Democratic Strategy Memo: Democrats Must Not Compromise on Social Security Both for Merits and Victory; Democrats Can Win Back Congress on the Issue

6/8/2005 4:18:00 PM

To: National Desk, Political Reporter

Contact: Bob Weiner or Jon Marcin, 301-283-0821 or 202-329-1700

WASHINGTON, June 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- National Democratic strategist and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. House Aging Committee, Robert Weiner, today urged Democrats not to compromise on President Bush's Social Security proposals both for the "merits -- the nation would suffer as a result" and because "the issue could propel the Democrats into control of Congress."

Weiner, who has conducted over 100 recent radio and television interviews on Social Security and served as a DNC media expert on the issue, today wrote forty national Democratic leaders on the heels of Bush's latest speech on Social Security this afternoon in Washington, "Why should we conceivably give in to President Bush when the polls show we can win back Congress and we're right on the merits? When partisanship matches the good of the country, that's how a party can win office. Last week I reminded Newt Gingrich in a conversation that he'd been pointing out that Republicans could lose Congress over this issue. He replied, 'Exactly right. I have never seen an issue handled worse by the White House.'"

Weiner said Democrats "should roll to the videotape come election time and capture in ads what the Republicans said earlier on the issue, pointing out, 'They are the Party who tried to dismantle Social Security and they will try again and again. This time, don't give them the chance.'"

Weiner asserted, "It's not enough just to force President Bush and congressional Republicans to take privatization off the table because of its hypocrisy and ineffectiveness. As Senate Leader Reid has stated, we are better off doing nothing than adopting Bush's emasculation of the program."

"The president refuses to acknowledge the Social Security Trust Fund and prefers to spend the existing $1.3 trillion surplus (and future surpluses) on tax cuts for the wealthy, military contractor costs, and to hide the huge federal deficits that did not exist in the last Administration." Weiner told Democratic leaders, "I invite you to go on Google, as I have, to look up "Social Security Trust Fund" and "SSA." Right in the SSA's own website, there is a section called "Trust Fund Operations!" And it points out that for eleven years since 1960, there has been a shortfall absorbed by the Trust Fund. This is NOT a new development and it is EXACTLY what the Trust Fund is for. The President is just plain wrong on the facts and his premise, and the American people know it."

Weiner advised, "We should be careful of ANY compromise because whether we press for reinvesting the Trust Fund surplus in the Stock Market or raising the $90,000 earnings limit -- both solid and good Democratic ideas that deflect the criticism that we don't have any -- if we allow ANY of these ideas to hit a markup, it means the Republicans can make FURTHER mischief AND will be able to claim a "victory" if a bill passes, when none is needed or helpful to the country."

Weiner said, "Bush's latest gambit is to now claim that those who obstruct his Social Security reforms risk paying a political price. The reality is the political price is being paid rightfully by the Republicans for proposing to dismantle the most successful social program in American history."

"Now the President has degenerated to saying that his opponents are trying to scare seniors. Of course, the reverse is true: What is scaring the elderly is Bush's plan threatening their Social Security and their children's and grandchildren's. This is our SHOT to win back the Congress and we should not blow it."

For full copy of the four-page letter/memo, media contact: 301-283-0821.

(Source: Robert Weiner Associates, 301-283-0821 or 202-329- 1700)


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