Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Puppet Show...and George W. Bush

Swopa gets it right in his assessment of Dubya's road show:

Anyone who remembers the plot of This Is Spinal Tap (as opposed to its many famous one-liners) will recall that it deals with a band whose dwindling popularity forces it to perform in ever-more-humiliating and pathetic circumstances.

This New York Times article today suggests that Dubya's let's-kill-Social-Security concert tour has started to take on that same feel as it passes through Albuquerque, New Mexico:

Even as he travels the country selling his Social Security overhaul, President Bush is beginning to acknowledge some of the constraints of his plan for individual accounts.

. . . Even the slogan at the president's public events has changed. At the New Mexico event, gone were the banners that once declared the president's interest in "Strengthening Social Security."

Instead they had a more targeted message: "Keeping Our Promise to Seniors." His last several outings have been dedicated to reassuring older voters that their Social Security payments are not in jeopardy, rather than demanding the bold restructuring that was once the focus of his sales pitch.

He has visited centers for older Americans, interrupting residents' card games to repeat the promise. He has brought along his mother, Barbara Bush, to show he understands older people's concerns. And he has enlisted prominent Republicans including Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John McCain of Arizona to help mollify what polls show to be substantial opposition among the elderly to his approach.

. . . Unlike most other presidential appearances, the event inside the darkly lit Kiva Auditorium was sparsely attended, with hundreds of empty seats. Several participants joined the politicians onstage, including a 78-year-old retired teacher, Margaret Valdez, and her 24-year-old granddaughter, Jessica, who both support individual accounts. The older woman said she had appeared with Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico, at a Social Security event before, suggesting that the performance was even more practiced than most.

Currently residing in the "where are they now bin..."

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