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From the moment Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid both joined with President Obama, and all openly began sticking all of their necks way out on a Chained CPI being on the table, I have been waiting for the pushback to the blowback. What's the best defense of the move.

Well, there was some pushback to the blowback. Some. Kind of what I expected, too.

I must be getting too old for the internet, because I caught myself at the last minute. I did. Rather than get into a useless circlejerk of a flamewar or adding my angry two cents into some fucking endless and useless back and forth in the latest variation of our own Rox vs. Sux kabuki uselessness, I didn't post what I spent a good chunk of the last 24 hours working on. This the heart of that diary, devoid of all the venom, and fuck youism, and yeah, well, so's your mother shit. (And all those 'oh man, that's fucking funny' lines that are more about feeding your ego that feeding the take you are trying to put forward.) To be blunt, 2014 is too important to me.

This is the closest I will get get to bowing down to Civility and Civility Meta, which I hate.

Let me get this straight:

The best defense of the Democrats putting themselves in the position of being seen as the "Chained CPI Party" is... well, basically not to try. To make it all about loyalty. Purity. Unseriousness. To paint the objections as a matter of grandstanding. Or Obama Derangement Syndrome. The usual Rox vs. Sux business.

Moving forward.

Here's my irrational and unserious Unicorn Herding and Fairy Dust Harvester's Union jouneyman's concern about the direction we are headed in a simple, and very easy to understand form:

TV clicked on. CNN. Discovery Channel. History Channel. Local Stations. Channels 4. 8. 12. Ominous music. Dark voice-over. The pay-off line:

"We must stop the Obama/Democrat Party Social Security Cuts...."                            -The RNC is soley responsible for the content and funding of this advertising.
This is why you don't push for a Chained CPI. It's a benefits cut, for current retirees, and it is easily framed to low-information voters as such. Worse, it allows the GOP to do nothing, and brand themselves, perversely, as defending Social Security from the Democrats later on. You have to fuck up so royally to create an opportunity to do that on that grand a scale its hard to imagine anyone with two brain cells to rub together doing that to themselves on purpose. The party that wants to destroy the safety net getting to cast the party that created it as it's enemy. It will damage you in individual races, House and Senate, and your Democratic brand as well. 2014 is an off-year election with the Democrats very much on the defensive from the get-go. Without this headache. Without handing the GOP a gift that keeps on giving. An own-goal epic fail for the ages.

How do you, as somebody who has not been living in a cave since 1993-4, not see this coming in the run-up to November 2014 after what happened in 2010 on Medicare? What the GOP will do? Obvious. What the Village will do? Obvious.

What will the Democrats say to defuse this? Good luck.

Each and every time it comes up, it comes up as a Democratic Party policy. Which will evolve into the simple but deadly low-information voter friendly kiss of death that 'the Democrats want to cut your Social Security'.

I've voted for Democrats for my entire adult life. I've done GOTV for Democrats, given money to them, raised money for them, held signs for them, taken people to the polls for them. When I've been fortunate enough to have sick days as a benefit, I've worked sick to use my limited sick days for my party in the past.

I've never championed Rand Paul, or a third party, or called for people to stay home in protest on election day. I have never not voted, it's too important. I've been here, for years, saying that we can make Obama do things, as he asked, and we can do it in a way that doesn't rely on rightwing talking points, memes, and frames. That it is in our best interests to walk the line of both doing what is right and not going out of our way to do it in a way that unnecessarily harms the President or the Party. I'm not a better Democrat than any one else here, and I would never claim to be, but one thing I am not is a bad Democrat. Or an unrealistic Pollyanna. Somebody who hasn't had to live with his share of bad compromises and distasteful nose-holding moments at the polls and in policy fights because he opted out like a fool.

As somebody who cannot be scapegoated as a Naderite, a Paulite, a glibertarian, or a purity troll chasing a magic pony because anybody who has followed me in my going on ten years at this site knows that is pure bullshit.

How does it help Obama. Harry Reid. Nancy Pelosi. Any Democrat at all, actually, to put yourself up as the party on point for social safety net cuts, especially in these still hard times? With the slow recovery. With the nightmarish 2014 slog staring us all right in the face. With Citizen's United millions just simmering in the pot for a massive ratfucking campaign if one is foolishly handed to them on a silver platter. What is the hidden upside to being seen, by millions of people who have previously had complete faith that you were the party that walked a line for Social Security, because you created the program and you understand how valuable it is more than anyone does.

It doesn't. There's none. Bad policy. Bad politics. in a bad Democratic off-year cycle.

I'm baffled as to how anybody can see this as anything but profoundly self-injurious.

I'm betting that the GOP probably cannot believe their good fortune at the moment. They just need to let the Democrats talk. Talk about cutting Social Security. Talk about their Social Security cut policy over and over and over again until everybody sees it as their policy. Their deeply desired outcome. No bill necessary. No vote necessary. The Democrats are volunteering to make themselves the face of cutting the most popular and most effective social safety net program in American history. When you opponent is hanging himself, step back and watch him parse out the rope and fling it over the hanging branch.

The only reason that we don't have a Chained CPI already is for one reason and one reason only, because the GOP won't take 'yes' for an answer, not because they aren't on the table. Or because it is an incredibly stupid thing for Democrats to frame themselves as being the primary force seeking such a change in Social Safety Net policy right before a difficult off-year election where Democratic control of the US Senate is very much in doubt without the Social Security cuts debacle on their hands as their desired policy outcome.

But I'm supposed to give the Democratic leadership credit, as if they are doing something smart or saavy, because the GOP's extremism has not allowed the Democrats to fuck themselves. As if a bad outcome thwarted by the opposition party being nuts, is the same thing as the Democrats never having stupidly stumbled into this fucking tar pit in the first place. Like this is all good politics misunderstood. And it's wrong to want to pointedly speak out about this debacle, and excoriate the people who are doing the very stupid thing, or I'm hurting Obama, Reid, and Pelosi unfairly because, somehow, it's a bigger sin, blatantly unfair, to recognize that there is no upside to Democrats pushing the meme that they are the party of Social Security cuts, even if a deal never goes down, and there is no good outcome for the Democrats to go where they are going on the policy.

But don't worry. There won't be a deal! So, no harm no foul.

Nobody will ever remember in November that Democrats put Social Security on the table.

Other than the millions of dollars of ads from the Right, framing them as defending Social Security and casting the Democrats as the villains trying to cut it. Spin by the Village, say, PolitiFact and company as "Mostly True!".  

TV clicked on. CNN. Discovery Channel. History Channel. Local Stations. Channels 4. 8. 12. Ominous music. Dark voice-over(s).

"I opposed the Obama/Democrat Party/Pelosi/Reid Social Security Cuts".                   -American CrossRoads is responsible for the content of this ad.
"We have to stop the Democrat Party Social Security Cuts...."                -TeaPartyVictoryFund is responsible for the funding of this advertising.
"I fought the Obama Social Security Cuts, because what Obama and his Democrat Party cronies are doing is the wrong thing to do to America's seniors...."                -FreedomWorks is responsible for the funding of this advertising.
"I opposed the Democrat Party on cruel and unnecessary Social Security Cuts...."             -Citizen's United is responsible for the funding of this advertising.
I want you to imagine what it is going to be like to turn on your television and see and hear this, constantly, before a vital national off-year election where the Democratic Party, my party, is already facing an uphill climb because they are on the defensive in terms of defending Senate seats as it is, without the Chained CPI debate or Social Security cuts being seen as Democratic policy by a sea of low-information voters who hear this each and every day that you do too.

As obvous a turn of events, as obvious as what happened with Reid's handshake deal with McConnell on the filibuster.

If you can't be against the policy because you are fine with benefits cuts to Seniors, you should be against the policy because you are going to go into an already bad election cycle for Democrats having handed the GOP a simple easy meme to carpet bomb all Democrats with.

There was no reason for Social Security to be on the table at all.

So. Let's say there is no chance of a "Grand Bargain".

Fine. Okay.

That makes it even stupider to put your fingerprints on Chained CPI, not less. Worse.

The logical tactical pivot for the GOP there is to lie and say that the threat that Democrats pose to Social Security is ongoing, they didn't get to cut your benefits, but they will try again. Now, put us in to fight them coach! If anyone is under the impression that this is too fanciful to be bought by the public? "Keep Your Big Government Hands Off My Medicare!" Seniors turn out. Scared and angry seniors turn out by the score. That should erase any fantasy that the GOP can't pull this off. The GOP is going to sit back, let the Democrats talk Chained CPI until its in the public's mind that it's pure Democratic policy, and then, passed into law or in limbo because there is no "Grand Bargain" they are going to run on the Democrats putting Chained CPI on the table in 2014.

As if they are the party of Social Security, and they are going to frame the issue as the Democrats need to be turned out because the GOP is fighting their Social Security benefits cuts and their desire to cut the program.

This is why this nonsense has to stop, or we are in for a world of serious hurt.

I'm not an Obama hater, I'm worried about what actually happens to Barack Obama, a man I voted for twice, if this ill-conceived push helps to create an election cycle that goes from Republican favored to Republican wave election cycle. One where Senator Ted Cruz ends up having a very real and very dangerous US Senate Committee Chair, a gavel, an army of lawyers and investigators, and a stack of subpoenas for the administration. Listen to the man, and tell me you doubt he wouldn't be starting out with "Obama needs to be impeached, we just have to pick which reason why and go with it."

There is no Obama Derangement Syndrome, or irrational purity driven Democratic Party hatred, in not wanting to wake up one day to see a Republican Senate Majority handed to the GOP on a platter. Followed by Senator Ted Cruz pull a Tailgunner Joe act on live tv, gavel in hand, hammering away, while CNN gears up to cover Paul Ryan being selected as a House Impeachment Manager. If we lose the US Senate, we can expect the worst, and we can also expect the Village to grab its popcorn and play their part. This would be the most entertaining time of their lives since Clinton term two.

And entirely on own-goal epic fail that didn't have to happen.

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Originally posted to LeftHandedMan on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 01:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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