Social Security, Populism Front And Center - Choice Needs To Be Made
As the financial markets go to hell, connecting the mess to the McCain-Bush plan to privatize Social Security is a natural. And it's worked its way into Obama's standard stump speech.
He actually went further:
Speaking at Bethune-Cookman University at an event highlighting his campaign's efforts to appeal to women voters, Obama invoked the current financial crisis by taking aim at an article carrying McCain's name in the current issue of Contingencies magazine, published by the American Academy of Actuaries.
In it, McCain wrote, "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."
"So let me get this straight -- he wants to run health care like they've been running Wall Street," Obama told the audience. "Well, Senator, I know some folks on Main Street who aren't going to think that's such a good idea." [...]
"You know, you hear them talking about Wall Street and Main Street -- well, this is Wall Street plus Main Street, and I'm worried about Main Street. I'm worried about people being able to send their kids to college or to be able to afford their homes," Bush said. "...I said, what's it going to take to make sure Main Street doesn't get affected by the policies of Wall Street? And this is what they came up with, and this is big ticket, because it's a big problem."
McCain has attacked Obama this past week for ties to former executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including in two television ads. But he said it's McCain whose campaign is replete with current or former lobbyists for the mortgage giants. He cited comments by the former head of Fannie Mae's government relations office, who was quoted in Politico as saying, "When I see photographs of Sen. McCain's staff, it looks to me like the team of lobbyists who used to report to me."
"Folks," Obama said, "you can't make this stuff up."
On Social Security, Obama said, McCain's support for privatization would leave senior citizens at risk at a time when the stock market has plummeted. "I know Senator McCain is talking about a 'casino culture' on Wall Street -- but the fact is, he's the one who wants to gamble with your life savings and that is not going to happen when I'm president of the United States."
He said that if McCain had his way, "the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week," although McCain has not called for full privatization of the system.
That letter from the Fannie Mae guy is hilarious.
This is good populist stuff, and considering that, after all this, McCain still favors privatizing Social Security, this message is what's going to work.
Obama's statement of principles on the proposed bailout is similarly good, although we're going to need to see what happens the moment after Bush and Paulson say "no" to see what happens on that one.
I also love this ad using Lily Ledbetter:
We have the lines clearly drawn. But the result of that bailout legislation will prove whether those lines result in talk or action.