Tim Russert is a big bag of hot air

Recently I finished watching the seventh season box set of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ Feeling slightly down, I started watching some of what I consider to be the ‘greatest hit’ episodes. Yesterday afternoon, I watched season three’s “Doppelganger”, where a miscast spell by Anya and Willow brings forth a vampire Willow from an alternate reality. Anyway, this was Anya’s second appearance, I think. Her first was in “The Wish” where she was a vengeance demon brought forth by Cordelia to grant her wish that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, creating an alternate reality (the same one where Vampire Willow came from, actually). Anyway, Alternate Giles restored everything to normal by smashing a necklace of Anya’s, in the process leaving her trapped as the 12th grade girl whose identity and form she’d created to get close to Cordelia. At the beginning of Doppelganger, Anya is begging her old boss for her job back as a vengeance demon. At the end of her reasons why she should be given her powers back: “…and I’m failing math!”

I’m much the same way. Not the ex-vengeance demon thing, more the “failing math” thing. But this isn’t really about my failing math, it’s more about Tim Russert and his scary selective facts. But, really, let’s admit it – scary selective facts are fun. They are indeed.

At any rate, everyone’s heard it a thousand times—the Standard Recitation, in which too many people will be retired and too few workers will be there to support them. These facts make it sound like Soc Sec can’t survive—and Russert is expert at rattling them. But something odd happened on Sunday’s Meet the Press. Once Reid got his chance to speak, he offered some alternative facts—some of the facts we highlighted yesterday from that Paul Krugman column:

REID (12/5/04): Tim, all experts say that Social Security beneficiaries will receive every penny of their benefits that they’re entitled to—100 percent of them—until the year 2055. After that, if we still do nothing, they’ll draw 80 percent of their benefits. I want those beneficiaries after year 2055 to draw 100 percent of their benefits. But this does not require dismantling the program. For heaven’s sakes, they’re crying wolf a little too regularly here. There is not an emergency on Social Security.

Scary selective facts bad. Tree pretty.