Amazing. Fascinating. I'm not sure what else to say, but please do it.
According to Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times, there's a building movement among House conservatives to push ahead with passing a Social Security phase-out bill this year.
The thinking to this point, you'll remember, was that the House wouldn't move until the senate did. Phase-out is a much dicier proposition in the senate than it is in the House. So House Republicans did not want to make a risky vote on phase-out until they were certain the thing actually had some chance of becoming law. Otherwise, they'd run the risk of getting mauled in November 2006 for a wasted vote that Senate Republicans would likely run away from.
But now it seems a few of the ultras in the House have convinced themselves that it's actually good politics to vote on it, send it over to the senate, and if it dies there blame the Democrats.
"Some Senate conservatives privately agree with their House counterparts," writes Hallow, "that the Social Security debate has swirled out of control and that the situation is now playing into the hands of Democrats, who adamantly oppose partial privatization of Social Security. These conservatives say the only way to save the situation is for the House to pass a private-accounts bill and let the Democrats take the blame for blocking Senate passage."
This would be a smart and gutsy strategy if phase-out were popular. But since every public poll available seems to show that it's not popular at all, it's not immediately clear why letting the Democrats stop this unpopular bill in the senate would necessarily be a bad thing for them. Indeed, common sense would suggest that stopping an unpopular piece of legislation would be something they'd be happy to do.
For what it's worth, I doubt very much that it would currently be possible to get a phase-out bill through the House at all. But in purely political terms I have little doubt that the Democrats would love to see them try.