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Here's how much the debate on Social Security is changing—in the middle of a political ad against Sen. Kay Hagan, Karl Rove's Crossroads group says that balancing the budget with Medicare and Social Security cuts is wrong. Again, this is pretty typical of Republican attacks in the last several election cycles. Attacking Democrats from the left began pretty much as soon as President Obama and congressional Democrats decided to play along with the deficit fetishists and started offering up things like the retirement age, chained CPI, and Medicare benefits.

But let's remember what happened with the Simpson-Bowles plan that the ad is referring to. It's Hagan's statement in support of the catfood commission that's the focus of this ad. Which is kind of strange, because back in the day, Republicans on the commission opposed it—and ensured its ultimate failure—because it relied too much on tax hikes and not enough on cutting spending. Even stranger, Republicans later embraced the chairmen's report (what Simpson and Bowles came up with when it was clear that the commission itself was a failure) in order to criticize Obama for not pushing it. All of which goes back to the basic point that Republicans are just hypocritical opportunists—not too much new there.

It also, though, demonstrates another political truism: Social Security is the third rail, and Republicans know it. The party that cuts these programs is going to be the losing party for at least a generation. The Republican game has long been to figure out how to convince Democrats that they have to damage this extremely popular program for the greater good of the nation, so that they can then use it as a cudgel against Democrats in the next election. (And, while they're at it, cripple Social Security and Medicare enough that privatizing them becomes the only option.)

Rove's strange ad is an admission of one thing: cuts to Social Security and Medicare are hugely unpopular. That should be enough to convince every Democrat running for re-election that the smart thing to do in this campaign is to run on expanding and strengthening Social Security. It should also be enough to convince them to never negotiate on these issues with Republicans again.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 01:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (29+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 01:08:57 PM PDT

  •  I can't wait for his 'legalize it' campaign (0+ / 0-)

    seriously, how can repubs not try to get the dems to throw in with the hippies and hempophilicas.

    AND there's a vote on it in California, there may be money there for a good spin artist.

         Recall that Rand of Paul walked his legalize it statement back...I think.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 11:05:40 PM PDT

  •  Tell it to the President (9+ / 0-)

    And Ron Wyden.  And Nancy Pelosi.  Plenty of smoke signals coming out of Washington about the Return of the Grand Bargain after the election.  

    That's the thing about the deficit hawks.  They never give up.  Cutting the deficit is their one idea about governing.  Just like cutting taxes is the one idea Republicans have.  When those One Ideas conflict, they just lie and pretend they don't.

    Line up for Catfood in December.

    The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice. ---Bryan Stevenson

    by Dallasdoc on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:09:32 PM PDT

  •  Wish Democrats would have the guts to campaign (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on Social Security fairness.

    It's ridiculous that middle class recipients receive so little compared to pay-in when compared to low-income earners (due to the way benefits are scaled: 15 cents on the dollar at the high end of the range compared to 90 cents on the dollar a t the low end).  It's partly a matter of the fiction that Social Security works like an insurance plan or a private pension and partly because we place a cap on the earnings used to fund it.

    If the middle class can subsidize lower income workers, the rich most certainly can subsidize them.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:17:58 PM PDT

  •  Advertising doesn't have to be consistant ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to be effective.

    The attention span of a gnat, is longer than the attention span of the average American. The Republicans have figured this out, the Democrats no so much.

    Remember NO-ONE has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

  •  Speakin bout Hagan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The koch bros are once again showing how clueless they are as they readily spend millions on political ads.

    Their fully funded, poser patriotism supporters, military group, swiftboaters, 'Concerned Veterans for America' {?}, have an ad running attacking Hagan on Veterans issues and especially the latest Rep. Miller contrived with help scandal, longer running then the media hyped recent extension.

    Forget she's on the Senate Armed Services Committee, not the Veterans, and is thus just a vote on Veterans issues in an obstructionist Senate, thanks to Dems giving them the numbers for that while giving the House and many States to same, but I digress to another bit of reality. But she has intervened successfully on a number of veterans issues especially for NC.

    Trouble is, in showing the total disconnect of koch reality, the Senior NC Senator has a long comfortable seat as the Minority leader on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. This is not mentioned in the ad, not mentioned when Tillis, running against Hagan, gives comments on Veterans issues and even the NC press are once again giving Burr a free pass on Veterans issues and his lack of policy on as well as being a leader in the Senate obstruction on everything, including Veterans affairs and budget needs as well as the bringing the agency into the 21st century!!!!!

    "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    by jimstaro on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:25:21 PM PDT

    •  As to the rovian revisionism Hagan ad (0+ / 0-)

      You speak of.

      Notice how everything talked about happened while he was a part of the bush admin and especially with the rubber stampin conservative congresses, and they weren't even as radical as the present!!

      Never mentioned, wars off the books and on the credit card, the weekly rubber stamp other wants where billions just disappeared, all on the credit card as the surplus was already gone!! No mention about paying anything back. One thing they've got going for them, plenty of Dems have been carrying them tea buckets and blaming the 'O' for everything since the bushco left. Them Hillary and others wanted supporters just can't get over it. As they use Obamabots when someone actually blames the congressional obstruction that causes muh for the media to lay blame on the 'O' so's most follow that lead!!

      "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

      by jimstaro on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:32:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wish we could EXPAND Social Security to a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots, kay3295, hbk

    guaranteed pension program as apparently no one under the age of 55 is ever going to get a pension again.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:28:53 PM PDT

  •  Privatizing or Cutting Social Security Was Once (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots, snwflk, Decorina, kay3295, hbk

    political suicide -- it was the "3rd rail of politics".

    END the Social Security Taxable Income Cap and
    require every billionaire and millionaire to pay FICA taxes on every penny of their incomes and pass a means test to collect Social Security -- the Social Security trust fund would be rock solid forever.

  •  the way to put (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kay3295, hbk

    pressure on the gop is to have dems that are actually left of center and believe in that agenda and are willing to fight for a liberal policies and not be afraid of the word liberal by hiding behind the progressive label.

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