Picture this: Thanksgiving dinner in Washington. The children have been exiled from the land of breakables and polite conversation, and the quiet, balding young uncle is stuck with kiddie table duty this year. The kids vary in age from 4 to 10; some are more mature than others, but practically everyone is content with flinging grandma’s mashed potatoes in each others’ faces while the only grown up at the table sits silently, patiently by, waiting for the kids to catch a glimpse of his unblinking, serious countenance and shut up so he can say Grace.
But wait, it’s a metaphor!
Yes, Uncle Thad is the only grown-up at the table, and while his fellow GOP contenders duke it out debate after debate, taking on the tough questions like, “What should we call Social Security?” Thad has been working tirelessly to provide Americans with an actual, real, very much not imaginary piece of Social Security reform legislation. Imagine that!
At the Heritage Foundation on Monday, Congressman McCotter unveiled his plan to Save Social Security. It sounds too good to be true, folks, but I have to say, after sitting in on the hour-long presentation and then going home and doing a bit of extra research, this looks like the best piece of legislation introduced in the history of pretty much ever.
But seriously, all hyperbole aside, I was blown away by the presentation. The bill, which promises to be the “the largest single reduction in government spending in the history of mankind,” will not raise taxes, will not cut benefits (actually, benefits will probably increase), will not increase spending (it relies on spending cuts), will not privatize (you cool with that AARP?), will not impact current retirees or those with disabilities, and it will not implode. That’s because McCotter isn’t throwing money at the problem or cutting it altogether–he has indeed been working very closely over a long period of time with Social Security expert Peter J. Ferrara to restructure the entire thing.
One of the things that most caught my attention about McCotter’s speech at Heritage was his willingness to relinquish credit to Mr. Ferrara and his openness to other ideas regarding Soc. Sec. reform. He said, “If people want to look at this bill, come up with something better, I’ll be happy to support it. If I’d have seen some other Republican, I don’t care if they’re a precinct delegate or presidential candidate, come up with something like this I’d support it. I’d sing its praises to the highest mountaintops. I wouldn’t let politics get in the way of a good idea.”
Wait, so you’re telling me that there’s more to being President than spouting bumper-sticker slogans, combing your luscious hair, and talking in really general terms about really general issues? It’s possible to be both a Presidential Candidate and have ideas at the same time? Huh. I was under the impression that it was the President’s responsibility to stand pretty and appoint like it’s going out of style.
Sure, many of the GOP niches have been filled already. Perry is Bush, Romney is McCain, Bachmann is Palin, and Ron Paul is Ron Paul. Gingrich is the ideas guy, Herman Cain makes Pizza, and Huntsman does well on MSNBC. But at the end of the day, even if they won’t let him debate, at least we can still voice our support for the designated substance candidate.
And if you disagree with me, tell me in the comment section below. Unlike Paul Krugman, I’m not allergic to criticism.