Bush or Benefits, Sen. Allen?

The choice was pretty clear this morning for Sen. George Allen (R-VA) on Meet the Press: oppose strict Social Security benefit cuts, or offer supreme partisan loyalty to President Bush, who wants to cut benefits. Allen tried to do both, and it was quite the train wreck:

SEN. ALLEN: The reality is at that some point, whether it’s 2017, 2018 or you may think it’s 2041, that the number of people working and the revenues coming in from Social Security taxes will not be sufficient to pay those who are on retirement. … Now, at some point–and I agree with you, I don’t think we ought to be cutting benefits for those middle income and low income.

MR. RUSSERT: Stop right there. Stop right there, Senator Allen. President Bush has said 40 percent reduction [in benefits] for those making $90,000. And a 30 percent reduction for those making $59,000.

SEN. ALLEN: Got it. Right.

MR. RUSSERT: You disagree?

SEN. ALLEN: I think that…

MR. RUSSERT: And you oppose the president? Be clear.

SEN. ALLEN: Don’t put words in my mouth. Understand what I’m trying to get…

MR. RUSSERT: Do you support or oppose the president? That’s fair.

SEN. ALLEN: I support what I’m for and my own ideas. And my ideas are those of middle-income, working people ought to have better retirement security in addition to what Social Security has provided.