The Wheels on the Bus Go Flying Off, Flying, Off, Flying Off...

With Bush publicly considering a payroll tax hike, we're starting to get "wheels come off" stories on Social Security privatization. The LA Times, for instance, has a nice one centering on conservatives furious at the president for considering tax hikes. Considering that many Republicans were simply looking for a way out of supporting the bill, they just got their "get-out-of-jail" free card, complete with Grover Norquist's stamp of approval on it. Bush, for his part, clearly thought mentioning a tax increase would bring Democrats rushing to the table, but the ghosts of Charlie Stenholm and Max Cleland seem to have kept them in their seats. But the man is not just failing to convince Democrats, he's failing to convince everybody:

That point was underscored in a national survey, published Thursday, showing that public support for Social Security overhaul has slipped since Bush began campaigning for private accounts.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that Americans supported keeping Social Security "basically as is," by 50% to 40%. That contrasts with a similar survey in January, before Bush began touring the nation and leaning on lawmakers to make his pitch, when Americans favored private accounts 46% to 44%.

But, but...mandate?

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