Tags: Social | Security | Bush | Topic | Blunder

Social Security a Bush Topic Blunder

Monday, 18 October 2004 12:00 AM

Yesterday the Kerry Campaign seized upon this statement and by last night was already running TV commercials slamming Bush for wanting to “cut Social Security by 35-40%.” And Kerry himself has incorporated this into his basic stump speech.

Not for nothing is this sensitive issue called the ‘Third Rail of American politics.’

Four years ago Mr. Bush pulled the same tactic. At that time I wrote the same thing: the political costs of bringing this issue up in the final stages of a campaign far outweigh the negligible benefits. (Many readers objected to my column. But history showed that in areas with strong senior citizen populations - Florida and Pennsylvania - Mr. Bush lost a whopping 25% of his vote in the last week of the campaign.)

I am not arguing that Social Security doesn’t need to be fixed; I am saying that bringing it up in the final 2 weeks of a campaign simply hands tons of ammo to Kerry and the Democrats who are dying to have a new line of attack against President Bush.

Who exactly does Bush think he is going to get to vote for him who otherwise would not have voted for him? The ones most keen on Social Security Reform are members of the so-called ‘Investor Class’ - a group overwhelmingly pro-Bush already.

On the other end of the equation, seniors are apoplectic over anything that even hints of cutting their fixed Social Security income payments. And these voters vote in extraordinarily high percentages. Many are already wary of the new Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, and now this ‘privatizing’ Social Security just spooks them even more.

Seniors in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Arizona could be the very voting bloc that decides this presidential election. And now Bush has handed Kerry a potent weapons for the final two weeks.

One other point today: for almost a year this column has focused on the Passion Differential - that gap between those voters who have a white-hot hatred for Bush versus the pro-Bush forces. This differential - not John Kerry or much that he says or does - will determine the winner on November 2.

We can already see signs that this differential may be happening: huge last-minute registration of new voters is occurring across the nation - especially in Democratic areas.

Election offices are so swamped that they have to hire temporary workers to process all the new applicants.

Funded by the DNC and George Soros, the Democrats have done politics the old fashioned way: they have gone out and identified Democrats who aren’t registered and did not vote in 2000. They are IDing each and every one of these potential Kerry voters, registering them and you can bet they’ll get them to the polls on November 2.

The GOP has always done a much, much better job of this grass-roots registration and get-out-the-vote program. So the upside for the GOP is much less; we already have these voters registered and voting.

If Kerry goes into Election Day tied, he will win based on this Passion Differential. And we will know it by noon or so when we see lines in Democratic areas - Cleveland, Philadelphia, Madison, Minneapolis and Miami - around the block.

102-102

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Yesterday the Kerry Campaign seized upon this statement and by last night was already running TV commercials slamming Bush for wanting to "cut Social Security by 35-40%." And Kerry himself has incorporated this into his basic stump speech. Not for nothing is this...
Social,Security,Bush,Topic,Blunder
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2004-00-18
Monday, 18 October 2004 12:00 AM
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