On Social Security, he’s obviously not worried GOP primary voters think calling Social Security a “ponzi scheme” is a problem.
But you know there’s concern among the Karl Rove crowd. Team Obama is going to love this answer:
There may be someone who is an established Republican who circulates in the cocktail circuit that would find some of my rhetoric to be inflammatory or what have you, but I’m really talking to the American citizen out there. I think American citizens are just tired of this political correctness and politicians who are tiptoeing around important issues. They want a decisive leader. I’m comfortable that the rhetoric I have used was both descriptive and spot on. Calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme has been used for years. I don’t think people should be surprised that terminology would be used.
No one gets confused about the point I was making, that we have a system that is now broken. We need to make sure that those on Social Security today — and those approaching it — know without a doubt it will be in place. It will not go away. We’ll have a transitional period for those in mid-career as they’re planning for their retirement. And our young people should be given some options. I don’t know what all of those options need to be yet, but they know instinctively that the program that is there today is not going to be there for them unless there are changes made.
I don’t get particularly concerned that I need to back off from my factual statement that Social Security, as it is structured today, is broken. If you want to call it a Ponzi scheme, if you want to say it’s a criminal enterprise, if you just want to say it’s broken –they all get to the same point. We need, as a country, to have an adult conversation. Don’t try to scare the senior citizens and those who are on Social Security that it’s somehow going to go away with the mean, old heartless Republican.
How would you change Social Security? Would you consider private accounts or raising the retirement age?
We are having a national discussion now about a lot of different options: raising the [retirement] age, doing it in a structured way for the younger worker, some options from the standpoint of private accounts — all of those ought to be on the table. The idea that we’re going to write a Social Security reform plan today is a bit of a stretch from my perspective. I have accomplished one of the things that I wanted to do by talking about it. Americans are paying attention.
What should happen next in Afghanistan?
I think we need to try to move our men and women home as soon as we can. Not just in Afghanistan, but in Iraq as well. And we’ve got to continually reassess our objectives. We need to make strategic decisions based on consultation with our military leaders on the ground, rather than just some arbitrary political promises.
Our objective should be clear. We’ve got to support the Afghan national security forces as they transition into the role of being the stable and appropriate force to sustain that country. Our overall objective has to be to serve that process and to drive out those who would do harm to our country. I think we’ve done that in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have substantial ways to continue to put the pressure on the bad guys, if you will, and I don’t think keeping a large force of United States uniform military in Afghanistan for a long period of time is particularly in the interest of the U.S., or for that matter, in Afghani interest.
But that was his answer with TIME.
In his VFW speech, He also has seemed to be for muscular interventionism — “We must renew our commitment to taking the fight to the enemy wherever they are, before they strike at home.”
But then in the very next sentence, he seemed to be against it — “I do not believe that America should fall subject to a foreign policy of military adventurism. We should only risk shedding American blood and spending American treasure when our vital interests are threatened.”
Rick Perry is obviously confused. He’s not shown himself to be a very adept debater and he’s totally unable to think on his feet about complex issues. His discernment factor is zero.
Remind you of anyone?
Rick Perry is a 20th century man at a time when our challenges are very complex. But he’s outpacing Mitt Romney right now, because he comes off authentic, something Mitt couldn’t manage in a million years.
So far, regardless of Pres. Obama’s problems, and he’s got a lot of them, none of the Republican candidates have impressed enough for anyone to believe any of them can beat Candidate Obama, who’s a whole different beast than his weaker alter ego, Pres. Obama.