I think one of the big questions hanging out there in the campaign is how America's currently McCain-loving seniors will feel when they find out about McCain's passion for wrecking Social Security. I got some remarks from the Obama campaign in my inbox this morning that represent the first real effort I've seen to get people thinking about this:
Now, John McCain’s ideas on Social Security amount to four more years of what was attempted and failed under George Bush. He said he supports private accounts for Social Security – in his words, “along the lines that President Bush proposed.” Yesterday he tried to deny that he ever took that position, leaving us wondering if he had a change of heart or a change of politics.
Well let me be clear: privatizing Social Security was a bad idea when George W. Bush proposed it. It's a bad idea today. It would eventually cut guaranteed benefits by up to 50%. It would cost a trillion dollars that we don’t have to implement on the front end, permanently elevating our debt. And most of all, it would gamble the retirement plans of millions of Americans on the stock market. That’s why I stood up against this plan in the Senate, and that’s why I won’t stand for it as President.
Indeed, beyond McCain, Republicans have a bad habit of coming out in favor of privatizing Social Security and then denying they ever did any such thing. Obama, meanwhile, is positioning himself with Wallace-esque rhetoric as a Social Security die-hard, saying his retirement security agenda "starts with protecting Social Security today, tomorrow, and forever."
McCain's approach to this, naturally, is to lie:
In short, he stridently denies that he wants to favor privatizing Social Security. He just favors policies that are the same as the policies that were called "privatizing Social Security" before the GOP found out that privatizing Social Security is unpopular.