February 26, 2005

Bush Saves Souls, Not SS

Great stuff from Salon on the "Bait and Switch" that Bush has pulled on Religious Conservatives. The poor suckers thought they were saving the soul of the country but:

But there's another reason red-state voters may be upset about the Social Security plan: It isn't what they thought they were pushing for when they joined Team Bush. Among social conservatives, the popular explanation for Bush's handy victory in November is "moral values": Bush didn't win because people appreciated his plan on Social Security but because he stoked the passions of the pious and the prudish with his call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. While that theory has been pretty well shot down by people outside the religious right (foreign policy and economic issues, most analysts say, were probably more important to voters than moral-values issues), the conservative movement's leading lights still maintain that Bush won only because religious people put him in office. Some of these leaders don't seem pleased that the president is now spending his political capital on Social Security reform rather than on a crusade to reform the American soul.

If Social Security goes away it will absolutely hammer all those lower-middle-class church goers that put Bush into office. The question is will they take that, just to keep the Gays from getting married? My guess is a wave of elderly poverty will put two guys kissing in perspective:

The disaster could come when social conservatives, people who've been duped into voting for the GOP on the assumption that it was the party of morals (rather than of money), might finally see the truth. If, as some economists predict, Social Security privatization goes badly for working people, with traditional benefits cut and stock market gains diminutive, wouldn't family-values voters realize that the Republican Party has diminished the value of their checking accounts? Couldn't Republicans possibly lose some elections over it?

Of course, I rather not have the SS reform pass in order to get some Dem gains. A failed attempt to end SS can be used to beat the Republicans about the face and neck just as well.

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