The scene here in Hanover has been on of fast and furious school work and College Republicans meetings en masse. We're gearing up for the College Republican National Committee Chairman election to be held this June. I have been working with Paul Gourley--our current Treasurer, on his campaign for the top post. Lots of meetings--in addition to the convention we are planning for our own College Republicans this April. And we also have these pesky things called finals to top it all off. I have two papers due on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.
Update made, I couldn't help but comment on this article I found in this morning's Washington Post. E.J. Dionne a nefarious liberal had this to say of President Bush's social security reform effort:
"So far the president has made at least four mistakes. He assumed he could convince the country that Social Security faces a crisis requiring urgent action. He thought he could accentuate the positive -- those "personal accounts" really do sound great -- without laying out what they would cost. He counted on getting good-government points by "facing up" to Social Security's long-term problems without proposing any hard steps to fix them. And he figured that some Democrats would fall his way simply because that's what has always happened before."
Just to cut away some of his verbosity--Dionne is saying Bush screwed up in four ways: 1) he thought social security (SS) required action, 2) he proposed personal savings accounts, 3) he said it was good government to fix a problem, and 4) he thought Democrats would be on board. This is interesting for several reasons, which I will explain later, but here's what Dionne says in conclusion:
"Where does this leave a president? Dropping his call for private accounts carved out of Social Security would allow him to win bipartisan approval for moderate fixes to make the retirement system solvent for decades. Alternatively, he could put forward a serious and detailed plan for private accounts and invite an honest and instructive philosophical face-off with the Democrats on the future of social insurance. The lesson of the first round of the Social Security debate is that the public won't bet on Bush's ideas until he reveals the cards he's holding back."
Here are my responses to Dionne's musings: First of all, SS is in trouble. In a matter of years, it will be a program that costs more than it takes in--a deviation from its intent when created by President Roosevelt back in the 1940s. Any economist will admit as much. This blog by Darmouth's own Andrew Samwick provides lucid analysis that is accessible and forthright.
Second, the President has submitted personal savings accounts as an option--one which younger generations workers support en masse, but the fact is the President has argued all options are on the table and he wants to work with members of Congress to address the issue. He said this as recently as Feb. 16 right here in New Hampshire. I know because I was there.
Third, it is good government to fix a problem before it happens. This is called prevention. In some cases pre-emption, but that's another blog. It's highly hypocritical of Democrats to harangue over intelligence failures which could have prevented September 11, and not yell with as much vigor that we should prevent a SS crisis which is looming in the future. Their criticism was prevention. Why not prevent this? Regardless of their penchant for obstruction, Congressional Democrats (and moderate Republicans) would wise and responsible to get on board and to confront problems. THAT IS GOOD GOVERNMENT!
Finally, Dionne is flat wrong when he says that Bush thought the Democrats would be game in this process. Actually, the notion that the Democrats would agree to anything is a little silly. I think the President did expect the Democrats would put forward solutions and compromises to address the problem instead of being naysayers and doing nothing.
Regarding his analysis of the political climate, it's clear that Dionne is out of touch with what has been going on across the nation to raise awareness of this issue. Perhaps the DC smog was a little heavy the day he wrote this piece? Or maybe, he just needs to get out of the Washington Post press room and the beltway once in a while? At any rate, the situation now is that the President has called for Democrats and other members to get on board in finding solutions--the dialogue is genuine if only the Democrats would stop playing politics and actually execute their oath of office in addressing issues.
Dionne says, "The lesson of the first round of the Social Security debate is that the public won't bet on Bush's ideas until he reveals the cards he's holding back." Actually, the first 'round' wasn't a round at all. It was an awareness campaign to the Nation, letting folks know that there's a problem. The debate will begin once the Democrats and other members put forward measures and compromises which will make the work of a solvent SS system a reality.
Until this happens, people like Dionne and the Congressional Democrats for whom he writes, are little more than Monday Morning quarterbacks. It's easy to tell people what they should have done during the game on Sunday from the comfort of your desk and newspaper on Monday morning. But until these individuals step up, take the snap and engage the battle downfield, they have no room to talk. For all his opining, Dionne's article is a shallow example of a talking head, who talks much but does little. Not unlike Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and other liberal naysayers.
They would all do well to take from the words from another Roosevelt in an address at the University of Paris, Sorbonne:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
This is one of my favorite quotes. And the chief reason I devote myself to the ideals and causes I have. I would that I never am counted as a could soul knowing neither victory nor defeat. I would also that I am never counted as a Democrat--the epitome of Roosevelt's critic.