Sunday, July 31, 2011

Will Progressives Abandon Obama... Even With Fascists Burning Down The Country (Literally)?


We have our own brand problems now

Earlier today, Digby started a brilliant post explaining what's gone down in the debt ceiling kabuki by quoting a jubilant George Will:
"Conservatives are saying it's imperfect, to which one must say, the Sistine Chapel is probably in some sense imperfect."

This morning Paul Krugman was on ABCNews with Christiane Amanpour. He'd sure make a better leader-- or poker player-- than Obama. He sees the same thing Will sees, although his reaction is more sympathetic to the victims of Austerity, most of us:
"From the perspective of a rational person-- in other words a progressive-- we shouldn't be talking about spending cuts at all now. We have 9% unemployment. These spending cuts are going to worsen unemployment. It's even going to hold the long-run fiscal picture because we have a situation where more and more people are becoming permanent long-term unemployed... We used to talk about the Japanese and lost decade. We'll look at them as a role model. They did better than we're doing. this is going to go on. I have nobody I know who thinks the unemployment rate will be below 8% at the end of next year. With the spending cuts it might be above 9% at the end of next year. There is no light at the end of this tunnel. We're having a debate in Washington, all about, 'Gee, we'll make the economy worse, but will we make it worse on 90% of the Republicans' terms or 100% of Republicans' terms?' The answer is 100%."

I'm a happy guy; I don't let things get me down. Nothing depresses me. Last night at dinner, 3 savvy progressives asked me what country I thought would be best to move to after the 2012 elections. (I lived in Europe during the Nixon/Vietnam War years.) I ain't movin' anywhere again. This time I'm staying and fighting.

Last night, right after the outline of Obama's complete surrender to the Far Right came out, someone tweeted that the White House was denying that there's a deal. Let me see if I can find it. Ah... there it is: a tiny little hope in the firestorm:

Turns out to be a false hope. As John Conyers pointed out, it was Obama who put Social Security cuts on the table for the corporate overlords, not the Republicans who want it so badly but are too (wisely) scared. And it's been Obama who has been feeding their hated anti-Medicare mania. Another scrap of hope-- a really far-fetched one this time:

Obama didn't win California's 55 electoral votes in 2010 because of the one I, on a leap of faith, cast for him. 8,274,473 Californians voted for him, more than 3 million the number who came out for John McCain. If Obama can't win California without my vote, he's not going to come close to winning in states he needs, like Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and New Hampshire. How many more progressive Democrats, like me, have made up their minds to withhold their votes from Obama next year-- not in California, where it is easy to take the high ground, but in the swing states, where an election is decided? Today's NY Times sees a problem with the base if Obama is really signing on to this dreadful deal the Republicans have forced him into. This morning Jackie Calmes wrote about the rightward tilt and the party rift.
However the debt limit showdown ends, one thing is clear: under pressure from Congressional Republicans, President Obama has moved rightward on budget policy, deepening a rift within his party heading into the next election.

Entering a campaign that is shaping up as an epic clash over the parties’ divergent views on the size and role of the federal government, Republicans have changed the terms of the national debate. Mr. Obama, seeking to appeal to the broad swath of independent voters, has adopted the Republicans’ language and in some cases their policies, while signaling a willingness to break with liberals on some issues.

That has some progressive members of Congress and liberal groups arguing that by not fighting for more stimulus spending, Mr. Obama could be left with an economy still producing so few jobs by Election Day that his re-election could be threatened. Besides turning off independents, Mr. Obama risks alienating Democratic voters already disappointed by his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and his failure to close the Guantánamo Bay prison, end the Bush-era tax cuts and enact a government-run health insurance system.

“The activist liberal base will support Obama because they’re terrified of the right wing,” said Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal group Campaign for America’s Future.
But he said, “I believe that the voting base of the Democratic Party-- young people, single women, African-Americans, Latinos-- are going to be so discouraged by this economy and so dismayed unless the president starts to champion a jobs program and take on the Republican Congress that the ability of labor to turn out its vote, the ability of activists to mobilize that vote, is going to be dramatically reduced.”

Borosage is a friend of mine but I disagree with him. Members of he liberal activist base, or at least many of them, are abandoning Obama despite the false threat of BACHMANN!!!!!-- which the Republican Establishment will never let happen. Pawlenty was supposed to knock her out of the primaries in return for the Romney VP nomination. T-Paw turned out to be the biggest political dud since Fred Thompson... so they recruited Texas dullard, Rick Perry-- yes, dumber than Bush-- to do the job for them.
Obama, in his failed effort for greater deficit reduction, has put on the table far more in reductions for future years’ spending, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, than he did in new revenue from the wealthy and corporations. He proposed fewer cuts in military spending and more in health care than a bipartisan Senate group that includes one of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans.

To win approval of the essential increase in the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling, Mr. Obama sought more in deficit reduction than Republicans did, and with fewer changes to the entitlement programs, because he was willing to raise additional revenue starting in 2013 and they were not. And despite unemployment lingering at its highest level in decades, Mr. Obama has not fought this year for a big jobs program with billions of dollars for public-works projects, which liberals in his party have clamored for. Instead, he wants to extend a temporary payroll tax cut for everyone, since Republicans will support tax cuts, despite studies showing that spending programs are generally the more effective stimulus.

Even before last November’s election gave the Republicans control of the House, Mr. Obama had said he would pivot to deficit reduction after two years of stimulus measures intended first to rescue the economy and then to spur a recovery from the near collapse of the financial system. With Republicans’ gains in the midterm elections, that pivot became a lurch. Yet Congressional Republicans say Mr. Obama seeks a debt limit increase as “a blank check” to keep spending.

“The Republicans won, and they don’t know how to accept victory,” said Robert D. Reischauer, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office.

...“The president’s proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare has the potential to sap the energy of the Democratic base — among older voters because of Medicare and Medicaid and younger voters because of the lack of jobs,” said Damon A. Silvers, policy director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “And second, all these fiscal austerity proposals on the table will make the economy worse.”

Mr. Obama’s situation has parallels with the mid-1990s, when President Bill Clinton shifted to the center after Republicans took Congress and battled them on deficit reduction and a welfare overhaul. Many Democrats were angered by his concessions, by a sense of being left out of negotiations and by a fear of alienating Democratic voters. Mr. Clinton was re-elected in 1996.

But Mr. Obama is likely to face the voters with a weaker economy and higher unemployment than during Mr. Clinton’s era. Still, his advisers express confidence that voters will reward Mr. Obama either for winning a bipartisan deal, if that were to happen, or for at least having a more balanced approach that does not remake Medicare and Medicaid and asks for more revenue from the wealthy. And they suggest another potential parallel with the Clinton years of divided government: that Republicans risk a voter backlash with their uncompromising stands.

There are going to be a lot of people aliented from "mainstream" politics now, even as the radical-- now fascist-- right turns more and more to crap like this:
Fire officials in La Crosse are continuing to investigate a Saturday blaze that destroyed the regional offices of We Are Wisconsin, a union political action committee (PAC) that has pumped millions of dollars into supporting Democratic candidates in the upcoming recall elections.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that the cause of the fire, which started at about 9:30 a.m., remains unknown. Firefighters thought they had the blaze under control in the afternoon, however, that wasn't the case and it continued into the evening, the newspaper reported.

We Are Wisconsin used the building at 432 Jay St. to oversee its efforts in the 32nd Senate District recall election, which will be held Aug. 9. Incumbent Republican state Sen. Dan Kapanke is being challenged by Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling in that district.

A spokesman for the group told the La Crosse Tribune that the group's office was a total loss.
We Are Wisconsin is a political action committee made up by a coalition of unions that has spent more than $2 million supporting Democratic recall candidates around Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

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At 4:04 PM, Blogger Cirze said...

He's already lost North Carolina.

You can quote me.

Nobody here thinks he has a prayer against any Rethug/TP candidate.

This is the price of a poorly educated voter populace who cannot follow a complicated explanation easily, but knows what a vote against Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid means for them immediately.

Thanks for your fine reporting.

We need many more reporters able to clearly define what is happening in the Congress, etc., every day.

Only precise reporting will change things at this late date.


At 5:05 PM, Blogger Jeanie said...

He'll have to get by without my vote in Florida. I'd rather see Obama crash and save the party...but I don't suppose the Progressive Caucus will put up much of a fight. So the party goes down, too. Great.

At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Doug Kahn said...

I've decided to move to Freedonia. Whose deficit was covered by Mrs. Teasdale. (Teasdale? Very strange coincidence.)

Transcript of Obama's tv statement at 5:40pm:

The last man nearly ruined this place,
He didn't know what to do with it;
If you think this country's bad off now,
Just wait 'til I get through with it.

At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Barry Brenesal said...

Ohio Dems are pretty disgusted with Obama, from what little I can tell--being a progressive Independent, and therefore doubly damned, and all. I have read comments that liken him to our beloved governor, one of the Tea Party's favorites. This cannot be good, but then, if you were a Dem, presumably you would have realized that a guy with Obama's record over the last two years could not possibly be healthy to the future of your party.

Though fair's fair. He's only part of the Third Way leadership. Plenty of credit to spread around.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Kevin Downes said...

Obama has lost my vote, even before his current alliance with the Republicans on the debt cap/budget debate. Illegal wars, the disregard of the Constitution, a view of executive power to the right of Cheney/Bush, etc., etc. I won't be complicit in any of this. But, I am afraid the Party is lost, too. If there were more than just a handful of elected Democrats with spine, the Party wouldn't let Obama get away with any of this. (And when was the last time we had a progressive Democrat leading the nation, in any case? Not in my adulthood.) So, though over 50 years ago I was baptized a Democrat before being baptized a Catholic, I think I am faced leaving the Party as I long ago left the Church.

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Bob Hopeless said...

I am done with Obama and have been for a while. I kept hoping he would do something to stanch the bleeding, something that would enable me to overlook his absolute betrayal of most of those who voted for him in 08. But no, never.

It's a great time to feel like you have little to no recourse - the story about thugs burning down the office in Wisconsin is terrifying, because increasingly, lying, breaking the law, threatening or actually doing harm to your opponents has become standard GOP operating procedure. Boy, we could really use a standard-bearer now. And we got Obama.


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