The Third Rail
Conor Friedersdorf comments on Glenn Beck's recent heresy that a McCain presidency might have been even worse than an Obama presidency:
It is therefore no surprise that Comrade Beck is now being turned on by Comrade Limbaugh and Comrade Levin (the one among the trio who actually believes most of what he says)....
Well, Levin might believe most of what he says, but I was at Blockbuster the other day and found myself thumbing through a copy of his recent bestseller, Liberty and Tyranny. (Why does Blockbuster now sell books? That's a question for another time.) To my surprise, it turns out that for all his bombast, Levin is a wimp.
The end of his book is taken up by a "conservative manifesto," and it's chock full of fire-breathing stuff. Eliminate the income tax, eliminate corporate taxes, put a hard cap on the size of the federal government, eliminate tax-exempt status for all environmental groups, rein in judicial review, insist on originalism as the only proper way to interpret the constitution, make governments pay property owners for all zoning changes that affect them, wipe out all teachers unions, no national healthcare, crank up military spending, put God back in government, etc. etc. I'm paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea. It's hardcore right-wingerism.
Obviously, then, a guy like this wants to do away with Social Security and Medicare, right? Well, hold on there, pardner. Let's not go off half-cocked. Sure, they're "poisonous snake oil," but all Levin can bring himself to suggest is that young people be educated about the intergenerational "trap" of entitlements so that they can be "contained, limited, and reformed." Educated! Limited and reformed! That's it.
Pretty weak tea for a firebreather. Even among the wingers, it turns out, Social Security is a third rail. After all, I guess Levin wants old people to buy his book too.