May 23, 2005, on this blog: ‘You deserve an A’
The president has been traveling from city to city to conduct “town hall meetings” in an effort to persuade the public to support his plan to reform Social Security.
Except none of that is true. The town hall meetings are carefully screened events not open to the general public. These meetings have nothing to do with persuasion — no one who is not already persuaded is permitted to attend. And, of course, the president refuses to make public the details of any “plan,” offering instead a series of vaguely hinted at goals — the purpose of which is not to reform Social Security, but to replace it with a system of government-run private accounts paid for with the payroll taxes currently used to fund Social Security.
These town hall meetings are like a kind of postmodern theater. The meetings are deliberately misleading. The president knows this, and we know this, and he knows that we know that he knows this. Duplicity becomes multiplicity and one gets the sense that the president has lost his way in a hall of mirrors.