Mike Allen has a nice piece in tomorrow's Post about the congressional Republican retreat in West Virginia and their plan to come out hard in favor of the president's phase-out plan. Tomorrow we'll be talking more about what to expect this coming week. But one of the big things is a wave of confident talk about the likelihood of getting a phase-out bill passed this year. Allen's article contains a lot of that in quotes from congressional Republicans.
And then there's this choice graf ...
The congressional Republicans' confidential plan was developed with the advice of pollsters, marketing experts and communication consultants, and was provided to The Washington Post by a Republican official. The blueprint urges lawmakers to promote the "personalization" of Social Security, suggesting ownership and control, rather than "privatization," which "connotes the total corporate takeover of Social Security." Democratic strategists said they intend to continue fighting the Republican plan by branding it privatization, and assert that depiction is already set in people's minds.
So now it's 'personalization' of Social Security. <$Ad$>It's really hard to find out where the reality ends and the parody starts on this, isn't it?
In any case, I think Allen -- who's been a standout on highlighting the White House's rhetorical flimflam on 'privatization' -- lets us down when he says that the Democrats are going to fight back "by branding [the president's policy] privatization."
How can you brand it with something that is already the established term for it? The term proponents of privatization themselves always chose? It's like branding me 'Josh'.
Here I think even the praiseworthy Allen has stumbled into the always-treacherous minefield of false equivalence, suggesting that both sides are trying to 'brand' the policy with the term most advantageous to their side.
That really doesn't cut it.
Yes, 'privatization' is clearly the term Democrats prefer over the truly moronic 'personalization'. But there is a certain matter of 'is' here. As in, that is
the term for it.
'Privatization' is both descriptively appropriate for the policy in question and it has been the accepted term embraced by both sides of the debate for roughly a quarter century.
Both sides may have political motives, but Democrats are resisting
Republican efforts to enforce a new Social Security speech code
, which the latter are trying to impose because their policy is losing public support. To equate the two distorts what is actually happening.