The Note has issued its bi-monthly Benny Awards, given in various categories for "excellence" related to America's national debate over retirement security. Here are some of my favorite winners for the first part of March:
Best bad slogan sure to have no effect whatsoever on the debate: The Democrats' cheesy "Fix It, Don't Nix It."
Best hope of the pro-reform strategists: To somehow make this fight about the Democratic Party as do-nothing tax raisers.
Best state for Republicans to find a Democratic Senator most likely to embrace a compromise on Social Security and who is open to personal accounts that won't increase the deficit or reduce benefits: Nebraska.
Best examples of outlying rhetorical points (or "Best Freudian slips") (tie): The President's calling his plan for accounts "add-ons" one week ago today, and Vice President Cheney's acknowledgement that personal accounts will cost "trillions of dollars."
Best Democratic consultants in the eyes of Republican strategists: Jim Carville and Stan Greenberg.
Best approximation of Grover Norquist's worst nightmare: High level of public support for lifting payroll tax caps.
Best (and cuddliest) media enabler: Wolf Blitzer (interviewing Sen. Hagel).
Best evasion of leadership on Social Security: House Republicans, kicking it over to the Senate.
Best attempt to pin the lame duck pin on Bush prematurely: Congressional Democrats and the MSM.
Best mocking rhetoric (tie): Conservatives regarding those Republicans open to the huge tax increase embodied by raising the cap, and Democrats regarding those (other) Democrats who think it's time to offer a plan of their own for saving Social Security.