An October 15 deadline for health care reform, or else budget reconciliation triggers and we dispense with Republican obstructionism by passing whatever plan has majority support? Hooray! Now the influential members are Democrats at vote 50, and not the Nelson/Snowe/Collins trio at 60. Says Ezra: "It's hard to overstate the importance of this decision. This could be the day that health care reform went from being unlikely to inevitable." Thanks for keeping us up on the process for so long, man, and I look forward to reading you at the Post.
So maybe Kent Conrad wants a trade. In exchange for making health care reform inevitable, he wants some centrist love for being involved with a Social Security commission that either (1) will be full of smart wonks who understand that it's the most secure part of the federal budget and you can fix any problems if you get decent economic growth or more immigrants, or (2) will be duly ignored. And maybe that's why he wants idiot Blue Dog Allen Boyd, past supporter of privatization, on the committee.
Again, I don't see the reason for fear. There's no way that current politics allow for actually doing a Bush-2005 job, or anything remotely similar, to Social Security. There's no serious popular support for changes. Obama has plenty on his plate already. Nancy Pelosi, who saved the program from Bush, has more soldiers than she did back in 2005. All I'm seeing here is a way for a some conservative Democrats to make themselves the wank objects of centrist editorial page wankers. I have no objection to that sort of thing, as long as everyone washes their hands afterwards and a good universal health care plan becomes law.