Thursday, January 06, 2005

Dressed for Success
As the Social Security debate gets rolling, Josh Marshall has two posts on the subject that are must reading for anybody who wants to understand the strategy and the stakes. First: Karl Rove has told Congressional Repugs that if the Bush plan isn't given bipartisan cover, it's in trouble, which means that Democrats need to stick together in opposition. (Marshall has a list of those Dems most likely to waver. If anybody reading this blog is represented by one of them, or has friends and family who are, get busy.) Second: This isn't about reforming Social Security at all--it's about destroying it, which has been an extremist Republican goal practically since the program's inception.

Getting rid of Social Security. Getting rid of the United Nations. Government through tribalism and fear of "the other." Triumphalist Christianity. No more "activist judges." Traditional family values. None of this is new stuff. It's all been simmering on the right since the days of FDR. Only in the last 25 years has it moved from the loony precincts to the respectable ones. But it's still the same agenda, only in a more expensive suit.

There's a plausible argument that the South actually won the Civil War, only it took 130 years to claim its victory. Perhaps there's an equally plausible argument that maybe, 40 or 50 years later than it expected, the John Birch Society is going to win its war against modernity, too.

Quote of the Day: In the first post I linked above, Josh offers a priceless interpretation of a quote from Congressman Tom Cole about how Bush's Social Security scheme must not fail, because it would mean serious repercussions in other areas, including foreign policy: "If Social Security is preserved, it would be a win for the terrorists."

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