Tuesday, May 25, 2010

EDITORIAL >>What they do after their primary win

The inviolable rule of politics is that whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you cater to your base when you are trying to get the party’s nomination and then shift in the other direction in the general election to appeal to a wider spectrum of voters.

Rick Crawford of Jonesboro, the broadcaster who won the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives in the First District, wasted no time implementing the strategy.

Two days after dispatching Princella Smith, the energetic African-American congressional staffer from Wynne, Crawford assured the Arkansas Democrat Gazette that if he goes to Congress, he will never vote to privatize Social Security, cut Social Security benefits, raise Social Security taxes or lift the income cap on payroll taxes. Those are all the remedies that have been suggested for reining in Social Security spending and maintaining its long-term solvency. He said he would cut government spending somewhere else to make up for the looming deficits in current Social Security taxes.

Only a few months ago, Crawford signed a pledge to adhere as a congressman to a 10-point plan for conservatives. He promised that he would end “generational theft,” which is taking young people’s taxes to pay benefits to retired and disabled people — the Social Security system. He swore to vote to allow the diversion of workers’ Social Security taxes to Wall Street to the purchase of stocks and bonds, which became known as “privatization” when President George W. Bush proposed it.

Perhaps this is the difference: The Democrat Gazette did not make him sign a pledge to protect Social Security but just took him at his word. Voters may want something more than his word.