Eating words: Perhaps it's been awhile since you read Governor Rick Perry's book Fed Up!, in which he chronicles the improbable rise of a D-student. If it has, you may not recall Perry's take on Social Security, which he called a "Ponzi Scheme" created "at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government."
That's not the kind of statement that, as The Washington Post pointed out this week, will get a guy votes "in early-primary states with large retiree populations, such as Florida and South Carolina."
Which is why, just 10 days ago, Perry's spokesman was trying to back the governor away from that less-than-measured stance on the popular program.
"Since jumping into the 2012 GOP nomination race on Saturday, Mr. Perry has tempered his Social Security views," The Wall Street Journal wrote on August 18. "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."
Fair enough. That book came out, like, last year. Views evolve. The wind takes piss new directions. Man changes his mind, right?
Wrong. Perry apparently skipped that issue of the Journal. Here he was on Saturday, during a campaign stop in Iowa:
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"It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they're working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie," Perry told the crowd. He added during a later stop in Des Moines, "I haven't backed off anything in my book."
The more Perry refuses to holster this particular weapon in his arsenal, the more kick back he's going to feel on the presidential campaign trail, especially from Mitt Romney, the governor's second-most-feared adversary, right behind his own Tourette's. As the Post reported:
"Romney strategists are quick to note that in his book, Fed Up!, Perry writes that 'By any measure, Social Security is a failure' and calls the program 'something we have been forced to accept for more than 70 years now' that was created 'at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government ... ' Romney's campaign will argue that Perry is against the very idea of Social Security and Medicare, and he will use Perry's book to scare seniors in early-primary states ... "
You know who's gotta be fed up right about now? That Sullivan guy.