On Fox News Sunday, ultra-conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) came out against cuts to Social Security. Without directly saying it, DeMint seems to have been advocating for privatization, but the important thing here is that, at least rhetorically, DeMint has put Republicans in firm opposition to “cuts” to Social Security. Transcript from Time:
DEMINT: Well, again, I’ve introduced legislation that shows we can cut the cost of Social Security without all of these cuts that they’re talking about.
This is what we’ve done for years, Chris, is we’ve cut benefits and raised taxes on Social Security without changing it from a political slush fund, which is what it’s been for the last two decades, to a real savings program. So we need to look at real reform before we go straight to Social Security, which people have paid for, and start cutting things. There are other things that they did not consider, like repealing “Obamacare” and taking back money that — from — you know, privatizing Fannie Mae, privatizing General Motors. All of these things need to be on the table before we start cutting programs like Social Security that people have paid for.
Contrast this with President Obama, who has remained effectively mute on the recommendations to cut Social Security from the co-chairs he appointed to his deficit commission, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.
Republicans are setting themselves up as the defenders of Social Security against any cuts, while the Obama teaam is fast making sure people see Democrats as the party intent on cutting your Social Security benefits.
If you thought the 2010 election–in which Republicans were able to cast themselves to seniors as the protectors of Medicare against Democratic cuts–was bad, just wait for 2012. Republicans are already preparing to run the same play in 2012, but this time with Social Security. Democratic losses among older voters will be a blood bath.