Senator Kennedy defines liberalism for 2005. That is subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
Speaking before the National Press Club (search) in Washington, Kennedy put forth his vision for America: The Iraq War is another Vietnam — unnecessary and foolish; higher taxes should be imposed on affluent Americans; more government spending on safety nets for Americans not doing well; abortion of any kind on demand; and, ultimately, free health care for all Americans who need it.
Now all of this is the standard progressive dance card and you can decide on its merit. —You don't need me or Senator Kennedy to tell you what to think.— But the senator then took his message a little further, opening up on the emotional Social Security issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Never before until now has any president, Republican or Democrat, proposed a cut in Social Security benefits. Yet President Bush is talking not just about a cut, but an incredible 33 percent cut. We must oppose it, and we will defeat it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Wow! Does the president really want to cut Social Security checks by a third? Hide the grannies. That's frightening. — If it were true.
Now I'm not here to define Mr. Bush's policies, but we are the original No Spin Zone. So "Talking Points" dialed up the government's Social Security Web Site, www.ssa.gov/qa.htm, whatever that means, and, on the site, it says this:
"Unless changes are made, in the year 2042, benefits could be reduced by 27 percent and could continue to be reduced every year thereafter."
The site goes on to say, by the year 2079, benefits could be reduced by 33 percent.
Uh, paging Senator Kennedy. That's a long way from Bush cutting Social Security by a third, is it not, Senator?
Of course, this kind of misleading rhetoric hurts the progressive cause. Granny may be in shock, but aware voters realize scare tactics when they hear them.
The truth is that Social Security will have to change and everybody knows it. President Bush wants to privatize some of it. Kennedy doesn't. Let's have a debate.
But all politicians have to stop the deceit. Let the folks know where you stand without the partisan propaganda.
Now we called Kennedy's office today. He'd never face me because he knows I know what he's up to. His people pointed to a newspaper article to back up his claim against Bush. Nonsense!
If the Democratic Party ever wants to persuade Americans its vision is better, it had better wise up and deal with difficult issues with no spin.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Harvard University has created a new job, a person who encourages fun. I'm not kidding. Zac Corker (search) is going to be paid to build community spirit and help students unwind at Harvard.
Corker is a 23-year-old guy, says he's fun, but he's really up against it. Take it from this Harvard alum. We're not exactly talking the Mardi Gras up there in Cambridge. However, I did have some fun at Harvard, mostly at other people's expense, which, of course, may have been ridiculous.
Well, good luck to Zac. He is the fun czar.