May 3, 2005

No Suckers Here

Check out this E. J. Dionne column on the need not to played for a fool by Bush on Social Security:

There is a name for those who continue to sit at a gambling table even after they learn that the game is fixed. They are called fools.

Now that President Bush has proposed Social Security benefit cuts through "progressive indexing," his critics are said to have an obligation to negotiate in good faith to achieve a solution. There are just two problems with that sentence: The words "good faith" and "solution."

Bush's "plan" is still not a plan, just a few ideas. If the president is serious, let him first persuade members of his own party to agree to a detailed proposal so everyone knows what the trade-offs are. If what he has in mind is a good idea, Republicans will be eager to sign on. And if Bush can't get Republicans to go along, might that say something about the merits of his suggestions?

Look, I'm all for dealmaking and bipartisan when something good can come of it. Nothing good will come of doing a deal on Social Security. There is a time to end an argument and a time to win it. It's time to win this argument.

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