Real Genius
Friday, February 04, 2005
I'm afraid the press is going to provide Bush with all the cover he needs on Social Security.

The somewhat-decent piece in the Times today by Richard Stevenson was encouraging on some of his fact-checking about Bush's numbers, but reading the second editorial in the Post right after that made my stomach turn. It's quite amazing, really. The Post has some of the best reporters in the business, and they often provide better material than The Gray Lady even --and today Jonathan Weisman has a very good article on SS-- but their editorial page has become more and more lockstep Republican on almost any issue except the environment in the past few years.

So, coming back to Social Security, the majority of the people in this country get their news from TV and TV news media have major problems in doing any actual reporting instead of being stenographers for the administration. They've already partly bought into the crisis rhetoric even though the WH is now shifting away from it, and they cannot even see that Bush's social security tour around the country right now is not to convince the opposing Democrats, but to get members of his own party to agree with him.

And if Bush can get the press to amplify his agenda in full, it should only be a matter of time before polls start showing that people believe in his plan and the need for privatization, which would be followed by Democrats defecting, and as long as there are Democrats on their side, more Republicans would join them and they would collectively destroy Social Security "as we know it", in order to save it.

It's quite like Iraq, really. A crisis was concocted, it was propagated by the press, public opinion was conveniently shaped, thus the Congress agreed, and we found ourselves in this mess. And the press asked Kerry for his plan to get us out of the mess BushCo made, just as they're asking Democrats now for "their plan to fix Social Security" that will be an alternative to privatization.

I think it'll all come down to how much the facts will make it to the SCLM outlets and how firmly the congressional Democrats will stand their ground. If they can sustain a united front, they'll stop the demolition plan in its tracks. If they cave in, game's over.

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