White House invoking Clinton in Social Security fight
With their push to restructure Social Security off to a rocky start, Bush administration officials have begun citing two Democrats -- former President Bill Clinton and the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- to bolster their claims that the retirement system is in crisis.
But the gambit carries some risk, Bush supporters say. Clinton's repeated calls during his second term to "save Social Security first" were specifically to thwart what President Bush ultimately did: cut taxes based on federal budget surplus projections. Likewise, internal Treasury Department documents indicate that Moynihan, a New York Democrat who was co-chairman of Bush's 2001 Social Security Commission, expressed misgivings about the president's push to partially privatize Social Security.
Typically, in the past, the Post and others would just report the White House's daily line and frequently fail to give context. The Democrats are pushing the context envelope in this fight and are essentially forcing the Post and other media outlets to be more "balanced" in their reporting.
There is another danger to the White House in taking this tack. Moynihan is dead, so he can't respond to distortions of his position. But Bill Clinton is very much alive and active and more than capable of hitting back. Indeed, he could one of the most powerful opponents of Bush's efforts. The White House's use of his comments on Social Security create the perfect opening for him to step into the battle. I think he should do just that.
ThereIsNoCrisis has more.