Once again the "third rail" of American politics has reared its ugly head. Mostly, it's been Democrat incumbents and labor unions scaring retirees all over the state that the evil Republicans will take away their social security. The problem is that it's not true. I see this attack - and I'm sure you do too - against two people in particular: Ron Johnson and Reid Ribble.
First, let's take the attacks on Reid Ribble. To me, Congressman Kagen is running the most dishonest campaign I've ever seen. For starters, he only refers to himself as "Doctor" and his opponent as "politician Reid Ribble." I get that being an incumbent this year is bad, but for crying out loud. Does Rep. Kagen really believe his constituents are so dumb that they won't remember that he's been their congressman for the last four years? I hope not, but he apparently does.
But back to social security. First it was Rep. Kagen and his campaign that hit Ribble with a blatantly out of context ad where Ribble said we need to phase out the current system. What the congressman's campaign left out was that Ribble went on to explain that we need to preserve social security for current recipients and those near retirement, but fundamentally reform it for younger workers.
Rep. Kagen's ad no longer airs, but that's okay, AFSCME jumped in with virtually the same ad. And it's still blatantly out of context.
Next we have Ron Johnson, who made it pretty clear in the debate Monday night that while all options are on the table to reform social security, he would not force anyone to privatize their social security and he would honor our commitment to those currently receiving benefits. What strikes me as odd here is Sen. Feingold's bizarre response. Apparently the only reform he favors is lifting the cap on social security wages. While that will help, it won't fix the system. And the system is broken. Which makes the Senator's latest ad, even more silly:
That's great Senator, you just said that you won't lift a finger to fix social security because "nothing" is on the table. Thanks. For years this worked for Democrats, but now, most people know that something needs to be done or the system will collapse under it's own weight.
Voters want people who will be honest about this and at least try to fix the problem. For Rep. Kagen and Sen. Feingold, that's bad news, because we just can't look the other way anymore.