We're hearing from many readers across the country who are calling or writing to their representatives and senators only to hear that they can't make any public comment because the president hasn't released his plan yet.
"The staffer I talked to this afternoon in Senator [blank]'s office," says one reader, "told me that they had been waiting to go public because they didn't have a concrete proposal to respond to."
This sort of mumbojumbo might have some logic from a Republican up for reelection next year who's trying to be as cautious as possible. But why would any Democrat -- like the recently-reelected senator from the Northwest whose office the reader contacted -- be saying something so foolish? The White House has its own reasons for pretending they haven't decided on a specific plan yet. But why do the president's opponents have to pretend that that's really true?
Everybody in the country who's paying any attention to this debate knows the essence of the president's plan -- he wants to replace a portion of Social Security with private investment accounts. How he fudges the numbers on the cost side or deals with benefit cuts remains a bit muddled. But the fundamental point is as clear as day.
So why should any senator or representative be waiting one minute to make their position clear, unless he or she is seriously entertaining the idea of voting for the president's plan?
How many details of an upper-income-earner tax hike do most Republicans need to see before they're willing to say they oppose it?
Yeah, that's my sense too.
To be cagey like this is not only a disservice, even a dishonesty, to constituents, it's also the height of foolishness for any lawmaker who really cares about preserving Social Security and not letting the president end the program.