Rick Perry has managed to fly below the radar on this, but on August 14 he told a gathering of Iowa Republicans that it's "a fact" that Social Security and Medicare are going to be eliminated for future generations, adding that we need to have an "adult conversation" about "how are we going to make the transformation." And it's on video:
Look, the whole issue of—have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’?
Get a copy of it and read it, becaue I talk about the entitlement programs in there.
And listen, how many people in here are less than 50 years old in this audience? All right, I got in trouble by asking that question right off the bat, there, but these young kids who are coming along, they know for a fact there’s not going to be a Social Security and Medicare program. They know that.
So we have to have an adult conversation with this country. We have to talk about how are we going to transfer over. How are we going to make the transformation.
Obviously, the big thing here is that Rick Perry, as a candidate for the presidency, has taken the position that Social Security and Medicare are going to disappear, and that instead of saving them, we need to talk about how to transition away from them. He said people who are now in their sixties would be spared, but for everybody else, Perry's position is that we're going to get rid of Social Security and Medicare.
Needless to say, that's a radical position, and it's a pretty big deal. It should be major issue as the campaign moves forward.
It's also worth noting that Perry urged his audience to read his book to learn more about his views on the issue. And yes, that's the same book that his spokesman just said was "not meant to reflect the governor’s current views."
Obviously, Perry's spokesman was full of shit, but it's not hard to see why he tried to distance Perry from the book. After all, this is the book in which Perry argued that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional (an idea he has defended in person as well as in print).
So it's not a surprise that Perry's flacks are trying to muddy up the waters about what their boss does and doesn't believe, but instead of letting them have the final say on what he really thinks, let's let Perry speak for himself. And if you listen to what he has to say, it's clear that Rick Perry is positioning himself as the most right-wing Republican front-runner in modern American history, if not ever.