The social security issue comes down to this: The Democrats should be able not only beat the Republicans on this, but also to beat them over the heads with it. It needs to be the cornerstone of the identity of the Democratic party.
Without debating the wisdom of any of these things, I want to point out that the Democrats have been running from or are in the process of running from their core positions on: gay rights, gun control, welfare, trade policy, affirmative action, reproductive rights, church/state separation, public education, progressive taxation, etc… etc… etc…
While policies are not ideology, they are the real world manifestation of it. If there is one issue which the Democrats should be able to claim loudly and proudly as their own, without apologies, it’s social security. If they can’t figure out how to do that, and to get their members in line, then they really will have lost.
If the Democrats can’t win this one, and win big, then stick a fork in their collective ass and turn ’em over, because they are done.