Ramesh, the Medicare prescription drug plan only barely made it through the House . . . and then only because the Bush White House and the GOP House leadership pulled out all of the stops to get the bill through (a story often told, but told particularly well by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein in the introduction to their book, The Broken Branch). The only thing that made the passage of a prescription drug plan “inevitable” was the fact that the administration threatened to literally ruin nay-saying Republican political careers if they didn’t get the necessary votes.
As I said, I will grant that Bush is due for some credit for entertaining the idea of Social Security privatization. But even had he won that fight, we would have been far worse off after his presidency on the entitlements front than we were when he came into office — thanks, in no small part, to his brutal arm twisting on the House floor on November 23, 2003.