February 3, 2005


Bush's Address Wins Over Few, if Any, Democrats (Chuck Babington and Mike Allen, February 3, 2005, Washington Post)

President Bush devoted a fifth of last night's televised address to his call to change Social Security, but he appeared to win few, if any, Democrats to his side, and even some key Republicans said they still want more details about his plans.

Perhaps no Democrat plays a more pivotal role, for now at least, than Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who has expressed more willingness to work with the president than has any other senator in his party. But he said the speech did little to advance the debate, even though Bush said he would consider almost any idea other than raising payroll taxes.

"There are a lot of details that need to be laid out," Nelson said in an interview after the speech. Some of the missing details "are wonkish," Nelson said, referring to actuarial tables and such, but he said he hopes Bush will dive into them when he visits Omaha tomorrow.

Nebraska is one of five politically competitive states the president is visiting today and tomorrow in hopes of moving a few Democratic senators into his camp. [...]

Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) said he talked to eight or nine colleagues who were disappointed that Bush did not spell out how he would pay for his plan.

"That said, the Democrats are going to have to get a better message on Social Security," Ford said. He added that part of the solution might be tax-deferred savings accounts. "Our only response cannot be to say, ' No.' "

Mr. Ford was positively dewy-eyed when the President was addressing youth gangs and the like. Karl Rove and the President should make recruiting him to the GOP a priority. Ben Nelson has apparently decided to flush his Senate seat.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 3, 2005 5:36 PM

Ben Nelson voted for Gonzalez, my guess is that he will run for re-election as a Democrat and start a 'Mediscare' type campaign to win over his state's large population of impecunious elderly.

Posted by: Bart at February 3, 2005 6:47 PM


Bingo. Now that Johanns is gone, we've got nobody to challenge him now. Plus, Nelson is popular in this quintessential red state (highest vote percentage for GOP prez candidates since WWII, Utah close second), as evidenced by the fact that my fellow Nebraskans re-elected him governor with over 70 percent of the vote.

I know you don't like the guy, but MAN I wish Osborne would've run against him. Oh, how I dream of 60.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 3, 2005 7:03 PM

Ford is running for Senate (Frist's seat will be vacant) in 2006; no way he switches.

Posted by: Dan at February 3, 2005 8:27 PM


That's the point--he'll win as a Republican, not as a Democrat.

Posted by: oj at February 3, 2005 10:12 PM

Tennessee already has a Democratic governor acting like a Republican in office, and one who ran Nashville as mayor in similar fashion. Why wouldn't Ford use Phil Bredesen's template to win election to the Senate, especially since Ford's already to the right of most other House Democrats?

Posted by: John at February 3, 2005 11:08 PM


Democrats don't win.

Posted by: oj at February 4, 2005 8:06 AM