Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006

1/10/2005

Blood Sport

If there was any thought that the Democratic Party would put partisanship aside so that Social Security could be salvaged, they just evaporated. We can only hope the White House has the bandwidth to read Hugh Hewitt's warning on the politics of the issue. Clearly the plan of the minority party is to demagogue this issue right back into power -- to the great harm of anyone who hopes to collect on the system in 20 years or more.

After running (and winning) on the issue of fundamental reform of this most sacrosanct of entitlements for three consecutive election cycles, one would think the White House would be prepared to engage the rhetorical battle. Evidently not.

Unless the President is able to quickly begin re-framing the issue he can say goodbye to this once-in-a-generation opportunity to save the nation's retirement system. Unfortunately, by the time another generation comes and goes it will be too late and the actuarial tables will be upside down.

The political implications, while not as important, are every bit as real. Does the White House really expect promising candidates to take the plunge for a Senate run knowing that their incumbent Democratic opponents will shread them for a "40 percent cut in benefits"? Unless the President's team gets in front of this issue -- and fast -- they can expect a dearth of recruiting talent for the next Senate election cycle and the '06 campaign could look an awful lot like the 1986 campaign -- the last second term mid-terms for a Republican president. Unless Messrs. Rove and Mehlman get their act together, Mark Kennedy and others would be well advised to hunker down rather than run into a meatgrinder of Social Security sophistry.


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