Friday, April 01, 2005

You Go First

To Eric, who wants the democrats to take the lead in the Social Security (SS) debate when he says:

"Tackling the issue now takes courage; ducking it is cowardice."

I reply:
You seem to think that it takes courage to yell fire, as the republicans have done up to this point. It does not. Courage is when you lead someone out of danger.

The SS debate has raged on long enough for everyone to realize that private accounts (or the more politically correct personal accounts - semantics indeed) do nothing to address the issue of a SS funding shortfall. Additionally, everyone realizes (republican and democrat) that the acceptable consensus solution will involve one or more of the following:

1)tax increases.
2)benefit reductions.
3)retirement eligibility age.
4)wag based indexing.

These are the exit doors available from the smoke that the republicans have turned into a blazing fire. If the republicans truly believed in leadership and courage they would construct a real solution from these components - regardless of the political consequences - and move the debate forward. But unfortunately, here is where their cowardice is shown to anyone who really has an open mind - and not a party mind. They know, as you do, that each of these fixes will invariably make part of their political base less likely to vote for them.

Courage and politics rarely go hand in hand. The republicans would rather have the messenger to the American people be the other party - since the ultimate solution will be seen as a sell out to some part of their base.

Once an acceptable democrat can be coerced into this messenger role by those, like you, yelling leadership and courage, republicans will then move forward with the debate. A rational debate will then ensue that will bring about the ultimate solution.

The icing on the cake for the republicans is that this democrat, along with a lot of his colleagues, can take their courage with them out of Washington when the republicans slay these messengers in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Courageous is not in the man who says lets go - it is the man who goes first. Before you call all democrats cowards remember that your party, and its leader, has done nothing more then say lets go.