Pelosi and crew have predictably reacted like Dem automatons by playing the fear card, evidently thinking that by accusing Boehner of touching the political third rail it will be the death knell for the GOP in 2010. But their reaction sounds more 1980 than 2010:
"The House Republican Leader John Boehner and his GOP colleagues want to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 and cut benefits in order to pay for George Bush's war and their failed policies of the past," House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said in a written statement. "Democrats will not stand for this."As if Clyburn has any clout after his ridiculous conspiracy theory about Alvin Greene, but anyway, the boilerplate is old school--old, one-room schoolhouse old school. There's a new breed of swing voter in America today who never thought they'd see social security proceeds anyway and don't like the Dems spending their grandchildren into unsustainable debt. Just today the CBO announced our debt-to-GDP ratio is now the highest since World War II (when we were last fighting for our very survival). Yet the Dems act as if the economy is recovering and everything is fine.
We know Madame P has already dismissed the tea party as a bunch of nazi cranks; and we know she's out saying they are going to retain the House because they don't take any race for granted; but having a cavalier attitude about spending says otherwise. It's not like her poll numbers are very high and it's not as if the G20 members didn't just slap Obama and his Keynesian stimulus buddies upside the head.
Miss Nancy also knows Boehner's proposal was silky smooth in that by exempting people within 20 years of retirement it diminishes the typical third rail outrage from the targets of the scare tactics--old farts who vote. If it won't affect grandpa and grandma it's not as big a play while at the same time playing to the tea party mantra of 'stop spending, stop spending'.
Bush tried to reform SS by painting it as a personal account that could be placed into markets. The reason the Dems reacted so rudely..
...is because most of them see the program as a clever tax/redistribution scheme allowing politicians to do exactly what Pelosi is trying to do now--hold it over the population, and not a personal pension program. It's the same place they are trying to take the nation's health care. It's pretty clear their preferred reform--should they ever publicly express anything--would be to means-test the "rich" while also removing the pay cap, in effect publicly announcing it as a tax/redistribution scheme for everyone to see.
Yet they can't, because that too is part of the third rail. There's supposed to be a lock box. So Boehner needs to be asking the Dems just how the devil they plan to fix the problem. Ask and ask often. That forces Pelosi to either admit to the ponzi scheme or back off, or dig her hole deeper.
Whether Boehner has the toughness to do that or whether electricity is still coursing through his sun tanned veins remains to be seen--maybe Palin will have to come to the rescue again or better yet, Chris Christie. Or maybe more tea parties. But somebody has to smack this ball. If the Dems retain the House without losing many seats the GOP is toast. They have to either retake one house or come very close, because we know the same media now covering for Obama on the economy (and everything else) will call it a mandate for socialism otherwise. So it's only the future of America at stake.