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View Diary: The end of austerity kabuki, and how to turn a victory into a rout (196 comments)

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  •  Thank you for pointing out the "bi-partisanship" (14+ / 0-)

    and compromises of 2010 and 2011 were a mistake. I was tempted the past two weeks and find and re-post some of the "shrill" critics who tried to warn back then that the compromises on the debt limit and the sequester would only encourage the Republicans/ conservatives / libertarians to come back and try it again and again and again.

    And I'm slightly mollified that Obama and the Democratic leadership seem to have learned the lesson that "bi-partisanship" is date rape in which we get raped, to use the disgusting but very revealing phrase used by Dick Armey and Grover Norquist a decade ago,

    But what I worry about now is Obama still wanting to achieve a "grand bargain" to bring "entitlements under control." I think Bill Black is entirely accurate in his posting of two days ago:

    Obama believes his best hopes of a positive “legacy” is what he calls the “Grand Bargain” (which I explained actually represented the “Grand Betrayal”). The Grand Betrayal would raise some taxes, make materially deeper discretionary spending cuts in social programs, and make very large but opaque cuts in the safety net. The Grand Betrayal would inflict triple damage on our Nation. It would inflict even greater austerity, further weakening the recovery. It would harm effective social programs at a time when they are most needed give the large increases in poverty. It would harm the safety net directly and would serve to legitimize much deeper cuts in the future when the GOP controls the federal government….

    Obama has been eagerly seeking to inflict the Grand Betrayal since 2011. The irony is that had he succeeded the resultant second recession would have made him a one-term president. The Tea Party has prevented the deal by being unwilling to take “yes” for an answer from Obama. The Tea Party could have skipped all the extortion and negotiated the Grand Betrayal with Obama. The Republican leadership has attempted to negotiate the deal, but the Tea Party keeps blocking it. Nevertheless, the Grand Betrayal is so available and so obviously in the political interests of the GOP and the Tea Party that the odds remain good that even the Tea Party will eventually say yes and give Obama the legacy he desires as the Democrat who led the unraveling of the safety net. Obama may yet snatch defeat from victory and the Tea Party, when all else fails, may snatch victory from defeat by agreeing to the Grand Betrayal.

    Until I see solid evidence that Obama has discarded his dream of a "grand bargain" I am in no mood for celebrating even this major victory over the reactionaries and revanchists on the other side of the aisle.

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:32:13 AM PDT

    •  Even if Obama discarded his "dream" you'd find (0+ / 0-)

      something else to avoid that celebration. That I will predict.

      "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

      by Wildthumb on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:46:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why would Obama discard his dream? (8+ / 0-)

        He's closer to getting it than ever before. The Republicans caved. They're going to be much more receptive to his proposals in the future.

        Paul Ryan announced he was willing to give up Vouchercare and private retirement accounts (which he cynically redefined as "the Grand Bargain", when that term was previously used to refer to Obama's proposed cuts in SS/Medicare), and to "compromise" by going along with Obama's proposed cuts to SS/Medicare (AKA the cuts formerly known as the Grand Bargain).

        So now vouchercare is the "Grand Bargain", and Obama's proposed cuts are merely a "compromise." That's quite a lot of goalpost-shifting going on there.

        Now that the Republicans are moving closer to Obama's vision of modest cuts to SS/Medicare ("tweaks", he likes to call them), all he needs to do is whip his own party into supporting it. Unfortunately, I think that'll be considerably easier, and take far less time, than bringing the Republicans to heel. But I hope it won't.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:55:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Entirely deceptive. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Simpson, dpinzow, golem

      Accurate? That quote is disconnected from reality.
      The reality of the Grand Bargain Obama proposed was to get more revenue which he proposed spending to EXPAND the safety net and increase stimulus spending beyond what he could otherwise get in negotiations with the Republican House.

      If Obama really had the bloodlust for cutting SS and Medicare that people claim then it would have happened by now. Reality check: he didn't support the final Simpson-Bowles recommendations specifically because the cuts to SS were to steep. This caricature of Obama as a super villain with secret plots says more about the personal hang-ups of the writer than it says about Obama.

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