The Third Rail Unplugged

For decades now political consultants, especially those of the Florida sub-species, have been able to charge big bucks to advise Republican candidates not to say anything about Social Security during campaigns. It’s the “third rail” of politics, they breathlessly warn. Touch it and your political career goes up in smoke.

On the other side, consultants have cashed in advising Democrats to attack all Republican candidates on Social Security, early and often — to charge that these heartless villains are constantly conniving to snatch your widowed mother’s Social Security check from her arthritic fingers, regardless of what these candidates have really said or done on this issue. The Democrats’ court eunuchs in the main(left)-stream media have been happy enough act as megaphones for this scam.

This strategy — duck and cover on one side, Big Lie on the other — enjoyed some plausibility for the longest time. Countless candidates over the years found that just mentioning the words “Social Security” in Florida lost them more votes than mentioning the word “education” gained them. After all, Florida has the highest percentage of residents aged 65 or over — 17.4 percent — of any state. (If you must know — West By-God Virginia is second at 16 percent, Maine third at 15.9. Alaska has the fewest wrinklies at 7.7 percent. I can use that word because I turn 69 next month.)

But then the ideas of Marx, Darwin, and Freud also had some surface plausibility when they were first sprung on an unsuspecting world. And we wasted most of a century taking them seriously. But we’ve pretty much — save for in faculty lounges, news rooms, and behind some pulpits — de-constructed these three quacks. And it’s time to unplug the third rail too. A Florida Senate candidate showed us how last year.

The candidate who wrote the new rules for political discussion of Social Security is now U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. He didn’t just touch the third rail. He grabbed it. And he wasn’t electrocuted.

 Read More at The American Spectator By Larry Thornberry, The American Spectator

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