Neil King Jr. of the Wall Street Journal cornered Ray Sullivan on the campaign trail to talk to him about the radical statements Rick Perry made about Social Security in his manifesto, Fed Up!, and walked away with a story’s worth of gobbledegook from the Perry campaign.
I’ve written about Perry’s writings on Social Security recently, and they’re about as far out there as you get in American politics. Basically, he claims that Social Security is an unconstitutional failure that should be scrapped for private accounts run at the state level. He even compared FDR to Bernie Madoff, something that flunked Politifact’s Truth-o-Meter.
Now the Perry campaign is backing away from that at full speed.
His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had “never heard” the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program. …
In the book, Mr. Perry dings politicians who don’t have the courage to take on Social Security. So what is his position now? “The governor wants to see the benefits for existing retirees and those close to Social Security be strongly protected,” Mr. Sullivan said. Beyond that, “he believes a full review and discussion of entitlement reforms need to be had, aimed at seeing that programs like Social Security and Medicare are fiscally responsible and actuarially sound.”
The book, Mr. Sullivan said, “is a look back, not a path forward.” It was written “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto,” Mr. Sullivan said.
It actually goes back 100 years, as Rick Perry did to laughs on The Daily Show, but that’s not the real point here. Sullivan should turn to Chapter Ten of Fed Up! It’s called “Retaking the Reins of Government: Freedom and Federalism for the Future.” It starts on page 168. Let’s give Ray a second to catch up, because he’s going to need to see this. Go to the last sentence of the page, the one that starts “Let us work together.” Got it? OK, good:
Let us work together to restore our founding principles, but also to retake the reins of government and chart a path forward for a new age of liberty in America. (pp. 168-9)
Sullivan’s lie actually quotes the book he’s trying to disavow.
Then he goes on to set a specific date in which he wants his agenda to be accomplished, which includes (page 171 here, Ray) how his boss proposes drastic reforms to Social Security. Basically, he wants to burn down the village in order to save it.
I see an entitlement system that has been totally and honestly revamped… There will be a retirement safety net that is no longer set up like an illegal Ponzi scheme, but rather will allow individuals to own and control their own retirement. (p. 171)
Sullivan is right about this not being “a path forward” of or a “blueprint” for the future except to the extent that Perry says this is “a path forward” and lays out what he wants to do to Social Security by 2026. Perry does everything but include a footnote that says, “Jesus, Ray, read my damn book before you start talking to the press.”
Oh, and the bit about Fed Up! not reflecting Perry’s current views? On Sunday in Iowa, someone asked Perry how he would fix entitlements such as Social Security, and guess what he said. Go ahead, guess.
“Have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’ Get a copy and read it,” Perry answered.
(Psst, Ray. You’re playing with live ammo now. Read the book.)