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View Diary: Obama's Biggest Crime Is "Putting 'It' On The Table"? Really? (458 comments)

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  •  In reality the political risk is small, if any (7+ / 0-)

    I was getting somewhat worried about it after reading the discussions here lately, so I conducted an informal poll of my friends, family, co-workers, and a number of people I didn't know at a social gathering this past week. All told I asked about 25 people what they thought about the "fiscal cliff" situation right now.

    The number of people who were even aware this discussion was taking place was just over half, and of those, the number who had heard of "chained CPI" or knew what it is or that it is being discussed as part of the negotiations was zero. Zero.

    All of those who said were aware of the discussion had heard only that yet again there was a lot posturing and brinksmanship going on in the government about taxes and stuff, and that in general people feel negative about it and expect to get screwed over in some way. As for blame they said either "republicans" or "congress" or "politics" -- no one I spoke to blamed the president (but I did not talk to any hard core teabaggers). And not one mentioned anything about SS or chained CPI, which when I tried to explain it caused glazed eyes and lost in the weeds reaction.

    I do have a few strongly progressive friends who frequently rail about the drone wars and other issues they have with President Obama, who are also not tuned in on this particular fight. They just said "it's more bullshit" and were not even interested.

    This totally nonscientific polling begin to set my mind at ease about this whole drama and the idea that by "putting it on the table" -- during the few days right before Christmas, as part of an ongoing fight that very few people are even paying attention to -- the President has somehow "destroyed the Democratic brand" and betrayed everyone and everything the party stands for ... are being extremely overblown here.

    But to expand my sample I was forced to go check in on Andrew Sullivan's take -- even though I really dislike his opinions on most things and have mostly stopped reading him, but he does have a huge audience of millions of readers and represents the view of "Obama conservatives" -- and he was calling it a "very reasonable proposal" and was going off on the republicans and their insanity.

    So overall political effects seems to me either nil or possibly positive. He may have "put it on the table" as a way to call their bluff. If so, it worked.

    He may also be quite willing to enact chained CPI as part of any actual deal or grand bargain, if congress were to pass one. The evidence of his own words over the years certainly suggests that to be the case. He's never hidden it, and yet people voted for him in droves. And there are a lot of democrats and even liberal and progressive policy groups that have said it's an acceptable and small adjustment in the COLA formula, not the end of the world.

    So I think even if he did include it and congress voted for it, if the overall deal is good enough it would not be a big political hit. Yes of course there are ideological progressives on this blog and others who  are highly tuned in and consider even discussing it to be an unforgivable sin, and will abandon any pretense of supporting the president if it happens. I am sorry to see that but realize I cannot change their minds. If their conscience tells them it's better to stop voting for Democrats for good if they agree to a COLA formula adjustment, that's their right. I think the number of people overall who feel that way is not many.

    I think those "supporters" who are truly ready to abandon him, and all Democrats forever, over something that he openly said during the campaign that he would do: attempt to secure a "grand bargain" that includes republicans, and a willingness to include entitlement programs in the process, are not making much sense. It seems very emotional and not reality based as they claim. And the viciousness with which they go after anyone who does not agree with the "Obama wants to starve old people" interpretation is disturbing too.

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