Perry defends book, slams Social Security

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry has a record of intense opposition to Social Security. The Texas governor has not only dismissed the bedrock program as a “Ponzi scheme,” he even wrote in his book that Social Security is unconstitutional. Given the program’s popularity, this would appear to be a political problem for the apparent GOP frontrunner.

Indeed, two weeks ago, asked about his antipathy towards Social Security, Perry stuffed food in his mouth so he wouldn’t have to answer the question. Around the same time, Perry’s campaign said the candidate no longer stands behind the book he published just nine months ago.

Maybe Perry would try to move away from his stated radicalism? Apparently not — the Texas governor has doubled down.

Republican presidential contender and Texas Gov. Rick Perry continued his criticisms of Social Security calling the program a “monstrous lie” reports the Houston Chronicle.

“It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they’re working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie,” Perry said at a campaign stop in Ottumwa, Iowa. “It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can’t do that to them.”

Perry also said Social Security is “was a retirement program,” but now “it’s turned into a tax.”

And what about his right-wing book, which makes the case against Social Security, but which Perry’s campaign backed away from two weeks ago? Perry insisted yesterday at a campaign stop in Iowa, “I haven’t backed off anything in my book. Read the book again.”

In case this isn’t already obvious, Perry is positioning himself well outside the American mainstream. It’s going to impress the Republican Party’s far-right base, but it won’t impress anyone else.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.