Monday, February 23, 2009
Go Geoghegan, Beat SEIU: The liberal magazine writer's favorite Congressional candidate--former liberal magazine writer (turned labor lawyer) Tom Geoghegan--is still in the hunt in the wild, multi-candidate, low-turnout race to succeed Rahm Emanuel in Chicago's Fifth District. Geoghegan's been endorsed by everyone from James Fallows to Rick Hertzberg--and he still has a shot to win. That's in part because he's also been endorsed by influential non-eggheads like ex-Rep. Abner Mikva. ... I like Geoghegan too, not because I agree with him on most issues (though I do) but because it would be great to have him in Congress. I've known and admired him for decades. He's the opposite of a hack --a big-thinking reformer who wants to actually solve the country's problems rather than pass a few little bills and get himself reelected. He knows exactly what's wrong with conventional liberalism , even as he runs to the "left" of the field--maybe that's even the reason he runs to the left. ... He's funny. He's even elegant, in a rumpled, narrow-lapel way--so Sean Penn will be happy. ... My main dispute with Tom concerns his fierce defense of traditional American labor unionism--he supports "card check"--which is why I'm not completely distressed that his biggest obstacle seems to be the support of Andy Stern's Blagojevichist Service Employees International Union for one of his more conventional opponents, state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. ... The S.E.I.U. is spending $250,000 in last-minute Feigenholtz ads. The election is Tuesday. The only way Geoghegan can raise money to fight back at this point is on the Web. If you want, you can donate to his campaign here . ...
Update: US News' Michael Barone endorses , but stops short of fundraising. (Ethics!) He says Geoghegan is "intelligent, intellectually honest, idealistic."
He's way, way to the left of me on issues, but, hey! it's a heavily Democratic district, and it would be helpful to have an intellectually honest Democrat in the not intellectually very venturesome House Democratic Caucus.
Sometimes you have to sell your old car to buy a new one: Robert Kuttner argues
a) there's no need to cut Social Security because "Social Security's accounts are actually near long-term balance." Let's assume that's right (though last time I looked , the accepted liberal "fix" for Social Security, co-authored by current OMB chief Peter Orszag, was more unpleasant than I'd thought). Kuttner also says that
b) what we really need to do is establish "comprehensive universal health insurance." Assume that's right too.
What I don't understand is why Kuttner assumes that (a) and (b) don't have anything to do with each other. Universal health insurance will be expensive. Why can't we get some of the expense by cutting into Social Security--especially Social Security for the affluent? Just because Social Security might be in "near" balance doesn't mean that it's in a watertight compartment sealed off from the rest of the budget. Money is fungible. If liberals can save a few hundred billion from the Social Security pot and use it to fill up their new, much-needed universal health insurance pot, that might be a good thing to do. It's the sort of thing responsible governments, like responsible households, are supposed to do. Why should it be off the table? .... P.S.: I'm not saying we should cut Social Security now . But that's because we'll cut it much more sharply later, if Dems (as I hope) get their health insurance wish, at which point even people like Kuttner will be desperate for any and all forms of revenue. ... 10:15 P.M.