Wed Jan 2, 2013, 05:15 PM
KoKo (81,431 posts)
Winning Victories Amid the Mess: Far Bigger Battles Ahead--(Praise and Caution)
Winning Victories Amid the Mess: Far Bigger Battles Ahead
by Mike Lux--Democracy Partners
So this whole process was a sorry mess, and for progressives there were plenty of disappointments along the way. (I will get back to those.) We also have far bigger battles ahead. (I will get back to those too.) But one of my themes in life with my fellow progressives is that we need to do a better job celebrating what we win, and we won a lot this round. It's worth taking a moment to celebrate those victories while we get ready for the next round. Celebrating victories is important, as all the great progressive movement leaders have known well -- it empowers people, and makes them believe that victory is possible so they should keep fighting.
So overall, I am in a pretty good mood about this deal. But there is also some things to be disappointed, and there is a great deal of danger ahead. Given the strength of Obama's bargaining position, as I have argued before I still think it is likely we could have gotten a better deal if he had just waited the Republicans out, let us go over the so-called cliff, and done a deal with the new Congress. I think going from $250,000 to $450,000 was very disappointing, and the estate tax compromise was much weaker than it should have been. Two little noted things that definitely should have been priorities for Democrats but were left out of the deal: Hurricane Sandy relief, and the tax exemption for homeowners whose mortgages might be written down. The latter one in particular is very bad news, both for the 11 million plus underwater homeowners and for the economy in general, as write-downs are a big boost for the economy because they put money into middle class homeowners' pocketbooks.
The biggest disappointment, and the biggest worry yet ahead, is that the deal had no resolution on the debt ceiling or Continuing Resolution coming due in just two months. It means the Republicans will go back to hostage taking and blackmail threats almost immediately. Obama is talking tough now, which is good, but he has talked tough before and then offered major concessions -- he has paid the blackmail to get the hostages released, even when the political leverage is on his side, too many times. Republicans, having been utterly humiliated in this round and come away with no new cuts in major programs, will be determined to win cuts in all the things that help people the most. The progressive movement is going to have to once again fight like crazy to keep Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefit cuts, as well as the other vital programs that help low and middle income people, off the table.
Our side is going to have to keep the heat on everybody in both parties. Our demand should be no cuts to the programs that help the poor and middle class -- none. The Republicans are threatening to tank the economy so they can cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education and other things that matter. We should just tell them, and nervous Democrats who want to cave to them, absolutely not.
Michael Lux is the co-founder and CEO of Progressive Strategies, L.L.C., a political consulting firm founded in 1999, focused on strategic political consulting for non-profits, labor unions, PACs and progressive donors. He is also a partner at Democracy Partners, a progressive consulting firm. Previously, he was Senior Vice President for Political Action at People For the American Way (PFAW), and the PFAW Foundation, and served at the White House from January 1993 to mid-1995 as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison. While at Progressive Strategies, Lux has founded, and currently chairs a number of new organizations and projects, including American Family Voices, the Progressive Donor Network, and BushRecall.org. Lux serves on the boards of several other organizations including the Arca Foundation, Americans United for Change, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, Center for Progressive Leadership, Democratic Strategist, Grassroots Democrats, Progressive Majority and Women’s Voices/Women Vote.
In November of 2008, Mike was named to the Obama-Biden Transition Team. In that
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