24 Jul

The Petulant Conservative in Obama

by praenomen


I know the title of this diary will push a few buttons, but I took it from a comment that was made by a progressive on another blog site because it belies the euphoria and the cheerleading that has taken place on this site following Obama’s fit of anger because he is being forced to reduce granny’s retirement income…and it supports the initial reaction that I see coming from the progressives across the blogosphere who feel betrayed by the president’s decision to negotiate cuts to our safety net.  

This from Representative Barney Frank:

“But I want to talk about entitlement cuts. I really am offended by this notion that there should be a tradeoff between some of these things and whether or not a 78-year-old woman living on $19,000 a year ought to have further restrictions on her income. I don’t know where this notion came from that the cost of living adjustment for Social Security is too lavish.”He continued: “I’m especially troubled, the Obama administration is talking about keeping troops in Iraq beyond the time that George Bush said they should stay out at the cost of billions of dollars. I hope that’s not true. And it certainly invalidates any notion that you make the sacrifice elsewhere.” (emphasis mine)

So, why is Obama so willing to stiff his base?  And what will be the long term effects of those decisions?

The president’s push to make cuts to our social safety net is a losing proposition.  As a commenter at Crooks and Liars put it:

the petulent conservative in Obama is showing its ugly face, and he pretends it is some sort of sacrifice on his part to serve your grandma up to the streets.Lobbyistless (in the comment section)

From the Hill:

These plans are unacceptable. They will make inequality in America worse — and turn us into more of a Third World has-been,” reads an AFL-CIO e-mail sent to activists Friday. “Tell your senators and the White House: No deal that cuts our safety net and kills our jobs while making the rich richer.”Labor’s opposition to entitlement cuts will make it tougher to win Democratic votes for a debt ceiling deal if the cuts are included in a package sent to lawmakers next week.

Obama made a calculated move when he decided he could win reelection without gaining the support of his base, or perhaps he was just arrogant enough to believe that the party base would follow him blindly.  But for many of us, it looks like he’s back to using the same tired logic that has been followed by the Democratic Party for sometime:  Where else can they go?  This time I don’t think that type of manipulation is going to work.  I am seeing a noticeable shift in the mood of the progressives, and the anger among members of the base is palpable.

From the Hill:

We are extremely concerned where this is going,” Chuck Loveless, legislative director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), told The Hill.AFSCME has targeted 150,000 of their members with online ads that urge them to call their lawmakers and reject entitlement cuts. The public worker union has joined with its state affiliates to ask senators in North Carolina, Colorado, California, Virginia, Arkansas and Missouri to reject Medicaid cuts.

From Heather at Crooks and Liars:

There are a whole lot of things I find troubling about this situation we’ve got going on right now over raising the debt ceiling — the fact that the Republicans decided to take the entire United States economy hostage with their initial refusal to just pass a clean bill, or that President Obama has continually ceded to Republicans one talking point after another on everything from tax cuts and the so-called “job creators” to putting Social Security out there as something to negotiate with when it adds nothing to our budget deficit among others.

Or as Paul Krugman puts it:

What Obama Was Willing to Give AwayJonathan Cohn summarizes what seems to have been in the deal that Boehner walked away from; it’s horrifying. Above all, the proposed rise in the age of Medicare eligibility was a real betrayal of both Democratic principles and good government.

This is just a sampling taken from a few progressive blogs, but I believe the anger that is showing up in the diaries is an omen of what is to come if these cuts are made part of the final bill…and if that happens, I believe the Democratic Party will suffer long term consequences.  Remember, we had them on the ropes just a few weeks ago when there was a demonstrable difference between their positions and ours.  But now that the position of both parties is so close that no one can tell the difference, we’re starting to lose support.


12:02 AM PT: This by digby:
That’s why the President’s liberal critics are mad, not because they don’t believe in compromise. They simply don’t agree that we should “want to get our fiscal house in order” by cutting SS benefits or raising the Medicare age or throwing a bunch of poor people off the health care rolls while the wealthy are making huge profits and income inequality grows and grows and grows. And we certainly aren’t persuaded that once we do that we will be able to pursue all kinds of wonderful programs that require new spending. That’s fatuous and frankly, insulting.
3:43 AM PT: I found this jawdropping tidbit on Digby’s site:  It is from an interview with Dr. Michael Hudson.

“When I was in Norway one of the Norwegian politicians sat next to me at a dinner and said, “You know, there’s one good thing that PresidentObama has done that we never anticipated in Europe. He’s shown the Europeans that we can never depend upon America again. There’s no president, no matter how good he sounds, no matter what he promises, we’re never again going to believe the patter talk of an American
President. Mr. Obama has cured us. He has turned out to be our nightmare. Our problem is what to do about the American people that don’t realize this nightmare that they’ve created, this smooth-talking American Tony Blair in the White House.”


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