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Digby as usual, has a great post on Obama's continued signaling that he's willing to make significant cuts to a range US middle-class oriented programs.  (Off course programs for the poor are also included in that, but to president's -- and Democrats in general's -- credit they no longer try to pretend that there are significant savings to be had there after the long years of neglect and retrenchment.)  She's kept an eye on this thread that runs through this administration from the very beginning: of wanting to chart a new course by bringing America's finances into revenue balance by reigning in and cutting government services and rationalizing tax polices, and their frustration, sometimes emotional, at how much political capital they had to spend twisting Democrats arms, only to rebuffed and sometimes treacherously double-crossed by Republican bad faith in its negotiations.

She's outraged by the Obama's baldly stated willingness to throw his supporters under the bus especially of such a statement being made at this late date with all that's transpired over the last four years..  

I think many find this particularly irritating, as, even with progressives great disappointments in many of his policies, they have pulled out the stops in their election support of his reelection. We struck me her post, however was the following:

Now one could chalk all this up to election year rhetoric, in which he's just trying to position Romney as a nut and himself in the middle, except for the history of the past three and a half years in which he has said over and over again that he really wants to do this.
Perhaps sadly, I'm willing to swallow pretty much swallow anything the President's campaign says provided it gets him elected (over the unthinkable Romney ticket).  What mystifies me about this is that there is campaign logic behind it.  Nobody cares whether what the deficit is now and especially not what it'll be in 20 years.  Certainly no one cares about about Social-Security except that it be left alone.  From  a strategic campaign perspective, Obama does not need to position himself as moderate and combat the Republican rhetoric of his radicalism, he's been in office four years.  Nobody whose opinion can be swayed (either fact or rhetoric) can doubt Obama's moderateness.  

His campaign should should have two objectives, one is the turnout his own supporters and the second to peel off a thin filament of the tiny numbers of undecided voters.  For the most part his campaign has done an excellent job of executing on those two objectives, particularly his scaremongering (with some justification) of Romney's likely economic policies, and political character, and highlighting the way that government programs under Obama will deliverer significantly more services to Americans that Romney's. (again, a rather easy case to make)

Trying to appear equivocating on Social security gives Obama no electoral advantage.  It steps on his message of delivering government service and of of the dangerous radicalism of Romney's domestic policy.   And complaining about the meanness of congressional Democrats, and presumably liberal blogger,  in a fit of Remney-esque whining

So, Obama's no progressive and wants to go down in the history books as the great uniter who rose above left and right-wing partisan bickering and charted a new course for America's political life -- fine.  I personally think that that notion is absurd and not to mention incredibly harmful to most Americans.  But why can't he avoid spouting suc self-delusional grandiosity (and really what else do you call his notion of forming a collaborative relationship with Republicans, especially of four years of being in office.) until after the election?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina

    Δε φοβάμαι τίποτα.

    by Porphyreos on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 02:05:55 PM PDT

  •  Did you read the speech referenced? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, eztempo, ParkRanger

    There are a few references to a willingness to compromise, and lots of hits on the Romney/Ryan platform, and affirmations of support for lower-income Americans.

    I agree that Obama's moved to a centrist position, but he has and continues to show strong support for progressive ideals. I really don't see any instance of the "self-delusional grandiosity" you mention in this speech.

    I'm sure that we both would prefer a candidate who was campaigning aggressively on progressive ideals, but I don't see any grounds for an "Obama is a craven betrayer of the left" meme, nor any political value.

    I don't think that your perspective aligns well with current political reality. Obama 2012 is the best way to build strength into the progressive movement in the future.

    •  about the article referenced (0+ / 0-)

      My point wasn't that Obama shouldn't move to center, or even that his interview on the whole was a bad one.  I think actually in many respects it was quite good.  My point is that his specific rhetoric about being willing to cut, what can only be construed as the constellation of programs around Medicare, Medicaid, and Social security (it's obvious he wasn't talking about the military spending for example) does more harm than good from the narrow view of campaign rhetoric, which is to say that it's bad policy and bad politics.  

      As for the delusional comment, the idea that he can compromise with Republicans is delusional.  At this point he may not even believe it any more (though it's clear when he started his presidency he did) and it might very well be merely campaign rhetoric which could even have been effective  (this isn't a plea for red meat to be tossed progressives way) if he hadn't followed them up with his comments about wanting to make cuts and being held back by his own party.

      Δε φοβάμαι τίποτα.

      by Porphyreos on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 05:09:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm still not sure we read the same speech (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ParkRanger
        Mitt Romney is proposing a $5 trillion tax cut that disproportionately goes to the wealthiest Americans. And he will pay for that by gutting investments in things like education, infrastructure, basic science and research, voucherizing Medicare — all to provide an average of $250,000 worth of tax breaks to people making $3 million a year or more.

        And when you combine that with rolling back regulations that we put in place for reining in Wall Street, making sure we don't go through the same kind of financial crisis we went through, when you look at Gov. Romney's proposal to roll back the Affordable Care Act — which would actually mean millions of young people would no longer have coverage who now do because they can stay on their parent's plan, or seniors having to pay more for their prescription drugs — they're going to be pretty skeptical of that argument.

        And what we're going to be offering — and have been offering — is a path forward that says balanced deficit-reduction, smart cuts in government programs that we can no longer afford, making sure that we're eliminating waste and fraud in programs like Medicare, but still making sure that we've got our investments in education, our investments in science and technology, investments in clean energy research, asking folks like me — people who are in the top 1 or 2 percent — making sure that they're paying a little bit more for a balanced deficit reduction plan but also a plan to ensure that our economy grows and that we're building our middle class.

        Let's be very concrete about a problem we all agree needs to be resolved and that is the deficit and debt. Now, this didn't happen overnight. It happened because we had tax cuts that weren't paid for, two wars fought on a credit card and then a massive economic crisis.

        What I've said is, let's reduce our deficit and debt in a balanced, sensible way. Let's make sure that 98 percent of families, folks making $250,000 a year or less, aren't seeing their taxes — their income taxes go up a single dime next year. And I've said to the Republicans, I'm ready to sign that bill tomorrow.

        Gov. Romney's approach is to cut taxes $5 trillion, but because so much of the benefit goes to wealthy individuals, independent analysts say that's going to cost middle-class families an extra $2,000 in tax burden. So you've got a very clear choice for that voter — I've got somebody who's willing to keep my taxes low at the same time as he's able to help me afford sending my kid to college, and is going to continue to invest in things like advanced manufacturing, and change the tax code so we're not giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas but instead give those tax breaks to companies that are building in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh and throughout the United States.

        Obama: Well, look, there are some proposals that they put forward that we're not going to compromise on because I believe it would be bad for the country and bad for middle-class families.

        I don't think it would be a good idea to pursue an approach that voucherizes Medicare and raises taxes on middle-class families to give wealthy individuals a tax break. So if that's the mandate that Republicans receive, then there's still going to be some serious arguments here in Washington.

        But what I'm offering the American people is a balanced approach that the majority agrees with, including a lot of Republicans. And for me to be able to say to the Republicans, the election is over; you no longer need to be focused on trying to beat me; what you need to be focused on and what you should have been focused on from the start is how do we advance the American economy — I'm prepared to make a whole range of compromises, some of which I get criticized from the Democratic Party on, in order to make progress. But we're going to need compromise on your side as well. And the days of viewing compromise as a dirty word need to be over because the American people are tired of it.

        •  Not to get to bogged down... (0+ / 0-)

          ... since it's clear that we have a difference of opinion.  But your questions about the article is fair, since I didn't actually provide the quote that I (and Digby) took exception to

          But what I'm offering the American people is a balanced approach that the majority agrees with, including a lot of Republicans. And for me to be able to say to the Republicans, the election is over; you no longer need to be focused on trying to beat me; what you need to be focused on and what you should have been focused on from the start is how do we advance the American economy — I'm prepared to make a whole range of compromises, some of which I get criticized from the Democratic Party on, in order to make progress. But we're going to need compromise on your side as well. And the days of viewing compromise as a dirty word need to be over because the American people are tired of it.
          These compromises are clearly the cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and SS that he referred to earlier in the interview.
          And what we're going to be offering — and have been offering — is a path forward that says balanced deficit-reduction, smart cuts in government programs that we can no longer afford, making sure that we're eliminating waste and fraud in programs like Medicare, but still making sure that we've got our investments in education, our investments in science and technology, investments in clean energy research, asking folks like me — people who are in the top 1 or 2 percent — making sure that they're paying a little bit more for a balanced deficit reduction plan but also a plan to ensure that our economy grows and that we're building our middle class.
           

          My problem (repeating myself, I know) is not that the above is not true ( though I believe that it's not) it's that no one wants this.  Romney is claiming exactly the same thing as the above: he is not 'cutting' those services he's making them affordable so we don't have to cut them.  No one believes that the US can't afford SS, and no one believes these aren't cuts to it.  Instead of making it clear that he won't support cuts of any kind, which would actually be popular, he builds an argument on the premise that cuts are necessary and his are more sensible than Romney's.  An argument that even if he wins, has no constituency.

          Δε φοβάμαι τίποτα.

          by Porphyreos on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 07:02:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe this wasn't intended, but (0+ / 0-)

            despite your regular insults/condemnations of Romney and Republicans, I keep getting whiffs of what comes across as concern trolling. For someone who wants Obama to win, you have a funny way of showing it - false equivalencies between the Obama and Romney platforms, "Obama is betraying the left" memes, references to Obama "complaining about the meanness of congressional Democrats, and presumably liberal blogger,  in a fit of Remney-esque whining" and "spouting suc(h) self-delusional grandiosity".

            It's as maybe that you just fundamentally disagree with the viability of Obama taking the center, but obviously incorrect claims like "No one believes that the US can't afford SS" and "Nobody cares whether what the deficit is now and especially not what it'll be in 20 years." suggests that you're either not following the political conversation very closely, or are espousing an inaccurate view.

            At this point, a swing left by Obama concedes the center to Romney, and undermines the political narrative that he's committed to for the last 4 years. That would fire up both bases, likely to no net gain, inflict significant political damage on Obama as a flipflopper, and likely lose the influential currently undecided vote (which is expected to have significant impact on the election) sitting in the center.

            Maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but isn't giving Obama a strong win in 2012 and supporting progressive down-race Dems the best way to ensure adequate protection of SS? How does sniping Obama from the left help achieve that?

  •  The campaign logic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, eztempo

    ...is his willingness to deal on core Republican issues and the failure of this to produce negotiations.  The meme is "obstructionist Republican Congress".  And it has a moderate amount of traction with some independents who claim they want to see less rancor and more bipartisanship.

    But have your folks organized and ready to go if after the election a lame duck session takes up any of these proposals from Simpson-Bowles.  Popular outcry will have to stop any lame duck session dead in its tracks.

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

    by TarheelDem on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 03:49:17 PM PDT

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