September 23, 2004

Scare tactics

Maybe it was when they told voters that al Qaeda will buy up all those newly legalized assault rifles. Or maybe it was when they claimed that Bush will give our Social Security taxes over to mutual fund managers. In truth, I'm not sure when it started, but somewhere down the line, KE '04 got very good at scare tactics. The partisan in me would like to say, "Oh if only I could bring myself to frown on such demagoguery!" Har, har!

But the partisan policy wonk in me says otherwise. Scare tactics, especially successful scare tactics, usually seem to turn into substitutes for actual policy. Democrats demagogued pretty hard over Social Security during the '90s ("Enron will come for your pension. And then your children!"), and it worked so well that the party decided it didn't even need an actual Social Security policy. Kerry, to the best of my knowledge, has none. And yes, Social Security isn't that hard to fix, but at some point the Democrats really should figure out a way to pad the tax base, keep benefit payouts under control, and erase the "legacy debt". Creating some sort of mandatory savings accounts on the side wouldn't hurt, either. But right now, the party line seems to be: "Republicans will keep you penniless in old age, and we, uh, won't." Reminds me of Dick Cheney: "Democrats will let terrorists destroy this country and we, uh, won't." We all know how that turned out.
-- Brad Plumer 2:23 AM || ||