Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

June 15, 2004

by V

Lindsey Graham preparing for 2008?

David Yepsen in the Des Moines Register documents some interesting noises from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham during a recent trip to Iowa:

DesMoinesRegister.com | Controversial ideas don't scare off Graham
...So is Lindsey Graham wasting his time here or is he being a visionary? Time will tell. At a minimum, his views are worth considering because he's only 48 and may be a major contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

...He proposes no change in [Social Security] for anyone over age 55. Anyone else who wants to keep the same benefit would pay a higher Social Security tax. If they don't want to pay a higher tax, they'll get a lower benefit. Or, younger recipients could opt to put 4 percent of their Social Security contribution into a self-directed account they could invest themselves.

But that idea would deny the system tax money it needs to pay today's benefits, he said. To make the transition to a new system would take $80 billion to $100 billion a year for a decade or more to cover those current benefits. To raise that money, he said he wants to close corporate tax loopholes or impose the payroll tax on higher incomes.

...[on trade] "If we had the same trade policies with the Soviet Union as we have with China, they would have had enough capital to stay in business," he said. The Chinese "are doubling the size of their military, and they're doing it with our money."

...[on immigration] "It is an issue that gets your Republican base excited when you say you are going to close all the borders, but America is not about closing all the borders . . . this country needs people who want to make something of themselves and who want to contribute."

...Graham said Democrats have similar problems reaching people of faith, and "the party that can best solve its unique problems will be the party that dominates this century.

"We're in a political no-man's land right now. It is a divided nation. But this division cannot sustain itself much longer. There will be a breakout. I don't know when it's going to come or who is going to break out first, but one of the two parties is going break out and capture a demographic group that they are now losing in sufficient numbers to be dominant in the next century."
Graham has been a right wing hatchet man in the past, but he is one of the Senators who has taken Abu Ghraib very seriously, which did win him back some 'principled' points in my book.

The fact that he's talking about raising specific taxes and reducing benefits to re-engineer Social Security is 1) surprisingly rational and 2) will surely not be overlooked by power-mad Iago Grover Norquist.
Posted by V at June 15, 2004 10:55 AM

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