A homerun for privatizing Social Security?

Tommy Lasorda has come out of retirement to go to bat for President Bush's humdinger of a plan.

Published April 5, 2005 12:16AM (EDT)

With President Bush's privatization scheme having all but struck out, his supporters are calling in an unlikely relief pitcher: Tommy Lasorda. Yep, you read that right: The legendary former L.A. Dodgers skipper, dugout philosopher and onetime Ultra Slim-Fast spokesman has joined the pro-privatization roster at the Progress for America Voter Fund, lending his all-star voice to the organization's robo-call blitz promoting the White House's plan.

Early reports indicate that there are still some bugs to be worked out -- one call recipient in Arizona informed Talking Points Memo that a recording of Lasorda's voice asked him to put pressure on Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. (A knuckleball, or just plain out of the zone: "Why would Grassley listen to me -- I'm not an Iowan!" pointed out the Arizonan.)

Apparently the group's telemarketing effort is focused on one partisan team; tireless Social Security watchdog Josh Marshall points out that Lasorda primarily is asking callers to urge their Republican representatives to support the Bush plan. And maybe a desperate Bush administration, having whiffed when it comes to public support for dismantling the New Deal, thinks it can do better by enlisting an American-as-apple-pie icon of baseball. (Even if that's fat-free pie.)

Meanwhile, the young journalists over at California's University of LaVerne appear to have scored a serious scoop. Earlier this month, the university's Campus Times ran an opinion piece condemning Congress' steroid hearings, which closed with a quip that, just a few weeks ago, might have seemed absurd: "But if this is grandstanding on Congress' part, why would they think anyone with half a brain would vote for someone who puts the sanctity of a game ahead of social and economic issues that affect exponentially more people? Get back to us if you can come up with a reason. In the meantime, we will be asking Tommy Lasorda what he plans to do to fix Social Security."

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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