The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), an insurance company that masquerades as a grass roots organization, is now denying that its "salons" with Social Security opponents signaled its openness to cutting Social Security.
Let me give a interpretation of the AARP "salons." AARP management knows that no one in Washington respects AARP or cares about AARP as an institution. AARP, however, knows that it is viewed as one of the main supports for Social Security and Medicare, that politicians of both parties believe that AARP can, on its own, block destructive changes to Social Security and Medicare. AARP can see what Republicans have been trying to do to labor unions, particularly public employee unions, since the 2010 elections. There is no doubt that Republicans have been trying to undermine the unions since they are seen as providing major support to the Democratic party. AARP management is afraid that the Republicans are going to come after AARP as a prelude to an attack on Social Security and Medicare and that the Democrats won't try to protect AARP, since they really despise AARP. Thus, AARP management wants to assure Republicans that AARP isn't really their enemy and won't really stand in the way of the destruction of Social Security and Medicare, especially if the destruction of Social Security and Medicare creates additional opportunities for AARP to sell insurance to older Americans.