Monday :: Apr 25, 2005
Dubya's Dream Denied
Via The Carpetbagger Report, it appears that Fred Barnes, of all people, is urging the White House to pack it in on Social Security privatization. Quoth the über-hack:
Bush's focus on Social Security reform has exacted a political cost. The president's foreign policy has become stunningly successful and the economy is strong and growing despite soaring gas prices and a shaky stock market. Yet his job performance rating in nearly every poll is 50 percent or less. What's the reason? It's certainly not Bush's limited involvement in the Terri Schiavo case. And gas prices have been stuck at about $2.00 a gallon for only a few weeks. No, it must be Social Security.
If Bush is forced to accept defeat on Social Security, it's important he do it the right way. If he's petulant, it will only make things worse. And if he says the fight isn't over yet and he's going to try again in the next Congress to push through a reform measure, it will only make life easier for Democrats. They've become completely reactionary and have nothing to campaign on in 2006. Keeping Social Security reform alive would give them an issue to run on--or rather against.
Let's leave aside Barnes's patented apparatchik-speak (Bush's limited involvement in the Terri Schiavo case??). Is Skippy actually willing to concede defeat on Social Security? It's well-established that he hates losing, which is an otherwise admirable trait, except when it borders on self delusion. (Example A: Bush more certain than ever on Iraq war) Waving the white flag on Social Security, in addition to being personally humiliating, would extinguish a dream he's harbored since 1978. Unless a cold breeze of common sense overtakes the White House, I think Dubya is more than willing to hang Congressional Republicans out to dry in 2006 so that he won't have to give up his quixotic dream. And that would be a shame, right?