What Perry Needed to Say, but Didn’t

The key moment of the Republican debate was when the moderator pushed Perry on his book advocating the elimination (or ability for states to opt out) of Social Security. He didn’t deny this is his position.

Romney pushed further on this point saying that Social Security needs to be reformed and saved, not obliterated. Perry was given a chance to respond and again, did not deny that he wants to eliminate Social Security.

All he had to do was say “no Mitt, you are misrepresenting my position… I, like you, Paul Ryan, and others, want to fix Social Security, not eliminate it.”
All the pundit’s discussions about “Ponzi schemes” miss the point…. if Perry wins the nomination, Obama will likely be able to turn the election into a referendum on whether Perry wants to kill Social Security rather than on his own failed policies. Perry has proven that he doesn’t know how to communicate effectively on this issue and Obama will expose that, if given the chance.

Our country has a gun to our head and has to act now to get Obama out of office. Even though I’m sure many prefer Perry over Romney on an emotional level, but here’s the bottom line: this is not a time in history where we can afford to take chances on a guy who is much less electable just because we like his swagger and he makes us feel good. Voting based on emotional connections rather than competence is what got us into this mess in the first place.


  1. “our country has a gun to our head”. our country includes everyone, citizens, politicians and even bloggers. has a gun includes all of the above assuming every American has a gun ready to fire. to our head includes the head of every American be it child, a disabled person or a military person. do not , do not try to explain. this statement is an example of reckless language used by those who have no regard for the consequences. pause before you think and think before you shout. no need to apologize. your intent is engraved in your words. we have had enough of ‘this is out of context’; i did not mean what i said’; ‘you fail to understand’. stand up and be counted on the side of violence. you don’t scare me or mine, i.e., the people who respect our leaders , our history and our patriots.

  2. well said … Mr. Steinberg

  3. I think you are being overly literal, Dick. Obviously my language is metaphorical, but it is also realistic. Do you realize how bad things could get if our debt crisis reaches the level of Greece? There is no Germany to bail us out. Things could very easily get ugly and violent and throw our nation into an irreversible tailspin.

    I stand by my original post.

  4. another chicken little. the sky is falling.

  5. No, the sky is not falling… everything is terrific. Ignore the downgrade. Don’t worry about the European countries whose entitlement programs spun out of control… we don’t have those sorts of problems here…. only $100,000,000,000,000 or so in unfunded liabilities. That’s really not all that much, now is it? Everything is swell. Nothing to see here.

  6. We don’t need a Germany to bail us out. We have our own currency.

    We have a $100 trillion in unfunded liabilites?

  7. Yes, and that is my point… we are starting to hear a little more about our national debt, but we are still not hearing nearly enough about the biggest problem… the massive unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.


  8. Over the next 60 years. Fair enough.

  9. Right. I’m not saying we have that much in debt now. But we almost certainly will in the future if we don’t reform these programs. Obama won’t. Romney would, assuming they have a conservative Congress as well (which appears likely). Perry would, but is probably not electable, largely because he doesn’t know how to talk to moderates and independents on this issue and will be very easily demonized.

  10. What makes you so sure that Romney has any desire to reform Medicare/Medicaid?

    Neither candidate seems too interested in entitlement reform.

  11. politicians and people throw numbers around without any foundation or specific evidence. no matter where these numbers come from they are subject to objective scrutiny. we all agree that the waste in DC is way beyond reason. but the pols never get the specifics right even though they have the inside information we are not privy to. the same is true for welfare fraud, food stamps, pentagon reconstruction, medical supplies and even food. they all have waste. lets not fall into that net of playing the numbers game. the press plays it too.

  12. “We must rein in our trillion-dollar deficits, solve our looming entitlement liability problem, and show an unwavering commitment to stop spending what we do not have.” -Mitt Romney

    “With respect to Social Security, there are a number of options that can be pursued to keep the system solvent—from raising the eligibility age to changing the way benefits are indexed to inflation for high-income retirees…. Similarly, with respect to Medicare, the plan put forward by Congressman Paul Ryan makes important strides in the right direction by keeping the system solvent and introducing market-based dynamics. As president, Romney’s own plan will differ, but it will share those objectives.” -Mitt Romney

    J. Strupp: Does that answer your question? You are right that Romney doesn’t have a detailed plan a la Paul Ryan (at least so far). If Ryan was running, I’d probably vote for him. But Romney has definitely indicated that entitlement reform is a huge part of fixing the economy.

    Dick: You really think the press’s big problem is that they play “numbers games”? I’d say the opposite… the press is too focused on meaningless emotional issues and not nearly focused enough on facts and reason. We need more open discussion of numbers (especially those pertaining to our current fiscal situation), not less. Numbers that don’t add up are what tell us that companies are bankrupt… why is the same not true for countries?

  13. Ah, you could plug in any name you want under that first quotation. Politicians have been saying different variations of that general statement for decades and have done nothing.

    I guess it comes down to whether you think Romney has the will to back up what he says. He might get his chance.

    I agree with you regarding your comment to Dick.