Friday, February 11, 2005

Strategery or bankruptcy?

Via PowerLine, I was just reading a liveblog covering a recent debate between Hugh Hewitt and Peter Beinart of The New Republic. In this debate, Hewitt apparently repeatedly brought up the Democratic party's lack of new ideas; Beinart objected, saying that they had ideas but couldn't get them out because of Republican control of Congress.

I wonder.

Is lack of Congressional control that much of a barrier to getting ideas out? Seems to me Pelosi and Reid had the eyes and ears of the nation (or at least that portion of the nation that watches the State of the Union address) the other night, and Bush's general ideas about SocSec have been floating around for plenty long enough to formulate a response to the likely form they would take (and in fact did take) during his address. Yet all these two "leaders" of the minority party in Congress could come up with on the subject was that it was a sacred trust and we shouldn't dink around with it. And I have yet to read a single Democratic alternative to Bush's personal-accounts idea that involves more, or other, than lowering benefits in the future, raising retirement age someday, and/or removing the earnings cap on SocSec payroll deductions.

The question I have, then, is whether Democratic silence on the subject is, as it appears to be, lack of anything better to offer, or - and this may be worse - a sign that the party is hunkering down to wait out the next four years (or at least the next two, although by now they should know better than to place too much stock in the midterm election) before they reveal any of their own ideas, to prevent Bush and the Republicans from taking credit for any good ones that might be taken up and passed? If it's the latter, shame on them.

I suppose time will tell.

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