This Republican spin is built entirely on a note on OnTheIssues.org that claims SHS signed onto the Democratic Leadership Council's Hyde Park Declaration of 2000.
In a departure from my usual lazy Googling, I thought I'd go right to the source to find out what gives. I spoke on the phone this morning with Edward Gresser, president of the Democratic Leadership Council. He explained that the DWC rumor is wrong on all counts.
- The only signatories of the Hyde Park Declaration were Democratic officeholders in 2000. Stephanie Herseth did not become a Democratic officeholder until 2004.
- The Hyde Park Declaration did not become a national party platform or uniting manifesto that Democratic candidates or elected officials were expected to sign.
- Stephanie Herseth has thus never signed the Hyde Park Declaration.
- Even if she had signed it, nowhere does the Hyde Park Declaration call for privatizing Social Security. The document acknowledges that Social Security is expensive, but makes a commitment to protecting the program. The document proposes Retirement Savings Accounts for low-income folks as a supplement to, not a replacement for, Social Security.
The candidates' positions on Social Security are thus as follows:
- Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: I'll protect Social Security. I've never supported privatization, never have, never will.
- Kristi Noem: I supported a budget that would privatize Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Wait, really? Oh, I didn't know that was in there! All my Tea Party friends said Paul Ryan was really cool. Um, o.k., I guess I don't want to privatize Social Security. As for Medicare and Medicaid... oh, stop asking me hard questions!
- B. Thomas Marking: Hang on while I take a web poll....