Over at the WSJ, Daniel Henninger asks a good question:
Is John McCain Stupid?
McCain refuses to rule out raising payroll taxes to fix Social Security stating, "everything's on the table" -- but also claims he won't raise our taxes like Barack Obama. Confused? Me too.
Perhaps McCain intends to imply that he won't raise your taxes quite as much as Obama? Maybe he just hasn't given it much thought? A quick scan of the 'issues' page over at McCain's webpage: http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/ does not seem to yield any references to a plan so you would have to forgive a voter for wondering if he's really thought about it very much. Seeing as "experience" is supposed to be the ace up McCain's sleeve these non-answers on Social Security seem pretty amateurish.
McCain's responses to the question given in Henninger's column indicates an unhealthy obsession with compromise. Compromise can sometimes be a virtue, but there are times when it just doesn't make sense. A personal anecdote: My first semester in college, I went with a potluck roommate in the dorm. At first, the girl I ended up rooming with was a ton of fun to party with. However, a few weeks into the semester, it turns out that she was Bi-polar and preferred self medicating with cocaine and random pills over taking her prescribed medication. Needless to say, things deteriorated pretty rapidly. At one point, she even begged me to drive her to the emergency room because she was experiencing heart palpitations and trouble breathing. She mysteriously returned to our room a few hours later, but refused to discuss what happened. I went to the floor monitor repeatedly for assistance, her solution was that we needed "mediation" and that there must be "some kind of compromise." She never seemed to appreciate that there was no reasonable compromise to be had when the issue is mental illness or a drug problem.
When it comes to taxes, the current Democratic leadership is like a manic college freshman on coke -- they can't get high enough. Compromise, in this case, pretty much means that you have to buy into the insanity of a self-destructive tax and spend cycle. The end result is that our economy collapses on the floor with heart palpitations. But now I am obviously pushing the metaphor too far because there won't be anyone to drive the economy to the emergency room. Furthermore, if Obama has succeeded in imposing his spiffy new socialized medicine plan on the country by that point, the economy will be lucky if it gets in to see a doctor before next month. Okay, okay, I'm digressing. Anyway, McCain needs to show Independents that he can reach across the aisle, but in this case, it doesn't make sense. Obama has already locked up the votes of everyone who thinks that giving more money to the government solves anything. If McCain intends to stand a chance in November, he needs provide proactive solutions to problems like Social Security that don't involve hiking our taxes.