Republicans eager to eliminate Social Security and Medicare have feverishly rallied behind Texas' extremist cowboy Governor Rick Perry, a new Gallup poll revealed.
A week since tossing his ten-gallon hat into the GOP presidential ring, Perry has opened up a double-digit lead over his nearest rival, milquetoast moderate-by-Republican-standards Mitt Romney. The anti-government, pro-tycoon populist Perry led Romney 29% to 17% among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters mulling their choices for a 2012 standard bearer.
On the campaign trail, Perry, who championed abolishing Social Security in his recent book, Fed Up!, reiterated his vehement opposition to FDR's landmark safety net.
"Have you read my book, Fed Up?" Perry strutted before enraptured Waterloo, IA sycophants Aug. 14 in a video clip posted on the Daily Kos. "Get a copy of it and read it!" he said, in full Palin-snake-oil-selling mode.
Perry warmed up to his favorite pitch, crowing, "kids who are coming along, they know for a fact there's not going to be a Social Security and Medicare program!"
"We have to talk about how are we going to transfer over," Perry stumbled a moment, presumably catching himself before he said 'transfer over all the money in the Social Security Trust Funds to my fat cat K Street cronies who'll kick me back a big finder's fee,' and finished by just saying, "How are we going to make the transformation" to a medieval plutocracy where the elderly were abandoned to destitution and misery.
Conscious of rousing a public backlash, Perry spokesperson Ray Sullivan attempted to walk back his candidate's rabid anti-Social Security rant, and said Fed Up! "was a look back, not a look forward," written "as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excess, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto."
Republicans, however, appeared jubilant they had a champion who coveted dismantling Social Security.
The surging Perry had rapidly outstripped the GOP field. Aside from trouncing Romney 29% to 17%, he was ahead of Reps. Ron Paul's (R-TX) 13% and Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) 10%. With Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani in the mix, Perry still snagged 25%, with the Palin drawing 11% and Giuliani garnering 9%.
Gallup also found that Perry was in a dead heat with President Barack Obama, 47% to 47%. Obama, whose popularity has been plummeting, trailed Romney 46% to 48%, and led Bachmann by just four points.
Despite his handlers' best efforts, the indomitable Perry remained scathing in his denunciation of Social Security.
"Social Security is something we have been forced to accept for 70 years now," Perry wrote. He told the Daily Beast, "Whether it's Social Security, whether it's Medicaid, whether it's Medicare, you've got $115 trillion worth of unfunded liability in those three. They're bankrupt. They're a Ponzi scheme."
Never mind that all three programs were actually solvent, and would remain so ad infinitum if the wealthy would pay their fair share of taxes instead of fattening themselves on the unconscionable tax breaks and subsidies lavished on them by toadying GOP politicos.
With Perry as their favorite, Republicans were plunging ahead with their plans to eliminate Social Security and hand all its funds to Wall Street moguls eager to toss other people's money onto the roulette wheel of international equity markets while collecting their rake regardless of which slot the ball fell into. Despite furious public outrage, the GOP was doubling down on their plans to dismantle Medicare, hand all its money to insurance industry cronies, and pawn off future seniors with worthless discount coupons the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office revealed wouldn't cover a third of seniors' health care costs.
Republicans counted on repeating the "Social Security is broke" and "Medicare is broke" lies until gullible rubes coast to coast believed them. Republicans knew if square-jawed, photogenic white populists pounded their fists and lied loud enough and long enough, the rubes invariably believed them. Texas was lousy with evangelical revival meetings filled to the rafters.
Perry's even led his share of them.
In fact, Medicare was the most efficient deliverer of health care services in America, with administrative costs of 3%, compared to 5%-10% for large group insurance plans, 25%-27% for small group plans, and a whopping 40% for the kind of individual plans Republicans wanted future seniors to shell out for.
In fact, Social Security was solvent for another twenty years, and, with minor tweaks to payroll taxes, would remain so until starship troopers found a better solution at the other end of the galaxy.
Republicans, however, were greedy for the 10%, or 27%, or 40% "administrative fees" their insurance industry cronies could gorge themselves on. Republicans and their billionaire cronies were too greedy to pay the minuscule payroll tax tweaks that would fund Social Security until genetically-modified, bionically enhanced pigs rocketed across infinity and beyond.
Perry told the Daily Beast he believed Social Security and Medicare were unconstitutional.
"I don't think our Founding Fathers when they were putting the term 'general welfare' in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care," Perry pontificated. "What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address," although where Perry got that notion was, to say the least, unclear.
The interviewer asked Perry, "What did the Founding Fathers mean by 'general welfare?'"
Perry muttered, "I don't know if I'm going to sit here and parse down to what the Founding Fathers thought general welfare meant." Further questions were met by silence.
At a time when half of America's senior citizens couldn't support themselves and millions suffered poverty and destitution, a real American President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, told Congress, "If, as our Constitution tells us, our Federal Government was established...'to promote the general welfare,' it is our plain duty to provide for that security upon which welfare depends." Fifteen months later, on August 14, 1935, FDR signed the Social Security Act into law.
Nothing could be clearer than that.