November 22, 2003


Bid to Change Social Security Is Back: Bush Aides Resurrect Plan for Personal Retirement Accounts (Mike Allen, November 21, 2003, Washington Post)

Bush aides said he will make the longtime conservative goal more palatable by discussing changes to Social Security as part of a set of plans encouraging what he calls an "ownership society" in which minorities receive help buying homes, seniors have a choice of health care, and employees control part of their retirement savings.

"We are going to do everything we can to encourage a healthy public dialogue about Social Security reform," a senior administration official said. "The politics works on this because it is accepted in the general public that Social Security has a long-term solvency problem."

A Republican official said the White House has signaled Capitol Hill that Bush's campaign "wants to spend a lot of money" on advertising promoting the issue.

A presidential adviser said Bush is intent on being able to say that reworking Social Security "is part of my mandate" if he wins. Bush made modernization of the retirement system one of the six core issues of his campaign in 2000, but he has said little about it since a commission he had appointed issued an inconclusive report at the end of 2001.

Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who worked for Vice President Al Gore in 2000, said Bush was able to wage this debate somewhat theoretically last time because he was a challenger. "This time the debate will be very different and much more concrete," he said. "It's a high-risk strategy. I hope they do it."

Despite a belief by some that Reaganauts are blind to his faults, you'll find that most regret his failure to push a big agenda when he ran for re-election and his focus on boosting his landslide instead of trying to win seats in Congress. Actually, the two are inextricably linked. Reagan won in '80 running on a, for the time, extremely conservative platform and carried the Senate against all expectations. Similarly, in 1994, the GOP ran on the Contract and won huge. George W. Bush and Karl Rove seem to recognize that it is by nationalizing elections that Republicans can win down-ticket. Running on a vision this immense is certainly risky, but win and the payoff is a paradigm shift. That seems a worthwhile gambit.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 22, 2003 7:16 AM

Actually, the two are actually

Posted by: Uncle Bill at November 22, 2003 8:32 AM

Now, if only the Democrats are stupid enough to nominate Jimmy Carter, Jr.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 22, 2003 9:08 AM

I've got it! Finally!

George Bush is using the same tactics as the Islamists are. Keep pushing and pushing and pushing. When you lose a battle, consider it not a loss, but a time to take a brief pause. Sit back, rest a little bit, and then continue your push.

Only thing is, Dubya is in the right and the Islamists are in the wrong. But for either one, the only was for their opponent to stop them is to make it permanent. 'cause they will not stop.

Posted by: ray at November 22, 2003 9:11 PM