Friday, November 09, 2012

The Fighting Begins-- What Will The Grand Bargain Look Like?


Will Wall Street win in the lame duck what they "lost" at the polls?

Keep in mind that mainstream conservative, Steve LaTourette (R-OH), who is retiring from Congress in January, told CNN that the Republicans aren't really a national party any more and that their electoral losses are just beginning:
"There's a one-word phrase we use in Ohio for that: crap. I mean, that's nonsense... The Republican Party cannot be a national party if we give up the entire East Coast of the United States and say-- we don't have any Republicans in New England, we don't have any Republicans in the Mid-Atlantic states. We can't continue to diss the Latino voters and-- you know, my wife's a Democrat, and she was so close to voting for Mitt Romney, but then Mourdock and Akin opened their mouth and we sent them running back to the Democratic Party because they think we're nutty. We have the right message on the finances. We have to get out of people's lives, get out of people's bedrooms, and we have to be a national party, or else we're going to lose."
Of course they don't have the "right message on the finances" at all, but I wonder if Democrats in Congress are as aware of that as voters were. This chart comes from a nationwide survey Hart conducted on election night:

It's simple and it's clear but the Senate ConservaDems like Manchin and McCaskill (and our new "hero" Angus King) and the House New Dems-- who now have nearly complete control of the Democratic caucus in that body through corporate shills like Steny Hoyer, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Steve Israel and Joe Crowley-- are already trying to work out a deal with Boehner and Cantor that screws over the 62% who said they want the rich to pay their fair share and screws over the 73% that wants Congress to protect Medicare and Social Security benefits from cuts, while giving away the store to the 33% of voters who want to see further tax reductions and to the 18% who want to see the budget balanced by reducing spending on Medicare and Social Security.

Also keep in mind that because of colossal incompetence by the DCCC and mind-blowing gerrymandering by GOP legislatures in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia, Michigan, and North Carolina, and Tennessee, Democrats are still a minority in the House even though over half a million more Americans voted for Democrats for Congress than for Republicans.
Based on ThinkProgress’ review of all ballots counted so far, 53,952,240 votes were cast for a Democratic candidate for the House and only 53,402,643 were cast for a Republican-- meaning that Democratic votes exceed Republican votes by more than half a million... The actual partisan breakdown of the 113th Congress will be very different, however. Currently, Republicans enjoy a 233-192 advantage over Democrats, with 10 seats remaining undecided. That means that, in a year when Republicans earned less than half the popular vote, they will control a little under 54 percent of the House even if Democrats run the table on the undecided seats.
Democrats won the presidency and U.S. Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio but, because of gerrymandering (and Steve Israel's deranged targeting) Democrats only won 5 out of Pennsylvania's 18 House seats, 4 out of Ohio's 16 and 3 out of Virginia's 11. These voters and their opinions are not part of the debate over the Grand Bargain. As the AFL-CIO pointed out this week, Simpson-Bowles' candidates-- corporate whores who support selling out working families-- were mostly defeated Tuesday. Nebraska corporate whore Bob Kerrey (D) flopped completely; New Hampshire corporate whore Charlie Bass (R) was fired by voters and replaced with an ardent anti-Austerity progressive, Annie Kuster; and Rhode Island voters backed progressive David Cicilline over corporate whore Brendan Doherty (R). Both Simpson and Bowles formally endorsed all three corporate whores and spent money trying to help elect them.

Wednesday Glenn Greenwald offered a step-by-step look at the contours of how conservative Democrats and the part of the GOP that wasn't obliterated Tuesday will celebrate Washington's triumphant Conservative Consensus by beginning the work on gutting "the crown legislative jewels of American liberalism," Social Security and Medicare.
Indeed, Obama already sought in his first term to implement sizable cuts to those programs, but liberals were saved only by GOP recalcitrance to compromise on taxes. In light of their drubbing last night, they are likely to be marginally if not substantially more flexible, which means that such a deal is more possible than ever.

In other words, the political leader in whose triumph liberals are today ecstatically basking is likely to target their most cherished government policies within a matter of weeks, even days. With their newly minted power, will they have any ability, or even will, to stop him? If history is any indication, this is how this "fight" will proceed:

STEP ONE: Liberals will declare that cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits-- including raising the eligibility age or introducing "means-testing"-- are absolutely unacceptable, that they will never support any bill that does so no matter what other provisions it contains, that they will wage war on Democrats if they try.

STEP TWO: As the deal gets negotiated and takes shape, progressive pundits in Washington, with Obama officials persuasively whispering in their ear, will begin to argue that the proposed cuts are really not that bad, that they are modest and acceptable, that they are even necessary to save the programs from greater cuts or even dismantlement.

STEP THREE: Many progressives-- ones who are not persuaded that these cuts are less than draconian or defensible on the merits-- will nonetheless begin to view them with resignation and acquiescence on pragmatic grounds. Obama has no real choice, they will insist, because he must reach a deal with the crazy, evil GOP to save the economy from crippling harm, and the only way he can do so is by agreeing to entitlement cuts. It is a pragmatic necessity, they will insist, and anyone who refuses to support it is being a purist, unreasonably blind to political realities, recklessly willing to blow up Obama's second term before it even begins.

STEP FOUR: The few liberal holdouts, who continue to vehemently oppose any bill that cuts Social Security and Medicare, will be isolated and marginalized, excluded from the key meetings where these matters are being negotiated, confined to a few MSNBC appearances where they explain their inconsequential opposition.

STEP FIVE: Once a deal is announced, and everyone from Obama to Harry Reid and the DNC are behind it, any progressives still vocally angry about it and insisting on its defeat will be castigated as ideologues and purists, compared to the Tea Party for their refusal to compromise, and scorned (by compliant progressives) as fringe Far Left malcontents.

STEP SIX: Once the deal is enacted with bipartisan support and Obama signs it in a ceremony, standing in front of his new Treasury Secretary, the supreme corporatist Erskine Bowles, where he touts the virtues of bipartisanship and making "tough choices," any progressives still complaining will be told that it is time to move on. Any who do not will be constantly reminded that there is an Extremely Important Election coming-- the 2014 midterm-- where it will be Absolutely Vital that Democrats hold onto the Senate and that they take over the House. Any progressive, still infuriated by cuts to Social Security and Medicare, who still refuses to get meekly in line behind the Party will be told that they are jeopardizing the Party's chances for winning that Vital Election and-- as a result of their opposition-- are helping Mitch McConnell take over control of the Senate and John Boehner retain control of the House.

And so it goes. That is the standard pattern of self-disempowerment used by American liberals to render themselves impotent and powerless in Washington, not just on economic issues but the full panoply of political disputes, from ongoing militarism, military spending and war policies to civil liberties assaults, new cabinet appointments, immigration policy, and virtually everything else likely to arise in the second term.

Indeed, nobody takes STEP ONE in that depressing ritual even a little bit seriously. Nobody believes the declarations of progressives about what is "unacceptable," about what their "red lines" are, about how they will refuse to go along with what they are given if it contains what they declare intolerable. That's because STEPS TWO THROUGH SIX always follow, and until that pattern is broken, STEP ONE will continue to be viewed as a trivial joke.
You ready to count on him to save working families?
Five of the Blue America House candidates and all three of the Blue America Senate candidates won their races Tuesday. We'll hold them accountable, not that we have to... they think the same way we do about it. But what about the progressive groups who helped oust Allen West for Patrick Murphy? What about the progressive groups who helped oust Joe Walsh for Tammy Duckworth? What about the progressive groups who helped oust Ann Marie Buerkle for Dan Maffei? What about the progressive groups who helped oust Chip Cravaack for Rick Nolan? What about the progressive groups who helped oust Roscoe Bartlett for John Delaney? What about the progressive groups who helped oust Bobby Schilling for Cheri Bustos? What about the progressive groups who helped oust David Rivera for Joe Garcia? What about the progressive groups who helped oust Dan Lungren for Ami Bera? Will those groups hold their successful candidates accountable? I hope so. (Blue America didn't endorse any of them because we didn't think they could be counted on. We'll see-- unless Obama and Boehner manage to do the whole thing in the lame duck session before the freshmen take office.)

In response to Boehner’s speech on the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) issued the following statement. [In the speech, Speaker Boehner indicated he would only accept revenue that comes from “dynamic scoring,” the patently false notion that conservatives use to make a case-- and absurd one, but that's what they've got-- that cutting taxes increases revenue.]
“In a speech yesterday, Speaker Boehner doubled down on trickle down-- the same policies the American people soundly rejected in a groundbreaking election just a day before. Boehner ignored voters’ approval of President Obama’s promise to maintain tax rates for 98 percent of Americans while requiring the top two percent to finally pay their fair share.

  “If the Republican leadership is serious about working across the aisle to avert a fiscal cliff, they will support a plan that reflects the needs of the American people. These include allowing the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent to expire, protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits, and working with Democrats to enact a jobs plan that puts Americans back to work. Democrats have already been forced to cut important programs such as education and infrastructure by over $1.5 trillion. Now it is Republicans’ turn to come to the table and support a balanced approach to reducing our deficit.”

  In July, the CPC introduced the Deal for All (H.Res. 733), which presents the Caucus’ requirements for any bargain resolving the upcoming fiscal issues:

         No cuts to benefits for millions of seniors, children, and disabled Americans who depend on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
         Improvements in our tax code so the richest 2 percent contribute their fair share and an end to corporate tax loopholes
         Strategic cuts to defense spending to focus on combating twenty-first century risks
         Investments in America’s future that put Americans back to work

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At 5:53 PM, Anonymous me said...

We have the right message on the finances. We have to get out of people's lives, get out of people's bedrooms

Well, he's half right at least. Pretty good for a scumpublican.


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