Bush's help was that well-known Democrats had proposed tinkering with social security in the past. In his speech on the state of the Union, Bush observed"In the 1990s, my predecessor, President Clinton, talked about increasing the retirement age. Former [Democratic] Senator John Breaux suggested discouraging the rapid collection of social security benefits. The end [Democratic] Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended changing the method of calculating benefits. " Bill Clinton and Joe Lieberman had even played with private accounts.
But Pelosi, then leader of the minority in the House, would not bite the bait. She denied that social security was in crisis. And she refused to come up with a plan to change it. When a congressman asked when the Democrats presented their own proposals, she replied, "Never. Is not it good enough for you?
Republicans have called the hypocrites democrats for rejecting the proposals they once backed. And the centrist experts, while admitting the problems of the Bush proposal, have criticized the Democrats for not opposing it. In February 2005 editorial, The Washington Post have criticized the Democrats for their "silence on alternatives". In a June editorial entitled "Where are the Democrats?" To post recognized"There is no doubt that the political instinct of the Democrats will be against the commitment at this point: why now bail Mr. Bush, argue strategists and let him pretend that he has paved the way for social security on the road to security social? … But there is also the small problem of what is right for the country. "
Nevertheless, Pelosi, understanding that politics and politics are inseparable, did nothing. Regardless of the merit of changing social security, she understood that offering democratic proposals would divide her caucus and give Bush a political lifeline. Instead, she forced the Americans to choose between social security as she was and the privatization of social security, placing Bush in a battle that paralyzed his second term and laid the foundation for Democrats take over the House in 2006. "The first thing we had to do in 2005 was to take the figures from the president. Bush was 57% in early 2005, "Pelosi recently said Note at The New York Times & # 39; Robert Draper. "His number dropped to 38 in the fall, and that's when retirements [of congressional Republicans] started to arrive. "
Pelosi is preparing something similar today. Just as the 2005 Republicans reminded Democrats that they had once supported the change in social security, Republicans today continue to remind Democrats that they have already backed a wall of protection. In his oval office address last week, Trump observed that "Senator Chuck Schumer … has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, with many other Democrats". Former Bush speechwriter, Marc Thiessen, titled a recent column "Democrats were for a wall before being against. "