Whenever someone wants me to respond to something about politics or religion my ‘thinking anxiously antennae’ go up -zoooooop!- and my first response is, "okay, is this a trick question?" Second thought is "they must know the RIGHT answer and hmmm, I don’t think I do, hmmm, this feels like being 10 years old, back in school, hmmm" and finally, "man, am I dumb." So actually I was sort of relieved to get this from friend, Tom:
Who’s the child now?
In this (very good) recent essay by Andrew Sullivan there’s this report of a startling insight by Bush’s chief of staff: One of Bush’s closest confidants and longtime chief of staff, Andy Card, described the president’s own vision of his role as president: "It struck me as I was speaking to people in Bangor, Maine, that this president sees America as we think about a ten-year-old child. … I know, as a parent, I would sacrifice all for my children." In Bush’s case, paternalism isn’t a metaphor. It’s a commitment worth trillions of dollars of other people’s money.
Now we’re all accustomed to thinking of Bush as a guy with the mentality of a 10 years old, so what a surprise it is to learn that he thinks of us that way too!!! And that he wants to take care of us!!! My mind is still reeling from this revelation; I can’t process it. Does this mean that Bush cares about me personally and wants me to have a prosperous retirement by reforming Social Security? Does it mean that all my liberal sins are forgiven? Somebody help me, the implications are too overwhelming…….
Tom VanderMey, CHP
Principal Radiological Engineer
DTE Energy, Fermi 2
Well, Tom, even I’m smart enough to know that your sins, liberal or otherwise, are not forgiven by George Bush and you’ll need to get your ol’ Lutheran head in another place on that one. That being said he sure sounded as though he cared about you personally when he had his 4th only ever press conference last night. He sounded as though he wants you to have a prosperous retirement (you weren’t born in 1950 were you? That part made me, personally, anxious, when he said "born before 1950" and then followed it with "those of you born after" because I immediately thought whoa, buddy, that there is the magic year…). And yes, once he stopped reading and started answering questions he sounded like a very sincere 10 year old talking to people as though they were 10 years old. Which speaks to the title of Sullivan’s article, Crisis of Faith. It also flashes me back to these comments he made a couple weeks ago. From The White House News Releases Bush explaining the Social Security problem to some of his Florida constituency:
Q — I don’t really understand how is it the new plan is going to fix that problem?
PRESIDENT: Because the — all which is on the table begins to address
the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for
example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage
increases or price increases. There’s a series of parts of the formula
that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different
cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts,
the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or
closer delivered to what has been promised.
Does that make any
sense to you? It’s kind of muddled. Look, there’s a series of things
that cause the — like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon
the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have
suggested that we calculate — the benefits will rise based upon
inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would
help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how
fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those — if
that growth is affected, it will help on the red. Okay, better?
I admit it: I am but a child in the political woods. I would like to think that I can rely on representatives who, if not older, are at least wiser on matters as important as Social Security. I did get a slightly clearer picture of the problem from the prepared statement and I heard him say several times that he’ll entertain solutions from either side of the aisle so I’m really hoping people, smart people, step right up.
Speaking of my financial future, I’m betting the market slumps by about 41 points tomorrow after an initial brief pop in the morning. In other news, Steph got voted off.