• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Bachmann Preparing To Hit Perry On Social Security

Byron York is reporting today that tomorrow’s Republican debate in Florida is likely to see Michele Bachmann hitting Rick Perry big time over his stance on Social Security:

Mitt Romney and his advisers have been pushing hard against Rick Perry over the Texas governor’s description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”  Now, another Republican rival, Michele Bachmann, is preparing to hit Perry on the same issue.

“Bernie Madoff deals with Ponzi schemes, not the grandparents of America,” says a Bachmann adviser.  “Clearly she feels differently about the value of Social Security than Gov. Perry does.  She believes Social Security needs to be saved, that it’s an important safety net for Americans who have paid into it all their lives.”

Bachmann is in Florida for private meetings and to prepare for Monday night’s GOP debate in Tampa.  It’s no secret the Bachmann camp was unhappy with the moderators of last Wednesday’s Republican debate at the Reagan Library, a debate which began as a Perry-Romney showdown and gave less time to other candidates.  This time, in Tampa, it seems safe to predict that moderators will ask at least some other candidates whether they agree with Perry’s characterization of Social Security.

“Certainly not,” the adviser says.  “She strongly disagrees with his position on that, and it’s clearly not something that’s going to sit well with the people of Florida and Iowa and South Carolina and many of the early states, where there is a large population of seniors who rely heavily on Social Security.  For [Perry] to scare them is wrong.”

It’s inevitable that the CNN moderators are going to ask the Social Security question, probably of all the candidates or at least the major ones. It was the dominant take-away from last Wednesday’s debate, for one thing. For another, this is Florida. In fact, the story is likely to stay in the news cycle for some time. The next debate after Monday is on September 22nd, also in Florida and, we’re already seeing down ballot candidates using Perry’s rhetoric in their own campaigns such as this web ad from Tim Kaine in Virginia. Whether all of this hurts Perry is a question we’ll have to wait for the next round of polling to answer.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tano says:

    This tells me that Bachmann has some serious ambition. We might all see her as an extremist nut whose only purpose in the race is to tug the field rightward, and we are probably right about that, but she must actually think she has a legitimate shot at winning the nomination, and being a national candidate.

    She correctly has calculated that making an existential, philosophical argument against Social Security is not something that has any chance of gaining traction in mainstream America. And she also seems to have understood that a Perry-type rhetoric coming from the GOP would most likely forfeit Florida to the Dems, and thus the election.

    She seems a lot smarter, politically, than a lot of conservative and libertarian pundits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. It tells me her campaign has internal polling showing that the SSI issue hurts Perry

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. Polaris says:

    Doug,

    That’s not necessarily true. Bachman has to be desperate given that Perry has essentially ruined her reason and place in the race. I think this smacks of desperation.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. john personna says:

    @Polaris:

    That’s not necessarily true. Bachman has to be desperate given that Perry has essentially ruined her reason and place in the race. I think this smacks of desperation.

    It’s a long time until August 27, 2012. I don’t know Bachmann’s mind, but there would certainly be a school of thought that you keep on playing, because any kind of “unknown unknown” could eliminate one or another player.

    It it is even possible that Social Security is that thing, for Perry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Polaris says:

    I point out in a very progressive state (WI), Feingold tried this by pointing out that Johnson (his GOP opponent) called SS a Ponzi scheme. Johnson made an ad that not only said this in plain language but why. Johnson won, and in a very progressive state at that.

    If Romney and Bachman think they can win the GOP nomination by backing the old estalbishment position (remember Perry never said he’d get rid of SS) or even appearing to (and if you look at Romney’s latest ad, it sure looks like he’s saying that SS he is backing the business as usual approach), then they will lose the nomination fight, badly I think.

    Right now in the GOP electorate, backing the estabishment == Kiss of Death.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  6. Polaris says:

    John,

    Anything is possible, but if you look at Luntz’s focus group data for the GOP debates, Perry scored very well in his SS==Ponzi scheme comments. In short, let’s wait and see for the next round of polling. Personally I think that Perry just managed to get Bachman and Romney to paint themselves as “establishment” politicians and this year that’s probably the kiss of death.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  7. john personna says:

    @Polaris:

    It isn’t just the Ponzi thing, is it? It is the Ponzi thing in context of the claims of various unconstitutionalities.

    The main thing people will be looking at is whether the speaker is a reformer, of the “fix it” type, or a revolutionary, of the “chuck it” type.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. john personna says:

    As an aside, or illustration, someone suggested a GOP bumper sticker:

    Repeal the 20th century. Vote GOP.

    I guess it’s tricky for Bachmann to fault Perry on that, when she’s really on board … but still.

    In that sense her attack, while it may benefit her someday, is the biggest win for Romney. Of course, the other subtext might be that she is running for VP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: It’s not often that I completely agree with you, but I believe you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. Polaris says:

    @john personna: John people esp people that are Fi-Cons have been deperately wanting people to tell the truth about our entitlement spending for years, and certainly they (and the Tea Party types) are going to be unkind to anyone that backs the establishment ‘status quo’ even in appearence.

    Romney may feel he can get away with it (I think he’s wrong, but I can see his reasoning) since he’s had trouble getting that vote anyway.

    Bachman is cutting her own throat because this tack has exposed something that Bachman’s critics have said about her for a long time. She talks a big game on the so-called ‘Tea Party’ principles, but backs away at warp speed when they become at all politically danagerous in her mind (such as entitlement reform). Indeed Romney is better on the record when it comes to entitlement reform than Bachman is, and that’s not saying much.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  11. David M says:

    The biggest issue for me is that the Ponzi scheme type rhetoric only has one reasonable meaning. The program should be ended, as Ponzi scheme means both unsustainable and illegal. So it doesn’t add up if politician is willing to call Social Security a Ponzi scheme but not end it.

    I’m almost surprised to see Bachman really staying in this, but she’s probably correct that this is a liability for Perry and she’ll benefit if he loses support.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Polaris says:

    David M,

    However, Perry never said he’d end SS for those getting it. Not even in his book did he say that. A lot of peple are taking his rhetoric far beyond what was actually said, and I expect Perry is going to gleefully cut off that limb with a chainsaw. I say that having watched Perry do this time and again with his other political opponents in Texas. Romney and Bachman are both falling for it.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  13. David M says:

    @Polaris: You’re missing my point, as once a politician embraces the Ponzi scheme type rhetoric then they also own ending it, even if they won’t come out and say it. Why would anyone respect a candidate who is willing to go along with something they consider a Ponzi scheme?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Polaris,

    Then Perry needs to make clear what his SSI reform ideas are, even in just a general outline sense. So far, he has not done that and he can’t respond by saying “Read my book.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  15. teddic says:

    Perry never got a chance to explain what his ideas are – just his impression of the system as it will ultimately affect the younger generation. By coming up with a coherent, logical fix of the existing system he should bring the doubters and nay-sayers back on board.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Polaris says:

    Doug,

    I won’t disagree with you, but Perry has his own team and his own pollsters I think. I’d just watch and wait. I’ve seen Perry do this over and over…..make his opponents commit themselves into a false position and then cuts them off at the feet.

    I also think you and many others here radically overestimate how much damage Perry’s SS rhetoric will do even if he doesn’t clarify.

    I’d watch and wait, and see if the next round of polling doesn’t bear me out. Just saying.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  17. Tano says:

    Reading Polaris’s comments in this thread make me think that this issue is just a perfect example of what I long suspected would be the dynamic of this race.

    When a party has had its turn at leadership and ends up being soundly rejected by the electorate, there always arises two main factions in the party. One that senses that the party has failed because it lost touch with the mainstream – and thus the party needs to spend its time in exile reforming its policies, so as to go back to the country with a new and better message. The other faction feels that the rejection comes because somehow the party’s core principles were insufficiently emphasized – and thus there needs to be a doubling down – a purification rather than a learning process.

    The usual dynamic is for the latter group to win the struggle in the short term. We saw that with Goldwater, McGovern, and in the eighties with the Dems choosing Mondale over Hart (and even more dramatically in the UK when Micheal Foote ran against Thatcher), and to some extent with Bob Dole in ’96 with his “bridge to the past” rhetoric. This is why it is so often the case that Presidents win two terms.

    Once the party has lost for a second time, it generally turns away from its base-panderers and suddenly remembers that you need to appeal to the broad middle in order to win elections.

    Polaris may be right. Perry might well understand the dynamic at work and may well have the correct strategy to win a contest for the base of the GOP. And then go down in flames in the general.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Polaris says:

    Tano,

    I think you are severely underestimating just how much Obama is disliked right now. Unless the ecomony improves dramatically, no GOP nominee not named Gingrich or Palin will “go down in flames”. The best Obama can hope for is to get a narrow win by “disqualifying” is opposition, and I don’t see that happening. This is not 2008 and Obama has a record to hide from now, and a very different (D+1 at best for Obama) electorate.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  19. Tano says:

    @Polaris:

    I think you are severely underestimating just how much Obama is disliked right now.

    Pollster.com’s average of all polls for Obama’s favorability is 51.2%, unfav at 42.8 – a difference of 8.4%, which is a tad higher than the margin he won election with.

    Romney, the most “electable” of the candidates according to most polling, has a net +3 favorable, 34-31.

    Perry actually has net negative likeability – 22% vs 25% unfavorable. You think this is a threat to Obama?

    Obama’s likeability is actually a strength of his – it is 6-7 points higher than his job approval ratings.

    Obama might lose the election, but it won’t be because he is disliked by most Americans, no matter how intensely the hard-right hates him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. john personna says:

    @Polaris:

    John people esp people that are Fi-Cons have been deperately wanting people to tell the truth about our entitlement spending for years, and certainly they (and the Tea Party types) are going to be unkind to anyone that backs the establishment ‘status quo’ even in appearence.

    This also is not the same as talking about unconstitutionality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. john personna says:

    (I get the feeling that Polaris feels it is his job to move Perry back into “fix it” turf, on his own.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. Polaris says:

    Tano,

    That is dishonest. The correct measure is Job Approval this far out and everyone here knows it. Also check out the RCP averages. Obama is underwater and has been for a very long time.

    -Polaris

    Edit PS: Basically “approval” (esp this far out) has zero predictive value. JA on the other hand has a very strong predictive value. IE just because the electorate likes you does not mean they will vote for your reelection if they don’t like the job you are doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  23. Rick Almeida says:

    @Polaris:

    The correct measure is Job Approval this far out and everyone here knows it.

    As a political scientist, I call shenanigans. Show your work and cite the relevant literature.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  24. Polaris says:

    Rick,

    You are saying JA isn’t the relevant measure this far out. Really? Call shenanigans all you like, but Obama’s been underwater in the polling (see RCP) forever now.

    That’s just a fact.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Scott O. says:

    @Rick Almeida:
    Polaris continuously pulls stuff out of his butt and states it as fact. When asked to back it up he never can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. David M says:

    @Polaris: “the correct measure”…these are comments on a blog about what might happen more than a year from now. There’s no right or wrong answer, and someone’s opinion can hardly be called dishonest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Rick Almeida says:

    @Polaris:

    I am completely saying that job approval isn’t “the relevant measure” this far out. In fact, I submit that the research clearly indicates that there is no effective way to forecast a presidential election this far out, except for the rather weak observation that incumbent presidents who seek re-election usually win.

    I’ll go you one better. There’s no particularly valid way to forecast a presidential election until about August of the election year, and even then, the incumbent’s job approval is far less important than economic indicators, though there is an endogeneity issue there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. An Interested Party says:

    I think you are severely underestimating just how much Obama is disliked right now.

    Actually, you are severely underestimating how politically foolish it is to trash Social Security…you constantly refer to some race in allegedly “progressive” Wisconsin as some kind of proof that this isn’t a bad strategy, but a national election is very different from a state election…but I do so hope that Perry follows your line of thinking…let him get the GOP nomination, only to lose spectacularly in the general election…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. Polaris says:

    @Scott O.:

    Really?

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_44/b3906054_mz011.htm

    (This one explains why GWB won in 2004 by as little as he did and was written well before Obama)

    http://race42012.com/2011/03/10/defeating-incumbent-presidents-odds-and-recent-history/

    This one is actually fairly bullish on Obama’s changes but also indicates that JA is the factor to look for.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/mixed-signals-everywhere-on-president-obamas-reelection-prospects/2011/06/02/AGZp1tHH_blog.html

    This last one thinks that Obama is in good shape when it was writtne based on this JOB APPROVAL rating….which of course has tanked since then.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Polaris says:

    @Rick Almeida: That’s interesting. There is a strong correlation between economic performance and reelection, and that can be projected (albeit with high uncertainty to be sure) this far out.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Polaris says:

    @An Interested Party: I disagree. I do not think that Social Security is the third rail of politics anymore. Five years ago, yes. Today? NO at least not in the GOP Primary electorate which is the only electorate that really matters for Perry (or Romney and Bachman) right now.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Rick Almeida says:

    @Polaris:

    There is a strong correlation between economic performance and reelection, and that can be projected (albeit with high uncertainty to be sure) this far out.

    Provide citations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. An Interested Party says:

    NO at least not in the GOP Primary electorate which is the only electorate that really matters for Perry (or Romney and Bachman) right now.

    Ahh, but in line with what I wrote, I am referring more to the general election rather than the GOP primaries…it would be most delicious if Perry’s position on Social Security helped him to win the GOP nomination and then turned around and helped him to lose the general election…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. Polaris says:

    Rick,

    Please. If you really do have a degree in political science, you know perfectly well that the state of the economy is prehaps the most impotant factor in determinining whether or not a president gets reelected. Almost all the models are built around it and they work fairly well.

    If you don’t accept this, then I can’t help you.

    -Polaris

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Tano says:

    @Polaris:

    That is dishonest. The correct measure is Job Approval this far out

    Screw you Polaris – you callin’ me dishonest??? You are the one who claimed that Obama was disliked. If you meant to say that his performance is disapproved of, then why didn’t you say so? Your poor word choice does not render me dishonest – I was merely trying to address the issue you raised.
    Jerk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. Rick Almeida says:

    @Polaris:

    you know perfectly well that the state of the economy is prehaps the most impotant factor in determinining whether or not a president gets reelected.

    Very different from:

    The correct measure is Job Approval this far out and everyone here knows it.

    You’re dishonest.

    Now you’re going to say that they’re related, but I asked you for cites that show the functional form of the relationship, but you can’t.

    Hack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Mark says:

    USA TODAY on PERRY and Social Security
    Author: Mark Shean
    In the September 12th edition of USA TODAY, the editors ‘view’ on Rick Perry’s stance on Social Security was, in my view, comical. They begin by saying that since its inception in 1935 that it has been very popular with both parties. Of course it has been popular, both parties have been stealing from it since 1935, whats not to like about putting in worthless I.O.U.’s with no thought of ever returning the money? If Social Security was established correctly it would have been OFF limits to everything else except people retiring, if that had been done from the very start a huge surplus would be in place right now.

    USA TODAY says that Perry’s “harsh rhetoric misstates the reality”. His view that it is a “Ponzi scheme” and “monstrous lie” is way over the top so the paper says. USA TODAY then goes on to define a Ponzi scheme, as being “an undertaking designed to swindle people out of their money by using income revenue to produce bogus investment returns to attract more money”. “Ponzi schemes have two salient features USA TODAY says. First, they are criminal enterprises, second, they work only until people get wind of what is going on, at which point they inevitably collapse”. BINGO! I agree with USA TODAY completely, they hit the nail right on the head!

    Social Security/the government has been swindling people for years out of a portion of their income promising a bogus return on their investment in the form of a retirement stipend in old age. A majority of people put in far more than they ever live to get back, what happens to the money they did not live long enough to collect back? It is rolled back into the SS fund so politicians can then steal it for other things, it should go to the persons family, that sounds very criminal to me that it should be rolled back in…. The second point made by USA TODAY, that once a Ponzi scheme is uncovered it collapses…. well SS is/has been collapsing, and the people are now very aware of it. It is not an ‘entitlement’ as the politicians, including Obama would sorely like you to believe, it is YOUR money that YOU have put into SS, you SHOULD get it back., you earned it!

    Politicians think that by raising the retirement age more people will die before they can collect anywhere near what they put into SS, this is the political ‘fix’ for years of political theft of the SS fund. Is it a “monstrous lie” as Perry indicates? It most certainly is. It is a lie to continue garnishing young peoples wages for the failing SS fund knowing full well these young people will never get any return on their investment due to politicians direct theft of the SS funds. So I guess that makes it a government run Ponzi scheme after all, run by government criminals. Bernard Madoff was a boyscout compared to Congress all these years.

    USA TODAY says Perry has not made clear his ‘fix’ for SS, everyone except USA TODAY already knows what the ‘fix’ is, pass legislation that makes it a federal crime and life imprisonment for any politician that puts his dirty money grubbing paws into the SS fund for anything other than what it was intended, RETIREMENT! Fixed.

    That Rick Perry is the ONLY candidate with the courage to say what needs to be said about SS in these GOP debates tells me he is the right man, (so far) to lead this country out of the mess Obama has only helped to worsen since he took office. So by USA TODAY’s own definition they unwittingly show precisely why Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, and a monstrous lie. Good job USA TODAY!

    NOTE: In the 9-15-2011 edition of USA TODAY they ran a political cartoon stating that there are 462 million Americans in poverty….even counting all illegal aliens there are not that many people in the entire country, not even close……I hate to confuse the issues with the facts, obviously USA TODAY would rather slant then use facts.

    PERRY for PRESIDENT in 2012!

    Mark Shean,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0