Republican Linda McMahon, the former professional wrestling executive who is taking her second shot at winning a Connecticut Senate seat, won’t specify how she would reform Social Security because the media will “bash” the plans, she said after a debate with her opponent, Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy.
At a tea party gathering in April, McMahon said programs like Social Security should have “sunset provisions” that require Congressional action to continue them once they expire, a plan that would constantly put the long-term future of Social Security at risk. She blamed the media for distorting those comments, and now she won’t reveal specifics about how she would change America’s most popular entitlement program until after the election, in order to avoid criticism, CT News Junkie reports:
“I’ve not talked about specifics when I’ve been on the campaign trail because they get demagogued and you have no opportunity at all when you go in and put the issues on the table to discuss them,” McMahon said, adding that it’s necessary to reform the program and there are many ways to do it. [...]
After the debate, McMahon clarified to reporters that it is mostly they, and not her opponent, whom she considers responsible for “demagoguing” ideas for Social Security.
“Thanks to all of you folks in the media, you’re the ones who primarily do it and bash any of the suggestions that might be made to improve the Social Security, Medicare,” she said.
During the 2010 election, McMahon’s first attempt to win election to the Senate, she also declined to offer policy specifics for programs like Social Security until after the election. “Social Security is going to go bankrupt,” she said then. “Clearly, we have to strengthen that…I just don’t believe that the campaign trail is the right place to talk about that.“
The media might not be McMahon’s biggest critic, though. As ThinkProgress has noted, media outlets and debate moderators have been eager to jump on the same myth McMahon and other Republicans who want to reform Social Security use — that the program is quickly headed toward bankruptcy. In fact, the program is financially healthy and guaranteed for the next 25 years — far longer than other basic programs that don’t receive the same scrutiny — and small changes to the payroll tax could ensure its health for another 75 years without changing its benefit structure.
Rather, McMahon’s largest critics would likely be the people she’s trying to represent, since Americans overwhelmingly oppose cutting Social Security benefits.