Way back in 2005, when most of us were barely born, Republicans re-learned one of the basic rules of US American politics: don’t fuck with the olds. For those of you who haven’t taken a “History of the 2000’s” class recently, here’s a refresher about Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security:
Having invested so much political capital in this issue, President Bush embarked on the first of what proved to be a long series of tours crammed with events at which he pitched his plan to the people. It soon became apparent that it would be a tough sell. Within weeks, observers noticed that the more the President talked about Social Security, the more support for his plan declined. According to the Gallup organization, public disapproval of President Bush’s handling of Social Security rose by 16 points from 48 to 64 percent–between his State of the Union address and June.
By early summer the initiative was on life support, with congressional Democrats uniformly opposed and Republicans in disarray.After Hurricane Katrina inundated what remained of the President’s support, congressional leaders quietly pulled the plug. By October, even the President had to acknowledge that his effort had failed.
As someone who was living during that bygone time, I remember that my idiot Republican Congressman was savaged by his opponent in the 2006 race because he entertained Bush during his “death to seniors” tour.
Of course, the 2000’s were different, simpler times. Many olds did not have their heads crammed full of Fox News horseshit, and Facebook had not yet been invented, so one or two actual facts were able to sneak into their heads. But one thing hasn’t changed in the few years more than an entire decade that has passed since the Republicans last tried to fuck with the olds: the olds have some very powerful lobbies that know how to fight. For example, here’s the AARP using some simple, clear messaging to brand Trumpcare as an “age tax”. The quality of that messaging almost brings a tear to my eye. Accusing Republicans of a new tax targeted at old people is so perfect that an establishment Democrat could never think of it, and if they did, they’d immediately confess to their therapist. The video is pure old person poetry – corny yet direct, hammering home one simple message linking Republicans and taxes, and asking the olds to call Congress.
— AARP Advocates (@AARPadvocates) March 6, 2017
By the way, if you’re not 50 yet, you may not know that the AARP starts recruiting members once you hit that age. Any organization whose membership dies off at the rate of the AARP’s needs to get them while they’re relatively young.