Over at MoJo, they're finding that the revealed thrust of Bush's Social Security plan isn't matching the pre-SOTU leaks on what it'll be. Full of good intentions, they try and reconcile the two and have some trouble, but I fear it might be simpler than that. Sinclair simple. You remember them, of course. After getting crucified for a couple weeks over an obvious attempt to smear John Kerry, they came on air with a balanced, calm portrayal of the issue. No one following the controversy believed that had been their intent, but no one could prove it, either.
Bush has spent the past month watching his hypothetical plan get shredded and he along with it. He's watched the Democrats mock it and the Republicans abandon it. But, he's still not released his proposal, in fact, he's been conspicuously refusing to release it, meaning he can emerge with a populist document that'll shame his critics and cement his compassionate conservatism. As Ed Kilgore notes, it's all part of Bush's pattern:
Going all the way back to Texas, Bush's M.O. has been extremely consistent: push your proposals again and again and again without compromising at all, until the moment when defeat is imminent, and then either cut a deal or switch to something else, with never a hint that anything has changed.
Throughout this whole process, the Bushies have retained plausible deniability while their leaked proposal was grinded into dust. Now they can emerge, hands clean, and pretend they never wanted such a proposal at all. Will they? Depends on how committed an ideologue Bush is. Guess we'll know in a few hours.