The Sellout Ahead
On this blog four months ago, I predicted that Obama's tax giveaway deal with the GOP would come back to haunt him. Obama was so fixated on abandoning his congressional Democratic allies to look like a presidential dealmaker that he failed to secure an agreement at that time with a more favorable Congress that also took care of the debt ceiling approval. Now, after cutting another deal this week that had still-unknown giveaways on dozens of policy riders unconnected to the actual budget issues at hand, Obama must confront a borderline irrational GOP House on the debt ceiling.
It's bad enough that the House GOP now wants those same policy riders as a precondition to approving an increase in the debt ceiling. It's bad enough that the House GOP wants Paul Ryan's budget plan approved as a precondition to approving an increase in the debt ceiling. But now we see Obama message master David Plouffe tell the news shows this morning that Obama will offer up his own set of entitlement cuts this week in response to the GOP narrative.
Sure, Plouffe said all the right things this morning:
Plouffe indicated that Obama would address finding savings in Medicare and Medicaid, but would not endorse many of the proposals in the long-term deficit reduction plan offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Plouffle also indicated that Obama would propose rescinding the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy as part of his deficit reduction plan.
“For upper income Americans he does believe that they need to contribute to deficit reduction in this country,” Plouffe said on Fox News Sunday.
But Plouffe is a windowvane into Obama's thinking, and is the message man. And the meme expressed by Plouffe is rather weak tea, given that the other side has started with their opening position, a position that involves:
1. Gutting the EPA to please Big Oil and Big Coal;
2. Waging war on women's health over 3% of Planned Parenthood's operations;
3. Rescinding health care reform to add 38 million uninsured in 2014;
4. Transferring health care costs onto the backs of the elderly, poor, and the disabled;
5. Consigning tens of millions into poverty, just to
6. Give the rich and corporations a free ride.
Basically, the GOP's opening position, as expressed by Ryan, is to win a class war against the lower 99% in this country. And yet the best Plouffe can do in laying out Obama's opening position is this message about finding savings in Medicare and Medicaid, and to say that Obama will "propose" rescinding the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy. Is it really that hard to start stating your opening position with a little more conviction and clarity about the class warfare represented by the Ryan plan and the Tea Party demands, or is Plouffe giving us an early indication that Obama will toss people aside to get a deal?
Knowing how Obama negotiates, does anyone really have any confidence that Obama will start out strong, or will he do as expected and start out in the middle and negotiate rightward? I think we know the answer, and we should all be very afraid.
The GOP is espousing a social policy that rations health care based on income. Simply put, it goes like this:
The rich get all they want, and everyone else dies early.
But Obama and Plouffe don't have the guts to come out and say the obvious, or to tie into the growing feeling in this country that the GOP version of capitalism is failing, and that we're already a "have/have-not" society. All Obama cares about now is getting reelected; speaking the truth isn't on the agenda because it may offend people and undermine Plouffe's message that Obama is above politics and ready to compromise.
There will be millions of casualties along the way to 2012, and only some of them will the responsibility of the GOP. A president running for reelection who values compromise with scoundrels more than fighting for principle is the worst thing possible for a dissolving middle class.