Bob Corker (R-TN) vs The American People
Every poll you read has the America people saying they want a "balanced approach" to solving the problems caused by our political elites' inability to function in the best interests of the country (something they're calling the "Fiscal Cliff" in an attempt to terrorize low-info voters). People want to see the rich start paying their fair share of taxes and they want to see cutbacks on wasteful spending. They do NOT want to see cutbacks in benefits for seniors and the most vulnerable Americans (which is basically the only chip Boehner and Ryan have brought to the party). Yesterday Greg Sargent was asking Washington Post readers how much longer would the Party of Greed and Selfishness, Hatred and Bigotry be able to keep ignoring public opinion.
Some of the party’s most sacred principles lead to positions that are deeply unpopular. At the same time, many individual GOP lawmakers have clear incentives to continue to hold those positions. They come from safe districts where majorities agree with them, and standing behind them earns praise from conservative interest groups and media. Yet those positions-- and their underlying principles-- are damaging the party as a whole. Regular association with them may be increasingly damaging the party’s “brand”-- Republicans lost the election in part because they were seen as patrons of the wealthy-- and they constrain the party from reaching the compromise with Dems the public overwhelmingly wants, hurting its overall image further still.As a headline writer at MSNBC put it yesterday, the Republican Party's image has already gone off the cliff.
The new Pew poll drives this home. It confirms again that Dems hold the middle ground in the fiscal cliff battle. But it goes further. Majorities broadly sees the Democratic Party as in line with their priorities on many issues and with their basic sense of how government should solve our problems.
[O]ur new NBC/WSJ poll shows that the Republican Party has already gone off one cliff, per co-pollster Peter Hart (D)-- the image cliff. The GOP’s fav/unfav rating in the poll now stands at 30%/45% (minus-15), which is down from 36%/43% (minus-7) right before the election. That’s compared with the Democratic Party’s 44%/35% rating (plus-9). And other than self-described Republicans and conservatives, just two other groups have a net positive view of the GOP: folks who live in rural America (39%/33%) and folks who live in the South (39%/38%), that’s it. What’s more, asked to give a word or short phrase to describe the Republican Party, 65% offered a negative comment, including MORE THAN HALF of Republicans. The top responses: “Bad,” “weak,” “negative,” “uncompromising,” “need to work together,” “broken,” “disorganized” and “lost.” By contrast, 37% gave negative descriptions of the Democratic Party, while 35% were positive.But that hasn't stopped Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker from making a last-ditch attempt to stick it to working families. Wednesday he introduced a bill that would make raising the debt ceiling dependent on cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits for seniors and poor people, the so-called "Dollar For Dollar Act." It seeks to hold the economy hostage unless he gets to chop nearly a trillion dollars ($937 billion) off benefits for America's most vulnerable people and he claims the plan is based on the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission (although there were no recommendations from that commission... because it couldn't come to any agreements). Corker's proposal is actually based on a litany of distorted baseless and partisan talking points from right-wing think tanks financed by wealthy families and the insane ravings of right-wing propagandists on Hate Talk Radio like Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity. Other than to the Republican base, Corker's proposal looks absolutely insane.
Corker said his bill would raise the age of Medicare eligibility to 67 and would include the Medicare Total Health package that would increase private-sector competition for covering the elderly. Corker also said there would be a form of means-testing, making wealthy Medicare recipients pay more of their healthcare needs.Corker won't have to face Tennessee voters again until 2018. He just won reelection against an anti-Choice, homophobic, bigoted fake Democrat, Mark Clayton, who even Tennessee's Blue Dog-riven Democratic Party disavowed and urged Democrats to not vote for. Clayton only managed to pull 30% of the vote and lost every single county in the state save Democratic strongholds, Shelby (Memphis) and Haywood, even losing Davidson County (Nashville) where Democrats always win and where Obama swamped Romney. Aside from Corker winning Nashville, he racked up 80% of the vote in half a dozen counties and 82% in Bradley County: Corker- 28.179, Clayton- 5,299! That's what happens when democracy devolves, as it has in Tennessee, to a one-party state. Corker feels like he's in the cat bird's seat and it makes it possible for him to cater to an extremist base and offer crazy legislation that flies right in the face of what the American people say they want-- and don't want. I'll add one note worth pondering: in distorted DC politics, Corker is considered a "moderate" or "mainstream."
Corker said he’d also “slowly” raise the age of eligibility for Social Security benefits, but did not specify an age.
“We should address [Social Security] now because it’s causing the government to spend more than it takes in,” Corker said. “It will be bankrupt by 2017 if we do nothing.”
Corker said his bill would also implement a chained Consumer Price Index for Social Security, a suggestion from the Bowles-Simpson Commission. Corker said that system would more accurately assess the costs of inflation, but some Democrats have said it would reduce Social Security benefits for the poor and people with disabilities.
Corker’s bill includes a waiver program for states for Medicaid coverage.