Why The Call On Gay Marriage and Greenspan's Suggestion May Cripple Bush
At a time when George W. Bush was beginning his counterattack and preparing to use the war chest to bury either Kerry or Edwards, two developments in the last two days may seriously damage Bush with key and swing voters for the remainder of the campaign. One of these developments, Bush’s desperate call for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage to hold on to his wavering base, was by his and Karl Rove’s own hand. The other development, today’s despicable and illogical linkage of Bush’s deficits to Social Security cannot bode well for Bush as it will serve to remind voters that his deficits are being considered by the GOP as a blunt instrument against their Social Security benefits.
First, as the New Republic’s Ryan Lizza says today, Bush’s call for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage will only hurt him with gays, Democrats and more importantly independents. And Josh Marshall points out that a third of the Senate has already come out against a constitutional amendment, including moderate and conservative GOP senators. Furthermore, Tom DeLay and others in the House GOP don’t appear to be wild about pushing such an amendment through. And it will cost Bush the Log Cabin Republicans, who supported him as a compassionate conservative in 2000. So what will Bush get out of this but some temporary support from a base that is already mad at him over immigration, deficits, and the Medicare drug bill, for which seniors will punish him as well.
Now today, Greenspan not only touches the third rail of American politics, but he grabs Bush’s hands in doing it. Why? Because no matter how much Bush may try to distance himself from Greenspan’s comments, all the DSCC, DCCC, DNC, Kerry, and Edwards have to do from now on is to begin running commercials alleging that Bush will cut Social Security after the election to close the deficit and pay for his upper end tax cuts. Sure, as I said earlier today, there is no factual or empirical connection between current deficits caused by the Bush tax cuts and future Social Security demands. But that doesn’t matter now, since Greenspan has made a connection that can scare seniors and baby boomers into thinking that Bush will in fact cut Social Security after the election. The DSCC and DCCC can use such scare tactics now to argue that more Democrats needs to be elected to offset a GOP White House and protect Social Security. The DNC can make hay with this at all levels. And Kerry and Edwards can hammer Bush and the GOP over how the Bush deficits are being used as a weapon against Social Security, and why Bush cannot be trusted to protect Social Security after the election.
This issue will not only kill the GOP on Social Security this year, but it will remind voters once again about the Bush deficits, the Bush tax cuts for the well-off, the GOP preference to cut a middle class entitlement instead of rolling back upper end tax cuts, and it will allow both Kerry and Edwards to insert the issue of whether or not Bush can be trusted on this matter after the election. Plus, as a result of today’s testimony, the AARP has already rejected Greenspan’s formulation.
These two developments, coming on the heels of Bush’s deception over the extension of the 9/11 Commission and Condi Rice’s refusal to testify will only make matters worse in the coming weeks and make the Democratic soundbites easier. This may go down as one of the worst weeks Bush had in the campaign.