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[From the diaries -- Hunter]

Social Security was signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. Since then, it has been the fundamental bedrock of the New Deal, and of our commitment as Americans to form a more perfect Union.

It was passed against solid Republican opposition. 99% of the Republicans in the House tried to kill the Social Security Act by sending the bill back to committee. The Democrats controlled the House, and the GOP attempt failed. When the bill moved to the Senate, 63% of Senate Republicans again tried to kill the bill. They failed in the Senate as well, and Social Security became the law of the land.

The payroll tax to fund the program was scheduled to begin on January 1, 1937, and the Republicans were confident that they could win the presidential election of 1936 by campaigning against Social Security. Arthur Schlesinger writes in Politics of Upheaval:

At last the Republicans felt they had found an issue. Excited reports rolled into Landon: thus from Ohio - "The labor vote has stayed unimpressed and adamant until now that the Social Security issue is brought home to them. This state is all agog over payroll reduction." As voting day came nearer, Republican orators harped with ever-increasing intensity on the horror which lay ahead. The Social Security Act, said Frank Knox, "puts half the working people of America under federal control."

The Republican nominee, Alf Landon, claimed that Social Security was "unjust, unworkable, stupidly drafted, and wastefully financed" and the idea of guaranteed benefits was a "cruel hoax".

The Republican campaign of 1936 was the end of the progressive wing of the Republican Party, just as the Goldwater campaign twenty-eight years later would doom the moderate wing. The ideological heirs of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt left the party in droves. The chairman of the Social Security Board, a progressive Republican named John Winant, resigned his position to campaign for FDR.

Republican advertisements claimed that workers would see their names replaced with "New Deal numbers", and that they would have to wear metal dog-tags. On the Monday before Election Day, the Hearst papers ran front page headlines screaming "Do You Want A Tag And A Number In The Name Of False Security?".

Roosevelt, in the words of his biographer, was driven to fury. In a speech at Madison Square Garden he pointed out that "never before in all history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."

As the crowd, which filled the Garden to the rafters, roared approval, Roosevelt continued, "The recovery we are winning is more than economic. In it are included justice and love and humility, not for ourselves as individuals alone, but for our nation. That is the road to peace."

The election was expected to be close. Literary Digest had famously predicted a Republican victory, and in the days before reliable polling, no one knew how the scare tactics would play. When the early results came in, Roosevelt asked for reconfirmation; the margins couldn't be that large. They were. The verdict was clear. No president since George Washington had won such a victory. Roosevelt won more votes than any candidate in history. He won the largest plurality ever, and the highest proportion of electoral votes since 1820. The Democrats were rewarded with the largest House majority since 1855, and the largest Senate majority since 1869. The tally was 27,476,673 for Roosevelt, and 16,679,583 for Landon.

For years, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation" had been a political aphorism, but after the election of 1936, the joke became "As Maine goes, so goes Vermont". Mr. Roosevelt carried the other 46 states.

In 1939, the Democrats proposed extending Social Security benefits to dependents and survivors of retired workers. Three-quarters of the Republican Congressional delegation voted against the bill, again trying to kill it in committee. Again they failed, and so despite their efforts, millions of middle class Americans saw their economic security solidified, and the ever-increasing promise of America made real.

The war effort pushed domestic policy to the backburner for the remainder of the Roosevelt Administration, but when the Republicans recaptured the Congress in 1948, their leadership declared their intent to end Social Security. Harry Truman gave them hell, and Social Security was preserved. In 1950, the Democrats voted to extend Social Security benefits to the disabled, but 89% of the Republican delegation voted against the proposal. The Republicans still controlled the legislature, and the proposal was defeated.

1952 saw the election of Dwight Eisenhower, whose refusal to go along with his party's efforts to kill Social Security cemented the status of the New Deal as an American guarantee, and not only a Democratic one. The Republican Congress was not so progressive, and they were thrown out and the Democrats returned to power. In 1956, the Democratic-controlled legislature was able to pass the disability benefit. 86% of Senate Republicans voted no.

In 1964, the Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater, who was the last Republican to openly campaign for the elimination of Social Security. Since his historic landslide defeat, the radical Republicans have learned to hide their goals in liberal and progressive-sounding rhetoric. It's popular these days to suggest that 1964 was the beginning of the Republican resurgence, but that's hardly the case. In addition to sending Lyndon Johnson back to the White House, the Goldwater campaign decimated the Republican Congressional caucus, and the Democrats increased their majorities to 68 in the Senate, and 295 in the House. Until the southern Democrats defected over civil rights, the Democratic majority was untouchable. As Brad DeLong writes:

In the short run Goldwaterism had other consequences: the damage it did to Republican congressional power were the only things that made the Great Society possible: the Johnson-era expansions of the social insurance state and the Nixon and post-Nixon-era expansions of the regulatory state were possible only on congressional foundations that had been created by Goldwater's Samson act directed against the Republican establishment.

To make possible the Great Society--and then to cheer when Ronald Reagan rolls back 10% of it--Goldwaterism was the greatest own-goal and act of political delusion by conservatives in the twentieth century.

The Republican Party, chastised by their continual defeat, swung back towards the middle, with Presidents Nixon and Ford governing as domestic-policy and economic liberals. But the conservatives had tasted power, and eventually captured the party after the bitter and divisive primaries of 1976 and 1980. Their views never changed. George W. Bush ran for Congress on 1978 claiming that Social Security would be broke in 10 years, and that phasing it out with private accounts was the only answer. He was soundly defeated in that election.

Ronald Reagan was a conservative in the Barry Goldwater mold, and when he was elected in 1980, slash-and-burn government became the modus operandi of the Republican Party. But liberalism had long since won the day, even while the continuous rhetorical assault on the name "liberal" succeeded.

And so when Reagan moved Social Security to the front of his agenda in 1981, and proposed $200 billion in cuts, he found himself isolated from his Congressional allies. His proposal included a reduction of early retirement benefits, a delay in cost of living adjustments, slashed eligibility for disability pay, and a 10% cut in guaranteed benefits for all new retirees. The Senate quashed his proposal 96-0.

With their big assault blunted, the President and Senate Republicans proposed cutting benefits by $40 billion over three years. And in 1985, the GOP-controlled Senate voted to eliminate cost of living adjustments, as a first step in phasing out the program. Vice President Bush cast the tie-breaking vote, and the measure cleared the Senate. The House was firmly Democratic, and the bill was defeated.

The Democrats ran on Social Security in the 1986 midterm elections, and recaptured the Senate.

Why do they do this? What causes the Republican Party to continually shoot itself in the foot over Social Security? Every time they've gained control of the government in the last sixty years, they have without hesitation turned their guns on the New Deal. They always do it, and they always lose. The answer, I suppose, is because they believe it. Philosophically, they don't believe that government should help provide the average American with economic security. They believe that relying on the government saps the will and makes one less free. I think that's a load of crap, but it's what they believe, and I respect that, and we can have a legitimate political debate.

This time, though, the Republicans have decided to obfuscate their goals, and cloak their agenda with progressive language. It's "Clear Skies" all over again. That's why George Bush misquoted Franklin Roosevelt during his State of the Union. It's why they are so dishonest about the costs of the program. It's why the reason for private accounts keeps changing. It's why they are reluctant to provide any actual numbers or proposals.

They want to undermine public confidence in the program by pretending that it is on the verge of collapse. They want to de-fund it, and watch Social Security wither on the vine. They don't actually care how it's done; private accounts, cost of living adjustments, price-indexing vs. wage-indexing. The mechanism doesn't matter to them. What matters is destroying the public trust in government, and turning Social Security from a minimum guarantee into a retirement account, subject to the vagaries of the free market. And once that guarantee is gone, there is no reason to keep the program going. There's no reason to have the government provide retirement accounts; we can do that on our own. And that, of course, is their point.

The Republicans are smart people, and they've learned from their previous mistakes. They see how Goldwater and Reagan and Gingrich failed. They have a brief moment now to strike, while they control all the levers of power in Washington. Unlike Goldwater and Reagan, they aren't bothering to attack the philosophical foundations of liberalism, or to win the debate on the role of government. You won't catch Bush traveling to Tennessee, as Goldwater did, to give a fire-and-brimstone speech denouncing the Tennessee Valley Authority. You won't catch Bush traveling to Philadelphia, Mississippi, as Reagan did, to sing the virtues of states' rights. They know those arguments are lost, and so they have adopted the language of progressivism.

They feign allegiance to the goals of the New Deal and the Great Society, and they move to undermine its foundation. "Starve the beast," says the Club for Growth. "The Constitution in Exile," bleats the Federalist Society. Explode the budget, de-fund popular government programs, install judges who will chip away at Wickard and the modern understanding of the Commerce clause. This is their agenda; this is their plan of attack.

The defense must be mounted now. We must not compromise on this issue. We need to stand united in defense of the New Deal. It is not enough, of course, for the Democratic Party to be only the party of the New Deal. The promise of America must be expanded to include all of us. Freedom from fear, and freedom from want must be the heritage of all Americans. Universal health care and a clean environment. True energy independence, and a foreign policy that restores our moral authority. We need to fight for a progressive agenda. We need to stand tall as Democrats and fight for what we believe.

But right now, at this moment, we need to derail the Republican assault on Social Security. We have the votes to stop them in the Senate, and their support in Congress and in the country is far weaker than ours. Stop them now, nationalize the 2006 mid-terms, and turn that election into a referendum on the wisdom of the Republican phase-out plan.

The Democrats need to resist the temptation to make a deal with the Republicans on Social Security. Not only is it bad policy, it's bad politics. This is our issue, and control of the Congress is a zero-sum game. In order for us to win, the Republicans need to lose.

This is a very old and familiar story. They've tried this many times before, and we've stopped them many times before. The Republicans are stronger now than they have been in the past, and the fight will be harder this time. But we can still win it, and in doing so, we can weaken them and help return a progressive Democratic majority to Washington.

Update, March 7, 6:07 PM: I've created this diary as a repository of my references and citations.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 01:42 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A bonus question. (4.00)
    Which modern, high-profile Democrat is frequently pilloried in the press for saying hateful and destructive things like "They are unaminous in their hatred for me, and I welcome their hatred."?
  •  great diary (none)
    History major?
    or professor?
  •  This essay (4.00)
    should be required reading for every American who earns 80k or less.  The republican assault on the middle and lower economic classes is amoral.
  •  No crisis, no problem, no deals. (4.00)
    We don't go to the table to bargain with Bush.
    We have a healthy SS system for 40 years, and if the economy does as well as it has historically, it will be good for an additional 30. The stress that the boomers cause will be gone.
    No crisis, no problem, no deals.

    We need to clean up the federal deficit and debt, our IMMEDIATE problem before we take on a posible problem 40 years from now.

    I can't stress highly enough

    We cannot sit at the bargaining table with these guys. They are not honest brokers, and they have too much power. 2.5 branches of government, all regulatory bodies, and the media.

    We do not negotiate from such a strategically weak position. We do not negotiate with dishonest brokers.

    40 years, we are in debt, they want to destroy the system. No crisis, no problem, no deals.
    40 years, we are in debt, they want to destroy the system. No crisis, no problem, no deals.

    If they insist on a plan coming from the Democrats we say: raise the cap. We call it the FICA Fairness Initiative, or something like that.

    No crisis, no problem, no deals.

    •  We could also shift to more pressing issues (4.00)
      • Renewable energy - How far does $2T (wow, trillion...don't see that abbreviation too often) go to promoting energy independence.

      • Health Care - How far does $2T go to promoting healthy citizens.

      • Education - How far does $2T go to bettering education.

      • Child Care - How far does $2T go to making the 2 breadwinner family manageable for Americans.

      There are more pressing crises, better ways to spend $2T, than on creating another IRA that does not even address a possible problem 40-50 years into the future.
      •  2T and healthcare (4.00)
        Excellent point.

        The congressional candidate I worked for last year proposed a 2% individual payroll tax and 7% business payroll tax to pay for a national health insurance plan.

        Think of the quality of life improvement for tens of millions of Americans if everyone was guaranteed health care. In my humble opinion, it would far outweigh the quality of life improvement from private accounts.

        Plus it'd cut down on those pesky individual bankruptcies that Nelson, Carper, Johnson hate so much!

      •  Even better if it's 4.5T (N/T) (none)
        (Or whatever the other projected number is)

        The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

        by Shapeshifter on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 10:55:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually it should be an immediate reframe (4.00)
      to Oil Dependence.

      Why oil?

      Because Bush knows that it is not going to be around 40 years down the road.

      Talk about a crisis.

      Our entire economy is based on oil. Crude increases directly translate into higher prices for EVERYTHING.

      Heating, cooling, transportation, trucking, plastics, everything gets more expensive.

      We can't lose if we reframe to the Oil Crisis frame.

      Gas is just about to go out the roof. Hubberts peak is coming, if it is not here already.

      That is a crisis.

      Not to mention global warming and pollution.

      •  Good framing (none)
        Perhaps it is just the repetition of it on other diaries, but in this context it deserves a 6.

        "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?" (Hillel was a liberal)

        by 4jkb4ia on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:02:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  In other Social Security News (none)
      CNN is calling Bush on some choice lies he's been spreading. I've got a diary up about it here. I'm not sure which is more newsworthy. That Bush has been lying through his teeth, or that thed MSM is calling him on it.

      How much will you lose with Bush's Social Security plan? Click to find out.

      by Goldfish on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 02:50:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do not raise the cap (4.00)
      This "fall-back" is part of the ruse.  The tax cuts (and virtually all other aspects of taxation, such as enforcement, tax shelters, deferred compensation) are overwhelmingly tilted toward the "donor class" of those making 500K+. (See Perfectly Legal for the gory details.)  

      The Treasury Notes that may come due in 2018 (or later if the economy grows fster) should be paid by rollbacks of the tax cuts for the wealthiest.  If you raise the cap, without any change in the upper bracket tax cuts, you are literally taxing upper middle class Peter to pay for upper upper class Paul.  See Atrios on this.

      The wealthy's tax cut has already been funded by FICA taxes paid by those who don't pay any income tax, or whose FICA exceeds its income tax.  It has also been funded by more and more middle class suckers whose tax cut was wiped out by the AMT.

      Diverting funds through privatization is one way to steal our 20 years of FICA payments.  Raising the cap is another way to achieve the same end without any pain for the Ken Lays of the world.

  •  What do they put in the water... (none) Maine and Vermont? All of these conservatives gave birth to a generation of liberals.
    •  Worth a diary on its own (4.00)
      My take: as Ben says, 1936 was the end of progressive Republican influence in the GOP. Landon was actually reasonably progressive, with ties to labor unions.

      The history behind the New England GOP progressives and moderates -- and why so many voters continue to support their heirs, who have no influence in their own party -- is worth a diary of its own.  (I don't know enough to write it.)

      Incidentally, the first Chairman of the Social Security Board, appointed by FDR in 1935, was John Winant, formerly Republican Governor of New Hampshire.

      I've got blisters on my fingers!

      by Elwood Dowd on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:19:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Still, I can't believe (none)
      I live in one of two states apparently suckered on Social Security.  

      Were moose not eligible for Social Security or something?  Sour grapes from the moose constituency?  Geez.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:24:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Since about 1860... (none)
        and until about 1964, Vermont was regarded as the star that never set in the Republican constellation.

        Only recently has Vermont started to go Democratic, and that's mostly because of all the 'flatlander' migrants over the past 20-25 years.

        Finish your beer. There are sober people in China.

        by xinhoj on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:40:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am honored to recommend this diary. (4.00)
    This is the best thing I've read about Social Security - ever.  It is honest, impressive work.  I am saving this diary for posterity, and forwarding it to my 11th grader, who is studying the Great Depression in AP US History (along with a reminder to cite his sources correctly!)  Thank you very much.
  •  More history (4.00)
    In 1935, frustrated by a series of 5-4 rulings by a conservative Supreme Court faction, Roosevelt introduced legislation that would have expanded the Court's size, enabling FDR to appoint enough justices to change the Court's direction. The "court packing plan" was rejected by Congress, but acted as a warning shot across the bow of the Court.

    In 1937 Justice Roberts switched positions and started voting to uphold FDR's new programs. Later that year the Constitutionality of Social Security was challenged, and upheld by a 5-4 vote.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 01:47:02 PM PST

  •  They need better spin (none)
    Really, when half the population is on to you like this, the pugs need a better way to manage their propaganda.

    Those damned bloggers, I tell ya.


  •  Excellent Diary (3.95)
    I'd like to pull a few pieces forward to propose a cohesive message:

    In 1936, 99% of House Republicans and 63% of Senate Republicans against founding Social Security.

    In 1939, 75% of Congressional Republicans voted against Social Security as we know it.

    In 1950, 89% of Congressional Republicans voted against Social Security as we know it.

    In 1956, 86% of Senate Republicans voted against Social Security as we know it.

    In 2005, how many Republicans will vote to end Social Security as we know it?

    The pattern is clear:
    Republicans consistently vote as if Retirement Security should be reserved for only the very wealthy in America.

    •  Gee (4.00)
      This needs to be a commercial.  But a positive one...what's use the percentage of Dems who voted for Soc Sec with the number of R's (reaching across the aisle).  Throughout history.

      And end with, One party has worked to create and save Social Security.  Now it's your turn, do you want to save Social Security?  

      •  Great commercial..I agree. (none)
        Simple and it in all the red states.

        Vote NO to Social Insecurity!

        by mattes on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:11:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'll agree (none)
        that it needs to be a commercial, but I really think it needs to go negative. They've made this a negative issue, negating social security, let 'em have both barrels.

        Blank screen, scroll those stats one by one, fade in/out.
        Slowly fading in loop of the "hey hey, ho ho" tape in the background so that by the end of the ad it's clear and legible.
        End with "This time, they mean it."

        "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

        by justme on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:23:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It'd be more effective (none)
          as an appear positive piece that is really negative, i.e., 98% of Democrats and 3% of Republicna Senators in 1936...

          In 1970, Republican President sent to Congress where 100% of Democrats and 2% of Republicans supported (these are examples and not specific to the info above) expanding Social Security to spouses and dependants.

          Today, 100% of Democrats support Saving Social Security from proposed cuts.

          Then right back to the last line I originally had.

          The best ads are the ones that leave you wondering when you leave.  The ones that make you think or strike a cord.  The ones that are simple, funny or really pull a string.  A few pics of FDR, JFK, and Johnson would also be helpful as a timeline.

          •  justme freakin NAILS it!!! (4.00)
            Blank screen, scroll those stats one by one, fade in/out.  

            Slowly fading in loop of the "hey hey, ho ho" tape in the background so that by the end of the ad it's clear and legible.

            End with "This time, they mean it."

            Fucking BRILLIANT  Isn't MoveOn soliciting ideas for more TV ads?  If they are we should send this one over.  This absolutely needs to get on the air now!

            Let's make those turds eat their words!

            The Bible is NOT a public policy manual... it is a code of personal conduct.

            by herb superb on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:19:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  right (none)
          I agree with phrasing it as 99/75/89/86/etc. Numbers are much more impressive when they're larger. If someone's only going to do one ad, that's the one they should do.

          But why limit ourselves? Honestly, it would be even more effective if two ads were released simultaneously: one negative, talking about how many Republicans opposed Social Security in any way shape or form. And one positive, talking about how Democrats fought for Social Security.

          The two ads taken together would present both sides of the same story, and you'd see both messages. Dems good, Repubs bad.

          That kind of imagery sticks for a long time.

          The Americans will always do the right thing... after they've exhausted all the alternatives. - Sir Winston Churchill

          by drewthaler on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:19:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I can go with that (none)
            It just seems that the negative is so well laid out by the Repubs it would be a shame not to use it. I mean, you can't make stuff like this up. Oh, wait, they do it all the time. It's so much better when you don't have to though.

            "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

            by justme on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:50:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Fucking A (none)
          Go negative, go hard negative, and nail them with the facts.  To quote LBJ "... let's make the bastard deny it."
    •  Actually, Bullet Points (none)
      would be a terrific idea to use for all these kinds of pieces. I might recommend authors to end with such a list.

      In an atmosphere this clouded with outright lying, these days a simple political essay is often a combination deprogramming session and history lesson.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:07:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  OK - Legal question (none)
      What is the copyright status of Diaries and comments on dKos? That is, if one wanted to publish or otherwise use this material, who could give permission?

      Does it belong to Ben in Madison and JK Minnesota (how to contact) or does it all belong to Marcos?

      Or what.


      I am going to send a copy of this Diary and JK Minnesota's summary to my county Democratic HQ, and they might want to use it. I'd sort of like to be able to tell them.

      There are Lies, Damned Liars and FOX News.' Politics Plus Stuff

      by Rick B on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:19:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  History lesson (none)
    I'm really impressed by your homework on this issue. It's always good for us to apply the lessons of the past to what we are doing now. No wonder this was promoted to the front page.
  •  Excellent diary (none)
    Very informative, and well worth saying.

    And then say it again, and again, because the Repubs are not going to drop this, and they have to know that we aren't going away either.


  •  Very good piece (none)
    too good to let a little mistake like "George W. Bush ran for Congress on 1978 claiming that Social Security would be broke in 10 years" go uncorrected-- I presume you mean "George H. W. Bush"?  I was only 2 years old then, but I think it was papa bush, not boy bush.


    by joewlarson on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 01:56:29 PM PST

    •  Nope, that was W (4.00)
      GHWB was about to run for the Presidential nomination and settle for the VP slot.

      I've got blisters on my fingers!

      by Elwood Dowd on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 02:01:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  damnit (none)
        ok, a 1 minute google could have saved me the embaressment here.  sorry, doi


        by joewlarson on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 02:10:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  would be great to find video tape of him saying it (none)
        •  bush in '78 congressional run (none)
           Somewhere I have read that Barbara B., GW's mommy, would not even say "Eleanore Roosevelt", she (B B) being so much better, richer, etc than E R.  So maybe Georgie short-pants learned his hatred for FDR, soc sec, and all progressive programs at "Dear Mommy'" knee.  Mommy really is a piece of steel wrapped up in three strands of pearls and gray hair.
          •  I think there's something in that ... (none)
            The Chimp-in-Chief led an exceptionally sheltered life as an adolescent.  His cocoon was pretty strong -- he is like a throwback to the 1940s.  He got his opinions at the dinner table of an exceptionally conservative Republican family.  It's odd, though, that he held this view of life through his days at Yale, when he would have been exposed to a wide variety of people.  It must have been because he was so low in his class, and it was the one thing he could hold on to.  An odder thing is that a close relative who lived in New Haven, his father's father's sister, was a real old-time honorable Republican.  I stayed with her a few weeks as a grad student and got to see all the family pictures.  She was a shining example of the old New England aristocracy.  Snobbish, to be sure, but not reactionary.

            I think it comes from the monster Babs.  She is by all accounts a real bitch.  Could never get over the fact that her great grand father was one of the worst American Presidents.  I guess it's to her credit that she spawned the very worst.

            •  GWB from the K Phillips book ... (none)
              something about him railing against those elitist liberals (who apparently didn't think much of him) to his friends (maybe a particular friend who works for him now in the [mis]Administration).  I think anything from Yale would have bounced off of him; he was already a finished product, except for his giving up drugging/drinking.

              "It's not blessed are the peacelovers...but blessed are the peacemakers." -- Jim Wallis/JC

              by billlaurelMD on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:46:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Just a bet, but.... (none)
                I'd bet that GWB was pretty well cacooned in his fraternity at Yale.

                I haven't seen anything in his history that shows he ever went out of his way to learn something. Even his religion was brought to him by (of all people) Billy Graham.

                On the Wead tape he said something about not knowing how poor people think. He was right about that.

                There are Lies, Damned Liars and FOX News.' Politics Plus Stuff

                by Rick B on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:34:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  From which president (none)
              is Barbara (may she rot in hell) Bush descended?
              •  She is not descended from Franklin Pierce (none)
                Her Pierces migrated from New Hampshire to Western Pa., where one became an iron magnate.  I believe her grandfather (grandson of the iron magnate) was ruined financially.  I can look it up if anyone cares
  •  Truly excellent (none)
    and a fascinating read as well.  I learned.  Thank you.

    The chips are down. Find your outrage.

    by sj on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 02:04:45 PM PST

  •  GOP=God Damned Liar (These days, anyway) (4.00)
    And that's putting it politely! Also, along with this, if Reid and compaby can't use this, what Bushco is doing now, to hang them with, well then the democrats are done.

    Bushco isn't just providing the democrats with the rope, their providing them with modern high strength composite  fibre cabling that really could be used to hang an elephant. As long as Bushco is intent on hanging itself, while trying to destroy the country, we should build the gallows to make it possible.

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

    by Alumbrados on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 02:05:28 PM PST

  •  The GOP and Veterans (4.00)
    This thought just occurred to me as I was re-reading my essay:

    The all-out Republican effort to quash a disability benefit was taking place right after World War 2, at a time when an extremely large number of American veterans had been maimed of crippled or otherwise disabled in the war, and at a time when even more GIs were fighting in Korea.

    I'm not familiar with the details of the disability benefit, or if it would apply to wounded veterans, but I'm sure that someone else around here does.

  •  Sources (none)
    Do you have sources for each of those congressional votes?  I've got a rabid right-winger here who insists the whole post is utter balogne (he thinks everything posted by liberal bloggers is aumatically suspect, but takes what Hannity and Limbaugh say as gospel).  I'd very much like to be able to slap him in the face with some actual bill numbers and vote counts. ;)
    •  Sources (none)
      I don't have them right now, because I'm at work. I'll dig them up tonight and post a bibliography.
    •  Read the history (none)
      All the items in this excellent diary are well-documented in numerous histories of the New Deal and of Social Security.  Ed Berkowitz has written several excellent histories about the evolution of Social Security, including his bio of Wilbur Cohen, Mr. Social Security.  All readily available.  As to the votes themselves, I would imagine the legislative histories of the various Social Security Act amendments are searchable on line at SSA's site and would have those votes.  David Kennedy's recent book on the New Deal, Freedom from Fear, also discusses Republican opposition to the SS Act, as I recall.
    •  From the horse's mouth (4.00)
      You can find the legislative history on the SSA's web site. (Until they delete it?)

      You have to consider the amendments when looking to see the partisan support of old-age benefits (once the bill was sure to pass, many Republicans actually voted for it):

      • The 'Treadway amendment' (to consider deleting the old-age benefit from the House bill) "was rejected by a vote of 149 (95-R, 45-D, 9-1) to 253 (l-R, 252-D)."
      • The 'Hastings amendment' (to do the same) "was rejected by a vote of 15 (12-R, 3-D) to 63 (7-R, 54-D, 2-I)."

      That's 99% (95/96) of House Republicans and 63% (7/19) of Senate Republicans voting against creating SS as we know it.  All the other data's in there too.

    •  Sources Up (none)
      Ask and ye shall receive. I've added bill numbers and vote counts and other references to a second diary here.
  •  Great diary (none)
    Thank you.

    It's always the old who lead us to the war, always the young to fall -- Phil Ochs

    by litho on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 02:11:50 PM PST

  •  I'm liberal, to a degree... (none)
    At least Goldwater was honest about his intentions, hm?
    •  Absolutely (none)
      I can disagree with Goldwater and still respect him for being honest. Bush, on the other hand, is "supposed" to be a "Christian." For someone who supports the 10 commandments, one of which, is "Thou shalt not bear false witness" he sure does lie a lot.

      It's obvious he wants to end Social Security, yet his rhetoric says "lets fix it." Unless you use the term "fix" as a synonym of "neuter," he's lying.


      •  Why do we keep giving W the benefit of the doubt? (none)
        I mean, he keeps saying he's a christian, but I haven't seen any proof in the past 6 years. Anybody with actual proof is welcome to prove me wrong...
        •  NPR had an interview with Ari Fleisher (none)
          Ari has written a book and is pushing it.

          But one thing he said stuck with me. He said that it is much harder for a Republican to communicate to the Press about domesitic issues like Social Security.

          He didn't specifically state it, but he left the impression that the press was always "Out to get the admininstration" on domestic issues. He never even considered that maybe they are just flat wrong and the press was reacting to that.

          There are Lies, Damned Liars and FOX News.' Politics Plus Stuff

          by Rick B on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:47:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Just heard from Des Moines Register... (4.00)
    They're running my letter, presumably tomorrow.

    "In "Christian lawyers say bill, Bible don't mesh" Register, March 4, Senator Grassley is quoted "Congress could not be bound by biblical mandates because 'the Constitution does not provide for a theocracy.'"

     I've saved these wise words to my hardrive. I hope the Senator never gives me need to once again open this file."

    which was posted in response to this article, exhaustively discussed in Pastordan's diary from Friday.

    A national group of Christian lawyers is appealing to church leaders to join them in lobbying against the bankruptcy reform bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia.

     The lawyers say the legislation runs contrary to the forgiveness of debt and charity required by the Bible.

     "As Christian attorneys, we strongly believe that it was never God's intention to create a society where indebtedness was a crime or a badge of dishonor," Christian members of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys wrote in a letter sent Feb. 26 to hundreds of church leaders across the nation.

    The Republican Party: We get government off your back, and drop it on your head.

    by ben masel on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 02:24:19 PM PST

  •  The New Deal and Crime (none)
    It always struck me that the debate over the New Deal philosophy is utterly disingenuous and moronic. The conservatives argue that the role of government is not to care for its citizenry -- not to enable the hard working people to support themselves and their families. I ask, in response, would you say that the role of government is to protect the citizenry from crime? And what do you think will happen with crime if people are uneducated, destitute, and hopeless? The New Deal is quite simply the best way to keep our nation safe.

    "It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them." - Dame Rose Macaulay

    by Zackpunk on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 02:37:08 PM PST

    •  Promote the general welfare. (none)
      This is the same argument I use when talking to libetarians.  Ones I have talked to believe that it is not the goverment's responsibilty to educate our children.  It is theie parents ewaponaibilty and government should play no role. At some point in time, people realized that education is something that benefits us all.  


      Why punish a child who happens to be born into a family that doesn't have the resources or interest in educating their children?


      What will we do with the uneducated children when they grow up and are not qualified to work for a living wage, then turn to crime?

      It is better in the long run to keep children educated, even if its other people's children. The cost up front pays back dividends in the long run.  This is what was meant in the preamble of the constitution by "Promote the general welfare."

      These arguments can be applied to most social programs and benefits.  I haven't heard a Libetarian or Small Gov't Republican respond to these questions satisfactorily yet.  I'd like to hear their response.

  •  Well Said (none)
    W saying social security will be broke in 10 years would make a great quote.  We seem to be unable to get his past to catch up with him.
  •  Sapping The Will (none)
    Great job...very good reading.

    This made me laugh...

    Philosophically, they don't believe that government should help provide the average American with economic security. They believe that relying on the government saps the will and makes one less free.

    ...but ONLY about money! Cause when it comes to privacy rights or reproductive rights or religious freedom, THEN they want the government to intervene, or even dictate.

    Then it's not "sapping the will."

    I never understood this about Republicans. I guess it's called hypocrisy.

  •  Thank you (none)
    This is one of the few things I've read on Social Security that wasn't mind-numbingly boring.

    I'm printing this up for my dad.  He was born in 1937, and grew up the son of a steel mill worker in Gary, Indiana;  his dad repeatedly warned him to "watch out for the Republicans".  His dad was a huge FDR fan.

    Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods. -- George W. Bush

    by Page van der Linden on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:13:40 PM PST

  •  The Counter-Attack (none)
    This is a great post.  Well written and argued. Please get the bibliography up and let's get this to "thereisnocrisis."  Asap.  I'm arguing that we need to leverage the "red" SocSec attack into a general blue counter-attack.  My theme du jour has been "it's time to take the keys away," but your work leads me to believe we should be running ads that conclude, "Republicans have always opposed Social Security.  Why should you believe them now?"
  •  Gotta do it. (none)
    As falls Wichita, so falls Wichita Falls.


    "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

    by justme on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:45:39 PM PST

  •  I can't tell you... (none)
    how many times I've come across a diary here and thought "this is the best one ever."  At the moment, this is the one.  Thank you for an excellent history lesson and for this perspective.

    Decisions are made by those who show up.

    by poe on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:53:48 PM PST

  •  Loved this article so much I sent it to my (none)
    son at UCSC to read. I'm making copies so my youngest son( high school Jr, taking AP History) reads it.


  •  Clinton (none)
    Great diary, but...

    so Clinton with health care was the first time in 60+ years that the Dems attempted to expand the great society but were defeated in the following elections?

  •  Extension of benefits... (none)
    to cover people with disabilities is still necessary.  (Voice of experience)  My concern is that the repubs. will use the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) as a tool to gut SSD, as all the ADA did was attempt to give a person with a disability a right to a remedy for discrimination in the workplace.  In reality, the ADA is useless, as compliance w/it is vastly underfunded and waivers are available.  (One waiver hangs in a non-accessible elevator in the Michigan Historical Musem in Lansing)

    The only second term dubya deserves is 20 to life!

    by Street Kid on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:30:21 PM PST

  •  Extending it to the diabaled..... (none)
    That's the part I disagree with.  I know a fella who's 'disability' is smoking pot.  He's been on the SSI for 20+ years.  That part of the program needs fixed, badly.
    •  With all due respect... (none)
      I know a fella who drinks and drives. He's been drinking and driving for 20 years. Do you suggest we prosecute him, or get rid of cars?

      Remember, folks, Roxtar pays $9.70 for the best news tip of the week!

      by roxtar on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 05:49:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What I am suggesting is.... (none)
        A very through examination of who is collecting disability.  I have no problem with someone collecting, but if they aren't truly disabled, that's just putting a strain on a system that doesn't need strain.
    •  You're confusing SSDIB and SSI (none)
      "Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes)"

      SSI program dates from the '70s, Nixon or Ford administration.  SSI comes with a Medicaid card while SSDIB comes with a Medicare card.  Medicaid covers more stuff. Go figure.

      •  Actually (none)
        the SSI program has its roots in the original Social Security Act, as part of the Federal grant to the states program for the indigent elderly.  Nixon federalized the financing, to a large extent,and gave administration of SSI to the Social Security Administration, thus beginning decades of confusion for the public about SSI (means-tested) and SS(earnings-based).

        Both Social Security and SSI have a disability component, and the same disability determination qualifies a person for both.  If she has a sufficient earnings history, she'll get SSDI; if not, she'll get SSI.  But SSI qualification brings Medicaid with it, with medical benefits that are frequently better for the disabled than Medicare's (people on SSDI get Medicare coverage), because Medicaid will cover things like specially equipped vans, etc (at least it used to, it's been a while since I looked at it.) while Medicare is more strictly limited to doctors and hospital care.

    •  Using anecdotes for policymaking... (none)
      My brother suffered a disabling medical condition last year at the age of 47. SSI now provides his only source of income as well as providing support for his minor children who live with his ex-wife. And soon medicaid will be an important part of his well-being.

      It really pisses me off when Replubicans refer to Social Security as a retirement investment plan that needs to be privatized. Social Security is not an investment plan. Social Security is an insurance plan. The SSI disability benefit illustrates that in spades with people like my brother.

      I will not deny that there are abuses of the SSI disability benefits. But that can be said for nearly every major government spending program. But just because there are problems does not mean the program is not worthwhile.

    •  This sounds like a myth to me (none)
      I've been thoroughly evaluated by many doctors and SSA employees. I wouldn't believe a diagnosis like that qualified for SSD payments unless you showed me documentation.
      •  well I have no real proof.... (none)
        He has no physical disability.  That I know for sure.  Of course maybe he has mental problems, but I don't know.  he's sane enough to have a driver's license ( which also eliminates seizures and the like ).
  •  1980 Democratic National Convention... (4.00)
    "We must not permit the Republicans to seize and run on the slogans of prosperity. We heard the orators at their convention all trying to talk like Democrats. They proved that even Republican nominees can quote Franklin Roosevelt to their own purpose.

    The Grand Old Party thinks it has found a great new trick, but 40 years ago an earlier generation of Republicans attempted the same trick. And Franklin Roosevelt himself replied, "Most Republican leaders have bitterly fought and blocked the forward surge of average men and women in their pursuit of happiness. Let us not be deluded that overnight those leaders have suddenly become the friends of average men and women."

    "You know," he continued, "very few of us are that gullible." And four years later when the Republicans tried that trick again, Franklin Roosevelt asked, "Can the Old Guard pass itself off as the New Deal? I think not. We have all seen many marvelous stunts in the circus, but no performing elephant could turn a handspring without falling flat on its back."

    -Ted Kennedy

    Moral of the story:  Even the Pubbies want to sound like FDR, they've done it before, and they'll do it again.

    "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry

    by alxt on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 04:45:59 PM PST

  •  My neighbor (none)
    is an editor at at the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Way back when, he worked for the daughter of Nelson Cruikshank.  He happens to be the guy who wrote the Social Security bill for Roosevelt.  Anyway, my neighbor was told about SS by this guys daughter.  I checked on what he related to me and I verified it as being true.

    Roosevelts' bill, as originally submitted to Congress, had 3 parts.

    1.  Borrow the money needed to cover current retirees
    2.  Manditory payroll deductions to maintain the system.
    3.  Migration into individual accounts.

    Part 3 was dropped by Congress before approval.  This tells me that way back there on day one, the Repugs and Demons wanted that money going into their coffers so they could have it available.  And boy, did they have it available.

    I didn't learn any details about exactly what FDR intended to do with part 3, but what W is doing, at least, has some of the flavor that was in FDRs original plan.  Although, I'd like to see private accounts limited to long terms guaranteed bonds, CDs and the like, I would like to see that money stay in the hands of the people who own it rather than use it to fund pork.

    My first wife passed away several years ago and I have since remarried.  The money she paid into the SS system is gone from her estate.  Neither my son nor I can claim it.  To me, that constitutes legal robbery.  It is a gift to the government, a tribute to their insatiable spending.

    Anyway, check out Nelson Cruikshank for yourself.  I am quite sure I have the guys named spelled correctly.  

    •  Crap (none)
      First, Nelson Cruikshank didn't write the original Social Security Act or anything like it - he was a labor organizer, who didn't get involved with Social Security at all until he started working for the AFL in the 1940's.  And he was a staunch supporter of the philosophy of social insurance, with which this "three-part" scheme you describe has nothing whatever to do.

      Second, I don't know what you've looked at to "verify" this fantasy, but you're looking for facts in all the wrong places, apparently.  Social Security was always intended to be THE long term retirement security plan for working Americans - true, the original conception contemplated advance funding, which was altered to become pay as you go financing even before the program actually took effect.  But there was NEVER any intention, on the part of FDR or anyone else involved in the Committee on Economic Security (the advisory body FDR set up that actually wrote the first Social Security Act plan) to do anything like what Bush is proposing.  There were three parts to the original proposal, though - first, what we now know as Social Security or Old Age Insurance (OASI); second, a voluntary annuity purchase program for elderly who were too old to build up credit under the OASI program in time for retirement - they would purchase annuities from the federal government; and third, the poverty based program, to essentially fund State relief programs for the  poor elderly.  That second part - the voluntary annuity purchase program - never became law - it was opposed by private insurers as unfair competition, and Roosevelt bartered it away to get more support for the OASI program.  The third part morphed into what is now Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, the needs-based program for the elderly and disabled that is administered through the states.

      If you want some actual history, as opposed to your boss's neighbor's fairy tales, check out Ed Berkowitz and Kim McQuaid, Creating the Welfare State, or the other books I mentioned in my post above.

      •  Thanks (none)
        i didn't look hard and what I read seemed to verify waht I was told.  I have to look some more and talk again with my neighbor.

        He worked for Cruikchanks daughter about 30 years ago, maybe she remembered wrong, or my neighbor remembers wrong.

        But I believe that the 3 step plan was submitted as I stated.  Is this wrong also?

        •  Yes, it's wrong (none)
          as I stated above.  I'm not sure what you could have read that would give Cruikshank credit for designing Social Security - he wasn't part of the Committee on Economic Security, he wasn't one of the group developing social insurance.  He was important in later Social Security legislation, particularly in developing the Disability Insurance addition in the 1950's, from his position as director of the AFL's Department of Social Security.  But he wasn't part of the original scene in the 1930's - I think he was working for the WPA or something then.
        •  FDR's Letter to Congress (none)
          What you are refering to is the document that Brit Hume misquoted and said FDR was in favor of privatizing SS. In it FDR stated there are 3 things that needed to be done for a secure retirement, only 2 of which the government would provide. The first was for the government to provide retirement funds to people too old to pay into a Social Security system at the time it was created. It was to be phased out over 30 years and replaced with SS. The second was Social Security itself. An insurance program to ensure guaranteed benefits when one retires. The third was individual accounts that one could set up on their own, like IRAs, 401Ks, etc. in which one could have income over and about SS.
        •  Citation (none)
          See Media Matters.

          Does your neighbor have a partisan ax to grind?  Does he watch and believe FOX?  If so, he is unlikely ever to be a credible source.

  •  DEMS: Offer no "plan" (none)

    The thugs are counting a DEMwillingness to offer a plan as a PLUS for Bush. They are also counting Bush not getting called on  offering no plan as a PLUS.

    Don't fall for it.

    •  Dems should offer nothing (4.00)
      Bargaining with Bush on Social Security is like trying to strike a deal with a serial killer - you can't make deals with someone who is morally corrupt and who wants to kill your program. This really is a give him an inch and he will take a mile deal.

      Throw the a-hole an anvil, not a life line. Offer nothing! Turn the subject back to skyrocketing medical costs, which is the true crisis.

  •  Some quick numbers on Social Security tax (4.00)
    The average salary in the US is $30,000 per year. At 6.2%, the average person pays $1,900 per year in Social Security taxes. Half of us pay more, half pay less this.

    Let's say this is your average salary for 45 years.

    45 years X 1,900 = $85,500

    This is how much you contribute into the Soc Sec insurance program (I know, I'm not adding compound interest, but I'm also not adding possible investments in future Enrons either!)

    When you retire at 65 years old, you will get at least $1,200 per month. I actually think this total is low, and this is for a person retiring sometime in the next few years, but this is a rough guess.

    12 months X $1,200 = $14,440 per year

    If you live to 75 you get $144,400

    If you live to 85 you get $288,800

    If you live to 95 you get $433,200

    As you can see, the longer you live, the better you do. Even if you only live ten more years into retirement, you do pretty darn well on your $1,900 per year investment.

    Now keep in mind, this is an annuity insurance program. People that die young, don't do well at all. People dying early is all figured into the formula. Just like all insurance programs, some people use it and some people don't use it. This is the breaks of life. When you first start contributing to Social Security, you don't know how long you will live. Life is a gamble.

    This program is also skewed to help the least well off, which in my book is perfectly fine.

    Keep these figures in mind when you hear some idiot say "half my check is Social Security taxes!" Today I heard a rightie on Ed Shultz say he contributes "$15 thousand in Social Security taxes." This is a flat out lie. The most any person contributes is $5,580 per year, which is 6.2% of 90K.

    You might ask, how does this system pay so well? The answer is simple, it is because of the employer matching 6.2%. This is what makes the system work. Now keep in mind that the right wing dream is to end the employer part of the Social Security tax. This would rip a big hole in the program.

    Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of the radical right wing is to eliminate employee matching funds. Do you think most companies will give this 6.2% to you - hell no, they will pad the CEOs wallet and buy a condo in Hawaii before employees see one penny.

    •  Social "Security" for LIFE (none)
      The absolute bedrock part of Social Security that Bush will not talk about is the defined benefit for LIFE!
      •  Also, Social Security benefits have a COLA (none)
        With investments converted to an annuity, you get that benefit amount the rest of your life.

        With Social Security benefits there is an increase every year based on the cost-of-living.

        That, in itself, is a benefit that would be lost with going to private accounts. Anyone else still remember when inflation was 18% a year in 1978? I was consultaing with a business person who had a loan at prime rate plus 7%. Prime was about19% that year.

        People on fixed retirements and annuities were getting killed financially. Social security beneficiaries were protected.

        What will the inflation rate be when you turn 62  or 65 or whenever you want to retire?

        There are Lies, Damned Liars and FOX News.' Politics Plus Stuff

        by Rick B on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 10:04:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If self-employed, the $15K might be close (none)
      especially if one lumps in the Medicare portion too.  While not accurately all SS, I can see someone making such a claim and not being as far off as you say.

      But, overall I agree with what you're saying.

      •  Medicare is different and separate (none)
        If a person is self-employed and they earn over 90K, the most they pay into Social Security is 12.4% of 90K which $11,160. So his 15K figure was inflated over 25%.

        And by the way, medicare is totally different. The reason medicare is going bad is because of the sky-rocketing cost of health care, which Bush doesn't care about - too many of his rich buddies and corporations are making a fortune with the soaring cost of healthcare.

        You notice how Bush adds Medicare when he wants to make Social Security look bad, but when he starts talking about fixes, guess what, no medicare fixes.

  •  "The Threat of Good Example". (none)
    Outstanding diary. Thanks!

    To Republicans, Social Security must be the "Threat of a Good Example"... that is, it's a tremendously successful program, that clearly shows that basic sensible social programs can work.  Therefore, this "good social example" is a threat.  Destroy social programs before too many people see that they can work.

    Here in 2005, however, the GOP finally has a chance to kill Social Security.  This is based on the fact that the Depression generation is dying off, and in its place are the Baby Boomers-- the selfish, 1980's morally bankrupt, clueless jerks.  I think Norquist himself even said this.

    Anyhoo, those are my two cents...

    •  ummm (none)
      would that be the baby boomers who participated in fighting racism, sexism, protested the viet nam war, volunteered for peace corps and etc?  those baby boomers?

      you paint with a pretty broad brush

      BTW baby boomers really didn't grow up in the 80's, are not any more morally bankrupt than say the 20 somethings who didn't vote in the last election, and are not clueless unless they've drunk the kool aid

      as i said, pretty broad brush.

      have a nice day

  •  Anyone hear Daniel Shore's piece on NPR (none)

    "It is hard to find common ground on a crusade."

    The GOP tries to take advantage of power when they have it.  They know if they can kill social security, the entire rationale for U.S. governance is completly and irrevocably altered.  This is the holy grail (literally) for them.  They have always wanted to go back to 1890.  Rove uses McKinley as his exampl for a reason.  No TR.  No government regulation.  Unfettered market capitalism controlled by the barons of industry.

    As long as social security exists, the American people have a stake in their government succeeding.  Once it is gone, the social contract is null and void.

    This really is it.  If Democrats compromise on this I'm leaving the country.  There is no point of any Democrat negotiating on this issue.  Not only is it the right thing to do, the only way we lose is if we give up.

    A nation afraid of the world cannot lead it. JW

    by Velvet Revolution on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:02:05 PM PST

  •  We need this as a .PDF (none)
    Great job Ben.  I'd love to print a few of these out for passing around. Anybody got a copy of Acrobat Pro?
  •  great post, i wish the dnc were doing this, more: (none)
    I just finished reading The Politics of Upheaval, by Arthur Schlesinger, with a focus on the 1936 campaign between Roosevelt and Landon. Bush's scare tactics, and his attempts now to dismantle Social Security, are in line with what Republicans have been attempting in opposition to the program since it's conception. Rather than attempt a review, I've scanned a couple of pages for reading from the book instead.

    First, the 5 pages of the book that explain the "one card to play" that Republicans had when the '36 campaign was coming to a close. That's here and
    and here. Also,if you'd like the background to Landon's earlier Milwaukee remarks that are referenced, that's here
    and here.

    And given the section on the Republican "card" about Social Security late in the '36 campaign end with the polls and recap of the election, I'll include those pages here and
    here and

  •  Talking Points (none)
    The Democrats really ought to trot out those old FDR speeches and mine them for talking points.  He got just the right touch of idealism and populism.  It is just amazing to read the words.  I remember my parents cring when he died.  Those are good lines.  They aren't dead; they are fabulous lines.  We should use them again and again like battering rams.  They haven't gone out of date, just like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Lincolns great series of speeches have not gone out of date.  Let's use this stuff.  It isn't just the best we have; it is the best, period.
  •  The Age of Disrespect (none)
    The foreign policy of the Bush administration can be described in one word: Disrespect. Disrespecting the United Nations by appointing an antagonistic "ambassador," for instance. Towards friends and allies regarding Iraq: to hell with what you think (total disrespect, dude, on a worldwide scale).  Towards the world community on global warming: screw you, money's more important
    (total disrespect toward the planet and environment). Toward the 50% or more of the American electorate who voted against you...two times: "screw you, to hell with you, I'm going to do this...just because I can...nyahh, nyahh, nyahh, nyahh, my dad's guys can still provide me back up: "screw you all. Why?
    Because I can."
    •  Oh, and I forgot to mention... (none)
      ..disrespect to the tens of thousands of innocent men, women and Iraqi children (including babies and fetuses) we killed because we wanted to do a war (because we could, and for no other reason). And disrespect to the tens of thousands of more innocent men, women and Iraqi children, including babies and fetuses whom we maimes....because we could, and for no other reason. And disrespect for the more than 1,500 innocent U.S. servicemembers killed by our needless invasion of Iraq. Oh, and disprespect for the tens of thousands of more innocent servicemembers maimed by a totally needless war (because we could).
      Oh...and..., etc., etc., etc.
  •  Bush is raping the working class (none)
    There is no other way to describe it - Bush and company are raping the working class. They are screwing us on a daily basis. What makes this so disturbing is that if we have the gumption to complain about how this screwing is hurting us, they have the unmitigated gall to get all hurt and defensive! Bush doesn't want to just rape the working class, he wants the working class to thank him for the privilege. The hubris and arrogance of this man is incredible.

    BTW, if you want to know who Bush really is, watch the movie "The Scent of a Woman." The rich prep school kids in this movie are exactly who Bush is.

  •  Great Diary (none)
    This is maybe the best, most complete, most meaningful diary I've read on any blog.  It gives great voice to much of what I've been thinking over the past few months, as I've been learning about the history of GOP attempts to destroy Social Security.  Thank you for investing so much of your time in this for all of us.
  •  More on the GOP (none)
    I found a little more on the GOP position.
    The promise of secure retirements is a "hoax." Taxes paid by workers are "wasted" by the government rather than prudently invested. And "the so-called reserve fund ... is no reserve at all" because it contains nothing but government IOUs.

    President Bush? No, Republican presidential candidate Alf Landon and his party's platform in 1936

    Knight Ridder

    Why Does The GOP Hate The Middle Class?

    The present administration is rolling back the Great Society, the New Deal, the Enlightenment, and the Renaissance.

    by JohnInWestland on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:52:53 PM PST

    •  Or this (none)
      The Party supports an orderly transition to a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts, and gradually phasing out the Social Security tax. We recommend making Social Security benefits non-taxable. To protect the Social Security system, its funds should not be co-mingled or spent with general revenues or invested in private or public corporate stock. To protect freedom and privacy, government and private institutions should not require Social Security numbers as ID. Application for Social Security numbers should not be required before the age of consent.

      The 2000 Texas Republican Party Platform

      A nation afraid of the world cannot lead it. JW

      by Velvet Revolution on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 08:56:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the best diary I've ever read (none)
    And I've read a lot of diaries.

    Informative, factual, well researched, educational, and most of all, fun.

  •  60.80%-36.54% popular, 523-8 electoral (none)

    Funniest thing ever: Literary digest's survey had predicted a Landon landslide.

  •  PR campaign for 70 years of Social Security? (none)
    Shouldn't the DNC start a PR campaign to celebrate "70 years of Social Security for Americans" prior to Aug 14, 2005?

    Start it on May, 14 and let it run over three months: let it include TV adverts, open letters to newspapers, public speeches in towns all over the U.S., and festivals.

    Adverts could include short clips showing the life of poor older people before SS, contrasting it with retirees peacefully enjoying the fruits of their lifetime's work.

    The campaign could educate people on what SS means to all kinds of people - poor and middle-class, young and old, ...

    And it could remind them of the voting history of parties and prominent politicians on SS.

    And much more, of course.


    "Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

    by RavenTS on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 01:17:00 AM PST

  •  i love a quick historical primer (none)
    Hey ben....

    thanks alot for the primer ... an excellent reminder of the history of social security ... hell i have lived through most of it but have forgotten much as times goes on.

    this old timer thanks you, again

  •  What about (none)
    Didn't GWB say in 1978 that Social Security would be broke in 10 years?

    Repeat after me: He is as wrong now as he was then.

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