The decision to pass over the highly respected Rep. Ben Cardin of Maryland to be top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee subcommittee dealing with Social Security shows that the party will not tolerate any compromise on this issue.
Cardin has cooperated with Republicans on pension legislation, and Republicans considered him the best bet for a prominent Democrat to accept President Bush's concept of Social Security personal accounts. Instead, the subcommittee position went to Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, a former state party chairman and candidate for governor who can be counted on to follow the straight Democratic line.
The cover story is that Cardin actually was given a better Ways and Means subcommittee. He replaces Levin as ranking Democrat on the international trade panel.
Indiana's newly elected Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who stunned conservatives nationwide by proposing a huge tax increase for upper income Hoosiers, will not be disinvited to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington Feb. 17-19 because he actually never accepted the invitation.
Daniels was the only Republican governor invited to attend the prestigious event. Once the new governor raised taxes, there was no place for him at CPAC. However, since he never accepted, nothing need be done.
As President Bush's budget director, Daniels opposed all federal tax increases. In public, he contends that his state tax hike will be in effect for only a year before the state's budget shortfall is corrected. In private, he is delighted that, with the increase limited to incomes of more than $100,000, liberals cannot accuse him of balancing his budget on the backs of the poor.