On March 9, evangelical Christians will converge in Washington, D.C., for the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), which represents various Protestant churches and denominations across the country with a combined membership of between 30 million and 40 million people. Anybody concerned about the increasing influence of religion on U.S. public policy ought to be paying close attention.
If there's an enterprising congressional Democrat out there looking to make a splash in the fight against partial privatization of Social Security, he or she ought to call up James B. Lockhart III, deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), and ask him to come speak at an anti-private accounts rally.
Lockhart, a political appointee and major donor who has given about $20,000 to GOP causes over the past two election cycles, has been appearing at town-hall meetings across the country for the past week with Republican members of Congress, all of whom are pushing President Bush's privatization agenda.
It was probably just modesty, but in his 2,700-word, four-byline, full-page farewell to himself in the January 24 New York Times, retiring columnist William Safire forgot to mention many of his achievements during his illustrious career as the Times' designated right-winger.
Republicans in the House and the Senate, led by President Bush, are making an all-out push to convince the American people that Social Security is in such a severe crisis that only drastic and immediate action can save it from financial oblivion. After the president finishes his State of the Union address on Wednesday, he's expected to go on the road, touting his Social Security reform agenda across the country.
This time four years ago, relentless media focus on Al Gore's sighs had managed to convince the voting public that the vice president had actually lost a debate that the majority of viewers believed he had won. So, it shows just how soundly John Kerry beat George W. Bush last Thursday that instead of spending the last week declaring victory, the Republican spin machine spent its TV time claiming that defeat didn't mater.
And to add insult to injury, Bush's spinners have been forced to defend the president's sighs and mannerisms -- things they were all too happy to blast Gore for in 2000.