Thursday, June 16, 2005

Leaders, Liberals, Laggards, and Liars

Herman Cain's latest article is entitled Leaders, Liberals and Laggards, and covers Social Security. Specifically it covers how Liberals and Laggards are hampering President Bush's attempts to Lead the debate. Mr. Cain, as is traditional, spends little time wondering if President Bush is leading us in the wrong direction.

We are winning this debate in the short term, which is good. Better than letting President Bush's plan to destroy Social Security go forward. But it does leave us open to the charge of obstructionism. One great rhetorical sleight of hand is to present your prescription to a problem as the only solution. Here's the problem; here's the solution, why don't Democrats want to solve this problem? Hermain Cain uses this formulation continuously.
The first critical thing that real leaders do is remove barriers to understanding a problem and its solution. Liberals create barriers to cause confusion. . . .

The second critical thing that leaders do is ask the right questions. Liberals ask the wrong or misleading questions. . . .

Third, leaders inspire the best in people, which is to believe in themselves. Faith in individual liberty and choice produces solutions to problems for the common good of the people. Liberals incite the worst in people, such as jealousy and envy. This produces divisiveness, dysfunctional social systems, and bigger government for the good of their political party. . . .
This pattern works, in a sense, because he successfully minimizes any Democratic Plans to fix Social Security. Thus we have one side maturely putting forward their plan to fix America, and the other side digging in their heels, seemingly out of sheer maliciousness. The truth is that both sides have put forward plans. Democrats have been putting forward plans for years. One involves raising the cap on Payroll Taxes, and it seems like that would work. But we haven't publicized our plans as much.

I'm of two minds about this call. Part of me says that if the Republicans want us to do something so unanimously (and the Republicans have been pretty darn unanimous in their advocation that we should put forward a plan), well I can't think that it's a good thing. After all once we talk about raising the cap (if that ends up being our proposal), Republicans phrase it as a tax increase and slam into us. President Bush's plan has yet to be fleshed out in any detail, presumably for the same reason (although in his case it might be the program cuts that he would get slammed over).

On the other hand if they paint us as simple obstructionists, well, that's not much better. And how bad would admitting we want to raise taxes hurt us? If a program is running short of money, there are two answers. Raise more money (through taxes, or, in theory, President Bush's private accounts) or spend less Money (through cutting services).

I know Commentators aren't supposed to admit this, but I killed a guy in Buffalo. Also I don't know exactly what the right answer is.

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