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    •  of discretionary (48+ / 0-)

      spending, but yeah, big.

      I completely agree with this post, but if you step back, it's horrific that in the midst of an ongoing jobs crisis we're rallying to try to defend the New Deal. What we need, of course, is more spending, but it's all deficit all the time.

      The White House statement on the fiscal deal says: “This agreement will also grow the economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way – by investing in our middle class, and by asking the wealthy to pay a little more.” And an accompanying fact sheet claims: “this agreement ensures that we can continue to make investments in education, clean energy, and manufacturing that create jobs and strengthen the middle class.”

      As my colleague Ethan Pollack has pointed out, this is inconsistent with President Obama’s frequent bragging point that his budget brings the non-security portion of the budget down to record-low levels—“the lowest level since President Eisenhower.” The fact is that if you lower domestic discretionary spending, you necessarily are reducing public investments in education, research and infrastructure....

      So, if we really want to invest in the middle class—as the president claims to—we will have to increase domestic discretionary spending, not cut it further as his most recent and prior budget requests have done (the president also offered to cut domestic discretionary spending by another $100 billion in the recent negotiations). Fighting to preserve social insurance (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) benefits that the broad middle class depends on and making the public investments we need for growth and equity requires winning the battle over more revenues in the budget negotiations ahead. We should all be clear about that.

      •  This is the ocean (30+ / 0-)

        we are swimming in.

        Do we need long term political strategies? Definitely.

        But I'm not good at long term thinking.

        This is all I can focus on politically now.

        •  The part of holding the line where Democrats (13+ / 0-)

          have historically been weak is putting the line (or goal posts, if you will) a significant distance away from their absolute last line of defense - which you have observed many times.

          The point being that the discussion has to include the greater objectives - the long-term goals - in order to adequately defend in the short-term.

          Democrats need to flatly reject contraction of social programs with the case for expanding them - if they hope to hold the line in the current political environment, imo.

          •  yes, exactly (6+ / 0-)

            Republicans have a long-term goal in mind: demolish every aspect of the New Deal.  Centrists who don't have a particular goal (other than winning elections) are easily manipulated into playing along.  The smarter Republicans will happily spin things to appeal to moderate Democrats and try to reach their goal in stages.

            For example: let's means-test Social Security and Medicare!  After all, Bill Gates doesn't need that money, right?  Lots of liberal wonks might buy into that. But any means-tested entitlement will be increasingly seen as a welfare program, politically easier to de-fund.

        •  I agree that hurling insults and impugning the (10+ / 0-)

          motives of those with whom one disagrees, are absolutely counterproductive actions (not to mention, downright rude).

          However, if anything, it seems that too many progressives suffer from 'collective amnesia.'

          Personally, I see no harm in "remembering" less than desirable policies enacted by this, or any Administration.  As a matter of fact, it will hopefully be a driving force to keep the progressive activist community engaged in the fight to save the social safety net from evisceration.

          And don't forget, the Fix the Debt Campaign is 'chock full' of Democratic Party former politicians.  Former Governor Ed Rendell is a co-chair of this group.  In my opinion, it is misguided and counterproductive not to acknowledge this from the get-go.  

          We will at some point be at odds with some former and present Democratic Party pols as we engage in this battle to save the social safety net.   This is simply a matter of fact.  But we must not let this deter us.

          But all in all, I'm in agreement with you that our collective energy is best spent looking forward, not backward.

          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:39:38 PM PST

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        •  Here is the killer (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Armando, kj in missouri, copymark, elwior

          and I will be damned if I know how to resolve this:

          The biggest, arguably most successful GOTV organization in political history has just performed brilliantly.  It played a decisive role in many states.

          AND OBAMA OWNS IT.  OFA is HIS organization.  And the membership is loyal to him.

          Ordinarily you would be talking about "unhappy activists" -  but the truth is the rank and file activists are loyal to him and they will follow him.  The liberal movement has no separate identiy from him, and no real organization apart from him.  Talk of the "base" apart from him is wishfull thinking: the base IS his.  

          As a result, attacking Obama is a prescription for marginalization.  So you how effectively oppose him from the left without winding up hanging out with the Nader types (and I mean the word prejoratively) is hard to see.

          Has to be tried: but the tone of the advocacy has to be VERY well thought out.  Respectful.

          One person to talk to: Susan S Smith (who used to psot here and is the Florida Progressive caucus Chair).

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:18:40 PM PST

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          •  And where does OFA go now? Where do Democrats (0+ / 0-)

            go with a centrist President and organization?

            The Health Care Act is going to be fought every step of the way.  The stimulus, incentives to grow the economy the right way is going to be fought every step of the way.

            For the Democrats to succeed, for the country to get better, the modest bills that have great promise passed by this President have to get some muscle, lifting by us behind them and a steady explaining and taking credit for them too. If we don't, we risk a 2010 instead of a 2008/2012 type of election in 2014, making life harder.

                       In every state   now, the pro growth bills, the big health transform, ACA will be fought over and struggled over to make them work in practice, to make it better, and of course will face sabotage by the special interests and Republicans in an effort to have some relevance and credit when and if it fails.

                    "See, it was no good! Vote for us,yay!".  

            Their club membership is shrinking, if we recognize it to be so, and help push them encircle them isolate them as obstructionists. Many of them still don't realize they have a losing strategy at work.

                    Our opportunity will grow out of succeeding in implementation, upgrades  of decent bills which will serve  to keep them there.

        •  need to change the narrative (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Armando, kj in missouri, elwior

          from "revenue vs. debt" to "creating economic recovery".

          A tough task given that all the major players have already adopted the problematic narrative, but not impossible.  Time to start working on it is now.

          What's in Obama's head is far less important than what comes out of his and everybody else's mouth.   We need an "Occupy" level change of narrative to take place.  And Occupy doesn't have to be what does it, but that was a good example of "how to".

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:33:59 PM PST

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      •  And both Kucinich and Issa made it clear (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that one way to ensure that there was growth on Main Street was to implement the Bailouts differently. Instead of letting Bailout monies go directly to the same Big Wall Street financiers that put us in this mess, what should have happened was to distribute the monies to regional and state chartered banks across the nation, with regulations requiring the monies to be loaned out to people in the region. This is how we recovered during the aftermath of the S & L crisis at the end of the Nineteen eighties. In fact, those rules and regs are still on the books.

        Instead we have the notoriously egregious policies that are rewarding Wall street and ham stringing Main Street.

        Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

        by Truedelphi on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:12:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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