After blowing it on Medicare last year, is AARP committed to fighting to the death on Social Security? It sounds
"We're going to do this as long as it takes," said William D. Novelli, AARP's chief executive. "We will put just about everything we have into it."
But keep reading....
There is no question that AARP is the 500 pound gorilla in this fight:
AARP Leads With Wallet In Fight Over Social Security Bush's Plan Faces Formidable Foe
By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 30, 2005; Page A01
In the punch-for-punch debate over Social Security, AARP is working hard to keep the White House on the ropes.
When President Bush arrives in Iowa today to talk up his private-accounts proposal, the senior citizens group plans to counter him with two news conferences, the release of a national poll, full-page newspaper advertisements and commercials on radio and television.
Over this week and last, AARP, the nation's largest lobby, will have spent more than $5 million on ads attacking the president's Social Security plan -- nearly three times as much as all the supporters of his proposal put together. That's just for starters.
Every state that has a swing-vote senator will have AARP forums, which have been drawing about 300 people each. And every time a member of Congress holds a town meeting, AARP volunteers are dispatched there to protest the president's plan for individual accounts.
Do they have the (pick your body part: stomach, heart, backbone) to see it through:
Bush has bashed as "scare tactics" commercials by AARP and like-minded groups, and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) called AARP "incredibly irresponsible" for rejecting "a solution that hasn't even been written yet." Yet behind the scenes, Novelli and his staff have been consulting with Bush aides Karl Rove and Allan Hubbard about finding common ground, and talking with congressional leaders of both parties.
There is no higher praise than being criticized by Little Napoleon. But this fight doesn't just attract scoundrels like DeLay.
While attending a Social Security speech by the president last week, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) encouraged AARP to bend. "I want to say to our friends in the AARP -- and they are my friends -- come to the table with us," he said.
Bend or bend over?
We will close with a word from Bush's sponsor:
The harshest complaints about AARP lately have come from a group formed specifically to undercut it on Social Security. USA Next has recruited some of the consultants who advised the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth advertising campaign against Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry last year. Its tactics have been notably rough. In an Internet commercial, USA Next accused AARP of supporting gay marriage, a position that AARP says it never took.
Darn, they forgot to mention that USA Next also accused AARP of hating our soldiers.
OK, so you decide: