I met Jay Buckey when he was on a trip to California and I am now an enthusiastic support. He's a solid guy, a thinker, a progressive and would be a great Senator. I think progressives should get behind this guy!
If you account for Social Security in a certain way, with worst-case scenarios and assumptions of economic growth that fall way below average, then after a few decades there is a chance that Social Security could see some "shortfalls" where some support is required from the general fund.
Meanwhile, because of Republican mismanagement, the US government today has racked up a HUGE, massive,unbelievable debt and runs hundreds of billions in the hole every year. We pay over $433 billion in interest on that debt each year.
The magnitude of the "problem" of the US budget is so vastly beyond anything Social Security would ever face that there is not just no reason to talk about Social Security, but leads to questions of motives of anyone who does so.
The problem that needs to be address is the huge, massive, devastating, unsustainable, crushing budget deficit and debt. Period.
Social Security is the very symbol of government serving the people. It is the greatest government program ever devised. It is sound. It has lasted since the 30s. It has built up a huge surplus and is positioned to cover retirement benefits forever - with no problems at all. Period. There is nothing to discuss.
The right attacks it for that reason, says there is "a problem" with it. Tries to get people to feel funny about it. Tries to make it complicated. The whole time the "network of associations" in the brain that is activated is really saying that people can't trust government and therefore can't trust Democrats - even Obama.
There is no problem, there is no shortfall, there is nothing that has to be dealt with. Government is good, Democrats are good and are there to serve you.
Obama saying ANYTHING about Social Security having any kind of problem is actually further validating the right's entire anti-government narrative, that it even MIGHT not be there someday if we don't constantly tinker with it, etc, says to people that they can't trust government.
"We face tough choices, we have to deal with the problem some day, people are avoiding discussing it, those other candidates are just hiding the truth from you" -- saying ANYTHING along those lines psychologically destroys HIS OWN campaign in the minds of the very people he wants supporting him.
I suggest that people read The Political Brain by Drew Westin.
"there are many, many (particularly young) people out there who have no faith that social security will be there in any meaningful way when they retire. "
Obama validating this just makes it worse. THERE IS NO CRISIS. There is no long-term problem. Social Security is just fine and we have real problems to address, instead of validating right-wing narratives about government being bad.
This is not just about Social Security, it is about whether government can serve the people. Social Security is a solid program that helps a lot of people and THAT is a lot of the reason for the right's attack on it. THAT is what Obama is validating with this use of language. And language is important.
WHY didn't Senators read the NIE? That's an important question. WHY didn't anyone read the Patriot Act before it passed?
Why did so many Demcorats fall for this ridiculous notion that if they voted for a timeline to withdraw troops they would be smeared as "abandoning the troops?"
I think that we are seeing the results of a climate of intimidation. Today every politician is more aware and afraid of how the right's attack and smear machine will portray them than they are of anything else. This pervasive atmosphere where the smear is more important than the truth is distorting every policy decision.
That is what this really comes down to. A climate of intimidation, where fear of the smear is more important than doing the right thing.
On my blog I have called this the "Afraid Rush Limbaugh Will Say Something Bad About Them Syndrome" - where Democrats make decisions based on how Limbaugh will portray them, forgetting that Rush Limbaugh will ALWAYS ALWAYS say bad things about them no matter what they do.
While some Dem politicians are reaching out with blogads (a few hundred dollars here ad there), it would be helpful if they would also send their funding base our way. By "our way" I mean not just blogs, but the kinds of "progressive infrastructure" organizations that are associated with bloggers and our message, like BlogPac, ActBlue, Commonweal Institute, Cursor and their Media Transparency, etc. If these orgs were funded a LOT more could be happening for bloggers, activists, and message development.
To accomplish this, we need a wider understanding that what we are doing lays the groundwork for campaigns and policy fights. We activate the base, we get people out to go door to door in precincts, etc. AND we get the message out to the kind of audience that takes that message and repeats it at the dinner table, etc.
So this is an area to think about and discuss - how do we educate the political donor class about the kind of leverage we offer them and their candidates?
If you give $100 to a candidate, you really ought to also give $10 to progressive blogs and other organizations that reach the public to spread the word that progressives are better for them than conservatives. That $10 dramatically boosts the effectiveness of your campaign contribution.
Money used NOW to boost public understanding of and appreciation for progressive values and issues is more effective than a campaign contribution. In fact, it is a highly leveraged contribution because every $1 that goes toward this today is far more effective than $100 or maybe even $1000 spent just before an election on campaign ads that literally just go up in the air.
Not only that, the $1 spent on that today is multiplied because it is like $100 toward the campaign of EVERY progressive candidate next year, together, rather than just one candidate.
Here is why: If we work now to CREATE DEMAND for progressive values and ideas and issues and candidates, then when the election comes around that demand is in place, the public is already educated, the candidates HAVE their issues and talking points - and the message is coordinated. This is how the conservatives have done it for some time now. This is why candidates like Bush can ride into office. (It sure wasn't because he was a better candidate.)
It's time we follow the model - demand creation between elections boosts the effectiveness of campaigns during election cycles.
No, everyone doesn't know. For one thing, Fox SAYS it is "fair and balanced." It's about how marketing works, which is about how the mind works. As the world gets more complex people need a handle - a shorthand - to hang onto for them to be able to understand things. "Fair and balanced" is a branding statement, repeated in many of the places where a lot of people get their information - Limbaugh, Drudge, etc - and the way it works is that people get that set in their mind that THIS is the "fair and balanced" one, while the rest are not. And until now there was little information reaching most people saying this isn't the case. It just works that way.
Branding is very powerful. You make your statement, and it forms in people's minds that you are THIS one... Once you have done that it is very hard to knock it out - to harm the brand. It can happen.
I second what Taylor writes. I wish I could be there.
Cracking this funding problem is the biggest need of the progressive movement. The lack of funding is our biggest weakness. Imagine where we would be today if there were funded organizations reaching the public and pushing back at the right's constant messaging.
The right has organizations and money to reach the public and tell them over and over that liberals and their ideas are bad. THEY CREATE DEMAND. So many of their candidates can win by pointing and shout "liberal, liberal."
Imagine where we could be in '08, '10 and '12 if we can find funding to start employing people, training people, paying bloggers, paying people to go on TV and write op-eds and books, and reaching the public to tell them that liberals and their ideas are good and conservatives and their ideas are bad for people.
Imagine if OUR candidates could win just by pointing at a wingnut and saying, "conservative, conservative."