Last week we told you about the "Social Security Showdown Tour," featuring Americans United for Change's Grandpa Gorilla vs. Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. We just sent out this email to update AUFC members about the confrontation:
Rick Santorum may like monkeying with Social Security, but we're pretty sure he hates gorillas.
That's the only plausible explanation why the Senator refused to square off with Grandpa Gorilla at the Middletown Grange Fair last weekend.
Say what you want about the junior Senator from Pennsylvania, but Santorum isn't typically a guy to run away from a fight. When Rick believes in something, he doesn't hold back -- no matter how ridiculous he sounds.
And Rick Santorum really, really believes in Social Security privatization.
That's why we're puzzled as to why he avoided Grandpa Gorilla at the fair. Who could resist this face?
Unfortunately, Santorum was so determined to dodge the issue that Grandpa Gorilla, who isn't as mobile as he used to be (and requires deflation in order to move effectively), couldn't keep up. So Grandpa Gorilla manned the Americans United table -- where Pennsylvania voters could get the full story on Rick Santorum's privatization fantasies. But hot on Santorum's trail was his more-mobile kin, Grandson Gorilla, to chase down the Senator. (Remember, it's not just seniors who want to protect Social Security -- young people have their retirement security at stake, too.)
Harassed by Santorum staffers, Grandson Gorilla just wanted Rick to answer one simple question: "Why are you running away?"
We've got video from the fair -- you can watch the play-by-play for yourself:
Last year, Rick toured Pennsylvania, touting Bush's plans for Social Security privatization. Back then, he said: "I've talked to the president a lot about this and he has made it clear to me that he's not going to let go of this... Obviously, I'm going to work this very hard because I think there's a lot at stake for future generations."
Rick was right -- there is a lot at stake for future generations. That's why Americans United For Change sent Grandpa Gorilla to the fair.
If the Senator truly believes in Social Security privatization, he shouldn't be afraid to defend himself. And until he does, Americans United (and the Family Gorilla) will keep following Rick Santorum around Pennsylvania, telling him to not monkey with Social Security.
Rick Santorum may hate gorillas, but he's going to have to learn to live with them.
Americans United for Change
08.24.06 | permalink
Grandpa Gorilla sent his grandson out to Pennsylvania to tell Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) "Don't Monkey with Social Security."
08.24.06 | permalink
Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) thinks he can get away with for rooting for President Bush to gut Social Security, and then making like the program's best friend while he tries to sneak privatization through the back door. We caught onto his trick, though, and this week we decided to call him on it – so it's time for our pal Ricky to face the gorilla.
We mean Grandpa Gorilla, of course. Grandpa stomped into Pennsylvania just this week -- and Rick can enjoy having the gorilla in his face until he tells Pennsylvanians why he's so gung ho ruin seniors' safety net. That might take a spell – but the more Santorum puts Grandpa off, the more he can look forward to coverage like this:
Look out, Bobby the Duck, there's a new beast on the campaign trail.
That's right. Grandpa Gorilla, a giant inflatable gorilla, will be following Sen. Rick Santorum around as he runs for re-election, according to a group angry with Santorum's stance on Social Security.
Washington, DC-based Americans United is sending Grandpa around to protest Santorum's support for privatizing Social Security.
"We don't want folks mucking around with Social Security," said spokesman Brad Woodhouse.
... Woodhouse said the 11-foot gorilla will be at the Middletown Grange Fair in Wrightstown, Pa. this week.
Hope you like that, Rick – 'cause you're gonna be hanging out with the gorilla until seniors get answers.
08.17.06 | permalink
Embattled Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) – waging the fight of his life right now to hold onto his Senate seat – seems to think he finally has the winning strategy: selling out Republicans who back the Social Security-dismantling privatization scheme he led the cheers for just last year ... while still trying to privatize it under the table. Seriously, that's his plan.
The editors of the Philadelphia Inquirer have watched the ploy unfold, and ... well, color them displeased (emphasis added):
Like the President, Santorum dutifully advocated draining Social Security payroll taxes from the current system to create individual, private retirement accounts tied to the stock market.
But most Americans oppose this radical change, and the plan is stalled in Congress. Santorum, now tied to an unpopular proposal and facing a strong challenge to reelection next year from Democrat Bob Casey Jr., is blaming White House strategists.
"I've been very concerned from the beginning that the administration led with the issue of Social Security immediately after the elections and took a two-to-three month break before" detailing its plan, Santorum told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper last week. "You've just defeated your opponent, and, you know, you take a 3-iron to the beehive. You go out there and whack the beehive, and you wonder why all these bees are buzzing around your head."
This, from the guy who is the GOP's message man in the Senate.
08.16.06 | permalink
Americans United For Change just sent the following email out to the Pennsylvania members of our email list, and we wanted you all to get a chance to see it:
Rick Santorum, meet Grandpa Gorilla.
Pennsylvania's junior senator thinks he can defend his seat by obscuring his die-hard support for the privatization of social security. Right now he's down in the polls and, desperate for votes, he's hiding from his own record.
That's where 'ole Grandpa comes in. See, Rick is planning to stump at the Middletown Grange Fair in the next few days and there's nothing like an enormous gorilla to get the crowd's attention about his determination to dismantle social security.
I'm forwarding a flyer to help you imagine the scene when he has to face the music and tell folks why he wants to scrap the most popular and successful public program in our country's history.
Since you are in Pennsylvania, I want to personally invite you to join our ground team at the fair. If you think you can make it, let us know here:
In any case, I'll be sure to follow up on what happens -- and let you know where Grandpa is headed next.
Please forward this flyer around to anyone in PA who needs to know about Rick's pro-privatization stance -- or who may just get a chuckle out of thinking about him speechless for once.
Thanks for being a part of our group, and stay tuned!
Jeremy Funk Americans United for Change
08.16.06 | permalink
News flash from Congress: yet another member of the House Republican majority, when it trashing Social Security and putting our money into shaky private accounts, wants to have his cake and eat it too. This time, though, we mean that literally: when Americans United threw a birthday party for Social Security this week in West Palm Beach at the office of Florida congressman Clay Shaw (R), Shaw, er, took the cake from us – no pun intended, really – and pledged his full opposition to privatizing Social Security.
Great news, right? Well, um ... not so much, once you try to pin him down on the details. You see, in 2005 Shaw wrote a bill called HR 3304 -- a piece of legislation that, if Congress passed it, would swipe the Social Security surplus and use the cash for private accounts. In layman's English, we call that privatization -- but apparently Mr. Shaw had too much cake in his mouth to tell us what he calls it.
While Shaw works the cake out of his mouth -- and you know, we wonder how biting his tongue got involved in that process -- our own Jeremy Funk made a statement on Shaw's silence:
"Clay Shaw, like many of his friends in Congress, likes to play word games with his position on Social Security reform – "No Privatization," his ads claim on TV ... The fact is, just one year ago, Congressman Shaw was a co-sponsor of legislation that would have used the Social Security surplus to help fund private accounts. That's privatization – pure and simple. Pro-privatizers like Clay Shaw can call their risky investment scheme anything they want, but the result is still the same: massive benefit cuts for the middle-class and nearly a trillion dollars in new debt."
But that's okay -- because if Clay Shaw's in a giving mood after he trashes Social Security, he can always just let the middle class eat cake.
08.15.06 | permalink
Like all Americans, we welcome the clampdown at airport security checkpoints in the wake of the arrests in London. A question raises itself, though: as with so much of the Bush administration's approach to homeland security, couldn't we have gotten ready for this risk before now? We've already had a warning:
During the mid-1990s, the U.S. took into custody two Kuwaiti men who had devised the technical plan for Operation Bojinka – the name for a plan to blow up a large number of jumbo jets over the Pacific. In a test, the perpetrators in 1994 blew up an unsuspecting Japanese businessman in his seat on a Philippine domestic flight by wiring a device using a watch and liquid explosive disguised in a contact-lens case. This proved to the terrorists that they could get explosives aboard undetected.
Thanks to Philippine intelligence, the U.S. eventually arrested the two terrorists, Abdul Hakim Murad and Ramzi Ahmed Yousef. The two told the CIA about Bin Laden's plans to knock down big buildings using planes and blow up airliners using small chemical bombs. That was in 1995. (Yousef was later convicted in the U.S. for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.)
Thursday, the British arrested 24 people, including one airport employee. ... A few hours later, the Bush administration put on a dog-and-pony show, with elevated alert levels and the Department of Homeland Security barring liquids on U.S. flights. The Transportation Security Administration mentioned nothing about screening the 600,000 employees who work in U.S. airports or the airport contractors who service the planes. How hard would it be for one of them to substitute an explosive in a cola can or water bottle, or even in the liquids used to clean the planes?
It was business as usual for the TSA: Give passengers and the public the illusion of security but not the reality. One TSA official – disgusted with the agency's standard practice of putting on a strong show of security at the passenger screening checkpoints while ignoring yawning holes in security elsewhere in the civil aviation system – has referred to it as "just more eye candy ... feel-good stuff."
The hard work of closing those loopholes might not win as much attention as, say, knocking off Saddam Hussein – but if Bush wants to get serious about terrorism, he has to start dealing with these problems. And soon.
08.11.06 | permalink
American United For Change's newest ad: President Bush has continued to demand to "Stay the Course" in Iraq. While President Bush mandates to "Stay the Course," Americans are facing rising healthcare costs and exorbitant increases in college tuition. President Bush has stayed on the wrong course for too long, its time for a change.
08.10.06 | permalink
Americans United For Change's newest ad: President Bush and his oil tycoon friends have rewritten our laws, giving themselves huge tax breaks and unimaginable profits. While oil companies swim in profits, Americans are suffering at gas pumps. It's time for a change.
08.10.06 | permalink