Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Private Dancers

Politically speaking, it seems ridiculous for the Bush administration to bring up their privatization scheme for Social Security again before the mid-term elections. The last push the administration made for shifting the federal retirement program funds into private hands failed miserably simply because the American people don’t want this popular program to be messed with. So why bring it up again now?

The only things that have changed since the last SS privatization push are, President Bush’s poll numbers have slid even further, most Americans say they would prefer Democrats to run the Congress and the Republican Medicare prescription drug program has been rolled out and has proved a disaster for seniors all across the country. Not exactly the kind of political capital necessary for a dramatic overhaul of one of the most popular government programs ever created. Privatizing Social Security was a loser last year and it will be a loser for Republicans again this year, which makes me think that actually getting the scheme instituted is not the real reason the White House is bringing it up again.

One of the major complaints the American people have right now is the lack of oversight of this executive branch by Congress. Republicans running for re-election are trying to assert their independence and show that they are willing to stand up to the Bush administration. What could be better than a bunch of Republican House and Senate members standing on the steps of the Capitol, shoulder to shoulder like Vegas showgirls, vowing to protect Social Security? They can put on a show about how concerned they are for our seniors and for the health of the program, acknowledging the solvency problem but standing firm by shouting in unison, “this plan goes too far and our first priority is protecting this program for our seniors today and for generations of seniors to come.” If I was Karl Rove, this is exactly the kind of photo-op that I would set up.

At this point, the Republicans are only interested in holding on to their majority. They have no interest in governing, why would they, they don’t believe that government works anyway. But beyond the normal Republican cynicism that pushes to end regulation of industry, roll back social progress and put public funds into the hands of private wealth collectors, I get the sense that now they have abandoned even those objectives in favor of doing nothing substantive and focusing solely on hollow political posturing. The Republican led Congress can’t fix Social Security, or the deficit, or the loss of jobs, or the stagnant wages for workers, or the hemorrhaging of money into the sink hole of this disastrous war, but they can pretend to care about protecting the American people and continue to put a happy face on the war they started and the economy they have reshaped to favor the wealthy while punishing the rest of us.

All of the polls suggest a level of dissatisfaction with the direction of the country that spells trouble for the Republicans in November. This administration has ignored the will of the people, thwarted our laws and squandered our money and they did it all with the invaluable help of Republicans in Congress. As ill informed as many Americans are, we can still feel in our guts that things aren’t going well and the voters are ready to hand the reigns over to the Democrats if for no other reason than to slow down the Bush administration’s attempts to drive our country into the ground. I just wish I had faith that a clean election is possible in November.

With so much to lose, I just can’t imagine that a White House with Karl Rove at the political helm won’t do anything and everything to ensure their rubber stamp Congress stays intact. I don’t know if I can take another round of post election hand wringing by Democrats trying to figure out where they went wrong. At some point, the most obvious answer has to be, at least, given a cursory look. I hope it doesn’t come down to that, but I for one am prepared much better for it this time around.


Anonymous curious said...

Welcome back, but what new push for social security reform are you talking about?

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

LG~ Welcome back X 2!

Now let's deconstruct this lap dance, uh, I mean private dance.

“this plan goes too far and our first priority is protecting this program for our seniors today and for generations of seniors to come.”

First of all, there is no inclination to protectS S in any elected Repug's DNA.

Secondly, while they might line up like Vegas show girls what people will see is crocodiles shedding tears!

Thirdly, exactly which Repugs will be able to line up without their votes, and or newsclips supporting Dubya's earlier SS 'reform', thrown back in their faces?

Also, if this does come up it will likely be after Bush makes an even bigger fool of himself by exercising his first veto against a bipartisan bill supporting increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Could be that Rove's reprieve from Fitz is a blessing in disguise, considering the lameness of the 'sanctity of marriage act, the anti flag burning amendment and the impending slap downs!

7:02 PM  
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10:44 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Curious--Sorry, I'm a little rusty and forgot to put a link to the press release from the White House (it's up now).

Just a few days ago President Bush renewed his commitment to privatizing Social Security, which just seems like a stupid political move unless it's orchestrated to give Congressional Republicans an opportunity to "stand up" to the White House prior to the elections.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous curious said...

Thanks for the link. Looks more like a retreat to me, but you could be right. It might be a clever tactic to allow Republicans to stand up to the president, but it seems to me he would have made a bigger deal about it if that was the plan.

6:06 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dale--Thanks for the welcome home! I missed you too.

Curious--Of course I could also be wrong. I think that the big push is coming and this speech was just the prelude, but it might also be Bush reassuring his base that after the elections he will give it one more go. But another run at privatization after the election will only succeed if the Republicans actually manage to pick up seats and if the elections in November are legit, that simply won't happen.

9:11 AM  

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