Someone found a link to statements Clinton made in 2002 about Social Security that, while not exactly the full totality of the Bush Plan, bears certain strong resemblances, most notably in a similar assessment of when the program runs out of steam.
Which reminds me of a conversation I once had with a rather contrary friend. I said that when you are 100% reliably contrary, you are ultimately ceding as much power over yourself to a smart person as being 100% compliant would be, it just changes how they act.
Being contrary, of course, they didn't choose to believe me.
This has a lot of relevance for the Democrats at the moment as they gear up for this year's fights. They really, really need to stop reflexively being the anti-Bush. As I said, Clinton's comments are not the full totality of the Bush plan, they are somewhat more conservative (in the "preserving the status quo" sense) and I think they strike a better, safer balance than what I've seen of the Bush plan.
Karl Rove is credited with being this manipulative mastermind, but the Democrats (speaking in generalities) must take some credit for being so reliably manipulable! Since their stance is almost completely predictable once you hear what Bush says, frankly almost anyone with a brain could be the "Karl Rove".
Bush says there's a Social Security problem, and the solution is this and that and the other thing, which is just a little bit stronger than an earlier Democratic plan. But now, since Bush is WrongTM (And Also A LiarTM), they are being "forced"... sort of... into a much stronger counter-position than they should be, and this will probably end up as yet another stake in the heart of the Democratic party, as they viciously fight for a position only a very small minority believe in, yet again alienating the majority.
There are a lot of things that the Democratic party could do to make themselves a more viable party, and this is one of them: Take back the control of the agenda that they have completely ceded to Bush by being so completely an "opposition party". They've granted the ability to define their platform directly to their enemy... no wonder they are losing so steadily!
This is, for the most part, something that has to come from the grassroots, and as such, I have to say, I'm not terribly optimistic about it happening. I'm still thinking there are good odds there won't be a "Democratic Party" by 2010. And whatever party or parties absorb those interests, they would be wise to not absorb this aspect of the Democratic Party.