Tag Archives: Gingrich

Newt Gingrich Can’t Get With the Program

Why is the Republican Party leadership so scared of Newt Gingrich? Putting aside his generally abrasive personality, his loud streak of megalomania, and his tendency to self-destruct – OK, that’s a lot! – it’s hard to think of much in the way of substantive policy matters that sets the former House speaker apart from the rest of the Republican presidential field.

Oh yes, there’s one thing.

Early last month, when it still seemed that Mitt Romney’s anointment as GOP nominee was a matter of course, the editors of the Wall Street Journal took Gingrich for his position on, of all things, Social Security. The Journal has been pushing for Social Security privatization for decades, but strangely, Continue reading Newt Gingrich Can’t Get With the Program

Who Are the Tea Partiers, and Who Speaks for Them?

Dick Armey certainly thinks he does. As a self-appointed spokesperson for the movement, he’s trying hard to make Social Security privatization one of the big issues in the upcoming midterm election. It’s not clear his Tea Party comrades are behind him, however.

The silly season is upon us, when the Democratic and Republican establishments become obsessed with wedge issues and rallying their respective “Bases.” In the case of the Republicans, keeping the Tea Party movement enthused and eager to vote this November are crucial. Understanding who these people really are and what they want is essential.

What do the Republicans think they know, and what is the reality?

Continue reading Who Are the Tea Partiers, and Who Speaks for Them?

Why the Deficit Commission Won’t Cut Social Security: A History Lesson

Nostalgists for some imagined, bygone era of bipartisanship don’t hold out a lot of hope for the deficit commission. They’re right, but for the wrong reasons.

With a few exceptions, blue-ribbon presidential commissions are dismissed as window dressing, a polite way to kick the can down the road on a particular issue. Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is just such a one.

Disappointed that the commission won’t have the power to force an up-or-down vote in Congress, the deficit hawks call this an ominous failure of government, a further sign that Washington has forgotten how to govern. That’s a dubious proposition: Is a Congress that’s voted consistently and overwhelmingly to keep funding a wasteful, destructive, and ill-conceived “war against terrorism” in the Mideast, despite broad public opposition, for nine years now, really incapable of governing? It may be deeply misguided, but it’s certainly capable of making the proverbial “tough decisions.”

The deficit hawks are right, however, that the deficit commission doesn’t stand much chance of success. Especially of cutting Social Security, which in the wake of the new health care reform law, has become its primary target. To understand why requires a short history lesson.

The long war against Social Security, which began in the early 1980s, is now in its third phase.

Phase 1 began in 1983, Continue reading Why the Deficit Commission Won’t Cut Social Security: A History Lesson