My my my. Oh


My my my. Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we practice to bamboozle.

Way, way back on June 29th, frustrated that chronic Social Security bamboozler Mike McGavick, Republican senate candidate in Washington, wouldn’t give a straight answer on his position on whether or not to phase out Social Security and replace it with private accounts, we actually launched a special TPM Media contest to see who could get a straight answer out of the guy.

Then the next day, in response to our contest and general efforts to shed some light on the murky darkness of McGavick’s bamboozlement, David Postman of the Seattle Times interviewed McGavick to find out what the deal was. McGavick gave a fairly poll-tested but still relatively straight forward response. McGavick, wrote Postman, “wants a phased-in system of individually controlled, privately managed retirement accounts that could provide a higher yield than the government-run system, but would come with a lower guaranteed payment.”

McGavick also told Postman that on Social Security he wants “to get this out of the political world and into a thoughtful space.”

Anyway, with the exception of a few moments of recidivist bamboozlement, that’s where the matter stood for the past few months. McGavick didn’t really want to discuss the issue. But when pressed he conceded he was for phasing out Social Security as it now exists and replacing it with a system of private accounts. McGavick never uttered a peep saying Postman got anything wrong. His campaign even excerpted Postman’s piece on its campaign blog, as a pointer for understanding his position.. And that’s where the matter stood.

That is, it stood there until this week when his opponent, Maria Cantwell, ran a radio ad criticizing the position he took in his interview with Postman.

Now suddenly McGavick says Postman got it all wrong. Now McGavick says he actually doesn’t want the private account managed privately. He wants the government to manage the private accounts.

Says McGavick …

I don’t want it privately managed, either by Wall Street or that individual. What I want is a government-run program, with money going into an account. It would be managed by the government.

And now he says Cantwell has to take down her ad because it doesn’t reflect his true position. At least after changing it for the tenth time. Can anyone take this dude even remotely seriously? And how am I supposed to run Social Security contests with any sense of predictability or finality when we’ve got serial bamboozlers like Mike McGavick out there constantly changing their positions?

I need Regis here to give McGavick one of those, “Is that your final answer?” lines.

(ed.note: In private McGavick is known for supporting hardline privatization of Social Security. He just fibs about his position in public.)

Late Update: Maybe give a holler to the Postman guy at the Seattle Times and thank him for braving the hot swamps of McGavick’s bamboozlement.