Through much of the Obama presidency, there has been an undercurrent of unease concerning his commitment to the preserve Social Security, the keystone social insurance program of the New Deal and Great Society. Now is the time for him lay claim to our proud Democratic heritage, and to step up with a ringing endorsement, and so distinguish himself (and his party) from the challenger.
Much has been made of the President's statement, in the first presidential debate, that he and Governor Romney shared a similar position on Social Security.
Another progressive site, not generally prone to rhetorical excesses, has also noted a certain cognitive dissonance in the President's (and vice-President's) failures to unambiguously support support Social Security.
Other sites where less restraint is practiced, have suggested that this failure reflects the President's close ties to the financial industry, which would benefit from the ultimate weakening or dismantling of Social Security.
Whatever position one takes on the various threads and voices in this debate, it is clear that the Presidential race is tightening. If the President thinks he can win the election by finessing the issue of Social Security, and leaving the door open to 'tweaks' (so called) he is playing a dangerous game. He will need the enthusiasm of progressives to overcome the electoral chicanery of Republicans in any tight election. The argument that progressives will come home to him, despite their misgivings, will not serve: "Vote for me, I'm not as bad as the other guy," is not a winning slogan.
It is time for the President to lay claim to our party's heritage, and state his unqualified support for Social Security as it now stands.