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Today, Senator Rick Santorum told the truth about the Republicans and the White House.  They do not want to reveal their plan for privatizing Social Security because they know the truth will hurt their cause.  Cutting benefits and adding $2 trillion in debt will not be popular positions.  If the Republicans really do think that Social Security is in crisis, where's the plan to fix it?

Woodruff: "On the subject of social security President Bush meets with GOP congressional leaders later this hour to discuss his idea for reform, which even some republicans have expressed some concerns about.  We will have a live report form the white house later on Inside Politics.  Rick Santorum the number three republican leader in the senate will be in that meeting on Social security.  I spoke with him just a short time ago; he is the GOP conference chair.  I talked to him about the parties agenda but I started by asking if he expects Mr. Bush to Lay out details of his social security reform plan in today's meeting."  

Santorum: "I hope not."  [CNN, Inside Politics, 1/25/05]


Originally posted to Senate Democratic Communications Center on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:28 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's great to see the "war room" here (none)
    Thanks for the rapid response. The Senate seems like it has it's stuff together for now.

    Hope to see more posts in the future.

    With our party it's "change vs. more of the same" It's time for change! Sign the petition!

    by kmthurman on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:35:02 PM PST

  •  Whoa (none)
    We're huge.

    To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind.

    by Descrates on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:37:42 PM PST

  •  Better late than never, (none)
    Now all we need is the equivalent of the RNC's FauxNews.
  •  I'm sure everyone here has seen this already, but (none)
    This says it all.  

    And btw, I love the work you guys at SDCC are doing, keep it up!

    Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clemens...

    by Billy Shears on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:51:27 PM PST

  •  Done marvelling at the senate ... (none)
    here in Kosland ... what is up with that answer ...

    "I hope not"

    Is Rick Santorum even afraid of what this bill will do to his re-election chances.

    Let's not forget 2001 and Medicare. They lost to us on Medicare ... then came back and shoved it down our throats after their wins in 2002. We have to make sure that we hold people like Senator Man-on-Dog accountable now and in 2006 or else we will be fighting this fight again in 2007.

    With our party it's "change vs. more of the same" It's time for change! Sign the petition!

    by kmthurman on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:52:40 PM PST

  •  i'm recommending this (4.00)
    Just as a reward for good behavior. Y'all keep coming to talk to us, tell us what you're up to. And listen to our responses! We have good ideas and a lot of critical minds at work here.

    Talking to us directly is a good start.  Let's all do our best to make sure this is a two-way communication channel.

    Somewhere between civil disobedience and outright violent revolution lies the true compromise we face...
    -Maryscott OConnor

    by Leggy Starlitz on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:53:37 PM PST

    •  What else would be good? (none)
      What do you want to hear from them?

      I think they should continue to give us rapid response and amke sure we know what they are up to ... so we can spread the message fast and give some quick feedback and help.

      What else?

      With our party it's "change vs. more of the same" It's time for change! Sign the petition!

      by kmthurman on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:58:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I second your recommend (none)
      this is good news.  we have talking points now.

      A moment of resistance; a lifetime of capitulation.

      by lapin on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:08:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a reciprocal relationship (4.00)
      Our diaries are an extremely valuable resource for them.  Intelligent, original posts by us have the effect of expanding their research and strategy staff by several thousand.  At the same time, we can push issues that are a bit too radioactive for the party itself to push.  

      In cases like the Ohio "fraud" issue, the diaries let the site explore issues that even Kos won't go near.  Bogus or not the issue got significant air without tarring the site editors themselves.  

      Feedback from the War Room lets us know that somebody's listening, which increases the incentives for intelligent, original diaries.  Overall it makes for an extremely healthy ecosystem.  

      I'm not sure whether people recognize how dramatic a break this diary represents with the Democratic party of old.  

      Welcome to the 21st century, Democrats.  Let's make it ours, just like the last one.  

      •  Would also help (4.00)
        if folks here recognized that "division of labor" principle when it comes to public discourse.  We don't need to all be saying the SAME things necessarily, just saying things that that reinforce the underlying progressive/liberal principles.  Some posts and some folks (who are placed differently in the socio-political geography) should be going farther and pushing the envelope.  Complete unity isn't going to accomplish as much as strategic solidarity.  

        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

        by a gilas girl on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:53:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  YES (4.00)
          We could incentivize this further: if we had the option of categorizing our own diaries it would enable people to search around for the last day's diaries on arms control, or labor issues, or the Plame case.  That minor bit of indexing would allow semi-autonomous sub-communities to form at Kos; for example I'd drop in each day to check on the new science diaries.  Just a thought.  
        •  Great post (none)
          Great persspective as always.  outstanding comment.

          To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind.

          by Descrates on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 06:24:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is a very good point. (none)
          Some groups always have to ask for more than is possibly possible to make the more moderates look moderate, and to move the debate in the direction we want, given how far rightward things have drifted.  It is also important to remember that different groups and people have different issues and roles to play.  It is in the nature of some positions never to be realized, and the people who hold them never to be satisfied, but they are in a way the most important.  Ultimately, it is the struggle itself that is the most important, not whether the outcome is just what you wanted.  Wholeheartedly working for something important is its own reward.  This is another reason why one should not attack people who don't agree with one--sometimes they have their part to play as well.  And sometimes . . . there's just you and me, and sometimes we just disagree.

          If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

          by Mimikatz on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 08:44:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Like Greens and Democrats... (none)
            They just got together last weekend for the first time to ORGANIZE, form ALLIANCES and hear each others' views.

            It was the Progressive Democrats of America's Summit in DC.

            Great folks. Great energy. 500 people came from around the country to the middle of a snowstorm.

            Many said it was historic, like John Conyors' Chief of Staff, Josh Segal (I think was his name)

      •  Exactly (none)
        This is an outstanding way for party leaders to get direct access to what partisans are thinking.  I can't think of anything that would be more healthy for the party.  Its incredibly difficult to put together forums with party leaders.  Here is a ready made outlet for this.  

        And I absolutely agree with Tom.  This is where its all headed.  

        And to think we saw it start on Kos? ;)

        To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind.

        by Descrates on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 06:23:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Can We Recommend Diaries to Them? (none)
        Mr. Feldman's Frameshop Diaries would be at the top of my recommend list.

        Opinions can be argued with. A conviction is best shot. -- T.E. Lawrence

        by cassandra m on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 06:25:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gentleman... (3.93)
    You can't fight in here!  This is the WAR ROOM!

    This is great stuff.  Please keep it up.

    I am a good American and I support the Troops. My car bumper says so!

    by RichM on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:00:07 PM PST

  •  what I've noticed (4.00)
    Is that the Republican Party is starting to backtrack on their use of the word "privatization," and they are using the frame "personal accounts" instead. It's a sign that they know the word "privatization" has negative connotations.

    What I would suggest is for the Senate Democrats to seize upon the frame "privatization" because it clearly works to the detriment of the Republicans.

    Here's a sample of using this frame:

    "I oppose the privatization of Social Security because of the instability of the stock market, and I would not trust my grandparent's Social Security check to an unstable economy, and I would not do the same either for myself and others."

    Take it from there however you want. The minute the Republicans step away from a frame that they've been using for a while, it's an opportunity for the Democrats to take control of that frame because that frame still exists within the minds of the American voters.

    What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

    by slinkerwink on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:09:14 PM PST

    •  my only quibble... (4.00)
      isn't with using "privatization"... I think we should at every chance.  But I don't like hinging the argument against privatization on the riskiness and instability of the stock market.  I don't think it helps Democrats to look afraid of the market.

      What I like better?  When they bring up how good an investment the stock market has been over the long term, answer with...

      "That's a good point.  And why is it such a good investment?  Because of FDR and the reforms he brought about to stabilize the market and the banks.  And Social Security has been central to that effort to make it safer and easier for average Americans to invest.  Social Security allows you to take some reasonable risks in our economy -- investing in the markets, starting a business, spending substantial money on your own or your children's education -- investments you might not choose to make if you were in real danger of being destitute, homeless and hungry in your old age.  These are the investments that drive our economy, that keep our society moving forward.  Social Security helps people to participate in our economy, gives people opportunities, and keeps our economy stable and strong."

      "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

      by eebee on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:28:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That framing you did (none)
        doesn't seem like a concise challenge to the privatization of Social Security, and instead reads like it advocates the privatization of Social Security. That's how I read it at first glance.

        Any other examples you could offer?

        What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

        by slinkerwink on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:32:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  dunno.... (none)
          It's very clear in my head but I've been having a hard time getting it into tight language that clearly expresses what I'm getting at.

          Here's the basic idea:

          Social Security, as a guaranteed income in old age, lessens the risk that you will suffer greatly in your old age for lack of money.  You may not be rich living on SS alone, but you will be able to manage.

          Because you take away that basic fear, that you will wind up with nothing at all, it gives people a reason to spend or invest more of their money during their working lives, in ways that enhance the economy and often result in personal success.

          SS also frees people from having to spend as much money taking care of aging parents, further allowing them to invest for their own retirement or in a better life for their children.

          Basically, without the guarantee of income from social security, many in the middle class would not be as free to invest as they currently are.  Privatizing SS, far from broadening participation in the market, might actually decrease it.  If I were already risking a quarter or more of my SS retirement funds in the market because I were required to, I would be a lot less likely to invest in through my 401K, IRA, or other voluntary investment accounts.  And so would a lot of other people.

          In a broader context, SS fits in with the rest of the New Deal reforms -- again, these are aimed at keeping the economy stable and safe for average Americans to participate in.  This is what I really want to see filled in in the argument.... on the right, dismantling Social Security is a step toward dismantling the entire post-New-Deal economy and returning to a world of robber-barons.  I'd like to see us defend Social Security in the same way, as a critical part of the economic stability we now take for granted, but which came about because of the economic reforms that took place during and after the Depression.

          "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

          by eebee on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:50:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Social Security is Retirement Insurance (none)
            I may believe I have enough to cover my retirement, but if I'm wrong, I'd hate to have no Social Security.  Money in the stock market is by definition not insured-- its value is dependent on the worth of investments, not on a fixed payout.

            If people complain SS is expensive insurance, explain that virtually everyone retires for some period, so you can't really compare the payment to premium ratio to something like AD&D insurance which hopefully is quite rare.

        •  Social Security is Insurance (none)
          You gamble with your EXTRA money, not with the rent money or the food money.  Social Security is the part of retirement that ensures that you won't fall  into poverty.  It is actually a very efficient system, with very low overhead.  Current workers fund current retirees, and even with only 3 workers for each retiree, the system runs an annual 180 BILLION surplus.  Which the Republicans then spent on tax cuts for the wealthy.  Those tax cuts, and the pressure to elimate the estate tax in its entirety, are what will make it hard for the gov't to roll over the bonds when current inflows are less than what is needed for retirees, around 2018-2020.

          Nothing is stopping anyone who wants a private account from funding one--a 401(k) or IRA with pre-tax dollars, then an IRA with after-tax dollars, or just plain savings.  But don't gamble with the rent money.

          If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

          by Mimikatz on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 08:53:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Damn Right it is Insurance (none)
            Even when the taxes are cut from your pay-check:

            the Social Security you pay is really called Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI)

            New Social Security Wage Base for 2005

            "FICA" is the term many folks use when discussing both Social Security and Medicare. This term can be confusing and misleading given that FICA has two separate components -- Social Security and Medicare. Social Security has a limited wage base (income subject to the tax), but Medicare does not limit the amount taxable. Social Security currently has a 6.2% tax rate, compared to 1.45% for Medicare. To complicate the matter, the Social Security you pay is really called Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI).

            Republicans are arguing that insurance should be replaced with private stock investments.

          •  Social Security is Insurance (none)
            It sure is and refering to SS as insurance is a pretty strong frame. Sometime is the last thirty years or so the term "Social Insurance" seems to have disapered from public discourse. I was happy to  recently hear Sen. Dorgan reviving the insurance meme and pushing it quite strongly.

            "President Bush and the Congressional Republicans want to cancel your retirement and disability insurance and transfer all the risk to you and your family"

            I'm realy beginning to think that we'll win this battle.

      •  I see your point (none)
        but I think it's too wordy.  The popular impression of the stock market today is not one of stability, and we can leverage that.

        If "investment banker" is still a bad word, that is as you might point out a bit unfair, but let's go with it.

        •  I see what you mean too, and I am too wordy. (none)
          Back in 2000 when Bush was running on a privatization platform, he had a habit of mocking Gore's "targeted tax cuts" by asking how many new jobs at IRS it would take to implement all those targeted tax cuts.

          I always wanted Gore to come back with: "And how much do you think it will cost to turn the Social Security Administration into a stock brokerage?  I don't want to think about how many people would have to be answering telephone calls from worried citizens every time there's a dip in the market."

          That's shorter and maybe better.  I would just like to see a broader theme for a positive defense of Social Security rather than playing to people's fears.  But whatever works.

          "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

          by eebee on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:57:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (none)
        Thank you for posting that.  It's a perspective I've never considered before.  If you, or somebody else, could work out a way to sound-byte-atize it, I think it would be a great way to present it.  The next time the Republicans try to say that x% of the population already invests, you can say it's thanks to FDR and the New Deal.
      •  I'd just call it the (none)
        "Enron-ization of Social Security."

        That'll put it right where it belongs: in the category of 'very shaky risky propositions' rather than 'prudent investment.'

      •  Stop framing issues - frame the wingers... (none)
        Start framing the right wing regressives. They're the central thread for the whole kit & kaboodle.

        If we frame them, the individual issue frames come  much more easily - just continue to build on the central theme.  Don't use their frames. Don't play reactive.  Just frame them and evoke the same frame for EVERYTHING they do.

        One example here.

        We need to come up with more.

        Remember a frame is NOT words, it's a central concept you're trying to evoke.  Come up with the frame, then figure out words and phrases that can evoke that frame - preferably in ways that will cause the listener/reader to visualize the concept, then craft sentences and paragraphs using those words & phrases.  Use words and phrases that evoke the same frame consistently. Don't switch fames from one policy to the next.

        The listener/reader's brain will do all the heavy-lifting of associating the wingers with the frame.  It sticks better that way.

      •  But that fear is popular (none)
        I don't think it helps Democrats to look afraid of the market.

        Why not? Joe Average is afraid of the stock market. Outside of the investment class, the latest stock market news is a source of anxiety. When the stock market tumbles, Joe gets laid off. When it rises, he may get his job back, but beyond that, most of the profits go to managers and investors. There has to be an insane amount of growth for those fat profits to translate into an increase in wages for Joe and his coworkers.

        The market is unstable. That's why it's such a poor basis for social security. Sure, a cautious and well-informed investor will, on average, tend to profit in the market, but he has to be willing and able to weather recessions and other periods of losses. A retiree on a fixed income doesn't have that flexibility. If the market tanks, the professional investor can't get  a new luxury car. Grandpa Average, on the other hand, ends up eating cat food.

        Just like the folks with Enron pension funds did. You want a frame for this? Start referring to the Bush plan as "the Enron model". That is, after all, what he is talking about. Bush thinks what's good for former Enron employees is good for America.

      •  Propose Clinton's plan (none)
        The Clinton plan that the Republicans torpedoed because they didn't want him to get credit for fixing Social Security, called for investing 15% of surplus payments into a separate market account. This would accomplish the exact same goal in terms of increased revenue as privatizing, with the benefit that there would be a single pool with low cost administrative fees.

        Since Bush is quoting Clinton, Democrats should call his bluff and introduce the Clinton plan. That would shut him up on quoting Clinton and also put the lie to claims about bipartisanship.

    • there any difference? (4.00)
      Seriously - has anyone asked the Publicans what is the difference between "privitization" and "personal accounts"?

      Cuz if they can't answer that, then the terms must be synonymous and this is only about spin.

      Might be a good way of getting them to discuss the details of their social security plan.

      "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by grannyhelen on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:32:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did anyone ever ask them . . . (none)
        . . . the difference between the estate tax and the death tax?

        It's been great to see the media actually be in front on this issue and use the term "private accounts" and "privitization" rather than use the language of the Republican machine.

    •  And... (none)
      link the support of "privatization" to the dismantling of the public sector. Its not enough, IMHO to fight privatization, we also have to rehabilitate the value of the public at the same time.  In many instances the private sector simply cannot do what the public can: health care, serious R&D, etc.

      In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

      by a gilas girl on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:56:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely (none)
        We need to champion successful government programs, and show how people have benefitted from them, and how cost effective they have been.  We need to put the lie to Ronald Reagan, and show that government is not a problem, but a benefactor.  We need to reintroduce the idea that government is a helpmate in time of need, a protector of the downtrodden, and an advocate for the people.

        "No matter what they want the answer is no. Now is not the time to fold, now is the time to up the ante."
        -Charles Pierce

        by baba durag on Fri Jan 28, 2005 at 05:01:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Confirmation? (4.00)
    Is there any way we can get some confirmation that the diarist is actually representing this Senate Democratic Communications Center?

    I'm just wondering because anybody could have come to dKos, registered that name, and started writing diaries.  

    Kos, can anyone verify?

    And while we're at it, is there (or should there be) a general policy about identifiable usernames?  I mean the username "Senate Democratic Communications Center" should be someone from that center.  "Howard Dean" should be Howard Dean, if he ever decides to come over here and blog.

  •  Welcome Aboard! (4.00)
    Your post is one of the most positive things I have seen since December 12, 2000...

    Please keep it up....

    I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or Zephyr Teahout to write this.

    by Volvo Liberal on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:23:11 PM PST

  •  Rebutting the AEI study (none)
    The big scare tactic where I am is to cite the book Fiscal and Generational Imbalances, which combines the large actuarial medicare deficit that the Republicans created with the much smaller Social Security one. Having an easy to find, well researched rebuttal of that book would be really helpful when dealing with those who cry wolf.
  •  that's SS "commercialization" (4.00)
     and "don't turn it over to Wall Street".

    and stomp on the "D's don't trust Americans with their own money" b.s.

    sure, we TRUST the American people.
    we don't TRUST the greedheads who brought us Enron etc.  But this isn't about trust, it's about securing our retirement funds.

    •  or "enronization" (none)
      or "giving our retirement to day traders."

      or "rolling the dice on our Social Security insurance."

    •  100 Points for "Commercialization" (none)
      "Privatization" is starting to take hold as a negative word, so it might be good to stick with it. Too many advertisers switch campaigns right when the first one's starting to take hold. But "privatize" is still something of a sacred word in the American discourse: "State-owned industries are what the commies have; Private Enterprise is the American way!" Of course, that's completely irrelevant to the question at hand, but it's all about what sticks in people's mind, right? I like "Commercialize", because it suggests, rather than giving it back to John and Jane Q. Private Citizen, giving it to Citigroup. The truth is somewhere in the middle, we might as well emphasize the aspect no one likes. Even rich people don't want their SS given to investment bankers - they just don't want to pay taxes. "Privatize" suggests small-government libertarianism; "commercialize" suggests something between Wall Street and Las Vegas. If you want to go stronger, I'd maybe call privatization "the Great Social Security Sellout". It's the same idea as "commercialize", but more unambiguously negative, employs a word ("sellout") that automatically sets off alarm bells, and is alliterative besides. This one's more of a tagline, where "commercialize" is an attempt to shift the language of the debate. No reason you couldn't use both ("Republican plans to commercialize Social Security amount to nothing more than the Great Social Security Sellout Plan of 2005!")
    •  Abandonment and irresponsibility frame (4.00)
      The administration wants us to sell out Grandma to the stock traders.


      The administration gambled on a big tax swindle and failed. Now they want to cover their tracks with Grandma's social security check.


      I won't stand by while they ask us to turn our backs on our elders to finance new yachts for a few of their rich friends.


      ... your turn, think up some others.

      Whatever you do remember:

      Don't use statistics.  Don't mention a particular member of the administration by name. Don't mention their name for the proposal. Don't say "this program isn't" and then repeat their claims about why they want to change it (i.e., don't say "Social security isn't in danger.").

      Do use imagery that lets the reader/listener's mind make the association between the target person/group and the desired frame. Do evoke the culpability of the responsible party.

    •  Connect (none)
      You have to connect social security to a bigger picture. You need a narrative. To create one, figure out the world Republicans want, and describe the differences. John Edwards does this with "two" Americans. Then you can talk about how you want one American back and how keeping social security as it is protects and strengthens America.

      Learn how to take back the issue of national security. Progressives are stronger on security.

      by Lucian on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 11:25:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are you serious? Are you for real? (4.00)
    My Hero!

    <3 <3 <3

    Nah, seriously though -- glad to have the communication center reaching us. We can be a critical bunch. But if you do the hard work of listening to us, we'll do the hard work of going to bat for you.

  •  If this really is true (none)
    it's fantastic. I love the Democratic Party more and more every day that passes. Communicate with us and we will return the favor.

    don't go after Bush, go after the Republicans.

    by Joe B on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:51:01 PM PST

  •  One question (4.00)
    Can you get Joe Lieberman to shut up???  Please ask him not to appear on FNC at all.  It's embarassing to us.

    We fight on. We fight for ourselves and the people who do not have a voice.

    by mlk on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:53:12 PM PST

  •  Are you . . . (4.00)
    . . . Jim, Phil, Tessa, Fabiola, or Ari?  (link)

    They've been in business for 20 days.  This is great.

  •  oh yeah (none)
    whats the email list going to be like?  you going to be doing rapid response and petition requests?

    disclaimer: i really am from mars

    by juls on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:03:18 PM PST

  •  Where's the plan, man? (4.00)
    I mean, if every time a Republican says "It's a crisis" the Democratic talking head would say "Then where's the plan?" I think that would score points. Not much time left to do this since I believe Bush's witholding his plan until he presents his budget Feb 7 (?), that way he can keep its cost out of his budget projections.

    If they're gonna go back to Clinton quotes about the crisis, they have to explain why there's no plan they're willing to talk about. Sounds kinda fishy to me.

    You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

    by imagine on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:05:09 PM PST

    •  Don't give an inch. (none)
      I'd prefer that in response to a Republican saying "There's crisis," that a Democrat not say "where's the plan?"

      Instead, say "There is no crisis. To say there is an exaggeration, just like the Bush people were exaggerating Iraq's WMDs. It's bunk. These extremists desire the dismantling of Social Security because it works."

      I am a reform Democrat.

      by thinkdouble on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 06:44:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is no crisis. (none)
        And the Republicans don't think so either, because they haven't made a plan.

        Lather, rinse, repeat.

        Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.-Thomas Jefferson

        by boadicea on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 07:05:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, no, no (4.00)
        "There is no crisis" evokes the concept of crisis in people's minds. That's the cognitive science behind framing. Negating the frame still gives the frame credence.

        We've got to ignore their framing altogether and create our own:

        Social security:
        "Yeah, that's the administration for you, they borrowed Grandma's social security check to gamble on a tax swindle, and now they don't want to pay it back."

        "There they go again, picking a fight so their cronies can make a buck."

        "So what if our kids learn nothing, as long as they can save a buck."

        Frame THEM.

        They can bait us with thousands upon thousands of individual polices.  They keep us constantly distracted by throwing out more policies than we can chase.  So we need to focus on the source.

        Hit them constantly. Hit them hard. Be consistent.

        They are abandoning Americans for personal gain.

        Every single response on every single policy should be an excuse to paint that picture.  In every case, the target is always the administration - not the policy.

        Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

        In behavior modification, it takes 7 - 10 reminders before a new behavior will start to stick. I imagine the same is true for a frame.

  •  Possible Upcoming Republican Attack (4.00)
    Senator Cornyn just launched what could be a possible talking point being used by the GOP. He attacked a fundraising e-mail being sent out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and insinuated that the questioning of Rice and perhaps Gonzales was meant for fundraising opportunities.

    I have the feeling that this talking point will be regurgitated ad nauseum, and that you need to formulate a response to Senator Cornyn's attack on Boxer.

    This is the benefit of having an open dialogue between the Democratic War Room and this open community of Democratic activists in helping stave off potential Republican attacks.

    What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

    by slinkerwink on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:10:51 PM PST

    •  Thinking alike? (none)
      Here's my post from another thread from minutes ago...The SDCC must be on top of this NOW!


      Here come the 'talking points'

      The approved 'talking points" will now focus on fundraising by Boxer...My guess is that this "talking point" will be on Fox/MSGOP in minutes and will be reguritated throughout the night until the media asks Democrats tomorrow whether they should hold up Rice's confirmation for fundraising purposes...

      It is so blatanly transparent...

      I hope the Democratic Party is ready to blast these repugs out of the water by reminding the American People about what this amoral soulless thug party did from 1992-2000....

      But prepare yourself: the "fundraising" smear is coming...

      I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or Zephyr Teahout to write this.

      by Volvo Liberal on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:14:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  never hurts to be prepared (none)
        for any potential GOP talking points. By being well-prepared, the Democratic party can put on a good offensive against GOP talking points on media shows, etc.

        What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

        by slinkerwink on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:15:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It was on the NBC Nightly News (none)
        They included the same story in a piece by Andrea Mitchell.  

        They replayed the story again during Countdown with KO.

      •  Wait a second. (none)
        Barbara Boxer has a PAC called, I think, "Change the Congress."

        She had emails and blog-ads featuring "Hold Condoleeza Rice Accountable" as the headline, and asked for a supporting signature.

        From there, you could click to give to her PAC.

        So yes, money could flow to Boxer given that Boxer promised to, and made good on, her promise to hold Rice accountable.

        Is this illegal? I think not. I don't know what John Cornyn's getting at.  

        •  Hey, I gave Boxer $$$$, and someone (4.00)
          else I know sent her flowers.

          The GOP has been acting like Bullies. The one thing they can't handle are Dems who actually stand up to them.

          BB rained on Condi's parade. And not only was it beautiful, it was fully deserved. If Ms. Rice had wanted to go back and correct the record, I might be a tad forgiving. Instead she attempted to have her lies stand.

          Forgive me, but Orwellian lies have no place in America. God Bless all those who stand up to our naked empire.

          Anti-War, Anti-Joe! "If a Dem wants to be "good friends" with Sean Hanntiy, well, he deserves to be primaried..."

          by DeanFan84 on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 07:53:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  absolutely right that's what they're going after (none)
        after the hearings, there were 2 press ops on Cspan.
        One with Frist and the black elders
        One with Sen Reid, who kicked ass in his disengenuous schoolmarmish way.  Someone asked him about the Boxer fundraising letter.  He refused to comment, saying basically "I refuse to comment until I see the letter."  Pretty hard to believe he didn't know about it, even if he hadn't literally seen the letter.  I like him more each time I see him.
    •  Absurd (none)
      Senator Cornyn, you should be ashamed of trying to deflect attention from the lies of Condoleezza Rice.


      by Doug in SF on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:48:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Distraction and the Noise Machine (none)
        This is plainly what the Republican Noise Machine is doing, to deflect and distract people. What was the whole document smearjob against Sandy Berger, Clinton's excellent National Security Advisor, than an attempt to deflect attention from Condi Rice, whose incompetence was coming to light during the 9/11 hearings?

        And today NPR reports this big story about the son of some Ohio congresswomen going on trial for slashing tires of Republican get-out-the-vote cars. Of course, this is supposed to deflect the fact of Bush's New England re-election manager resigning and currently investigated for phone slamming a Democratic GOTV call center.

        They want us, or at least their rabid base, to think that these things are equal, Berger and some possible problems with missing documents (later exonerated) is the same as Rice not being concerned about bin Laden, and that some tire slashing equals indictments against high level Bush people.

        I am a reform Democrat.

        by thinkdouble on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 06:27:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Democrats (none)
          Democrats should hire comedians as speech writers. You have plenty of liberal comedians who can write perfectly material which is funny and has good frames.

          You also have Bill Maher and others. What needs to be done is they need to be recruited onto daily cable news shows, and they need to create frames, catchphrases and write speeches.

          Learn how to take back the issue of national security. Progressives are stronger on security.

          by Lucian on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 11:33:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  EVERYONE PAY ATTENTION! (none)
            Lucian is onto something here.

            I've spent the last couple of months reading and chewing on Lakoff, and I didn't stop with Don't Think of an Elephant.  I went on to read the longer version of the same argument, Moral Politics, and now I'm almost finished with Metaphors We Live By, which is a detailed and rather technical exposition of the theory underlying all the arguments in DToaE and Moral Politics: basically, that we understand many concepts in terms of other concepts, via metaphor.

            Metaphors contains a great deal of discussion of how certain example metaphors are structured (such as "An argument is a war" or "Ideas are food").  I've found that, quite often, the points made about the limits of these metaphors' application have made me laugh out loud on the subway.  (Example: We talk about ideas being "hard to swallow" or "half-baked" but not "poached" or "fried.") I don't usually laugh out loud at books, in public! What made this sort of thing so darned funny?

            The answer is that the very basis of humor is what Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post refers to as "colliding frames of reference" (that word again!) You expect one thing and see another - or the metaphor you're invoking doesn't fit, even though its base concept is supposed to.

            In thinking about this I concluded that the basic element that makes someone a naturally good comedian, that defines talent in humor, is an intuitive understanding of frames and metaphor and how to manipulate them and twist them on their heads.

            So Lucian is absolutely right.  People who are naturally funny and/or have practiced being funny will be good at framing.

            How can we get over it when people died for the right to vote? -- John Lewis

            by furryjester on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 12:31:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, stuff like this: (none)
              Ahahaha what a gas! Apparently McCain doesn't see the irony in voting for someone who lied to get us into a war. After all, look where the Gulf of Tonkin resolution got him! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA. What a riot.

              Oh, I guess that isn't that funny.


              by Doug in SF on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 01:57:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  They just asked Reid... (none)
      about Boxer's "fundraising letter". (interview on Cspan2)

      He said he didn't see the letter.

      Just caught that in passing and remembered your post - sorry I don't have more...

      •  Response should have been (4.00)
        Something like:
        "How is that relevant to Ms. Rice's qualifications for Secretary of State?"

        Push it back on them.

        To the SDCC:
        Every question asked by any so-called journalist should be assumed to be a deflection from the heart of the issue. Start with that assumption in every interview.  

        Start practicing reversing the deflection with each other, your staff, your spouses. Practice until it's second nature.

        Some sample reversal responses:

        "How is that relevant to [x]?"

        "That's a ridiculous question when we're in the middle of [x]"

        "Why would you ask a question like that? Don't you care about [x]?"

        "Since when is that more important than [x]."

        "Do you really believe [x]? Come on, you're smarter than that."
        (this one is particularly good for leading questions - like "Do think Judge so'n'so should be allowed to push his agenda?" Answer: "Do you really believe Judge so'n'so, a respected member of the court, ruled that way just because he wanted to, instead of because the constitution outlaws it? Come on, you're smarter than that.")

        You've got to stop rising to the bait. Start pushing the real story.

        Make them defend the relevance of question they've asked.  They aren't asking these questions because they give a shit about the answer, or because the public does. They're asking because they don't want our message to get out. Period.

        Even better, once you break them out of their comfort zone, most don't have the bag of tricks necessary to enable them to regain their footing - they'll stand back as you promote the real story.

  •  assault on the middle class (4.00)
    Now that the President's efforts to privatize Social Security are collapsing, the Democrats need to take the offensive. They should make the phase out of Social Security exhibit A in the Republican "assault on the middle class." If used repeatedly and in the context of Social Security, the phrase "assault on the middle class" could be very damaging to Republicans because it points out the obvious. Democrats need to tie current Republican policies (social security, taxes, health care, and education) to the decline of the middle class over the last 25 years and the fact that most people are working more and earning less. This would also have the added benefit of countering the Republican spin that Democrats are "liberal elite."
    •  assault on the middle class (none)
      I like the framing...

      I've wondered if the Republicans really want their "private accounts" to fail, hoping that Dems will negotiate the middle ground. Then they can take credit for "solving this crisis" during next election cycle.

      •  baby tax (4.00)
        another good example of Democratic framing is calling Bush's 'spend and spend' Republican plans for the future a "baby tax", because it will result in a heavier tax burden for our babies.  

        Each dollar borrowed by Bush for Iraq will be paid for by your children with interest.

    •  Yes, and No.... (none)
      I really like your framing, and if repeated a thousand times, it will have its effect.

      But really, what the GOP is doing is trying to get the middle class to line up with them in a perverted battle against the "lazier" classes.

      The most galling moment of 2004 was when W told an audience, "Look, we all know that rich people, with their lawyers and accountants, don't pay taxes..." The implication was that if the middle class people want better for themselves, they should join the rich in wanting to gut "entitlements".

      The reality is that the President's SS plan would benefit me. I'm going to pay in more than I'll ever get ought, and yes, I am a capable investor.

      So I'm with you to a degree, but I think the slogan should be, "Now, More than Ever!" Meaning that working people need the positives of governmental programs today, and tomorrow.

      Couple it with a series of commericals about how bad America's Rich Kids have it, (imagine the beer wars translated on to Trust Fund Babies), and we could make the entire GOP radioactive.

      Or am I dreaming?

      Anti-War, Anti-Joe! "If a Dem wants to be "good friends" with Sean Hanntiy, well, he deserves to be primaried..."

      by DeanFan84 on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 08:03:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now more than ever (none)
        I agree with the now more than ever sentiment but I think this ties in with the broader assault on the middle class. In particular, fewer and fewer people have guaranteed pensions. If the private sector is failing to guarantee retirement income for workers this makes the guaranteed benefits of SS more important than ever. This should be a more prominent part of the debate.
    •  Robbing social security? (none)
      So what about the frame of social security being robbed by stock brokers?

      Learn how to take back the issue of national security. Progressives are stronger on security.

      by Lucian on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 11:35:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lou Dobbs does this every night (none)
      Assault on the Middle Class is the name of a new series of reports that Lou is covering every night.
  •  Bush's War on Security n/t (none)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:46:22 PM PST

  •  Nice Touch (none)
    I especially liked the capitalization of the word "Lay" to invoke a negative subconscious reaction to the prospect of turning our retirement money over to the whimsies of people like Kenny Boy.


    by Doug in SF on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:49:42 PM PST

  •  The best solution (none)
    The best way to win for both sides is to make it so people don't need social security anymore. How about a higher minimum wage.

    Learn how to take back the issue of national security. Progressives are stronger on security.

    by Lucian on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:58:48 PM PST

    •  Social Security (none)
      doesn't just cover the elderly.  It also covers the disabled and the orphaned, so a person can't totally depend on earnings if they can't work or are too young to work.  Social Security is the ultimate safety net for the weakest in our society.

      We fight on. We fight for ourselves and the people who do not have a voice.

      by mlk on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 05:03:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Minimum Wage (4.00)
      The Senate Democratic Agenda introduced yesterday includes provisions for raising the minimum wage. See it here.

      It was also talked about in this diary.

      •  The Ehrenreich principle (none)
        Barbara Ehrenreich has argued for years that if the federal government truly wants to make life better for families, it will raise the minimum wage. How many working-poor parents work 55-80 hours per week -- each -- at the current minimum, just to keep their kids fed and sheltered? It would be interesting to see if this has traction among the general electorate.

        "You with your big words, and your...small, difficult words!" -- Peter Griffin

        by Penny Century on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 10:49:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ok all that needs to be done is framing (none)
        Ok, since the issues and polcies seem to be already won by the Democrats. All that needs to be done is proper framing.

        Lets see, you have Enron, you have the image of your boss stealing your retirement money, you have the government promoting gambling, sounds to me like Republicans are promoting social insecurity. The want to Enronize social security, and piratize its funding. Social security is already paid for, so what they are trying to do is move the funds from social security into their own pockets, and these pockets are hidden from view so we will never be able to trace or know exactly where the money went.

        The key to saving social security will be in the quality of the narrative, the strength of the frames, and the catchy nature of the package. If you  produce a great set of frames, narratives, stories, constantly discuss history around social security, and then use tactical questions like what if, to talk about how the future would be without social security. You can get people to compare the two paths, and to compare futures.

        How many people would like to gamble away their future, or their childrens future? We have to tell people not to gamble away their future by weakening social security. Weakening should be the ultimate frame.

        To ask Republicans a tactical question, ask them "Why do you want to weaken social security?" and do it on national TV. Force them to talk about how gambling increases the strength of social security, and then you can talk about how gambling weakens social security, and by leading the debate you'll win just about any debate on this issue. If you let them start the debate by saying they are streghtening social security and you want to help them make it even stronger, you lose.

        These are two diaries. The key to winning this is using the right words, the right frame and the right  
        narrative. Barack Obama is on fire like he is simply because of his story. Stories introduce narratives but they have to be very good stories with strong powerful frames. Memes arent stories, they could just be rumors, or your ideas of what the Republicans really plan to do, like the draft, or what their plans are to do with social security.

        You combine the word frames with a visual frame, then you take a document signed by the President who created social security, and you destroy that document in an ad, along with the right words, and people will get the frame that Republicans want to

        1. Destroy social security.

        2. Bring us all back in time to the great depression.

        What you do with a frame like this is, you predict the obvious future, will our economy collapse without social security and with these economic policies? Most likely. So Republicans must completely own that economic collapse, the war, the draft if there is one. Democrats should represent strengthening the homeland, strong economic security by creating Jobs at home, not just in China or India. The Democrats want to give you more of your own money by raising the minmum wage, by forcing the corporate bosses to be Responsible, not just by giving tax cuts. Democrats should create a plan to bring us all wealth. In the Democratic party we all win because we all look out for each other, in the Republican party its back to the law of the jungle.

        American can do better, and Democrats want better.

        Learn how to take back the issue of national security. Progressives are stronger on security.

        by Lucian on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 11:54:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  S14 Markup (none)
        The language as submitted doesn't even reach family of two poverty guidelines.  The baseline should be $6.90/hour, which is 110% of the guidelines for a family of two.  Then tied to that number going forward. Minimum wage should be a realistic floor - not a brick ceiling.  [sent markup language for Sec. 122 to the DPC].

        REFERENCE:    Department of Health & Human Services Poverty Guidelines

        Income threshold for a family of two [48 states]  = $12,490.
        Minimum wage based on single-earner working 52 40-hour weeks/year. [2080 hours]

  •  An idea... (none)
    Perhaps we should counter the Republicans' plan to privatize Social Security (whatever it is) with our own plan to improve Medicare, to make it solvent in the long term, and make the case that this is more pressing than Social Security.  We take the position that we will deal with Social Security issues appropriately, but since there is no immediate crisis, we will rightly prioritize Medicare reforms.  Let it be known that they are fighting the wrong fight.

    This gets us away from simply reacting to their arguments, and gets people (seniors!) and the media talking about the merits of fixing Medicare vs fixing Social Security.  We absolutely need to defend against the destruction of Social Security, but by countering with something unexpected we may be able move the debate from their turf.  Make them answer our arguments.  Now is the perfect time, while their agenda seems to be losing steam.

    Another plus to looking at Medicare: it naturally leads to a discusison of health care in general, and that really is a crisis.

    Decisions are made by those who show up.

    by poe on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 05:09:48 PM PST

  •  Attention SDCC (none)
    The new SDCC site is great.

    It would be great if folks could add a keyword-driven push e-mail service so that reporters would get an e-mail when you add a new release or report or whatever to your Web site.

  •  Can you clarify the Fainthearted Faction? (none)
    Your presence here is a very powerful signal that the Senate leadership 'gets it,' and a strong signal that the Party is resurgent. Thanks, and welcome!

    Some people see a bit of ambiguity in the positions of a few Democratic Senators on privatization. Although news reports now say that the caucus is unanimously opposed, Josh Marshall and others are concerned about possible ambiguity in some of the statements. That isn't surprising, given the Kremlinology of the language of "privatization," "personal accounts," etc. (FWIW, I thought Lieberman was pretty clear on the Daily Show.)

    It would be helpful if the Stick (by the way, bdo you like that name/pronunication?) could resolve the ambiguity, perhaps with recommended language, and we saw the Fainthearted Faction shrink to 0 in the Senate.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 05:20:01 PM PST

  •  You made history today (4.00)
    by posting this diary.  This is truly an event.

    Just an hour earlier I was scanning the news and thinking, ever so faintly, that the Democratic party is slowly beginning to organize and oppose effectively.

    This diary confirmed my hunch.

    But please, listen to what's posted here.  I have learned much since arriving recently.

    Feldman's Frameshop Diaries, e.g., are worth their weight in gold.

    I'm almost proud to be a registered Democrat today...almost.

  •  Historic (none)
    Interesting indeed

    Evan Bayh 2008
    Rosenberg for Chair

    by dsolzman on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 05:46:58 PM PST

  •  Excellent!! (none)
    Now that you got your collective shit together, keep it together and don't let up.  Never let up.  You have an army here that's ready to fight.
  •  $450,000,000,000 (none)
    Please consider taking bonddad's advice:

    REAL CRISIS: 450 Billion in Underfunded Pensions

    The financial press has been talking about the Pension Benefit Guarnty Corp for awhile, the but the story is on the sidelines.  However, after looking at the books and the coming storm, this is the real financial crisis we face, not social secruity.  This is a great issue and we should sieze on the initiative now.


    According to their report, the number of underfunded plans that are classified as below investment grade and subject to possible termination is 96 billion.  This number was 82 billion in 2003 and 35 billion in 2002.  To make matters worse, the amount of total underderfunding for 2004 was 450 billion dollars for 2004, up from 350 billion in 2003, a 28% increase.  I can't estimate what percentage of these plans will terminate and come under government control.

     What I can speculate about is why.  My guess is companies are deliberately underfunding their defined benefit plans with the intention of having the government take them over.  I can't prove this, but it makes sense.  These plans are corporate albatrosses.  Dumping them is in the corporation's best interest.  They don't care about the effect this will have on the PBGA.

         So, we have a real potential for crisis here.  Not an imagined one.  But we're not hearing about.  Well, now we know.

    And now you know...use it.

  •  SDCC...wise move. (4.00)
    Very, very wise move.

    You have at your fingertips an army of fact-checkers, researchers, mass-emailers, statisticians, lawyers, academics, concerned citizens and...simply put, a whole lot of people ready and willing to put the GOP in its place.

    We're itching to fight the good fight.  We've been waiting for that one step from the Democrats that says the next four years will be fought on new ground with new methods.  With this post (if you stick around, that is!) you've taken that bold and necessary step.

    Welcome to DailyKos.

    Now let's kick some ass.

    If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

    by Georgia Logothetis on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 06:17:05 PM PST

  •  Whatever Barbara Boxer is drinking (4.00)
    Send a case of it to Dianne Feinstein.  With my compliments.

    I call both my senators' offices all the time, to encourage BB to keep on doing what's she's doing, and to tell DF that it's time to stop "getting along" and to finally hold someone accountable.

    Problem is, while the Boxer staffers seem glad to hear from me, I don't get the impression that the passion of my plea gets through to Feinstein.  It becomes just a check mark on a list.

    Maybe this platform will help.

    It don't mean a feng if it ain't got that shui.

    by Doc Bogus on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 07:02:38 PM PST

    •  Ditto on the repeated contacts. (none)

      The media is not our friend. We need change.

      by california jim on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 07:55:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Feinstein is taking Democrats for granted, (none)
      go after her. That's what we are doing here in CT, where Joe assumes he owns the Dem vote, and believes the only people to worry about/work for are the moderate Republicans.

      Find her public schedule, and humble her a bit. From what I've seen she deserves it.

      Anti-War, Anti-Joe! "If a Dem wants to be "good friends" with Sean Hanntiy, well, he deserves to be primaried..."

      by DeanFan84 on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 08:07:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Feinstein has outlived her usefulness (none)
      I don't know if anyone's ready to step up and challenge her, though.  I think CA Democrats have bigger worries than replacing an incumbent Senator, unfortunately.  The Governator, for one.

      Even though I understand the etiquette of having a home-state Senator introduce appointees at confirmation hearings, I was still absolutely disgusted by Feinstein's fawning over Condoleeza Rice.

      It's a big Democratic tent, but when one of our own Senators goes on-camera to talk about how buddy-buddy she is with the worst National Security Advisor in a generation, I'm reminded that the tent has an exit.  Feinstein should consider making use of that exit door.


      "A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country
      is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards."
      Theodore Roosevelt, 4 July 1903

      by AlphaGeek on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 11:13:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's some free advice (none)
    Our advocacy for a private accounts plan to run alongside SS instead of being cut out of SS would be stronger if we actually had a plan* to do such.

    When the Republicans find out privatization will fail in the Congress, they're going to present an alternative plan.  I hope we have a better one ready to go and before the other side presents theirs.

    Kerry's popularity has to be worth something right now.  Pull him out of his Senate office and get him to author a bill with Snowe (if she helps out here she can/should keep her seat and if she's retiring she'll be going out with a bang) or a sane House Republican (a bit of an oxymoron I know), present the plan to the country and Congress and dare the Republicans to oppose it in Congress.

    *Suggestions for paying for such plan: corporate CEO tax-breaks, off-shore tax-shelters, 1% increase on wages over $1 million.


    by DWCG on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 07:04:32 PM PST

    •  Ever heard of IRA's??? 401-K's?? (none)
      We already have private accounts for retirement. And for most people this is what they are banking on, and not Social Security. But to those for whom SS is everything, thank God! I'm incredulous that their side is trying to f--- with that which keeps working class seniors from cardboard shoe boxes and cat food.

      Anti-War, Anti-Joe! "If a Dem wants to be "good friends" with Sean Hanntiy, well, he deserves to be primaried..."

      by DeanFan84 on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 08:09:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree to a degree. (none)
        But there's more that can be done, specially for low-income workers.  I think Obama proposed the federal government match every dollar saved in new accounts with a tax cut for Americans making under a certain wage.

        A plan like that, real personal accounts, need to be the hallmark of "The American Promise" and our alternative to the privatization of Social Security.

        And we absolutely HAVE to present an alternative to everything this administration proposes.  The hallmark of a successful opposition party is not just criticism but presenting a clear choice.


        by DWCG on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 09:37:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  how about Investment security accounts? (none)
      Instead of just social security, we can have investment security alongside social security, which allows a person to use a portion of their tax money to invest in the free market.

      Learn how to take back the issue of national security. Progressives are stronger on security.

      by Lucian on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 12:04:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is one out there (none)
      I believe Rep. Rahm Emanuel came out with a plan to use restoring the "Millionaire Rich Kid" inheritance tax to fund a Social Security Plus plan that would be a 401K matching program for poor and middle class citizens.
  •  Next time the GOP throws the word... (4.00)
    "crisis" around, can you pretty shove this quote in their face?

    From Bush to baby boomers:

    "We're in pretty good shape when it comes to Social Security." - President Bush, in a campaign stop in FL

    So the system right now is in "pretty good shape"...he went on to ramble about future generations, but still...the words "pretty good shape" and "social security" coming from the President's mouth is a good sound bite.  

    Next, call Bush on his hypocrisy.  During the campaign, Kerry took a a lot of heat for saying that Bush was going to "privatize" SS.  Indeed, speaking on CNN's Late Edition on Oct. 17, "Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie also insisted that Bush 'never said that' he would privatize Social Security."

    Hypocrisy, enter, stage right.  Just last month, Bush used the term.  And he used it many more times during the campaign.

    And yet, despite all the fury over "how DARE Kerry use the "P" word", that word now drips effortlessly from the SCLM and Republicans alike.    And of course, the administration doesn't call anyone on it's not campaign season, after all.

    Recently, the Republicans are backing off using the word "privatization": "Don't say 'privatization.' Instead say 'personal retirement accounts,' advises Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm.

    If the right is going to start calling them "personal retirement accounts" and whining everytime we use the word privatization, the very word Bush used repeatedly, then fine...let's call them...."Enron accounts."  That's what they are.  They are accounts which could evaporate in the blink of an eye, with a single hiccup of the stock market.  So call them Enron accounts, and see how "secure" that makes people feel.

    If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

    by Georgia Logothetis on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 07:08:03 PM PST

  •  I have two questions.. (none)
    1- Does this SDCC organization have a website?


    2- Why has this not been elevated to the front page yet. If this is for real, and we are actually getting a voice there, then every message/diary they put up should be front-page worthy.

  •  An Idea for Talking Points (none)
    It's important that the Democratic leaders in the Senate have their talking points ready before they go on media shows. One way to combat a forecoming Republican attack would be to send the talking points to the Senators via their blackberry pdas.

    I've been thinking about the ways that the Democratic Party can utilize Blackberries, and the thought of using them to spread talking points before Democratic leaders go on talk shows would be highly effective in winning the spin.

    What's madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance?

    by slinkerwink on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 07:55:41 PM PST

  •  See also Pericles' diary (none)
    Stop Saying "Social Security"!

    Start saying: "Social Security Insurance" or "the Social Security Insurance Program". We need to be as disciplined about this as the Republicans have been about saying "death tax".
    Why? To combat the frame President Bush is trying to put around the Social Security Insurance issue. If Social Security is perceived as an insurance program, we'll get the minor funding/benefit fix we need. If it's seen as an investment program, the Republicans will be able to gut it in favor of personal accounts.

    At the moment, the public debate is all whether or not there is a "crisis". I agree that we need to derail that train, but we could win the crisis battle and lose the Social Security war. In fact, that's what seems to be happening -- the public doubts there's a crisis, but is tending to favor personal accounts.

    There's more...

    "Those who betray the trust...are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." - George HW Bush

    by DavidW in SF on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 08:10:36 PM PST

  •  Very nice, very nice indeed (none)
    Good work. Congratulations to you folks at the SDCC. It is excellent to have you here with us. I, and I think I can safely say... we... look forward to a long and prosperous working relationship with each other.

    I second the comments above about making sure this is a two way communication.

    I second the comments highlighting our abilities to carry forth things your office believes needs to be heard.

    I second the comments warning you to expect to hear us "You gotta be kidding" when we don't like what we hear.

    I STRONGLY second the comments stating that it would be a good thing to see ALL Democratic Senators lining up to vote a resounding NO on certain issues of the day.

    My first three NO votes for ALL Democratic Senators:

    Abu Gonzales

    Incompetent Rice

    Social Insecurity

    Don't worry about the charges of obstructionism. You folks will become heros of enough of us that we'll drown out any such meek and mild ravings of the regressive party and their noise machine.

    Welcome to the Party Ladies and Gentlemen.

    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 10:23:31 PM PST

  •  Reid is kicking ass (none)
    if the Big Stick's presence here has anything to do with him.  And I don't even like Reid all that much on policy terms.  I am just so glad to see the Senate Dems showing a little bit of fucking backbone after all those years of Daschle appeasement.  

    Crank it up, Sen. Reid, you'll get to like it more and more.  Stop Abu Gonzales.  And good riddance to Daschle.

    Dance dance dance

    Shout shout shout

    Throw the Chimp and Cheney out!

  •  y'all come back now, ya'hear? (none)
    Thanks for posting...keep involved with us (and please, steal our ideas!)
  •  Talking points? (none)
    Is that all there is?  Talking points, and talk shows, and prep'ing for the next Sunday gab fest?

    Anticipate the others frame, turn it inside out, or smash it, or ignore it and use a truer one - so long as it is done in no more than six words?  

    For the 59 million, that's what appears to be appropriate and necessary.  But Holy Moly, Batman, there's got to be life - or at least thought - after the wasteland somewhere, sometime....  

    As a member of the reality based community I crave a fact or two about the subject under discussion.

    (The biggest shuck of all may be getting trapped into accepting the NeoCons' and Theocrats' Platonist fantasms, and casually abandoning our grounding in the Enlightenment and Empiricism.)

    In the case of OASI, for instance, how much has the General Fund borrowed from it, and how will that be repayed?  What assumptions about economic growth rates and the growth of employment and wages have been used in OASI Trust fund projections?  Does any problem projected reflect repayment of the borrowed funds?  Do the projected reciepts reflect estimates based on real long term performance of the economy in the past, or are the estimates based on growth rates significantly less than historical rates?  

    Historically, what percentage of investors in the market make money over the time of their participation, versus the percentage who lose money?  How does that vary by income quintile or decile?

    Why should we make the OASI insurance plan  or any part of it a profit center for Wall Street?  If we want to subsidize the transfer of income from wage earners to brokers and wealthy and sophisticated professional investors, could we not do it by offering tax breaks to "incentivize" wage earners playing the market with additional funds, without forcing a reduction in their OASI insurance?

    That kind of thing.  After all, there are citizens and voters who are NOT included in the Faux News watching 59million, and who might actually be interested in some reality.

  •  er...Really? (none)
    This sounds great, the Senate Dems posting here and all.

    But I'm still waiting for the post from Kos saying, yeah this is actually Reid's office.

    I figure that "RSS" post upstream from him didn't say it WASN'T -  so that's good, I guess.

    Just, shouldn't there be some outside proof of that it's actually them - Either from Kos or a link FROM the page TO here.  

    Or something?

    Sorry for the suspicion.  But what with trolls and David Brooks and all, I'd hate us all to be played for dupes.

    "If one party is shameless, the other party can't afford to be spineless." - Sen. Frank Lautenberg 11/20/04

    by HadIt on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 04:41:51 AM PST

    •  Yeah (none)
      If it really is Reid's War Room, this is totally badass.  I feel like I'm in the presence of a gigantic powerful robot, the kind that shows up in anime and destroys hordes of soldiers, and it's on my team.  

      On the other hand, if it isn't, I'm going to feel kinda dumb, both for myself and for my fellow Kossacks who got taken in.  

  •  Someone please tell Lieberman (none)
    that he's a Democrat. I just got finished watching Joe lead the Repug attack against Dems in the Senate debate on Rice. What a pathetic display... he even questioned the patriotism of those against Rice. Disgusting. Jeeze... I know our party is a big tent party, but is it big enough for a neo-con?

    G. O. P. = Social Insecurity

    by Nag on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 09:11:07 AM PST

  •  welcome war room! (none)
    good to see you guys here!

    let us know what you need - phone calls?  volunteer web development?  letters to the editor?  you got it!

    .. a letter to the editor a day keeps Bush away

    by kosaddict on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 11:22:41 AM PST

  •  Big Stick! (none)
    Glad to see you here.

    I was thrilled when the senator from Minnesota used a good old-fashioned four-letter word in the Senate debate yesterday: liar. There speaks an honest man, and we need more of that.

    Saying something was a misstatement, a misrepresentation, a distortion, etc., etc. isn't enough anymore. We need to be clear and forceful and call things what they are: lies.

    When the President says Social Security's in crisis, a chorus of Dems should answer, "That's a lie." When Rumsfeld says the war's going well, a chorus of Dems should answer, "That's a lie." When Rice says Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, a chorus of Dems should answer, "That's a lie." When anyone says Rice is the best person for the job, a chorus of Dems should say, "That's a lie."

    Please, Big Stick, get that talking point out!

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