to me) victim.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Rossputin on 03/08/05 at 11:46:34 pm . Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0.|