Urbin Report

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Kerry Fearmongering continues

The Wall Street Journal points out he is going after seniors now:

You can tell it's getting close to Election Day, because the senior scare campaign is back. John Kerry got things going over the weekend with an accusation that President Bush is planning a "January surprise" to "privatize" Social Security. And, right on time, his campaign is rolling out an ad that claims Mr. Bush "has a plan that cuts Social Security benefits by 30% to 45%."

We are supposed to believe that the peg for this accusation is a story in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, by Bush antagonist Ron Suskind, that the President told a group of donors he was going to push hard for tort reform, tax reform and private Social Security accounts in January if he wins re-election. Please. If this is a scoop, journalistic standards are slipping more than we thought.

The "surprise" that Mr. Bush wants to reform Social Security was merely disclosed last month before, oh, the 28 million people and thousands of journalists who watched his Republican Convention speech.

"We will always keep the promise of Social Security for our older workers," Mr. Bush said in New York. "With the huge Baby Boom generation approaching retirement, many of our children and grandchildren understandably worry whether Social Security will be there when they need it. We must strengthen Social Security by allowing younger workers to save some of their taxes in a personal account--a nest egg you can call your own, and government can never take away." If the Bush donors thought they were being let in on some top secret agenda, they should demand their money back.

No, what's really going on here is another late-innings attempt to scare seniors into believing that Mr. Bush wants to take their benefits away. Trailing late in the 2000 race, Al Gore tried this and it almost won him the White House. Mr. Gore narrowly lost in Pennsylvania among voters younger than age 65, according to the exit polls, but he won 60% to 38% among seniors. Now Bob Shrum, who advised Mr. Gore, is attempting the same gambit with his new boss, John Kerry.