I've seen the polls suggesting support for pension reform, even among California Democrats. Everyone I talk to understands this issue. Even some politicians in liberal cities such as San Jose and San Francisco are pushing for reforms. But I still didn't think the debate was over until I read this blog in the Sacramento Bee, which quoted Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento: "I think there's an expectation that we'll pass pension reform this year and we intend to do so. And that is the right thing to do. And I think it also shows the people as we approach the November election that we're serious about the reform side of the agenda as well."
Of course, Steinberg, a former union attorney who operates as the cat's paw for the public sector unions in the state (not a surprise given the district he represents in Government Central), is pushing a modest reform designed mainly to blunt more serious reforms. But when a union ally such as Steinberg makes the argument for pension reform, you know the philosophical debate is over. But the political battle has really just begun. The unions won't give an inch at the ballot box, but running out of money focuses the mind of government officials. Now is the time to gear up to win some political battles. Winning the rhetorical war is not enough.