Who's Really Pathetic Now, Mr. Bush?
"You'll hear the same rhetoric you hear every campaign, believe me — `They're going to take away Social Security checks.' It's the most tired, pathetic way to campaign for the presidency."
--George W. Bush, September 13, 2004
"There will be a real attempt to stick that on the president, but the fact that Senator Kerry five times has voted for the premium increase, I believe, puts anything he says in jeopardy," said the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee.
The Bush campaign advertisement, titled "Medicare Hypocrisy," says, "It was Mr. Kerry who voted five times to raise Medicare premiums." The votes, from 1985 to 1997, were not on premiums alone, but on comprehensive budget bills that included hundreds of provisions affecting Medicare and scores of other federal programs.
--The New York Times, September 11, 2004
Information the Bush administration excluded from its 2004 report on the Medicare program shows that a typical 65-year-old can expect to spend 37% of his or her Social Security income on Medicare premiums, co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses in 2006. That share is projected to grow to almost 40% in 2011 and nearly 50% by 2021….The disclosure comes just days after the administration announced Medicare premiums will rise by 17% next year due to rising health costs.
--USA Today, September 14, 2004
No Mr. Bush and Mr. Frist, it is not pathetic to point out to seniors that Social Security and Medicare are in jeopardy because of GOP lies, mismanagement, and duplicity. This is just stating the facts. What is pathetic however is:
-To see a president withhold information from Congress and the American people on the true costs of a Medicare drug benefit program;
-To see a president remove cost containment provisions from that benefit program at the request of his Big PharMa campaign contributors that will ensure that the program will be a costly corporate welfare boondoggle;
-To see a president then announce a 17% increase in Medicare premiums due to rising health care costs and then blame his political opponent for these cost increases, when in fact the votes in question were for budget bills dealing with hundreds of items voted for by Mr. Frist as well;
-To see a president do nothing to deal with the rising costs of health care in his entire first term, except to push for illogical tort reform, and then sell himself as a reformer;
-To see a president do nothing to extend health insurance to the uninsured and even see a multi-million increase in the ranks of uninsured and those in poverty in four short years, and then bash his opponent for having a plan that is too costly and as having too much government;
-To see a president swear to never break into the multi-trillion dollar Social Security lockbox left behind by his predecessor and Al Gore (the real president), and then spend that money on tax cuts for the rich;
-To see a president tout his plan for now “saving” Social Security without telling the American people how much it will cost to privatize it and the fact that the funds to do so have been obliterated by your own deficit spending.
So it truly is pathetic to see a president with the gall to label his opponent pathetic for telling voters the truth about how that president has intentionally done nothing on Social Security or Medicare, except to ensure that both head into insolvency while you looted the lockboxes for both to give Ken Lay a tax cut.
If I am the Kerry camp, I start running the commercials along these lines now, and ask the voters which candidate is really pathetic now?