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  The below is a piece I wrote in March 2009, reproduced almost in its entirety, entitled "Did Obama lay bare his agenda to David Brooks?"  I have considered republishing it for many months, but withheld doing so because the evidence was not unequivocal.  In his press conference yesterday, however, Barack Obama crossed the Rubicon, making it clear that he supports cuts to Social Security and Medicare.  Was it abysmally poor negotiation, or did Obama create the political environment to obtain the exact result he always wanted?  By the time you finish reading the below, you will understand exactly why I have republished this, because the answer becomes clear.

Here it is:  Did Obama lay bare his agenda to David Brooks?

     Over at Open Left, diarist Frankly0 appears to have uncovered political dynamite.  S/he makes a strong circumstantial case that President Obama himself was one of "4 senior Adminstration officials" who visited David Brooks at the beginning of this month after he had written an article harshly critical of Obama's budget.
     If Frankly0 is correct, then the agenda David Brooks relayed in his next column has to be regarded as coming from Obama himself.  And that economic agenda is, I submit, explosive.

Did Obama lay bare his agenda to David Brooks? [continued]:

  ....    H/t to FranklyO who says, "A rather remarkable, and accidental tidbit [is] found in the Newsweek Krugman article:" February, after Krugman's fellow Times op-ed columnist David Brooks wrote a critical column accusing Obama of overreaching, Brooks, a moderate Republican, was cajoled by three different aides and by the president himself, who just happened to drop by.
Now I have to believe that the February date mentioned here is not correct. Almost certainly, the "critical column" that is being referred to is this one, which came out Mar 3.

This is partly because it was by far the most critical that Brooks had written about Obama to that date, and certainly is accurately described as complaining about Obama overreaching in his budget. But it is also, almost certainly, the column intended because Brooks very next column, here, is devoted to the pushback Brooks received from the Obama administration over his previous column -- pushback, according to Brooks, from "four senior members of the [Obama] administration".

Could it possibly be a coincidence that there were four senior members described in that column, and that the Newsweek article mentions three senior members and Obama himself? Not, I think, in the actual universe.
Obama's being among these four officials ... is remarkable because it makes it nigh impossible to assert that the Center-Right point of view ascribed to Obama in that column could be a serious misrepresentation of Obama's true views.

     I think Frankly0 makes a persuasive case that Obama himself visited Brooks.   If so, that makes Brooks' column relaying those remarks all the more explosive:

On Tuesday, I wrote that the Obama budget is a liberal, big government document that should make moderates nervous....  Within a day, I had conversations with four senior members of the administration and in the interest of fairness, I thought I’d share their arguments with you today.

In the first place, they do not see themselves as a group of liberal crusaders..... They’re not engaged in an ideological project to overturn the Reagan Revolution....

Second, ...
The White House has produced a chart showing nondefense discretionary spending as a share of G.D.P. That’s spending for education, welfare and all the stuff that Democrats love. .... The White House claims that it is going to reduce this spending to 3.1 percent by 2019, lower than at any time in any recent Republican administration. I was invited to hang this chart on my wall and judge them by how well they meet these targets. (I have.)

Third, they say, ... [t]he Medicare reform represents a big cut in entitlement spending. It amounts to means-testing the system. It introduces more competition and cuts corporate welfare. These are all Republican ideas.

Fourth, the White House claims the budget will not produce a sea of red ink.....  He is extremely committed to entitlement reform and is plotting politically feasible ways to reduce Social Security
as well as health spending....

As I have said above, I believe that Frankly0 makes an excellent circumstantial caee that the representations above can be attributed directly to President Obama himself.


 Digby has stated the obvious as to the debt ceiling talks:

Who knows what the final deal will be? But keep in mind that whatever it is, it's a deal that both sides wanted. After all, there's nothing on the books or in the constitution that says there needs to be a deal at all. All they ever had to do is vote to raise the debt ceiling. And the leadership on both sides has said repeatedly that that will be done.

And, via Big Tent Democrat a/k/a Armando, we learn from Kevin Drum that:

I think it's now finally time to stop pretending that Obama has miscalculated, or blundered, or been out-negotiated, or somehow forced into a bad position. Rather, everything he's done for at least the past six months is consistent with the idea that he considers the long-term deficit a problem, he wants to address it, and he views the debt ceiling talks as an ideal opportunity to do so with bipartisan cover. Obama isn't doing this because he has to. He's doing it because he wants to.

In the two years since the piece republished above, Obama convened an "entitlements summit" featuring the Peterson foundation, supported a mandatory Entitlements Commission under Conrad-Gregg, when that bill failed to pass appointed his own "catfood commission," and when that failed to come up with the requisite agreement, he nevertheless adopted the recommendations of co-chairs Simpson and Bowles, and yesterday he finally declared that "tough votes" must be taken on Social Security and Medicare.

I submit that  it is now beyond reasonable dispute that Obama himself did visit David Brooks in March 2009 and told him that "He [Obama] "is extremely committed to entitlement reform and is plotting politically feasible ways to reduce Social Security as well as health spending," and that is exactly what he has done.  Turning what should have been a perfunctory debt ceiling vote, taken last year, into the drama of a "Grand Bargain" has given Obama the "politically feasible" cover he needed to do what he intended to do all along.

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Comment Preferences

    •  The "Change" he sold us is not the change I (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wblynch, Bluefin, Johnny Q

      believe in.
      I'm 65, been a Dem all my life, even supported Clinton despite NAFTA.

      But this is too much. It strikes at the core values of the Democratic Party and is a betrayal of everyone who voted for him.

      I will not vote for him in 2012. I hope that he will face primary challenge.......

      How many millions of voters can you be publicly willing to throw under the bus and still be electable? Cat food anyone?

      by hideinplainsight on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 08:07:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Don't Know If Obama Himself (6+ / 0-)

    Gave the message to David Brooks.

    But this all does make sense to me.

    I suspected that cutting Social Security was one of his goals during the primaries.  He might actually be able to do it if he can convince Pelosi and others in Congress that a change to the way that cost-of-living adjustments are calculated won't be perceived as a benefits cuts.

    OBAMA 2012!

    Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

    by bink on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 04:05:33 AM PDT

    •  If that is the case it is time for him to be voted (8+ / 0-)

      out of office.

      •  I certainly oppose Obama's politics (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP, hideinplainsight

        but what do you mean by voting him out of office? Do you mean voting for Bachman or Romney or any of the other sleaze bags that are running in the Republican primaries? Not that I don't think there is a scenario that could somehow makes sense I just wonder what it is from your POV.

        •  Right now I's say writing someone like Bernie (5+ / 0-)

          Sanders or note punching the top of the ballot are a far better alternative then reelecting the incumbent.

          Would the democratic congress have voted to
          extend the expiring Bush tax in 2010 if a republican President fwas leading the charge like President Obama did?  Would we have congressional democrats entertaining the though of voting for cuts to social security or medicare if a republican was at the helm.

          The Republicans are in the drivers seat with this guy in office.

          •  So then you believe by giving the Republicans (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TomP, wader, second gen

            the White House you could reform the Democratic Party into reflecting more progressives views? That's a logical scenario and certainly worth thinking about. On the other hand, the American people don't like progressive politics, as far as I can tell.

            •  Says who? (5+ / 0-)

              In poll after poll after poll (e.g. single payer, ending the wars, etc.) the American people are progressive. The center/right country concept is a figment of the corporate media imagination.

              •  I don't agree (0+ / 0-)

                Everyone loves Santa Claus but when push comes to shove Americans would push their own children down the toilet to keep their narcissitice fantasy lives going. I have no trust at all of polls--people answer based on some notions they have of what is right and good. But when they are in real life they don't act that way--I learned this on the street from some great hoodlums who knew how to read people. It's lovely to be good but most Americans like being bad and like being wasteful and pretend they aren't to avoid cognitive dissonance.

                If what you say is true then why do people seldom vote for progressive candidates except in the enclaves of the left? Progressives make up about 15% of the population and this has been historically consistent over some time.

                There are two big differences between today's political situation and the past: 1) the left has dropped out of hard-nosed politics; and 2) as a result the right felt permission to go into sheer lunacy and a weird destructive form of authoritarian anarchism. In the past there were statesmen on all sides, right, left and center--these figures are largely absent today. The reason for that is the growing madness in the body-politic.

                •  Fair enough (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  banger, rick

                  But, I believe that the reason why people seldom vote for progressive candidates is because most people who would (i.e. poor people) simply do not vote and have checked out of the political process altogether because they do not feel represented by either party.

                  •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

                    There was a time, and I knew some of the organizers, when not just the poor but welfare recipients were organizing (in the late sixties). Now, nothing, no organizing, very little union activity--what happened? I believe it to be the growth of the culture of naricissism which is a complex subject that I've seen unfold before my eyes, tragically.

                    •  That may be true (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Bluefin, banger

                      But it is also by the constant and relentless anti-union agenda of both parties, as well as the propaganda of the corporate media which pits people against people in order to divide and conquer them. This is why people feel atomized, disconnected and with nothing but religion and guns to turn to. We need a new progressive grassroots organizing force. We need our own Tahrir Square:

                      •  I understand what you are saying (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        But, the system feeds people lies they want to hear.

                        It's one of those chicken and egg things. Did the relentless focus on anti-unionism since Roosevelt by the Chambers of Commerce and the Wall Street Agency (CIA) "cause" people to move away from unions or was it the failure of the union movement to nurture community, class-struggle, and cohesion in favor of "every man a king" mentality?

                        It has been the American denial of collectivism that has destroyed the left--by collectivism I don't mean stupid sheep doing as they're told but the recognition (now with solid scientific evidence) that people are happiest when they affiliate, cooperate and work, to some extent, selflessly.

                        I agree about the organizing a grassroots movement but my sense of people on the left is that they don't want to do that. I've been pushing that for years and my sense, on the blogosphere and elsewhere, is that they'd rather complain than change their lives in a radical way. Any movement in progressive politics would demand a radical alteration in the way we live. I know no more than a handful of people willing to do that and it is towards those people that I'm moving.

                        •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                          While I don't have data at hand, it would be easy to do a comparative study: do workers from countries which promote collective bargaining and general popular solidarity fare better than those in the US? I would guess the answer to be yes. Look at Europe, for example. When governments support the rights of workers, people fare better and are better equipped at pushing back should wealthy people try to take back their rights and benefits (see Greece, for example).

                          On the other hand, people have fought tooth and nails for their rights in this country as well (e.g. the civil rights movement), so it can be done again. But you are right, many people will have to give up their privileged life in order to create change. I hope it will happen sooner than later, since there is no question in my mind that we will soon see riots and the likes if nothing changes at the political/economic level. The task is to channel the discontent before it erupts in violent and unproductive ways.

            •  He may become toxic enough to invite a primary (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bluefin, politicjock


              How many millions of voters can you be publicly willing to throw under the bus and still be electable? Cat food anyone?

              by hideinplainsight on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 08:09:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think so... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                hideinplainsight, northsylvania

                Most Democratic leaning voters, including me, believe that Obama is slowing the rapid descent into neo-feudalism and buying time for us to make preparations. I think he's doing the best he can under the current circumstances when the oligarchs control almost everything in this country--neo-feudalism will be the central fact of our lives in the next two decades--better prepare. People aren't ready for fighting in the streets just yet and a Republican take-over may very well bring just that, but I could be wrong and hope I'm wrong.

                Just a few months ago I thought a primary was a good idea but I've changed my mind. I think the right has become so lunatic that I want to hold it off for a little while still to have time to re-organize my life. Without an organized and radical left there is no hope of any reform of any kind and I don't see the left or the progressive movement as capable of any concerted political action.

  •  Obama's policy at least makes sense... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, wader, Sandino, DianeNYS

    What I mean is that he's legitimately reacting to what he thinks is the political situation in the country. Americans, despite polls (I am very skeptical of polls of Americans who are contradictory and militantly misinformed), aren't interested in the commons or in a Constitutional Republic with Democratic institutions. Everything I see tells me that what they want is and orderly system that just keeps things going. If it means cuts in domestic spending, declining infrastructure, environmental degradation, imperial wars then as long as the cable channels keep going, sports keep being played and porno sites still available most people are happy.

    I shouldn't even have to say this. Any perusal of the condition of this culture has to make you exceedingly pessimistic for the future. We will live in some variant of either an authoritarian regime, more likely, a neo-feudal one (seems to be what the Republicans want).

    In addition, as should be obvious, an oligarch class has emerged who also does not care in the least about the welfare of the people (why should they if the people themselves don't seem to care) who, thanks to the promotion and acceptance of fear and cowardice (GWOT etc.), have been given nearly unlimited control over our political and economic system. Where is there room for decency, virtue, caring for others, justice, reason, science?

    Obama look at the landscape and is doing the best he can to keep things from degenerating into chaos--if he can do that then he has done a great job as President.

  •  IMO, the goal of the past 30 plus years has not (8+ / 0-)

    been to shrink what govt spends but rather to grow it and redirect where those revenue streams flow to. Corporations use their politicians on both sides of the aisle, to introduce, approve, then build these social-economic dams. Social security is just one of the larger,  virtually untaped streams. Eventually, it will be completely privatized not because the republicans wanted it to be or that the democrats failed to protect it but rather, the Corporations needed it to be, to feed their growth.

    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." - President Merkin Muffley

    by Farkletoo on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 04:42:00 AM PDT

  •  "That's Where The Money Is" (7+ / 0-)

    Ryan Grim wrote a column on 12/3/09 entitled "Bernanke Channels Willie Sutton in Assault on Social Security:  "That's Where the Money Is"

    The opening paragraphs say it all.

         "Ben Bernanke has overseen the greatest expansion of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet in its history, pouring trillions of dollars into Wall Street firms at roughly zero interest rates.

    His generosity, however, has a limit.

    In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee today, where he's seeking re-appointment as the Fed's chairman, Bernanke called for cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security even as unemployment rises and the middle class is endangered.

    Citing legendary bank robber Willie Sutton, Bernanke said of the retirement and health care funds that are the legacy of the New Deal: "That's where the money is."

    Go read it for yourself.  If we had been paying attention, we could understand Obama's plan via Bernanke and Guitner - his selection, his people.

    Obama intends to do what George Bush could not do - destroy Medicare and SS because that is where the money is.  Bernanke wants it in the stock market.

  •  Where to start? (6+ / 0-)

    First of all, Brooks is a known self-inflating liar who has taken more of a liking to Obama than his rightwing buddies, allowing him to self-describe as the "conservative liberals like to read".

    Second, and most obvious, as convoluted as strategy has gotten  in DC, it is a huge mistake to assert what anybody wants there except to be re-elected.  That applies to Obama.  Cutting Social Security doesn't get him re-elected; cutting health care costs, including those in the federal budget does.

    Third, the long term debt is a serious problem.  The operative term there is "long-term".  So you have a ten-year horizon.  What hasn't been disclosed is how cuts will be phased in that horizon.  I bet the end result kicks the can down the road in spite of Obama's determination not to.

    Fourth, dealing with long-term debt in a responsible way in the midst of a recession earns Obama and Democrats fiscal chops and isolates the GOP politically.  Much as dealing with the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan in a responsible way isolates the GOP from the framing of "pussy Democrats".  Killing Osama bin Laden triggered this public reassessment of Obama.

    Fifth, we started down this deficit-reduction path because Kent Conrad and Max Baucus got scared of their re-election prospects after the ARRA was passed and held health care reform hostage for a deficit commission and for along with Evan Bayh who was about killing the public option.  And after the 2010 shellacking, the Congressional Democrats drew the wrong conclusion.  Obama's practice of "leading from behind" means that he often says what posturing Democratic members of Congress are afraid to say.

    Sixth, politically Obama wins this battle no matter how it turns out.   If he caves to get a new debt ceiling, Social Security recipients know that it was the Republicans who were out to kill Social Security.  If the Congress blows by the debt ceiling, he has the freedom to cut whereever he deems fit.  Defer whereever he deems fit.  And all military spending but VA is discretionary.  If this happens, watch what he does.

    Seventh, the election is not for another 15 months.  And the FY 2012 budget starts October 1 of this year.  Obama's bottom line is that there be no further hostage taking maneuvers before the 2012 election.  This is non-negotiable on the part of Republicans.  They cannot give up their most "awesome" tactic.  If Obama caves on this bottom line, you can talk about him as weak or doing what he wants to do.  I don't think he will cave on kicking the can beyond the 2012 election.

    The $4 trillion (over 10 years) grand bargain was an offer he knew the Republicans would refuse because it required them to sacrifice big oil, ethanol farmers, and corporate CEOs.  The Republicans have framed all of these as "increasing taxes".  The public understands that they are closing loopholes.  Republicans have already lost this point; people know who they defend and who they don't.

    Breaking the stranglehold of the GOP on power in Congress (and state legislatures) is a war.  If the 2010 election was Dunkirk, this is D-Day and the battle still is going  on.  Tell me in October what you think Obama wants.  I think that we will have a better fix by then.

    BTW, IMO the best thing that could happen is blowing by the August 2 debt ceiling deadline and coming face to face with section 4 of the 14th amendment, which isn't a blank check or a "home free".  What it does is takes Congress out of the mix for the duration of the "crisis".

    And contrary to Josh Marshall, holding up Social Security payments or cutting them by half is not where the first cuts should be.  He forgets the $3 trillion of that $14 trillion (an thus a quarter of the interest payments) go to the Social Security Trust Fund (which is solvent and can handle a temporary deferral of payment of interest.  And that the Trust Fund is capable of handling all current Social Security payments.  My preference would be to cancel and defer a whole bunch of military contracts that are essentially items earmarked by Republican members of Congress that DoD neither wants nor needs.  Hit the GOP jobs and welfare programs first and let them scream about not spending.

    SOoooo, fasten your seat belts.  The next three months are going to be some of the most interesting times we've seen in American politics.

    And once again. Brooks is a liar.  And a propagandist.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 05:21:36 AM PDT

    •  Amazing isn't it that brooks is considered (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a very serious  person when it suits the progressives ?

      One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
      Call the media when they Lie

      by amk for obama on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 05:42:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "Progressives"? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, slinkerwink, mint julep, Johnny Q

        You say that as if it were a bad word.

        CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

        by TomP on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 05:46:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are progressives and then there are (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, wader

          'progressives', Tom.

          One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
          Call the media when they Lie

          by amk for obama on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 05:48:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Take care. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            amk for obama, wader, Floande, Johnny Q

            A lot of this is how one looks at it.  Someone who believes the defict is a big threat to even progressive change, as apparently Obama does, could agree with this analysis and say, "good."

            Another might agree with this analysis, but say "bad outcome."

            The best deal on the deficit now is no deal.  If one does not want these cuts, we need to elect a Democratic Congress.  

            CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

            by TomP on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 05:52:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am not a deficit hawk myself but the repubs (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              are now holding a nation and the rest of the world to ransom on this issue. With dice loaded against him both in congress and the senate (amazing that I don't see any of the senate critters pounding the podium on this), Obama has gotta do what he has gotta do. I don't think he is stupid enough to sell the middle class down the river and I love the way he has cornered boner & co.

              One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
              Call the media when they Lie

              by amk for obama on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 06:05:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Debt is anti-progressive (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ...because it is a long-term transfer of funds from ordinary taxpayers to the folks who can afford to buy T-bills.  That's the top 2% of individual incomes, corporations, and foreign governments.

              Long-term deficits add to the debt.

              Any stimulative plan needs to run deficits but the deficits of the last ten years of war, tax cuts, and deception have not been that stimulative.  As a consequence we have gone from $5 trillion in debt at the end of the Clinton administration to $14 trillion today.

              Which means the reverse dooH niboR effect will continue to be about $400 billion a year (or whatever that is compounded over ten years, over $4 trilllion for sure).

              That we create a plan for dealing with it now need not mean that deficits need to end abruptly now,  nor does it mean that everything must be cuts.  So creating a plan is a good thing.

              Also, making sure that debt ceiling negotiations don't occur again until after 2012 is a good thing.

              Better to have this fight now.

              But better to be ready to advocate for bubble-deflating tax increases when the economy starts roaring back in certain sectors but not generally.

              Progressives are fiscally responsible by advocating when to take the punchbowl away from the private sector before they get drunk again.

              50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

              by TarheelDem on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 07:16:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I've been hearing talk like this for way too long. (0+ / 0-)

      We need a good name for it.
      The "Friedman Unit" is taken, any suggestions?

      After reading this excellent diary by New Deal democrat, and all the ref's centered around the infamous Catfood Commission, I don't think I need to wait until October, just a week or two more and my mind will be made up.

      Tell me in October what you think Obama wants.  I think that we will have a better fix by then.

      "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

      by Bluefin on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 11:08:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you a mind reader? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Are you sure that Obama wants that or that folks like Kent Conrad and Max Baucus and others in Congress have been holding hostages since January 2009.

        Conrad thinks he can out-Republican any potential competition in North Dakota.  It was Conrad who pushed the Deficit Commission (which btw came to zero, zip conclusions).

        Yep, what happens Aug 2 will be one of the tells.  But where the GOP is strategically October 1, the start of FY2012 is the key benchmark.

        The Win the Future unit or WTF unit might be a good name.

        I really don't have to make my mind up until around November 1, 2012.

        You've been hearing talk like this for way too long because we don't how committed Obama is to the long war against the Republicans.  With emphasis on the words long and war.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 11:40:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the problem. (0+ / 0-)

          Nobody should even need to think something like that. Obama is not a "Leader", he is supposed to be; since he is not, we are screwed.
          And yes, it is a long war (and if Obama were a great leader, he would be serving some (R) 'long pig' on the WH menu).

          You've been hearing talk like this for way too long because we don't how committed Obama is to the long war against the Republicans.  With emphasis on the words long and war.

          "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

          by Bluefin on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 01:08:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Depends on what you think a leader is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And depends on how dictatorial you think the power of the President is.

            Patience.  We have until November 1, 2012 to decide what sort of leadership he provided.

            And I smell the barby heating up a little bit today.  McConnell and Cantor are flailing.  Chamber of Commerce and Moody's are saying a deal has to be done quickly; I'm not sure if that is pressuring the Pubs or the Dems, but the Pubs backed off a bit.

            And Obama on mainstream news tonight saying that if the Pubs push the economy over the cliff, he can't guarantee that Social Security checks will come out on time or VA and other pension checks come out at all.  It's time the public take seriously what's at stake.  They haven't been paying attention for three decades.  Maybe they'll wake up and realize that it's their Social Security and Medicare and not some mythiical other's that is on the line.

            We won't know about the long war until we see how the political discourse changes (or not) between now and the 2012 election.

            But put a little heat on Congress to serve some (R) long pig on the Senate and House dining room menus.

            50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

            by TarheelDem on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 05:42:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Well argued. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Floande, Geekesque, Bluefin

    We have a center and a right, but few representing the people.

    CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

    by TomP on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 05:46:14 AM PDT

  •  No One Could Have Foreseen.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluefin, Johnny Q

    Remember that line..

    Wait until they start saying it later this month..

  •  Obama is the best Republican president (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marty marty, Bluefin, Johnny Q

    this country has ever had. No Republican president would dare touch Social Security or Medicare because they would face fierce opposition by the Democrats. But a Democratic president was allowed to dismantle "welfare as we know it," and now another one is setting his eyes on Social Security and Medicare. At this point, the lesser of two evils rationale can no longer be rationally sustained. We need an opposition party to the corporate oligarchical duopoly.

  •  Its' really sad that we need Eric Cantor (0+ / 0-)

    to prevent him from slashing the New Deal out of existence.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 07:19:49 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I didn't see your diary the first time.  I did know about the Brooks piece and have linked to it numerous times.  Last September I confronted David Plouffe on Social Security and wrote about his response here.  I never saw the speculation that Obama was Official #4, but I believe it.  The selection of Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles, and Alice Rivlin to make recommendations about debt, as opposed to creating a jobs commission, speaks for itself.

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