A reader writes in the following ...
re: Allen Boyd, I think it's a mistake to first assume
that we can't convince him on the merits of the issue,
rather than trying to intimidate him into submission.
I don't assume that. In fact, I would say that it would be foolish for anyone to commit themselves to voting Boyd out of office or punishing him in any way at all. I would say simply that anyone in Boyd's district who believes in Social Security should commit themselves to vote only for candidates who vote to keep Social Security.
Boyd has plenty of time to decide whether or not he qualifies.
I think Boyd's fellow Democrats have a very strong case to make to him on Social Security, both on the substance and
the politics. If the issue were abortion or gay rights or guns, it would be foolish to think that Boyd is going to adopt the positions of Democrats from the coasts, given that he comes from a district that is very culturally red. But I simply don't buy the idea -- frankly, I can't imagine that anyone does -- that Social Security is a program that culturally conservative rural voters just won't abide.
As Ed Kilgore has been saying in a slightly different context, Democrats need to put much more focus as a party on persuasion. But as any sensible
hawk knows, diplomacy is seldom truly effective without a credible threat of force backing it up. And that's all I'm recommending.