An interesting set of choices.
In USA Today, Susan Page has a list of "Six men who'll shape the future." These are "lesser-known figures [who] also have a lot to say about what will happen [in the Social Security debate]."
She has John Cogan, a pro-privatization Stanford Professor close to the president, who served on his Social Security Commission in 2001; Bill Novelli of AARP; Rep. Bill Thomas, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee; Sen. Lindsey Graham; Rep. Harold Ford; and Derrick Max, head of the pro-phase-out group Alliance for Worker Retirement Security and Coalition for the Modernization and Protection of America's Social Security (COMPASS).
Now, Bill Novelli is a key player in the pro-Social Security constellation today. No question.
After that you've got the head of two of the key pro-privatization pressure groups allied with the White House, one of the president's privatization advisors from academia, two Republican members of Congress who support private accounts, and a Democrat who Page identifies as perhaps the one most likely to cut a deal with the White House to support privatization.
As it happens, I think Page's information is out of date on Ford. Despite being a former Dean of the Faction, I think Ford has set out a clear and what we might term enforceable position opposing privatization.
Still, all told, Page has one clear opponent of privatization, four clear proponents of privatization and the Democrat she thinks may be the member of his party closest to supporting privatization.
Articles like this shouldn't be forced into a narrow 3-for, 3-against mold. But I think there's a bit of imbalance here, no? That's especially so when you consider that by any reasonable measure, to date, the pro-Social Security forces have been winning this debate, not withstanding a near total exclusion from power in Washington. They're not doing it with committee chairmen or presidential advisors, certainly.
You really have to wonder if Page is following the folks on that side. With the debate moving in the direction it is, there must be someone pushing beside Bill Novelli, right? How about Roger Hickey, for example, the co-director of the Campaign for America's Future and one of the founders of Americans United to Protect Social Security, the organizational nexus of the pro-Social Security groups? Or Hans Riemer of Rock the Vote? Another obvious pick would be Tom Matzzie, the new Washington director for Moveon, the group that's played a big role in coordinating on-the-ground push-back against the various Republican townhalls and presidential visits.
Obviously, you could pick a bunch of other people. But reading Page's article makes me wonder and worry how much the city's most prominent reporters are in touch with who it is precisely who's heading up this fight on the pro-Social Security side.