Among left-wing bloggers, there's a general consensus that Democrats would be foolish to offer a competing plan for restructuring Social Security. This consensus is right (I refer the unconvinced to the Gospel of Matthew), but it leaves open the question of what to say when we're asked what our plan is, or why we don't have a plan.
There's a simple plan we can lay out here: Balance the budget, and no matter what happens with Social Security over the next 40 years, we'll be able to take care of it. Balancing the budget will put America into a sufficiently good financial position that we'll be able to shore up Social Security no matter what goes wrong. If Social Security needs a little extra money to keep going, we'll be able to come up with that.
The best thing about this strategy is that it allows us to segue immediately into talk about Republican fiscal incompetence. Here's where you start talking about tax cuts for the rich, or if you're in an anti-spending environment, big corporate giveaways like the ban on negotiating lower prices for Medicare prescription drugs. It's probably an especially good thing to say to people like Russert, since earnest talk about deficit reduction makes you look all principled and bipartisan in centrist environments.