Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why Is Chris Christie Going All In on Entitlement Reform?

Getting a little desperate for attention? Join the club.

Why did Chris Christie jump the shark with his raise-SS-age-to-69 and means-test-the-shit-out-of-it? Because he 1) wanted to burnish his bonafides as a conservative, and 2) has to acknowledge that he's so second-tier only hair-on-fire ideas will ignite any interest in him.

Well, you went and did it, Chris. You have served your brothers in madness well in one regard: You've set the bar of yes-we-can-still-trash-entitlements rather high. What's Ted Cruz going to do, go for age 70 for Social Security and privatize Medicare? Cruz is already on-board for W.'s Social-Security privitization scheme.

Unsurprisingly, the Wall St. Journal likes Christie's boldness.

But the Big Wiff here for Christie is that entitlement reform will be kicked off the table if the Democrats -- the whole party of 'em -- decide to run on expanding Social Security as the default party position. If the Dems add strengthening Medicare to their position, what happens to the GOP advantage among the Geritol set? It evaporates, unless they can conjure a Fox-News engineered "OMG the Dems want to slash entitlements!!" meme. It's worked before.

If Democrats, including Hillary, stay strong on entitlements, it'll set up the Republican field to be the Grinch That Stole Our Retirement. Good luck with that, GOPers.

Christie just out-foxed himself and may box in the GOP field. How to you go right of Christie on entitlements? You don't, unless you want your ass handed to you by the AARP legions.

Bonus fun: Watch LA Times writer Michael Hiltzik take apart some Megan McAdle nonsense on SS.

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