In the coming Social Security debate, Democrats should dust-off Clinton's 'mend it, don't end it' rhetoric. ***"Privatized" Social Security is neither "secure" nor "social" -- it's actually a fungus.
I'm not saying the phrase should be adopted intact without any adjustments or that it's a perfect fit. But this debate is a classic case where framing the issue is key -- the strategic choice that determines who wins the battle before it even begins.
The strength of the Republican privatization argument -- and all their rhetoric and strategy point to this -- is the contention that privatization is just a reform, a way to improve or save Social Security, or to put it simply, a way to make sure people get their checks when they retire. But what this is really about is abolishing Social Security; and that fact needs to be taken as granted -- not even a subject of debate -- in the way Democrats frame the debate and how they talk about the subject.
To look at this debate in any other way is to be willfully ignorant of history. Republicans -- particularly the party's conservative wing which now entirely dominates the party -- have wanted to abolish Social Security for half a century.
UPDATE: The folks at the Rockridge Institute, the mecca of framing, are also thinking about Social Security