Friday :: Apr 15, 2011

Walking the Plank For 2012


by Deacon Blues

I’ve waited a couple of days after President Obama’s speech to see if he backtracked from any of his rhetoric before commenting. It’s a sad commentary, perhaps on me as well as Obama that I felt the need to wait and see if he really meant what he said on Wednesday, because I was pleasantly surprised at the tone and fire in his belly to push back against the GOP’s agenda, as encapsulated in the Ryan plan. To his credit, Obama hasn’t waffled since, and I feel much more optimistic that the White House recognizes that they just won reelection thanks to Paul Ryan.

They may also have set the stage for recapturing the House, with the recent mind-numbing stupidity from John Boehner, first in saying that any increase in taxes is a nonstarter, and then today making almost the entire House GOP caucus walk the plank with a recorded vote supporting the Ryan plan as proposed. In so doing, Boehner and almost the entire House GOP have now gone on record as:
•Advocating for the privatizing of Medicare and impoverishing seniors while enriching HMOs;
•Advocating clearly for a two-tier health system and rationing based on income;
•Placing tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations ahead of deficit reduction.
Through Ryan and Boehner, Democrats have been handed their 2012 platform, and can dare Republicans to explain their vote today and defend the Ryan plan in every race across the country.

Senate and House GOP candidates, as well as the GOP presidential candidates should be forced to defend and support the Ryan plan, which is a no-win for them. If they support it, they’ll lose seniors and the independents, who are turning against the plan the more they know about it. If they try and distance themselves from it, it’ll cause schisms within the GOP.

Obama has managed to put himself and the Democrats in a pretty good position for 2012. He can tell the country that he’ll refuse to be extorted into a debt ceiling deal that requires more tax cuts or breaks for the wealthy and corporations. He can tell the country that he demands sacrifice from those who have benefited the most over the last ten years, and insists that tax giveaways be scrapped as well, since they constitute one of the largest drains on the treasury and causes of deficit spending. When the GOP fights these, Obama can portray their opposition as directed by K Street lobbyists, representing the same interests who got us into this mess.

Some of you may think that the House vote today won't hurt the GOP, given their base. But remember that the GOP won dozens of seats and several Senate seats last year in "purple" districts or states that went for Obama in 2008, in races that focused on jobs and not right wing Tea Party fanaticism. With a vote today by the GOP House that shows their true colors, and demonstrates that last year was a large-scale con job, Democrats can compete to recapture those seats by focusing on seniors and independents who never signed on to what Ryan is now selling.

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