We need your help.
It's nothing short of amazing how many candidates there are out there this election season who refuse to give a straight answer on whether they support preserving Social Security or phasing it out and replacing it with private accounts. President Bush says he'll try to phase it out next year if he holds on to Congress. The Republican Social Security chairman in the House says the same thing. So it's definitely an issue on the ballot this November. But dozens and dozens of candidates -- like Tom Kean, Jr. and Michael Steele and Mike DeWine -- simply refuse to answer the question.
As the Cincinnati Post put it charitably last year during the thick of the Social Security debate, DeWine's office "had a tough time explaining whether or not he stands with the president" on Social Security phase out. As near as we can tell, they're still having a tough time.
So, with that in mind, we're putting together a list of candidates around the country who just plain won't come clean on this vital question. We've started compiling names here on this list. But we need your help. Who's running for Congress in your district? And who's running for the senate in your state?
If they won't give a straight answer or won't answer the question at all, tell us. Send us an email at the comment email up over on the right.
Once we have our list in order we're going to start trying to get answers from the folks on the list. Last week, we announced a contest to see who could get a straight answer from Washington senate candidate Mike McGavick. But our effort was sort of short-circuited when David Postman of the Seattle Times got an interview with McGavick and got him to admit that, yes, he does support phasing out Social Security and replacing it with private accounts. Actually, short-circuiting probably isn't the best way to put it since Postman said he asked McGavick about his position on Social Security in response to our contest.
So McGavick has sort of come clean -- though we're still looking at the weasel words in his answer. But what about Tom Kean, Jr. in New Jersey. State voting record says he's a phase-out man on Social Security. But guy's criss-crossing the state and refusing to say what his position is on Social Security.
In any case, we want to get everyone's position on the table before the November election. So take a look at the list and tell us who's not on it. And for folks who can get straight answers out of these bamboozlers there will of course be prime TPM T-shirts and special place in our new TPM Hall of Social Security Heroes -- whether you have to do research on the web to dig up the answer, ask a question at a town hall meeting, call in on the radio, or whatever. Yes, the fun and TPM merchandize will be endless.
So get ready. And drop us a line with the name of the Social Security bamboozlers in your neck of the woods.