October 17, 2004
WARNING! BUSH TO DELIVER ON POPULAR PROMISES:
Kerry: Bush 'January Surprise' for Social Security (Mark Egan, 10/17/04, Reuters)
If re-elected, President Bush plans a "big January surprise" and will move quickly to allow some private Social Security accounts that will reduce benefits for retirees and swell the U.S. deficit, Democratic Sen. John Kerry said on Sunday.
Surprise? He's been running on it for six years now. Getting close to 60 Senate seats will make it easy.
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 17, 2004 3:21 PM
For a career mediocrity like Kerry, following through with a promise once he's in finally in position to do so constitutes a surprise, because an obfuscator like Kerry would never do something so lacking in nuance as that.
To those who are paying attention, Kerry's pledge during the last debate to block any change in Social Security is a disqualifying position all be itself. Now the democrats are back to scaring grandma for votes. If this election is anything like close I will lose a lot of respect for the American electorate, but I don't intend to. I am sticking with my prediction of Bush with 40 states. Arafat, Cretien, Chirac, Bin Laden and their ilk are not registered to vote in the USA, as far as I know (although with motor-voter, they really could vote here if they felt like it). If New Jersey is really in play, and ends up in the Bush column, Bush might even have those 40 states in the can before the polls close in California.
I believe that Mr. Ortega has the right of it. What of President Bush's previous policies haven't been a surprise to Old Media, despite Bush telegraphing them in speeches long before?
How can anyone be surprised that the President wishes to act on Social Security? That was a main plank of his platform in 2000 (and, in fact, was the reason I voted for him) and his willingness at the last debate to recognize that the system must change hardly makes such action a surprise.
Most voters 50 and under understand that social security needs to be revamped and fixed. Kerry is playing to his base but by echoing Bush's argument he is reenforcing that Bush will do something to fix social security which is a winner with the voters.
The Democrats still don't believe you can touch the third rail and live - but Bush is actually energized by doing it.
Meanwhile, all we have to go on is an anonymous source in the New York Times Magazine, which looks to all the world like payback for exposing Kerry with their unfortunate use of the word "nuisance" last week. I never remember Bush using the word "privatize" in reference to Social Security. Wouldn't be prudent.