Budget Vote in the Senate

Did you say "mandate," Mr. President? According to the newspapers, you seek to justify reneging on your promise not to cut Social Security by claiming that there was an overwhelming Senate mandate to do so. Let's look at the record. The senators expected to vote were divided 49 against the proposal to freeze Social Security and 48 in favor of the freeze. This was after your "arm twisting" of some of the senators via transatlantic telephone.

In a very unusual and dramatic move, Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.) assured himself of a place in the annals of infamy by leaving his hospital bed to cast his vote in favor of balancing the budget upon the backs of the elderly and the infirm. That made the vote 49 to 49. Then Vice President George (Voodoo Economics) Bush cast the deciding vote. Some overwhelming mandate!

The claim of a mandate would be startling if it had not been preceded in the recent past by your statements likening the Nicaraguan contras to our Founding Fathers, comparing the hardships suffered by the Nazi SS with those of the concentration camp victims, and your characterization of your recent disastrous European trip as "Mission Accomplished."

JAMES BENSON

San Bernardino

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