Democrat Barack Obama told seniors Sunday that Republican John McCain would threaten the Social Security that they and millions like them depend on because he supports privatizing the program.
Obama turned to a bedrock, pocketbook issue as he spoke to about 130 people at an assisted living facility and sought to tie the GOP's presidential nominee-in-waiting to an unpopular President Bush on an issue that motivates seniors.
"Let me be clear, privatizing Social Security was a bad idea when George W. Bush proposed it, it's a bad idea today," Obama said. "That's why I stood up against this plan in the Senate and that's why I won't stand for it as president."
Bush proposed a Social Security plan in 2005 that focused on creating private accounts for younger workers, but it never came up for a vote in Congress. Democrats strongly opposed the idea and few Republicans embraced it.
Obama said McCain would push to raise the retirement age for collecting Social Security benefits or trim annual cost-of-living increases. Obama has rejected both ideas as solutions to the funding crisis projected for Social Security in favor of making higher-income workers pay more into the system.
"We have to protect Social Security for future generations without pushing the burden onto seniors who have earned the right to retire in dignity," he said.
Because Democrats like Obama demagogue this issue year after year, it is impossible to develop a long-term solution to make the system solvent and ensure adequate retirement benefits for future generations. Don't run on a platform of change if you're simply going to rely on politics as usual to win an election.
UPDATE: Not to spend too much time picking on Obama this weekend, but this is one I just couldn't pass up. Some of you are old enough to remember former President Jimmy Carter's energy plan called "Moral Equivalent of War", better known as MEOW, when he asked Americans to accept the fact that they were going to have to learn to live with less. Well, when I read this statement from Obama today about his own energy policy, I couldn't help but think of Carter's failed MEOW policy:
Pitching his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing countries.
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.
"That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added.