Political Radar

`I don't want to alarm you, but ...'

July 14th, 2014

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has dropped three fundraising appeals in Hawaii since the group endorsed U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz over U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic primary for Senate.

In two of the mailers, the national seniors' group urges residents to contact Hanabusa and tell her not to privatize or undermine the entitlement programs. In the third, it urges residents to contact Schatz in support of a bill the senator has co-sponsored to expand Social Security benefits.

Max Richtman, the group's president, forcefully complained to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser after the newspaper ran a story about one of the mailers and concluded it implied Hanabusa might privatize Social Security.

Richtman pointed out that the mailers go to other states across the country and insisted that the fundraising appeals were not tied to the primary.

Asked about the most recent mailers, Kim Wright, a spokeswoman for the seniors' group, also said that the appeals had nothing to do with the primary.

"Using that logic the very same letter, using identical language, received in every contested congressional race nationwide must be interpreted differently through a political frame unique to each district? That belies all logic and common sense," she said in an email.

"This is not in any way a political mailing no matter how much you might want to frame it as such.

"If our organization wanted to craft a political message for the Senate race in Hawaii the message would be distinct and clearly define the issues important in this specific race. Clearly, this national letter to citizens from New York to Alaska does not reference the Hawaii Senate campaign in any way whatsoever because it has absolutely nothing to do with the Hawaii Senate campaign."

Schatz has made Social Security an issue in the primary and has cited the group's endorsement as a distinction with Hanabusa.

Hanabusa has accused Schatz and the group of scaring seniors with exaggerated claims about threats to the entitlement programs. Her advisers do not believe that two mailers urging her not to cut Social Security, and one urging Schatz to support a bill he has already co-sponsored, are not part of an effort to undermine her on the issue.

A sample of Richtman's warnings from one of the fundraising appeals:

For more than thirty years, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has fought and won countless battles to protect and improve these vital programs for current and future beneficiaries.

But in all that time, never have I felt these programs to be in greater danger than they are right now, today.

8 Responses to “`I don't want to alarm you, but ...'”

  1. ohiaforest3400:

    This one is answered easily: has this group sent this mailer at any other time and has it sent the mailer to all 438 (?) Congressional districts?

    If the answer is no to either of these questions, it is -- without a doubt -- a political mailer.

    Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, Schatz like a duck . . . .

    Don't step in that slippery, smelly stuff.

  2. kamaaina808:

    Sounds like a duck to me. Quack _(__)O<

  3. Manoa_Fisherman:

    Google this organization and you will find that it is really nothing in the scheme of being a "player" in Washington. It contributes very little to political candidates and spends most of its money for "lobbying" on Social Security issues. In plain language, the money raised goes for the salaries of the staff of the organization. I would interpret that to mean that Mr. Richtman takes a hefty salary for being the "president" of the this group.

    So bottom line, does this entity have the political heft and might of say the AARP? I think not and they are just out to make a name for themselves. Anyone putting any credence in this so called "endorsements" may just as well hope that "Kini Popo" is resurrected to endorse Schatz. (Sorry, I didn't mean to disparage "Kini Popo" with a comparison to these "beltway bandits" from DC.)

  4. Chicken Grease:

    Oh for cripes. Read between the lines here, folks:

    It's HanabUSA who's scaring the senior citizens 'bout social security.

    First was "difficult to send service peoples into war"; not what's highlighted is no endorsement from NCPSSM.

    If I were a senior, I'd wouldn't go with, "ahhhh, no worries b-curries, no let him scare you."

    We can only agree with Richtman's complaint -- indeed, Star-Advertiser: as a newspaper, please refrain from bias.

    I'd vote for Schatz. He's the one with the plan.

  5. JohnB:

    Who is really driving this...seems similar to what was done to Cayetano.

  6. innocent observer:

    this is winer at work; sending completely false information about hanabusa via this group. you gotta be stupid to think that this was not done intentionally. another one of shatz dirty politics, hitting below the belt and disguising it. thought you said you played fair, guess you are just like Abercrombie -= lie, lie, lie.

  7. Shaun Campbell:

    "A politics driven by negativity and division is the EMILY's List trademark....When I heard EMILY's List was sending one of their most thuggish operatives to Honolulu to take over the Hanabusa campaign against Senator Brian Schatz, I warned friends of mine in Hawaii that Brian would probably come under some kind of racist attack. And sure enough..."


  8. Shaun Campbell:

    Here's where Hanabusa voted for the Simpson-Bowles plan that would have CUT Social Security for our kupuna. Then she had the audacity to LIE about this in the debate with Schatz. LIAR!


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