WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The president is out on the hustings. Yes, he remains on the campaign trail. He is supposed to be taking a break in Crawford, Texas, but his schedule shows him flying out across the country almost daily and campaigning. What is he campaigning for? The answer is Social Security reform. Here in Washington, the press has, if anything, understated how much George W. Bush cares about this issue. One might well ask why he cares so ardently about it. Surely, it is not as glamorous as defeating tyrants abroad, a task he has well in hand. Yet only the author of Social Security, Franklin Roosevelt, has invested so much intensity in securing the future of the nation's retirees. GWB is an unusual Republican.
I say he is unusual because he has such an ardor for politics. Most Republicans do not. In fact, a major difference between Democrats and Republicans is to be found in their political libidos. The Democrat has the political libido of a nymphomaniac. The Democrat politicizes practically everything and lusts for it madly. The Republican has the political libido of a eunuch. That is why Social Security reform is in trouble today. Only this Republican president and a handful of fellow Republicans are truly engaged in the fight. Had the Democrats decided to reform Social Security, the process would be well on its way. Back in the 1990s, when it was popular with both Democrats and Republicans to recognize that the system needed reform, action toward reform was heating up. President Clinton had put together a bi-partisan group to reform the system. But other matters overtook him, so now it has fallen to Republicans to push for reform.
That means the reform movement is in trouble. The Republican political libido is part of the problem, as is the Democrats' political libido. The Republicans do not have the president's ardor. The Democrats see a larger political advantage to deny the Republicans a victory on Social Security and are opposing the president day and night, week in and week out. And there is one other matter. The Democrats of the present, that is to say the left-wing Democrats, have no belief in growth economics. It is growth economics that will preserve the security of the nation's retirees.