Ding-Dong, The Plan is Dead

Looks like Social Security is safe:

President Bush has all but conceded his plan for private accounts for Social Security is dead, admitting privatization won't save the federal retirement system.

"You can solve the solvency issue without personal accounts," Bush said in an interview with the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

According to the article, Bush is still going to push on solvency measures (funny, I remember predicting the same thing four months ago...), trying to squeeze a public relations victory out of an ideological loss.  Democrats shouldn't let him.  Back in 1994, Bill Clinton did a very stupid thing and dramatically swore to veto any health care bill that didn't ensure universal coverage.  Thus, after all the bills providing universal coverage were buried in a deep, dark place in Newt Gingrich's secret underground lair, Clinton was unable to support any of the many minor, incremental bills that Republicans had cosponsored and that would've allowed him to enter the midterm elections having pushed through a tangible improvement on health care.  It was, as Newt admitted, Clinton's worst mistake of the battle as it would've allowed him to regain the momentum before the midterms.

Bush isn't going to make it.  He'll try and address the program's perceived solvency issues so he can strut into 2006 bragging about his courageous confrontation with the "third rail of politics" that had left America with a healthier pension program.  Democrats, of course, can't stop him from pulling this pivot, but if they're smart, they could change the subject before it ever becomes legislation.  There's broad agreement that Social Security isn't the problem, health care is.  Demanding that attention be paid to Medicare and the uninsured will make further moves on Social Security seem like a puzzling diversion from the work at hand and hopefully cut off further maneuvers by the president.  As an issue, health care is even stronger for Democrats than Social Security was (the American people did support investment accounts, on health care, their support is for single-payer and further government involvement), and they should press the advantage as the election looms closer, not let the president regain ground on a battle he lost.