Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A cough, not a cancer

Liberal Oasis has some positive reports on the Social Security front. Summary: we're winning the early battles in this war.

The biggest worry that liberals had was that accommodationist Dems would give Bush bipartisan cover and marginalize the arguments of Social Security’s defenders.

But, yesterday the LA Times reported that the two main accommodationist organizations, the familiar DLC and the upstart Third Way, both plan to oppose Bush’s proposals.

That would not be happening at this early a juncture if there wasn’t so much pressure from the liberal grassroots and the Dem leadership to hang together.

Big credit goes to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who has been relentlessly framing the issue as “not a crisis,” and to George Lakoff, who literally schooled the Beltway Dems on how to frame.

Not to mention the pressure from Talking Points Memo's "Fainthearted Faction" posts, and Eschaton's "Social Security Wall of Shame".

I might suggest that Reid's message would be even stronger if he didn't us the "not a crisis" phrase. That's a violation of the "Don't Think of An Elephant" rule (outright denial only adds support to the opposition's contention by invoking their frame). Democrats shouldn't say "SS is not in a crisis". They should instead say "SS is healthy and successful".

Republicans want the debate to be about how to fix Social Security.

We want the debate to be about whether it needs fixing.

Even if, in the end, we have to concede to minor problems with Social Security (it has a cough, not a cancer) we will have won because no one would recommend chemotherapy for a cough!

This battle is so winnable!


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