February 3, 2005

Boehlert cheers President on Social Security

Yesterday I wasn't too sure where Congressman Boehlert stood on the President's plans for Social Security, having gone from "very, very skeptical of the so-called plans to privatize" to "prais[ing] Bush for trying to tackle the politically difficult issue."

A piece in today's Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin makes it seem pretty clear that Boehlert is no longer skeptical:

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New Hartford, cheered the White House's goal of revamping the benefits program.

"We must strengthen Social Security for all Americans, and I couldn't agree more," Boehlert said.

I guess the moderate Republican has set aside his concerns to be a Republican first and foremost. I'll be curious to see what he says if he replies to my letter, and what impact this has on future elections for him.

Update: I just found more on Boehlert's reaction to the State of the Union address and Social Security in particular from WSTM television. Citing an interview with Binghamton radio station WNBF, they report:

Sherwood Boehlert -- a Utica-area Republican -- says he was "disappointed" that a few Democratic lawmakers greeted the president's call for social security reform with a chorus of "No!"

Boehlert today told a Binghamton radio station (W-N-B-F) that he didn't think the State of the Union presentation was -- in his words -- "the place for that type of conduct."

The congressman said opponents of the president's position can't ignore the reality that there are long-term problems facing the Social Security system.

Maybe Boehlert never joined his Republican colleagues in booing a State of the Union address, but the last paragraph is definitely a contradiction of his earlier remarks.

Another update: Now, a direct quote from Boehlert's web site:

"[The President's] message to Congress was clear – we must strengthen Social Security for all Americans – and I couldn’t agree more. As legislators it is our responsibility to debate all proposals from top to bottom. Americans have a right to a safe and secure retirement, and we will protect benefits for retirees and future retirees. It would be a major injustice to all Americans if we don’t act now - the worst thing we can do is nothing at all. Americans deserve the peace of mind of knowing they will receive full benefits for their retirement."

Thanks to Josh Marshall again for pointing this out. I think it marks a complete 180-degree shift from his earlier position that "a disservice is being done to a great many Americans by sort of sounding the alarm that everything's going to hell in a hand basket and we're going to be broke by 2018. That simply is not so."

Posted by simon at February 3, 2005 3:26 PM in
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