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Oh, my, has there been a lot of news since we spoke last about the Potential Impending Death Of Medicare: obviously we’re going to have to talk about the implications of Osama Bin Laden’s death (but we’ll do that another day), President Obama very publicly congratulated Donald Trump for having the leadership skills to know that Gary Busey was the one who needed to be fired after the way he ran the men’s cooking team on “The Apprentice”, and, of course, there was that “extreme ironing incident” on the M1 near London’s Mill Hill.

But what you may not have noticed is that in the past two weeks the Grim Weeper himself, Speaker of the House John Boehner, has gone from saying “I fully support Paul Ryan’s budget, including on Medicare” to saying that the Paul Ryan “Let’s Kill Medicare” plan is “an idea … worthy of consideration”—and when that happens that quickly you know somebody applied what we might politely describe as being at least “an equal and opposite force”.

And what I’m here to suggest today is that the opposite force in question…is you.

When I left for college, I was determined never to be a victim again. I would take my lead from the Hollywood tough guys I had always looked up to: Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, Ned Beatty. So on Day One of my freshman year at Dartmouth, I walked into class and punched the first person I saw—my Ethics professor, Dr. Buneta.

--From the book I Am America (And So Can You!), by Stephen Colbert

So as we said, it just a couple of weeks ago that we were talking about the then-underway Congressional Recess and killing Medicare and how you could go make yourself well understood by your local member of Congress; people did exactly that, and all of a sudden the backpedaling was under way.

As we mentioned, back then it was full speed ahead for the Ryan budget plan—but two weeks of facing the voters later, Michelle Bachmann, the Chair of Congress’ Tea Party Caucus and the Woman Who Would Usurp Sarah Palin, says that:

I supported that budget blueprint, though I’ve expressed caution about how we approach the issue of Medicare. We must keep our promises to those who receive Medicare benefits, and those who are nearing the age of Medicare eligibility. Our challenge is to reduce the soaring amounts that government spends on health care, without burdening those who are most vulnerable.

And it’s not just her: virtually no legislation moves through the House unless it first clears the Ways and Means Committee, and Chairman Dave Camp says this about the Ryan plan…

“I am not interested in laying down more markers.  I am interested in solutions.”

…and that is his way of saying Ryan’s proposal is toast.

Beyond that, it looks like the Republicans’ most immediate “tactical” effort, tying big cuts in the program to an expansion of the Federal Government’s “debt ceiling”, is also coming apart at the seams; to that end we have the Republican House leadership now suggesting that they understand the urgency of passing the debt ceiling even if the Medicare “reforms” are not in that agreement.

(There is, however, an element of uncertainty still extant: Speaker Weeper spoke to the Economic Club of New York Monday; he told them he’s going to attach lots of conditions to that debt ceiling extension, after which he went off to a private spa to be dipped in whatever orange liquid they use to obtain his peculiar hue.)

Republican Representative Joe Walsh, of Illinois’ 8th, says that he would like to see the Party continue to push the Ryan plan as an issue in the ’12 campaign. That might work well in certain Congressional races, but it would seem to be a problem for any Republican Presidential candidate—and we should note that Walsh himself was elected in ’10 with a very narrow margin of victory.

So that’s all good news, but it’s probably not the end of the story…and if you ask me, the next battle is going to look more like no battle at all.

Here’s what I mean:

A great way to negotiate a deal is to start out with a crazy demand, and then, when that idea falls off the table, come back with something slightly less crazy that looks good enough to the other side to be acceptable.

Another variation on this theme is to start out with an extreme demand, and then you “meet somewhere in the middle”, which ends up moving the entire negotiation farther in your direction than you might have ever achieved by “normal means”.

You would think Democrats would be smart enough to not go along with such a strategy—but with Osama dead, and the “Democrats are soft on defense” argument getting tougher to make all the time, there is going to be a ton of effort going into the ’12 campaign to show that Democrats are “soft on the deficit”, and there is a real possibility that this Administration and certain Democrats in Congress will be susceptible to some of that pressure.

This will begin to play itself out, I suspect, as the effort to reconcile the budget visions offered from the House, Senate, and Administration continues through the summer—and if you want to get a sense of how that battle might look, check out today’s hearing (Perspectives on Deficit Reduction: Social Security) before the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Finance is Max Baucus’ Committee (Orrin Hatch is Ranking Member), so this is a Blue Dog Chairman; he’s also one of those who might be happy to make compromises to “lower the deficit” that we won’t like—including supporting cuts to Social Security or raiding the Social Security Trust Funds.

One way that could be done…very quietly…would be to put a cap on all Federal spending, and then lower that cap by some amount each year, ignoring the fact that Social Security has its own funding source and is in no way connected to the deficit—and they tell me that’s what Nancy Altman, the co-chair of Strengthen Social Security, is going to be saying to the assembled Senators today:

“Social Security lacks the legal authority to deficit-spend, and so, cannot run a deficit.  Because it cannot run a deficit, it cannot add to the federal deficit…

Some policymakers are proposing a so-called universal cap as a mechanism to control federal spending.  It is important to understand that unlike the general fund, Social Security already has an automatic spending cap.  If Social Security were ever to lack sufficient revenue to cover the cost of scheduled benefits, the law provides that those benefits be reduced automatically

To include Social Security in deficit legislation, even with the explanation that the inclusion has nothing to do with deficit reduction, risks reinforcing the widespread belief that Congress is raiding the trust fund…”

(Full Disclosure: I’m associated with the Campaign for America’s Future, and they’re part of Strengthen Social Security.)

It’s a short story this time, so let’s wrap it up here: we’ve had great success this past couple of weeks convincing pretty much every politician in the United States of America that Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid matter to us, and that getting crazy with these programs really is political suicide—but these programs have been under assault since the very day they were born by people with their own agendas and more or less all the money in the world to fund an endless series of fights…and you can kill a popular program in subtle ways that most voters might not even notice until it’s too late; with all that in mind, this one very big victory is not a war finally won.

The shape of the next fight is going to be made more visible today, and I would encourage you to swing by C-SPAN to see how it went

Even more importantly, I want y’all to think about what this past couple of weeks really meant: we went out in force, and we scared the hell out of the politicians who thought they would slam through some major changes that we’d just somehow…accept.

Democrats and Republicans alike need a bit of direction as this electoral season gets underway, and the messages we send out there obviously have the power to turn an entire discussion, so look at what you did, let it give you a bit of confidence that you can have an impact…even in this seemingly impossible year…and then let’s get ready for the next fight, which is going to be just as rough, and just as high-stakes—but this time much of the action will be subtle and deliberately “obfuscated”, and we’ll have to be even more alert if we want to see the scam before it gets set into stone.

And of course, we’ve got to keep showing up for those “Town Halls”, eh?

FULL DISCLOSURE: This post was written with the support of the CAF State Blogger's Network Project.

Originally posted to fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Social Security Defenders, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  this was a great couple of weeks... (32+ / 0-)

    ...and it sure seemed to catch the republicans by surprise, didn't it?

    "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

    by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:21:01 AM PDT

  •  Over on FB, the rants are all for cutting taxes (11+ / 1-)

    and reducing spending; doing a quick canvass  of a few folks whose finances I am familiar with, they are oblivious to the facts that their families rely on the programs they wish to cut while they benefit little from tax cuts because their main tax burdens are sales taxes and FICA.

    However even silly people can vote in the US and these poor deluded souls also believe the earth is 6000 years old and that praying can heal disease.  I don't know how they stand on handling snakes.

  •  R's are bullies (12+ / 0-)

    All we have to do is stand up to them and they fold.

    Get up, stand up.  Stand up for your rights!
    Get up, stand up.  Don't give up the fight!

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:22:29 AM PDT

    •  well, first of all... (7+ / 0-)

      ...i do like me some bob marley, and i would surely rather hear that chant at the next event i attend than "the usual" shouts.

      now as to the bully thing: i think a lot of republicans were surprised that they became a bully party--and i suspect a lot of them liked what they had sown...until lately, when the "cycles of retribution" are coming faster and faster.

      (what does that mean? it took a few years from gingrich to delay, but not very long from delay to this cycle of "pushback"; if the next cycle comes even faster it's going to be hard for republicans to keep racking up wins with legislation.)

      some of this seems to be because the republicans' biggest bullies aren't necessarily elected officials, and they will promote some heinous ideas, even if they cost the rs seats. (examples? limbaugh, beck, norquist and the us chamber of commerce crowd, the jesus community's leadership, and the racist/militia/gun/tea party community's leadership all quickly come to mind.)

      those folks don't care if senator x gets sacrificed along the way--but they do fund senator x, while it's still a good investment, and they can direct a ton of ("uncoordinated") ads at the same time...so they own a lot of these folks, even as these folks might not like being owned...and it's all become an ugly part of politics that reminds me of the 1890s...and the 1920s...and the 1970s...and the 1980s...and '90s...and on and on and on...

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:56:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Again, NEVER Believe the Initial Hype (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fake consultant

    I didn't for one second buy into the "repugs are gonna slash funding for Medicare" baloney.. and I'm not sure why anyone here DID buy into it.

    the short of it is this:

    LOTS of old people vote, Medicare helps old people, cutting funding for Medicare would piss old people off-- causing them not to vote for the dickheads cutting the funding.

    this is what the buffoon repugs learned from their constituents over spring/Easter break.

    Next stupid idea?

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:11:16 AM PDT

    •  here's why the rs... (6+ / 0-)

      ...wanted to slash this program: the goal here was to take medicare and turn it into a profit-oriented operation; the way to do that is to give taxpayer money to insurance companies to do the same thing, for lots more money, that medicare does today...and when a program costs more money, benefits usually get slashed.

      what you have to keep in mind is that many of the "republicans" who promote this stuff aren't running for office; instead, they're the ones who hope to receive the money from the taxpayer, and they are willing to fund any candidate who will promote their agenda...and there are plenty of candidates willing to be funded; mostly they're republicans, but some are democrats as well.

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 12:28:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly right! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tommymet, fake consultant, whaddaya

        “… mostly they're republicans, but some are democrats as well.”
        In fact, Social Security and Medicare are very much about two types of wealth transfer: from the private to the public sector; and from the working young to the non-working old.  What party you happen to belong to – I support neither of the majors – is quite beside the point.
        It does appear that, after 8 (+ 2 more) years of free spending, Republicans saw some of their tea go into the bay, and they now seem to have some concern for the deficit (a red herring), but the politicians will not save us.  If we care about our children or grandchildren, even a little, we should hire a few accountants and actuaries.

        •  After cutting taxes and spending the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fake consultant

          money we put into US treasury bills for Social Security benefits, the elected government  now have created a crisis.

          They have cut taxes so it will be hard to pay back Social Security as the boomers need the money for their retirement.  

          The Medicare costs for brand name prescriptions that have no generics are very expensive.  

          Medicare cuts back on a lot of the filed charges that are filed for the elderly medical care.  

          They should audit Medicare.

          Medicare subsidizes a lot of the Supplemental and prescription plans.  They must be giving them a lot.  Most on Medicare pay monthly $280 each or $560 a couple for the premiums for three insurances: Original Medicare, Medicap and Prescription plan.  Plus they have high co pays.  Plus, everyone who draws a paycheck pays a percentage for Medicare.

          You can buy lower cost Medicare insurances but you pay higher copays.

          •  HR on the second comment was a mistake, right? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            maryabein, fake consultant

            happens all the time.

            A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

            by Karl Rover on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:29:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  fixing social security... (0+ / 0-)

            ...is actually quite easy: all you have to do is remove the "tax cap" on income for social security purposes.

            here's what i mean: if you make over $107,000 a year, any income over that amount isn't taxed for social security; because so much money is getting concentrated in fewer hands, more and more income is exempt from taxation.

            here's an explanation of all this, in much more detail, courtesy of the congressional research service.

            medicare/medicaid is tougher.

            negotiating drug prices would be of great help, but there are four things that have to happen if you really want to get control of costs:

            --you have to reduce the overall demand for medical services over a person's lifetime--in other words, you have to encourage a "wellness" approach. (the "obamacare" refors are intended to move us in this direction.)

            --you have to get medical cost inflation down to a level that is no higher than inflation in the larger economy.

            --you have to find ways to delay the time when older folks require assisted care and skilled nursing "interventions".

            --you have to teach folks to rethink death. it's a clumsy example, but spending the last six months of your life in hospice is often a far better experience for all concerned, including the taxpayer, than six months in an icu.

            beyond that, you can do things "on the margins" that make the overall system more efficient, as a way of reducing costs; making one set of medical records available in digital form to all your medical providers is intended to be one of those changes.

            finally, i would invite you to consider just how much money could be saved by single-payer. we pay more per person than anyone else on the planet--by a lot--for our care, and if we spent the same per person as canada does we'd reduce our current national health care "cash cost burden" by about 1/3--and if those cost savings mean we have to sacrifice as a nation by accepting for ourselves the level of care and universal access that canadians have today...well, i'm willing to make that sacrifice.

            "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

            by fake consultant on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:21:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  in fairness, though... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          whaddaya

          ...since 1983 social security taxes have been elevated above the needs of the immediate day to accumulate a surplus that will reach $4 trillion by the 2020s to cover the cost of funding the baby boom's retirees--and that means the wealth transfer here was, in large part, from the current retirees to the current retirees, which seems a lot more equitable, if you really think about it.

          "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

          by fake consultant on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:35:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And the Teat is Running Dry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fake consultant

        the repugs want to hand over what's left of the pie to their greedy, slobbering Masters... that's why they're also looking at "privatization" of the public school system.

        what's left to squeeze outta the turnip?

        "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

        by Superpole on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:19:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Privatization of the military (0+ / 0-)

          More profits to the mercenary Xe and CACI fighting forces.

          I support the troops! I want them to return home in something besides caskets and body bags. (-6.5,-4.1)

          by minidriver on Tue May 10, 2011 at 07:09:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right... and along with (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fake consultant

            that even more lawlessness_ and unneeded violence.

            Geneva conventions, international law? fugget about it!

            "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

            by Superpole on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:13:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the department of state... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Superpole

              ...could actually fix some of this by setting up some sort of peacetime"security reserves", modeled after the military reserves, that could be used to bolster the forces available to the diplomatic security service, who today are doing a lot of "security contractor" hiring.

              the biggest problem, though, seems to be at the dod, where "contract interrogators" are doing who knows what, and, of course, the armed contractor situation is all that you describe and more...and i don't know how to easily fix that in a world where warfare is becoming less and less public and "attributed" and more and more hidden for reasons of "deniability".

              "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

              by fake consultant on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:52:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  the funny thing is... (0+ / 0-)

            ...all this military privatization began as a way to cash in on the "peace dividend" at the end of the cold war.

            the idea was that non-combat military support functions could be "outsourced" so that fewer troops would be required in peacetime.

            to give you just one example, it's a lot cheaper to hire a civilian to work at the mess hall when you're deployed overseas than to recruit, train, house, provide health care, and keep combat proficient a corps of military cooks when you're not deployed--but that math only works if you're not engaged in a constant series of deployments.

            i worked on a project for the navy a few years back, and the "it corps" is another crew of department of defense workers that would be immensely more expensive if it was military personnel doing the work.

            if we were to more or less end the overseas deployments tomorrow, we would be rethinking this outsourcing thing in a whole new light...but that light would probably be looking a bit dim as far as xe, et al. are concerned.

            "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

            by fake consultant on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:31:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  i know this is going to sound crazy... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Superpole, whaddaya

          ...but what if you concentrated on making the turnip bigger?

          investing in schools makes bigger turnips, so does green energy; improving roads and rails does the same thing--and if we were to drop a few billion in making the existing housing stock more energy-efficient, we could take a whole lot of "structural cost" out of the economy every year after that while creating local jobs.

          wanna really "grow the turnip"?

          i once proposed a plan to convert the entire us auto fleet to electric over 10 years, while providing the wind generation to do it, all for $250 billion a year--and that equals about 1/3 of what we spend today on imported oil, most of which goes to cars, which means after 10 years we'd add 750 billion new turnips a year to the economy while giving the us "green car" industry a chance to become the best in the world.

          single-payer would grow some giant turnips--and the business community agrees--but you won't hear many elected officials of any party say so in a public way today, even though many of the folks who hate "obamacare" because it doesn't go far enough.

          democratic candidates, in a big way, need to get behind "turnip growing", as hope and optimism in the form of new jobs are not just great tools in a campaign, they're exactly what you want to show moody's/china/the european central bank/imf/large "industrial" lenders when they begin to wonder if we're going to have an economy over here or not.

          "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

          by fake consultant on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:51:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You mean the 'Dim Weeper', don't you? (6+ / 0-)

    Were I an elected Democrat, I would be reminding the public at every opportunity that the Dimster is against letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy, and socking it to the middle (working) class instead.  Proactive is much better than passive.

    •  Yea, maybe the gin weeper is more like it ! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, minidriver
      •  i can't speak to that... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but i will tell you this: i used to be a caterer, about two lives ago, and i am aware of a now-deceased public figure, who i'll not name, who insisted that his gin always be served in a water glass with no ice, so that everyone would assume all those glasses of water he had at dinner were just water.

        "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

        by fake consultant on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:35:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  i don't think he's dim at all... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jlukes, Matt Z, whaddaya

      ...i just feel like he's been dealt a hand that cannot win: there is no way to really reconcile the tea party and "rational" republicans, at least not today--and to me that says the fruits of lee atwater's labors have finally come home to roost for the rs.

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 12:30:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fake consultant

    man may put it usunder, but I have morals :-)

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace- Hendrix

    by Maori on Tue May 10, 2011 at 10:25:46 AM PDT

  •  Grim Weeper (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fake consultant, Karl Rover, Matt Z

    Good one.

    Take the pledge on Social Security

    by 2laneIA on Tue May 10, 2011 at 11:02:55 AM PDT

  •  These people in Congress couldn't legislate or (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fake consultant

    govern themselves out of a paper bag.  In fact, a plain old paper bag at least fulfills it's function, which they do not.
    We know they are dysfunctional as well as corrupt.  We watch them screw things up all the time.  When is someone going to do something about these jokers ? The day will certainly come when the people have had enough. Governments never seem to learn from history and always seem to betray the peoples trust.  Governing is about us you morons, not about you !

    •  couple comments here: (5+ / 0-)

      --we pound on the members of congress we don't like--and i'm glad we do--but don't forget to show some love for those who do good work for us in congress...and you can start with the much-maligned nancy pelosi, who, along with jim clyburn, delivered a whole bunch of good stuff out of the 111th house, even as much of that good work went to the senate to die.

      don't forget those who sacrificed themselves to be liberal as well, like alan grayson and patrick kennedy and russ feingold--and don't forget that there are a ton of great members serving today: think of parry murray and raul grijalva and carl levin and kristen gillebrand as some quick examples.

      i'm going to have to run, but more on this when i get back...

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 12:41:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  absolutely. well said n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karl Rover, whaddaya

        Voting for a Republican is like letting the fox in the hen house and expecting to have fried chicken for Sunday dinner- John Lucas

        by Jlukes on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:03:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's broken, big time ! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fake consultant

        They don't deal with problems that could be hard on their political career, like comprehensive immigration reform (which is needed), just like they never did anything concrete to reduce the cost of medical care.  They are corrupt and take large campaign contributions from corporations which they then basically pay back with in tax breaks and lax regulations, all at the expense of the people.  Our system and our Congress is dysfunctional.  Most people know that and we all suffer because of it

        •  every bit of that is true... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          whaddaya

          ...and i just put a comment together laying a lot of the blame at our very own feet; it's up to us not to elect those who seek to hustle us, and we don't make the effort we should to put it to a stop.

          in some ways i think this medicare fight might be a sort of "rodney king moment", in that it forces republican voters, for the first time, to consider the possibility that "professional" republicans are out to screw over not just the liberals, who deserve it...but everyone, which seems to have really caught those republican voters by surprise.

          "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

          by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:03:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  so let's move on... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whaddaya

        ...to part two: i hate to be trite about this, but the reason we have elected officials who suck, for the most part, is because we, as voters, suck.

        to make it worse, we don't do well, as progressives, when we have to constantly make arguments for things that cost money while fighting the eternal republican sales pitch for a government that can provide all the things conservatives want while operating on no taxes at all.

        i suspect every politician knows what happened to walter mondale, who told voters he would raise their taxes as reagan swore he wouldn't; reagan, of course, was lying, but by then he'd beaten mondale 49 states to 1.

        it's too easy to pander to us, and that's our fault, and the only way "things will get fixed" is if we wise up and quit electing members of congress who shouldn't be running a burger king, much less the legislative branch.

        "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

        by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 08:54:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand this part (0+ / 0-)
    Senate Finance is Max Baucus’ Committee (Orrin Hatch is Ranking Member), so this is a Blue Dog Chairman; he’s also one of those who might be happy to make compromises to “lower the deficit” that we won’t like—including supporting cuts to Social Security or raiding the Social Security Trust Funds.

    I don't see anything you've written that would suggest Baucus would like to do any of what you said or any links to same.

    Fact based?

    I've very suspicious of any lefty screaming "sell out" after the health care debacle. My default position of anyone calling someone a blue dog and assuming they are doing wrong is to assume the lefty is pulling my leg. It's happened too many times.

    One unsubstantiated allegation against a Dem is enough to make me suspect your whole diary.

    "Don't fall or we both go." Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:18:48 PM PDT

    •  please. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fake consultant, whaddaya

      Baucus's dithering for months while the Teabags spammed the health-care townhalls was a major disaster, and totally unnecessary. He should be primaried.

      A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

      by Karl Rover on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:38:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i think he should face a primary as well... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but i don't think schweitzer would do it, and i don't know who would have a better shot--but i do know that baucus would have a money advantage over any primary challenger, but that can only get you so far when there's only so much media you can buy in montana...and don't forget, a credible baucus primary challenger wouldn't exactly be broke, either, with internet fundraising available.

        "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

        by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:27:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  i assume you saw the link... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that was attached to the words raiding the Social Security Trust Funds; that link leads to an article entitled...

      Baucus Plan Would Raid Social Security

      ...and the article describes a plan offered by baucus in '09 that would pull about $8 billion a year out of the trust funds for a decade to apply to debt reduction.

      if he would propose such an idea two years ago it seems reasonable to think he might support such a plan two years later, and that's how i came to make the statement you're wondering about.

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:19:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A problem with what you are saying? (4+ / 0-)
    A great way to negotiate a deal is to start out with a crazy demand, and then, when that idea falls off the table, come back with something slightly less crazy that looks good enough to the other side to be acceptable.

    Another variation on this theme is to start out with an extreme demand, and then you “meet somewhere in the middle”, which ends up moving the entire negotiation farther in your direction than you might have ever achieved by “normal means”.

    I don't think that this a friendly and bipartisan approach. It brings rancor to our government rather than reaching a hand of cooperation across the table to our friends in the Republican Party.

    Or is it better to beat them with 2 X 4's first to soften them up and get their attention before the bipartisan cooperation? I go with this approach.

    "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

    by shmuelman on Tue May 10, 2011 at 02:37:37 PM PDT

    •  It is the way it works in a deal making town. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      ePluribus Media
      Collaboration is contagious!

      by m16eib on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:56:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  so, first... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whaddaya

      ...that comment was meant to be a bit "tongue in cheek"--but that said, if you judge simply by how effective a tool it has been in recent years starting out crazy is a fantastic way to negotiate, and we have seen republicans successfully use this method to get horrible ideas put into place for decades...and i may not like what they do, for all the reasons you describe...but it's been working for them so far, and i suspect they'll keep trying it as long as it does.

      now as for reaching a hand across to our friends: i prefer to do that after spending a bit of time making it too embarrassing to be on the other side of an issue that deserves to be fixed; i would suggest to you that when you need to move an issue like "don't ask, don't tell" or financial reform or, eventually, single-payer, that you're going to need to overcome some "intertia" from those who oppose the change.

      once you've applied enough "motivation", the friendly hand across the table is more gladly accepted; if it's still rejected, that accrues to your political advantage.

      why do we have to do things this way? because we're engaged in "asymmetric warfare", whether we like it or not, with morality and numbers on one side, and pete peterson and the koch brothers and the us chamber of commerce and crossroads gps laying untold billions of dollars into the fight on the other side, as they try desperately to steal every bit of our futures they possibly can.

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Tue May 10, 2011 at 09:53:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They took Paul Ryan's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m16eib, whaddaya

    Medicare bill out of the republican budget.

    Good.

    •  Does not mean they will not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whaddaya

      recycle it again under a different banner.

      Right wing talking points about failed ideas: The only thing the GOP knows how to recycle.

      ePluribus Media
      Collaboration is contagious!

      by m16eib on Tue May 10, 2011 at 03:54:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the point of this story... (0+ / 0-)

      ...is that it may be officially "out of the budget", but we won't know what's really going to happen until we see some sort of reconciliation between whatever is passed in the senate and the house budget.

      that happens in a big ol' negotiation session (a "conference committee"), and if you've never seen one actually take place, check out this video, which shows a senate finance committee health care markup, which is a very similar process.

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:40:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Getting bin Laden was VERY important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fake consultant

    It's what we call a "game changer."

    Totally reset the debate in Washington. Just swept all that birther shit right off the table. Oh, sure, he released the so-called "long-form" before the OBL mission in Pakistan, I know. But that's not what I mean here.

    Rather, prior to getting bin Laden, we were descending into a well of pure crazy, where the leading (at that time) candidate on the GOP side was doing the full "Kenyan Marxist Terrorist" bit, and getting traction with it.

    Getting bin Laden just shut a whole lot of the crazy down. But not all of it: my local Fox affiliate is running a between-station ID thing that quotes little pissypants George Bush saying, "We will get our man..." etc., and just cuts Obama completely out of the picture.

    But in general, except for Fox News, the rest of the country was reminded that we have an effective President who actually does good things and gets stuff done and does his job, instead of clearing brush and playing Nintendo, like his predecessor.

    This is very helpful in the current fight to save Medicare.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to the man. - dls

    by The Raven on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:36:32 PM PDT

    •  this was a very good thing... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven

      ...for obama personally and politically--and you're right: it's because it reinforces which president is being competent, and which president now has an excuse to hang a big banner up in his presidential library that he didn't have before.

      will this reset the conversation around medicare/medicaid?

      i don't know: this could be a situation where obama "peaks too early", and the impact of osama's death is diffused by november of '12; that said, the ability of the rs to get crazier and crazier is not to be ignored, and they could actually keep pushing the "kill medicare" issue in a way that helps progressives more than osama's death ever could.

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:21:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As I posted today on Huffington Post, (3+ / 0-)

    Everyone needs to go to www.house.­gov and www.senate.gov, look up you local representa­tive and senators and tell them, via their web contact form:

    I am one of your constituen­ts and I agree that spending needs to be reduced in order to reduce the Federal deficiet however, UNTIL THE SUBSIDIES TO BIG OIL HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED­, THERE CAN BE NO CUTS TO SOCIAL SPENDING!

    Cut and paste the above paragraph and let them know where their constituen­ts stand! DO IT NOW!

    I did!

    He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it. - Confucius

    by TimRivers on Tue May 10, 2011 at 05:18:06 PM PDT

    •  be careful with this one: (0+ / 0-)

      you don't want to create a situation where the republican leadership says "ok, we'll support cutting that $4 billion a year subsidy...now let's get on to gutting medicare..."

      better to suggest that even if you're cutting these subsidies, that it's no license to gut programs that matter just for the sake of the gutting.

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:08:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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