The tax deal negotiated by President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is just the first part of a multistage drama that is likely to further divide and weaken Democrats.
The second part, now being teed up by the White House and key Senate Democrats, is a scheme for the president to embrace much of the Bowles-Simpson plan — including cuts in Social Security. This is to be unveiled, according to well-placed sources, in the president’s State of the Union address.
The idea is to pre-empt an even more draconian set of budget cuts likely to be proposed by the incoming House Budget Committee chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), as a condition of extending the debt ceiling. This is expected to hit in April.
White House strategists believe this can also give Obama “credit” for getting serious about deficit reduction — now more urgent with the nearly $900 billion increase in the deficit via the tax cut deal.
How to put this politely? For a Democratic president, this approach is bad economics and worse politics.
For starters, cutting Social Security as part of a deficit reduction deal is needless — since Social Security is in surplus for the next 27 years. The move also gives away the single most potent distinction between Democrats and Republicans — Democrats defend your Social Security, and Republicans keep trying to undermine it.
If you think the Democratic base feels betrayed by Obama’s tax-cut deal, just imagine the mayhem when Obama proposes to cut the Democrats’ signature program.
The fun part about all this? If cuts to Social Security are successfully implemented, Republicans will use them against Obama in 2012.
If you're dubious, have a look at this ad against Kentucky Democratic candidate Jack Conway, which falsely claims Obamacare cuts $500 Billion from Medicare, a program Republicans have actually tried to kill since it's inception.
If the White House works with Congressional Democrats to cut Social Security, it's a win-win-win for Republicans. They have a Democratic President and Senate doing their dirty work for them, they get to destroy the social safety net for most Americans so their rich friends can enjoy a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts in 2012, and they get to use it as a campaign issue.
I don't know about you, but if the White House thinks most of us will sit still while they dismantle FDR's legacy, they have another thing coming.
Over the last few days, I've gotten a lot of blowback about this video. Meant as satire, the video is a harsh rebuke not of OFA, but of the brain trust in Washington who decided to corral Democratic activism like so much veal.
Besides ideology, the big difference between Tea Party activists and Progressive activists is that the GOP is afraid of theirs. Ours, they sell "Hope" posters to have them over for cookies and a quick photo op.
I learned a hell of lot campaigning for Obama in 2008. I know how to organize, and more importantly, there are thousands of us out there. Retribution won't just be swift, certain and severe, it will be effective. This won't be internet clicktivism, but in your face, in the streets, chain-yourself-to-the-White-House-fence activism that will force a come-to-Jesus showdown between President Obama and Candidate Obama.
Yes, we can.