Breaking Point: Obama and the Death of the Democratic Party

This is an article from FireDogLake.com written by Jane Hamsher that I want to share with you guys.  President Obama and the Democratic party need to realize there is a line, and if you cross it, there are consequences. The article begins here. 

According to both the Washington Post and the New York Times, Obama is proposing cuts to Social Security in exchange for GOP support for tax hikes. Lori Montgomery in the Post:

At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.  As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal.

And Jay Carney’s carefully chosen weasel-words today do not contradict this:

“There is no news here – the President has always said that while social security is not a major driver of the deficit, we do need to strengthen the program and the President said in the State of the Union Address that he wanted to work with both parties to do so in a balanced way that preserves the promise of the program and doesn’t slash benefits.” 

Nobody ever says they want to “cut” Social Security or Medicare. They want to “save” it.  Just ask Pete Peterson, he wants to “save” it. Likewise AARP.  They don’t want reduced benefits for senior citizens, they want to “preserve” it for future generations.  If they have an enormous customer base they can market private “add-on” accounts and other retirement products to when Social Security goes bye-bye, I guess that’s just a happy coincidence.

Now if you think that this is something the President is doing because it’s the only way to get Republican cooperation you can stop reading here, because we’re going to disagree.  From the moment he took the White House, the President has wanted to cut Social Security benefits.  David Brooks reported that three administration officials called him to say Obama “is extremely committed to entitlement reform and is plotting politically feasible ways to reduce Social Security as well as health spending” in March of 2009.  You can only live in denial for so long and still lay claim to being tethered to reality.

And if you think it’s only the President, and the progressives in Congress will oppose him, we’ll have to disagree about that too.  Nancy Pelosi can always come up with the votes she needs to pass whatever the White House wants, and she’ll do it again this time.  It’s her only chance to ever be Speaker again.  If the Democrats somehow manage to retake control of the House, she needs Obama’s support.  She’ll shake her fist and say things like any health care bill “without a strong public option will not pass the House” — and then turn around and force her caucus to walk the plank.

Progressive Democratic “leaders” like Raul Grijalva will fold once again like a house of cards if need be — and they know it.  Today, the Huffington Post reports:

Progressives Won’t Criticize Obama For Proposed Social Security Cuts

Grijalva and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), a vice chair of the caucus, defended the president for signaling he would be willing to take a look at changes to the programs, arguing there are ways to restructure entitlement spending to save money without hurting beneficiaries.

Translation: They’ll wait for the whip count to see if their votes are needed, and if not, they can let somebody else be the “rotating villain” this time. But just in case, they’re leaving the back door open for themselves.

What we’re watching is the death of the Democratic Party.  Or, at least the Democratic Party as most of us have known it.  The one that has taken its identity in the modern era from FDR and the New Deal, from Keynesianism and the social safety net.  Despite any of its other shortcomings (and they are myriad), the Democratic Party has stood as a symbol for commitment to these principles.   As recently as 2006, Democrats retook the House in a surprise wave election because the public feared that George Bush would destroy Social Security, and they trusted the Democrats over Republicans to secure it.  Just like George Bush, Obama now wants to “save” Social Security….by giving those who want to burn it to the ground the the very thing they’ve wanted for decades. 

Any member of any party who participates in this effort does not deserve, and should not get, the support of anyone who values Social Security and cares about its preservation.  The amount of damage that the Democrats under Obama have been able to do has been immeasurable, by virtue of the fact that they are less awful that George Bush.  But where George Bush failed, Obama will probably succeed. 

Which means we’re watching another casualty here:  Democracy.  Or at least, the illusion that we live in a democratic society.  The public, regardless of party,  overwhelmingly opposes cuts to Social Security and Medicare. But elected officials of both parties are hell-bent on conspiring to bring the programs to an end.  They seem to have come to grips with a fact that the public has not: their tenure in office depends on carrying out the wishes of oligarchical elites. 

There is only one thing you can reasonably conclude as you watch the political theater that is transpiring:  what the voting public thinks really isn’t all that important.  And to the extent that it does matter, it can easily be channeled by those with sufficient money to pay the tab.  Samuel Johnson said that patriotism was the last refuge of scoundrels, but in our modern era, that honor goes to tribalism.  The list of horrors that people found intolerable when George Bush was in office, but are now blithely accepting because  “Sarah Palin would be worse,” grows longer every day. 

We’ll fight this, because it’s the right thing to do.  We will probably lose. But we will make it as painful as possible for any politician from any party to participate in this wholesale looting of the public sphere, this “shock doctrine” for America.  And maybe along the way we’ll get a vision of what comes next.  Because what we believe in as Americans, and what we stand for, is not something the Democratic party represents any more.

© 2011 FireDogLake.com 
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2 responses to “Breaking Point: Obama and the Death of the Democratic Party

  1. REALITY!!

    ( http://my.firedoglake.com/iflizwerequeen/2011/05/16/how-about-a-little-truth-about-what-the-majority-want-for-health-care/ )

    ( Gov. Peter Shumlin: Real Healthcare reform — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yFUbkVCsZ4 )

    ( Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator — http://www.cepr.net/calculators/hc/hc-calculator.html )

    ( Briefing: Dean Baker on Boosting the Economy by Saving Healthcare http://t.co/fmVz8nM )

    START NOW!

    As you all know. Had congress passed a single-payer or government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one, our economy and jobs would have taken off like a rocket. And still will. Single-payer would be best. But a government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! that can lead to a single-payer system is the least you can accept. It’s not about competing with for-profit healthcare and for-profit health insurance. It’s about replacing it with Universal Healthcare Assurance. Everyone knows this now.

    The message from the midterm elections was clear. The American people want real healthcare reform. They want that individual mandate requiring them to buy private health insurance abolished. And they want a government-run robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. And they want it now.

    They want Drug re-importation, and abolishment, or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. They want back control of their healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. And they want it NOW!

    THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL NOT, AND MUST NOT, ALLOW AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TO STAND WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

    For-profit health insurance is extremely unethical, and morally repugnant. It’s as morally repugnant as slavery was. And few if any decent Americans are going to allow them-self to be compelled to support such an unethical and immoral crime against humanity.

    This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    Further, we want that corrupt, undemocratic filibuster abolished. Whats the point of an election if one corrupt member of congress can block the will of the people, and any legislation the majority wants. And do it in secret. Give me a break people.

    Also, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

    Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.

    Republicans: GET RID OF THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE.

    Democrats: ADD A ROBUST GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION TO HEALTHCARE REFORM.

    This is what the American people are shouting at you. Both parties have just enough power now to do what the American people want. GET! IT! DONE! NOW!

    If congress does not abolish the individual mandate. And establish a government-run public option CHOICE! before the end of 2011. EVERY! member of congress up for reelection in 2012 will face strong progressive pro public option, and anti-individual mandate replacement candidates.

    Strong progressive pro “PUBLIC OPTION” CHOICE! and anti-individual mandate volunteer candidates should begin now. And start the process of replacing any and all members of congress that obstruct, or fail to add a government-run robust PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! before the end of 2011.

    We need two or three very strong progressive volunteer candidates for every member of congress that will be up for reelection in 2012. You should be fully prepared to politically EVISCERATE EVERY INCUMBENT that fails or obstructs “THE PUBLIC OPTION”. And you should be willing to step aside and support the strongest pro “PUBLIC OPTION” candidate if the need arises.

    ASSUME CONGRESS WILL FAIL and SELLOUT again. So start preparing now to CUT THEIR POLITICAL THROATS. You can always step aside if they succeed. But only if they succeed. We didn’t have much time to prepare before these past midterm elections. So the American people had to use a political shotgun approach. But by 2012 you will have a scalpel.

    Congress could have passed a robust government-run public option during it’s lame duck session. They knew what the American people wanted. They already had several bills on record. And the house had already passed a public option. Departing members could have left with a truly great accomplishment. And the rest of you could have solidified your job before the 2012 elections.

    President Obama, you promised the American people a strong public option available to everyone. And the American people overwhelmingly supported you for it. Maybe it just wasn’t possible before. But it is now.

    Knock heads. Threaten people. Or do whatever you have to. We will support you. But get us that robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one before the end of 2011. Or We The People Of The United States will make the past midterm election look like a cake walk in 2012. And it will include you.

    We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. They have already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

    Spread the word people.

    Progressives, prepare the American peoples scalpels. It’s time to remove some politically diseased tissues.

    God Bless You my fellow human beings. I’m proud to be one of you. You did good.

    See you on the battle field.

    Sincerely

    jacksmith – WorkingClass 🙂

  2. It’s too bad Jane Hamsher doesn’t live in the same reality as the rest of us and has to manufacture outrage to drive traffic to her dying website. If you read the comments on her site, there are very few Democrats. It reads like a Drudge comment thread.

    And Jane linking to herself to prove that President Obama has wanted to cut SS from the beginning, because of the guilt-by-association tactic of ascribing everything anyone on the deficit commission said to the President – shows the immaturity and dishonesty of her attack. In her world, everyone must be pure according to her standards. Everything anyone has ever said who is in Obama’s administration is laid at the feet of President Obama.

    Jane’s bizarro world where words like “strengthen” and “save it” and “preserve it” are the opposite of what they mean – shows that she is very out of touch with reality. It seems like people like her can’t wait for reality to happen, they have to manufacture a false one in order to further their obsessive hate of the first black president. Clinton cut welfare big time, where was the outrage back then? Oh, that’s right, he’s Hillary’s husband.

    Those tactics don’t work, because we have access to information and we can see and read for ourselves. Jane has a loyal group of foaming at the mouth ideologues and right wing trolls who like to help her foaming followers get their hate on. I guess if your into that sort of thing.

    Someone has to explain to me how damaging the Democratic Party is going to help things? How is that going to prevent Republicans from hurting our country more? It’s the most selfish pile of hyperbole I’ve read in a long time. And it’s clear that Jane wants to destroy the Democratic Party because President Obama is the leader of it and not Hillary Clinton. Pathetic.

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