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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Karl Rove: Evil Genius

John Zogby has an interesting article in the OpinionJournal on the politics of Social Security reform:

Why would the president risk his political capital on a plan that appears doomed to failure? I think the answer lies well beyond the politics of any single reform plan. And the president may end up a winner if his call for personal accounts ultimately fails. After all, he has raised a serious issue that needs attention--the very solvency of Social Security--which Democrats have never touched. Huge majorities of voters understand that the current system is in trouble. He will, at the very least, get credit for trying to reform the program previously referred to as the 'third rail of American politics'--even if he achieves more modest change than he now proposes. But there is a much bigger picture. The president's real prize would be a significant realignment in party politics. It has been no secret that Mr. Bush and Karl Rove have their sights set on a political realignment not experienced since FDR built a coalition of urban ethnics, liberal ideologues and Southern conservatives under the Democrats' big tent. Like the New Deal, the president's 'ownership society' is a compelling new vision and veritable redefinition of a society less dependent on government largess, of a middle class more independent and more capable of securing financial security on its own.
I haven't counted out George Bush getting social security and personal account passed into law. The number of people who have underestimated him in various ways is legion, so I am going to hedge my bets. I think though that win or lose, the battle over social security will end up being a long term powerful victory for the Republican party. People will remember that one side had an idea, and the other side had only the means to stop an the idea from being tried. I think also the willingness to touch the 'third rail' will resonate as showing courage and conviction, something that Republicans already have a pretty good handle on and Democrats seem to need more of from a PR standpoint at least. Read the entire Zogby article, lots of interesting stuff about the 'investor class' as well. (via Powerline)


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