March 27, 2005


He dares to believe: Throw out the arguments, numbers and logic on Social Security. Bush is moved by his instincts (David Shribman, March 27, 2005, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

After years (12 of them if you count the years of the presidency of Bush's father along with those of his new boon pal, Bill Clinton) of prudence and caution, members of the Bush administration have adopted daring as the new White House leitmotif. They dare to impose tax cuts in a recession, they dare to try to make those tax cuts permanent, they dare to nominate the sorts of judges whom even Ronald Reagan wouldn't contemplate selecting, they dare to take on the mainstream press in a way that even Richard Nixon wouldn't consider. They dare, therefore they are. [...]

In this context, the dare on Social Security isn't anything very remarkable at all. It's completely in the context of the times and the politics. It has become a commonplace to say that his opponents have underestimated President Bush. Most of the time that means they have underestimated his political skills and, most disastrously, his intelligence. He has both in surfeit, which is the kind of statement that gets his opponents really angry, probably because they have come to learn that it is true and wish desperately it weren't.

But they also underestimate his determination. He believes in freedom, which is why he talked the way he did on Inauguration Day, and he believes in ownership, which is why he talks the way he does on Social Security. He believes. He may believe in things his opponents do not, but he believes. Like so many of his rivals, he finds it hard to believe that everyone else doesn't believe what he does.

That might be the best explanation for what he is doing -- or will soon be doing, for there is very little flesh on the bones of his proposal right now -- on Social Security. He believes it is better to own (securities or mutual funds) than to rent (which is essentially what a pay-as-you-go system like Social Security consists of) and he's willing to fight.

It sometimes seems the only two mainstream journalists with any grasp of George W. Bush are David Shribman and, improbably enough, Bill Keller.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2005 8:46 AM

They dare to impose tax cuts in a recession? Yeah, what sort of righty ignoramous would suggest cutting taxes in a recession?

Posted by: David Cohen at March 27, 2005 1:31 PM

I am always amazed that people without any contact with Bush opine so confidently about how he reasons. They are posers, of course. Worse, their intellects and wills are so underdeveloped, as proven by their presumption and writing, that even if they did have direct access they would be incapable of understanding what they saw.

Posted by: Luciferous at March 28, 2005 12:31 PM

Keller? He doesn't seem to be able to share his insights with his underlings.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 28, 2005 12:49 PM