Saturday, February 12, 2005

Rolling back sixty years of progress

Barbara Boxer ran a listless reelection campaign this Fall, and only the utter hopelessness of the California Republican Party saved her. But ever since the new session of Congress began, I've almost wanted to examine her neck for bite marks -- is this really the same mealy-mouthed liberal softy? Out of nowhere she's come along and become the moral conscience and voice of outrage of the Party.

Boxer wasn't great on Condi--I thought Chris Dodd was far better, since he went after going-forward policies--but at least she went after Rice and voted against her. And now she's going after Bush's Social Security balderdash. Her method is straight-forward: unearth statements made by the target of her attacks, and hold them to account.

Let me call attention to one particular passage in the Social Security speech, since it's related to a theme I've been hammering for months now:

[Bush's] initiative is not about meeting the challenges of Social Security to keep it sound; it is not about bringing together Democrats and Republicans as Ronald Reagan did to ensure that full benefits will be there for all Americans.

It is about one thing and one thing only: destroying Social Security. How do I know that? Am I being partisan? Am I being unfair by stating in a very clear way that I believe the true goal here is to destroy Social Security?

Not at all. I am simply telling the truth as told by this very White House. On January 6, 2005, the White House wrote a Social Security memo. Although marked "not for attribution," fortunately, we have it.

The most telling sentence in the entire memo is this: "For the first time in six decades the Social Security battle is one we can win – and in doing so, we can help transform the political and philosophical landscape of the country."

Imagine: for six decades – that's 60 years – the right wing has been after Social Security.

These guys want to roll back the twentieth century. It's not an exaggeration.

Update: If you want to see the whole memo, the WSJ helpfully reprints it.

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