There is lots of room for fruitful debate around social security in the United States. However the war between Romney and Perry is nothing but political grandstanding. Political grandstanding that will continue to be a wedge issue between them and independents (which I have previously pointed out are the most important voters). Instead of vitriolic name-calling and “he said, she said” back and forth, candidates with a bully pulpit such as Romney and Perry should be proposing genuine fixes to social security.
While Obama has largely been keeping his nose out of divisive issues (Obama mainly has the right wing media ecosystem to thank for the alienation of the center and right), hopeful Republican candidates have been going to town on the right side of the political spectrum. Romney and Perry, who share the largest portion of our attention, have reiterated stances which pander to the right but alienate everybody else. While their comments about taxes and regulations may have some basis in fact, their comments and stances on social security add nothing to the legitimate debate and offer only to alienate independents and those beholden to the system. Perry has labelled social security unconstitutional and a “Ponzi scheme” and claims that it must be scrapped. Perry also maintains he will continue support for those currently on social security, but does not explain how. Romney, in an attempt to appear more moderate than Perry, has simply called for a complete overhaul of social security. However neither Romney nor Perry propose any solutions to the problem, apart from those that are already in circulation.
If Romney and Perry genuinely cared about affecting change in social security they need to move the chains. Only with new and genuine proposals for change can they force Obama and the democrats to also take on the issue. Only once a spectrum-wide debate on social security has begun will politicians in Washington have the cover to do what is needed. As long as Romney and Perry continue a race to the right on the issue, they will further alienate independents and the left.
Romney campaign seizes on Perry’s Social Security comments
BY PHILIP RUCKER
The Washington Post
9 Sep 2011
corona del mar, calif. — If Texas Gov. Rick Perry was looking for a sign that the United States was ready for the “provocative language” about Social Security he offered in Wednesday night’s debate, he quickly found one here. After praising his…read more…