Hmmm. Republican Ways and Means Chair Bill Thomas says the Bush plan is a "dead horse". And Democratic backbencher Allen Boyd co-sponsors a private accounts bill with Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) of Arizona. So I guess both parties are equally disunited when it comes to the president's Social Security phase-out bill.
So says Tom Curry at the MSNBC website ...
At this point in the struggle over Social Security, neither Democrats nor Republicans are unified on what changes ought to be made. One Democrat, Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida, has signed on as a co-sponsor of Arizona Republican Rep. Jim Kolbeâs private accounts bill.
A Senate Democrat who will play an important role on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, has discussed Social Security options with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is trying to put together a bipartisan reform package.
A key House Republican offered some provocative views Wednesday. Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Bill Thomas opposed Kennedyâs idea of raising the FICA payroll tax. âWhy do you have to fund it (Social Security) in that way? There are other ways to deal with the issue that are smarter.â This seemed to open the door to paying for Social Security from general revenue, an idea some Democrats also have favored.
Now, one might say that as the site keeping the rolls <$Ad$>current for the Fainthearted Faction
and the Conscience Caucus
, it is rather odd for us to deny that there is any internal disunity among Democrats on this issue.
But we are pressing -- and rightly so, I believe -- what can only be called a rather exacting (some chiefs of staff and press secretaries we've spoken to have used even more colorful or downright unkind phrases) standard for Democrats looking to exit the Fainthearted Faction. But it's certainly worth noting that every current member of the Faction -- with the exception of the poltroonish Boyd -- has spoken ill or skeptically of private accounts and says they're disinclined to support the president.
What they won't do is categorically say they don't support phasing out a portion of Social Security and replacing it with private accounts. They want to leave open a little wiggle room -- or in Sen. Lieberman's case more than that -- to give in to the president's blandishments and tender affections. And this, it seems to Mr. Curry, is the equivalent of a third of the GOP House caucus having panic attacks or breaking out in yet-to-be-diagnosed rashes when the word 'privatization' is mentioned.
I don't want to give the impression that that's the totality of Curry's article. He certainly addresses the Democrats clear opposition to the president's phase-out bill. Read the piece to get a full sense of what he's saying. But I think those three grafs speak for themselves.
In any case, this is one more reason why that band of ignominious wobblers, the Fainthearted Faction
, should just be clear on whether they support a Social Security phase-out or not -- so reporters can't create misleading impressions about there being any equivalence between the disunity affecting Dems on this issue and that facing Republicans.