Republicans tell Bush "Not So Fast"posted by Ron Beasley at 1/11/2005 09:45:00 AM
NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.
Most alarming to White House officials, some congressional Republicans are panning the president's plan -- even before it is unveiled. "Why stir up a political hornet's nest . . . when there is no urgency?" said Rep. Rob Simmons (Conn.), who represents a competitive district. "When does the program go belly up? 2042. I will be dead by then."Conservative columnist Bill Kristol doesn't think it makes any sense.
Simmons said there is no way he will support Bush's idea of allowing younger Americans to divert some of their payroll taxes into private accounts, especially when there are more pressing needs, such as shoring up Medicare and providing armor to U.S. troops in Iraq.
Rep. Jack Kingston (Ga.), a member of the GOP leadership, said 15 to 20 House Republicans agree with Simmons, although others say the number is closer to 40.
William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, is challenging the president's assertions that Social Security is in crisis and that Republicans will be rewarded for fixing it. Republicans are privately "bewildered why this is such a White House priority," he said. "I am a skeptic politically and a little bit substantively."The Republican Lawmakers look at the polls and don't like what they see.
"I don't buy the partisan argument that Republicans benefit by somehow carving up this Democratic program," Kristol said. He contended it could undermine other GOP initiatives, such as making Bush's tax cuts permanent, because it would sap money and the president's political capital.
Some Republicans question whether Bush's victories had anything to do with Social Security. A post-election survey by Pew found that Social Security was named by 1 percent of voters as the most important or second most important issue in deciding their vote.Many predicted that Bush would overstep his bounds in a second term. It would appear that the spin and lies on this pig aren't sticking.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll in late December found that 1 in 4 Americans thinks the Social Security system is in crisis, and the percentage that says the country is facing a Social Security crisis has gone down, not up, since 1998.
More on Social Security