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Monday, August 16, 2010

Noem Scrambling, Republicans Spinning, Herseth Sandlin Clearly Against Safety Net Privatization

Boy, for a "fake" issue, Republican blogger Pat Powers is sure working hard to defuse Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's successful, momentum-killing charge on Kristi Noem about Noem's support for privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. PP follows the usual tactic: divert the conversation to anything other than what his own candidate actually said.

The game now: try tying Herseth Sandlin to Social Security privatization. Important things to note:
  1. The Republican propaganda machine is avoiding the fact Noem has not yet disavowed her desire to follow Rep. Paul Ryan into privatizing Medicare.
  2. Nor has Noem disavowed her apparent desire to follow Ryan into eliminating CHIP, health coverage for kids.
  3. The subtext of this line of Republican attack is either (a) "privatizing Social Security and Medicare are terrible things and Dems should be just as ashamed of supporting such foolishness as we are," or (b) "Privatizing the senior social safety net really is our plan, Dems are hypocrites for not admitting it, and we are ready to make the case that we should do it." Go ahead, Kristi. Pick one and shout it from the hustings.
Now, as for PP's latest propaganda swing. He's trying desperately to narrow SHS's flip-flop window from ten years to three years... though he still can't get it down to Noem's three-month flip-flop from primary pandering to first-debate flop. Unfortunately for the Noem campaign, Pat can't pin down when SHS signed to the 2000 Hyde Park Declaration, which nowhere speaks of privatizing Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid the way Noem and Ryan would. PP thinks he can tie SHS to privatizing Social Security in 2007, but that's just wishful thinking. In 2005, Herseth's office released this report saying privatization would hit rural areas nearly twice as hard as urban areas. The Congresswoman also noted she found "virtually unanimous opposition" to privatizing Social Security among South Dakota voters.

As usual, PP is all innuendo and no hard evidence. The record dredged through casual breakfast Googling shows that Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has stood against privatization of Social Security since 2005, if not longer. Kristi Noem has stood against said privatization since SHS caught Noem with her partisan pants down at the debate last Wednesday.
Update 10:55 CDT: O.K., o.k., maybe I'm being too generous to SHS and not generous enough to Noem. Maybe it wasn't just Herseth Sandlin's comment at last week's Sioux Empire Fair debate that sent Noem running and screaming away from her endorsement of Paul Ryan's budget. Maybe Noem actually read the voluminous press that says Ryan's budget is a train wreck (emphases mine):
  1. Paul N. Van de Water, "The Ryan Budget's Radical Priorities," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2010.07.06: Ryan's budget "would result in a massive transfer of resources from the broad majority of Americans to the nation’s wealthiest individuals." Noem must have looked up transfer of resources in her Phyllis Schlafly thesaurus, found redistribution of wealth, and stopped reading there.
  2. Nate Silver, "Roadmap to Nowhere," FiveThirtyEight, 2010.08.06: "...[G]iven that current levels of taxation are low-ish by modern standards, and that Ryan's budget would make them lower, we are nowhere near the point on the Laffer Curve where tax cuts would have a net positive effect on government revenues."
  3. Paul Krugman, "The Flimflam Man," New York Times, 2010.08.06: Ryan's plan is "the audacity of dopes... leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce."
  4. Dean Baker, "Fun with Paul Ryan and the Washington Post," Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2010.08.13: Baker documents 20 inaccuracies in Ryan's Medicare destruction plan without breaking a sweat.

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