Wednesday, March 02, 2005


The Moose marvels that it is apparently easier for the President to sell democracy in the Middle East than to peddle social security privatization in Middle America.

These are trying times for the privateers. It appears that the dogs aren't eating the dog food. The Washington Post reports this morning,

"The Senate's top Republican said yesterday that President Bush's bid to restructure Social Security may have to wait until next year and might not involve the individual accounts the White House has been pushing hard.

"The comments of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), made as GOP lawmakers returned from a week of trying to sell the plan to voters, underscored the challenge facing the White House, especially in light of unbroken Democratic opposition.

"In terms of whether it will be a week, a month, six months or a year, as to when we bring something to the floor, it's just too early," Frist said.

"Frist is reluctant to put off a vote until 2006, when lawmakers will be focused on midterm congressional elections and the atmosphere will be more politically charged, aides said. But with polls showing widespread skepticism of Bush's proposal and some Republicans opposed to the approach, GOP leaders signaled yesterday that they may have no choice but to put off action.

"That a politician as closely allied to the White House as Frist would even raise the possibility of putting off the proposal until next year -- possibly dooming it -- was an unexpected blow to the administration."

Frist comments must have elicited some Senate regime change comments from the White House Deputy Chief of Staff. Have they no gratitude?

Although all of this is good news for the anti-privatization forces, it is hardly the time to break out the champagne. As the Moose has pointed out, this President has a Gumby-like flexibility when it comes to changing course to salvage a legislative proposal.

Although the social security battle has been likened to the fight over Clinton health care, there is a significant difference. Back then, President Clinton backed himself in a corner by threatening to veto any bill that didn't provide universal health care. In contrast, Bush has not limited his options.

He's not nearly as dumb as he would like you to think.
-- Posted at 8:23 AM | Link to this post | Email this post