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View Diary: President Obama to engage grassroots supporters to pressure Congress (228 comments)

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    •  Yep, it's going to be a fight every day (13+ / 0-)

      until things really change in this country.

      I'm not sixty-two—I'm fifty-twelve.

      by Pragmatus on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 11:02:09 AM PST

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      •  This is HORRIBLE! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, jennylind

        Ask yourself WHY is Obama trying to whip up his supporters to back a "Grand Bargain" during the lame duck session?

        Why not just let the cuts expire in January and then say to Republicans "tax cuts for the top 2% are off the table. Just pass a middle class tax bill for the 98% and I'll sign it."

        What could the Republicans do? They would have ZERO leverage! They COULD destroy the economy in order to insist upon tax cuts for the rich and continue to block tax cuts for 98% of the population, but that would be suicide. They have ZERO hope of winning that debate.

        They could refuse to fund certain Democratic priorities, like renewing unemployment insurance, and funding for various green initiatives -- but they're going to do that anyway during the next budget battle next year.

        Why not get it all out in the open and force them to back down?!

        In fact all this is SO OBVIOUS that the fact Obama is NOT taking this strategy means that he DOES NOT WANT TO WIN! Even after last year he's still Jonesing for his idiotic "Grand Bargain" and to be the "Bi-partisan President."

        He's whipping up Democrats to support "shared sacrifice" and trying to cut off debate about "why the hell are we being asked to sacrifice anything? WE didn't tank the economy! The top 1% did that and they're making out like bandits. So, why not just keep entitlements the way they are and pay for them with tax increases on the rich?"

        Obama doesn't want the people to get what they just voted for -- a full throated defense of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Student Loans, green technology and other Democratic priorities.

        •  He doesn't have much realistic choice. (2+ / 0-)
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          SueDe, Deep Texan

          He doesn't have to accept a bargain, but he has to put one on the table for Republicans to accept or reject.  Otherwise, he will be the President (and Democrats the party) who let tax rates leap up on ordinary Americans.

          He would become the calculating and uncaring politician instead of the Republicans.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 11:40:42 AM PST

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          •  What do you care? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            No matter what the President does or doesn't do, you'll being bitching and claiming it's not good enough or no better than the Republicans.  That's what you do, your long history of false equivalencies and purity trolling are proof of this.  

            •  I care about the taxes and I want the country to (0+ / 0-)

              do better.

              Obama isn't a very good President, plain and simple.  I'm glad he beat Mitt Romney, but that's not very high praise.

              I would be thrilled if Obama suddenly became a great President, but nothing indicates that will happen, so I probably will continue bitching.

              As to false equivalencies and purity trolling, I don't believe I've ever engaged in the former and am damned sure I've never engaged in the latter.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 12:45:06 PM PST

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          •  If the president doesn't resolve the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dinotrac, arabian

            problems the Republicans caused last summer, and do it before the new congress comes in, there is no guarantee that the Republicans would pass a middle-class tax cut afterward.  Yes, it would cause the Republicans trouble down the road, but meanwhile the country would have to live with the ramifications of the Republicans' recalcitrance for at least the next two years.

            There is an enormous amount the congress has to do to head off confusion and serious problems next year, from the extension of unemployment benefits to the ag bills that aren't even out of committee in either house yet and would have to be started over from scratch in a new congress.

            It's a mess, and it's all the Republicans' fault, but blaming them doesn't solve the problems, and since they're still in charge of the House next congress, boxing them in - with their history of obstruction - seems like a very chancy proposition.

            "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

            by SueDe on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 12:06:58 PM PST

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            •  I don't think anything has to be passed before the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              next Congress, but something needs to go onto the table.

              The deal doesn't have to make Republicans happy at all -- but it does have to appeal to a large percentage of the electorate.  That will put huge pressure on Republicans because the ball will suddenly shift to their court as the unambiguous cause of higher taxes for most Americans.

              I'm don't think optics will let the President explicitly say take it or leave it, but that can be the reality.  Republicans are the ones who will be burned by leaving it on the table.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 12:49:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good points all. (0+ / 0-)

                I completely agree that Obama should put something on the table - and encourage Democrats to put pressure on their rep's and senators - before the end of the year.  Unfortunately it looks like the Democrats are split - perhaps three ways - on what that offer should be.  Believe it or not, one of those groups still believes that Simpson-Bowles is a good idea.

                "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

                by SueDe on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:31:56 PM PST

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                •  I'm not surprised. (0+ / 0-)

                  Democrats have come a long way since JFK took that big whack out of the income tax in 1964 (LBJ signed it into law).

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:42:36 PM PST

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                  •  We DON'T Have to Solve This in the Lame Duck! (0+ / 0-)

                    That's when Conservative Republicans have MAXIMUM leverage and Democrats and Liberals have the LEAST!

                    ONLY if we get into January with NO DEAL will Republicans be forced by overwhelming popular pressure to agree to OUR spending priorities.

                    In fact, why bargain at all? We can eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% just by letting them expire!

                    Then if Republicans want to block a middle class tax cut, fine! Let them sell that to the voters! Even deep Red State voters would have a problem with that!

                    That's why the right wingers are screaming about the "Fiscal Cliff" which is a giant LIE!

                    There is NO "cliff" in January! NOTHING happens except that taxes will go up -- WHEN people have to file -- i.e. April 15, 2013!

                    What? Congress can't pass a middle-class tax cut by April 15? They can and will.

                    There's ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for Democrats to fold on this and Pre-emptively bargain away all their advantage!

                    GOD! I'm Praying every day that John Boehner will refuse to budge one inch and save us from the idiotic "Grand Bargain!"

                    So far he's holding strong!

                    If you want to help, call John Boehner's office and tell him not to accept any compromise! Then we go over the fake fiscal cliff -- nothing much happens in January, and we come back with a new more liberal Congress.

                    •  No, it doesn't have to be solved, but... (0+ / 0-)

                      it's smart to put something on the table, unless you know what you want to do is going to piss off the electorate.

                      If the President has been honest with us, however, I can't see that being the case.  I think most Americans are ok with bumping up taxes on earnings over $250K.

                      If he's been telling us one thing while planning to do another, well... that would be a different story.

                      The problem with waiting is that taxes WILL go up on everybody, especially families with children.

                      That is especially the case when you consider that large employers can't turn on a dime with regard to their payroll systems.

                      At that point, if there is nothing on the table, Democrats will be the people who didn't think the ensuing pain was important enough to be worth bothering with.

                      Maybe it doesn't matter.  If the economy picks up in a convincing way, people will forget a nasty month or so.  
                      If it keeps up the way it has been, the Republicans may get another great opportunity -- and maybe find a way not to blow it.

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 06:21:12 PM PST

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                    •  You are wrong. (0+ / 0-)
                      There is NO "cliff" in January! NOTHING happens except that taxes will go up -- WHEN people have to file -- i.e. April 15, 2013!
                      Beyond the sequestration (thoughtless and hamhanded across-the-board cuts to the federal budget), there are other programs and tax changes that will be affect middle and lower middle classes negatively and make the lives of the poor even more miserable:

                      *  the unemployment compensation extension will end
                      *  the Alternative Minimum Tax will not be indexed to inflation
                      *  the Medicare "doc fix" will not be addressed
                      *  the payroll tax cut will expire
                      *  several bills that have been languishing in committee, most notably the agriculture bill (which sets farm subsidy payment schedules and funding for the SNAP [food stamps] program) will not be enacted.  If terms of this bill are not settled and the bill passed by the end of the year, congress will, by law, have to junk the current bill and start all over with the new congress to fashion a new one.

                      All of this is bad, and there is no guarantee that any of these cuts can be fixed by the new congress, especially since Republicans will still control the House and the problems will have to be addressed one at a time after Jan. 1st.  And at that time, if the Democrats haven't at least put a reasonable plan on the table  to fix the problems, they will be seen as the recalcitrant party (Republicans will make sure of that by claiming Obama "can't lead"), and the public will not be forgiving.

                      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

                      by SueDe on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 04:36:59 AM PST

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        •  Cugel... I think you have it wrong! (3+ / 0-)

          Obama wants to win and that is why he is engaging us.  If you understand our responsibility as US citizens, our work is to be engaged!

          Obama is smart.  Obama is not my DREAM of a president, but I totally agree with what he is doing with this and not too much else. Why?  It will cause the friggin' Republicans to take notice, which they have already done post election.  It will also push the media to pay attention to something other than their juicy little stories about the issues that are totally irrelevant!  They want to publish sensational, attack stories. We need to use this opportunity to push them to act as journalists instead of entertainment reporters!

          Of course the Republicans will fight for their no damn tax campaign, but do you really think that Americans will allow the 1% billionaires not to get a tax increase?  After Sandy, do you think that they can get away with "dig baby dig" BS?  I don't. I mean, they will have to compromise when we are pushing the energy to the light for the good of the whole.  I am absolutely certain of that.

          Even the Tea Party whackos won't go for billionaire tax breaks, and hopefully they have enough sense to see climate change in their own localities.  Today is what... November 20th.  In Denver we are having 70 degree weather with complete spring-like skies! The Tea Partiers would look pretty stupid if they attempt to handle this crisis on the backs of their own members and the middle class. After all, they are the middle class economically, aren't they? Well, of course the Koch Brothers, their founders, don't want to pay taxes.  See their faces every time you do something to engage and back Obama.

          Any Republican with a brain knows that they can only win future election if they engage the Hispanic community and the women of this country.  They cannot do they if they don't change.  They ARE changing now in what is probably the biggest crisis EVER in the Republican Party.  They know it, but they have no leaders, and they turned Mitt off... so now what?

          With pressure from us, they will have to negotiate with Obama and they will be pushed to do that ONLY if we are pushing from behind.  

          •  That Ain't the Object Of The Negotiations! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Remember LAST year's "Grand Bargain" negotiations? The details of what Obama was offering were revealed when Bob Woodyard got a copy of the Secret Final Offer to John Boehner:

            Regarding the document, Woodward said, “But what it shows is a willingness to cut all kinds of things,like TRICARE, which is the sacred health insurance program for the military, for military retirees; to cut Social Security; to cut Medicare. And there are some lines in there about, ‘We want to get tax rates down, not only for individuals, but for businesses.’ So Obama and the White House were willing to go quite far.”

            In fact, the document, dated July 19, 2011, spells out an unprecedented assault on social welfare programs and a pro-corporate revamping of the tax system that would have been politically unthinkable for Republican presidents from Reagan to George W. Bush.

            On Medicare, the document proposed reducing spending by “at least $250 billion” from 2012 to 2021 and “at least $800 billion” from 2022 to 2031. This would be achieved, in part, by “alteration of the eligibility age for Medicare” and “adjustments to premiums collected for services and benefits currently covered under Part B and Part D.” In other words, the eligibility age for Medicare health coverage would be raised and premiums for a range of hospital and clinical services as well as for drugs would be hiked.

            On Social Security, the document proposed changing the formula for the consumer price index (CPI) as applied to cost-of-living increases in benefits so as to slash outlays by $112 billion over 10 years. The new CPI would also apply to veterans' disability payments, cutting $24 billion.

            The proposal further stipulated: “Reduce the 75-year estimated shortfall of the Social Security program by 0.7 percent… as a percentage of taxable payroll, with a balanced package of tax and benefit changes.” In plain English: increase payroll taxes and decrease benefits.

            In addition to these sweeping cuts in the two most basic entitlement programs, the document spelled out a list of additional reductions, including:

            * Civilian retirement, i.e., retirement benefits for civilian federal workers: $33 billion

            * Military retirement: $11 billion

            * TRICARE drug copayments/TRICARE for Life: $16 billion

            * Postal reform: $16 billion

            * Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation: $9 billion

            * Flood insurance: $4 billion

            * Agriculture subsidies/conservation programs: $33 billion

            * Nutrition assistance: $2 billion

            * Higher education: $10 billion.

            In fact Obama just last week said we don't need Medicare eligibility at 65 because we're getting Obama care, so everybody will have medical coverage.

            Right wing DREAM: Privatize and roll back Medicare in exchange for private insurance that costs MORE.

            Woodyard is right. NO Republican President could possibly get away with this scam.

            •  Good try, Cugel. Apparently you and I must be the (0+ / 0-)

              only folks here who've bothered to read Woodward's "leak."

              From what I see, you're probably wasting your breath.  But kudos for trying.

              In case anyone wants to stop cheerleading long enough to read Bowles-Simpson's The Moment of Truth, which President Obama has endorsed repeatedly, here's the link.

    •  Absolutely; it's the only way (5+ / 0-)

      Absolutely; it's the only way. I recall Ed Markey of MA saying that Congress is sensitive ONLY to public pressure...

    •  Help Obama! Call your Congressman & Call your (5+ / 0-)

      US Senator.

      To find your Congressman just click below and put your Zip Code in. If you put 5 numbers in you may get more than 1 name. If you put all 9 numbers in you will get your Congressman with a map. Just remember, your Congressman/Congresswoman may change after the January 21, 2013 Inauguration.

      Find Your Congressman

      To find your US Senators just click below and find you State in alphabetical order and call both US Senators. Remember that one of your US Senators may change after the January 21, 2013 Inauguration.

      Find Your US Senators

      And then Call, Write, Email and/or tell your Congressman and both US Senators personally that you want the rich to pay higher income taxes and you want a tax cut right away ONLY for those making less than $250,000.00.

      Also tell them if they don't support the tax cut for those under $250,000.00 and the US goes over the financial cliff you will blame them personally and that you will work to make sure they are defeated in their next election.

      •  & tell them ALL cuts to SS, Medicare/caid are 'OFF (4+ / 0-)

        off the table' and not to lower corporate taxes.

        Plus there is NO fiscal cliff that's a phrase used by the corporate sponsors of Congress to give sense of urgency so things can get done in a hurry before they get scrutinized.  In other words it's the Shock Doctrine method.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 11:45:35 AM PST

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      •  My new senator, who took the place of (0+ / 0-)

        Kay Bailey Hutchison (who at least flirted with sanity) is Ted Cruz, the teabaggers' new hero, so there is no way he will vote for Obama's idea about anything - he'll be an obstructionist on everything (and those voters who put him in office will be thrilled).

        But my newly-elected representative is a Democrat.  Unfortunately the Republican holding the seat now is the one making the decision before the new congress is seated.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 12:19:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is COMPLETELY WRONG! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We MUST go "over the fiscal cliff!" The dreaded Fiscal Cliff is a right-wing FRAUD!

        NOTHING happens on January 1! The cuts are phased in, the tax hikes can be retroactively eliminated for the bottom 98%.

        The "Fiscal Cliff" is a total and complete SHAM designed by the right-wing to put maximum pressure on Progressives and Congress to surrender cuts to every social program that is backing up the middle class.

        And WORST -- it does this by SURRENDERING the entire leverage Obama and the Democrats will gain in January.

        It fills me with despair that even on a site like this where there are LOTS of educated people who are aware of what's going on generally, there's so much blindness over this!


        Republican's only hope is to ram some Grand Bargain through in the lame duck session.

        And the fact that Obama is helping them is the worst part of all. He should flat refuse to budge one inch and come back in January with a new and more liberal Congress with 2 new more Liberal Senators and 8 more liberal Congressmen.

        THEN he'd have the whip hand.

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