We will focus on Social Security immediately in this new year. Our strategy will probably include speeches early this month to establish an important premise: the current system is heading for an iceberg. The notion that younger workers will receive anything like the benefits they have been promised is fiction, unless significant reforms are undertaken. We need to establish in the public mind a key fiscal fact: right now we are on an unsustainable course. That reality needs to be seared into the public consciousness; it is the pre-condition to authentic reform.
The Democrat Party leadership, the AARP, and many others will go after Social Security reform hammer and tongs. See today's silly New York Times editorial (its only one for the day) as one example. But Democrats and liberals are in a precarious position; they are attempting to block reform to a system that almost every serious-minded person concedes needs it. They are in a position of arguing against modernizing a system created almost four generations ago. Increasingly the Democrat Party is the party of obstruction and opposition. It is the Party of the Past.
Kos is up in arms about the memo, and views it as chicanery. Even this liberal-minded pundit, however, sees it simply as the position of the administration with some added language on how to "sell" that position. If Kos believes that W is the first president to sell a policy on fear, then he is woefully misguided (see, e.g. Hillary's National Healthcare stump-speeches).
Anyway, here you have it. This is the W agenda. It's hardly earth-shaking in either its substance or its delivery. And regardless of your take on the issue, the current system is broken. The Dems will no doubt force concessions, but one hopes that the compromise solution doesn't resemble either the quagmire of campaign finance reform, or the ineffectual tax relief plan that was eventually conceded to Bush in the early part of his first term. Real change is needed - only the AARP would argue to the contrary.