Thu Nov 15, 2012, 08:51 AM
DonViejo (7,926 posts)
Michael Tomasky on How Liberals Need to Hold Their Anti-Obama Fire
by Michael Tomasky Nov 15, 2012 4:45 AM EST
With Obama out to strike a “grand bargain” with Republicans, liberals need to play politics smarter than they did in 2009 and show that they have the president’s back.
There’s one question on the minds of liberals in Washington right now, or maybe I should say there’s one fear—that Barack Obama is going to give the Republicans more than he needs to in order to consummate this elusive “grand bargain” over taxing and spending. There are reasonable grounds for concern, and the people who don’t want Obama to touch entitlements should by all means make their position known and exert as much influence on the president as they possibly can. But what they emphatically should not do is take positions and use language that helps to make inevitable a split between the administration and its progressive flank of the kind we saw in 2009. If there’s one thing that’s going put wind in those ragged and depleted Republican sails, that is surely it.
The standard liberal position right now, to the extent that there is one, is essentially this: we don’t need a grand bargain. Obama is holding all the cards and doesn’t need to deal. The Bush tax rates expire on Jan. 1. So, let them expire. Then pass a bill that restores the Bush rates on all dollars earned below $250,000, resulting in an effective tax increase for dollars above that amount.
That’s the tax side. On the spending side—the “sequestration” cuts that also kick in Jan. 1 if there’s no big agreement—there’s less of a consensus, but I have been hearing from some liberals that Obama could and should be blithe about this deadline, too. The domestic portion of those cuts, these people say, can be ameliorated through some complicated budgetary chicanery, and after all, these cuts would be in effect just for a year. Liberals don’t talk as much about the automatic defense cuts, which, let’s face it, as a group they don’t care as much about.
The thing that Obama must avoid at all costs, to liberals, is an entitlement benefit cut. Unlike the temporary sequestration cuts, an entitlement cut would likely be a permanent reduction in America’s great historic social insurance programs and as such would be unacceptable.
3 replies, 550 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Michael Tomasky on How Liberals Need to Hold Their Anti-Obama Fire (Original post)
Response to DonViejo (Original post)
Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:19 AM
treestar (48,627 posts)
2. I agree with him, though
how do we pass that second bill with the R House? Are we thinking they won't be vindictive and let middle class people have tax cuts?
Response to DonViejo (Original post)
Thu Nov 15, 2012, 11:48 AM
zipplewrath (9,621 posts)
3. How does one "have his back"?
I don't understand what the author is suggesting. How do liberals "have his back" if he is agreeing to things to which they are fundamentally opposed? When he dumps a public option, what are they suppose to do? Cheer? Shut up? Not ask why? Sit silently as he calls them "sanctimonious"? Liberals want to have his back, but they get shut out of the room, often from the very beginning. Single payer folks were told to hit the road right up front. He went on Fox and basically expressed how he rejected liberal ideas to demonstrate his balanced approach. It's kinda hard to have his back when he is running away from you.
And the friends he chooses. Bowles, Simpson, Rham, Rick Warren, Geithner. These and others are extremely objectionable people to many liberals. And they might be able to work with them except he can never seem to find roles for people like Dean in his administration. He kept Gates, and Petraus, et. al. One struggles to think of the most liberal member of his administration. It sure isn't Duncan, that advocated the wholesale firing of union teachers.
Many liberals would love to have his back, as soon as he lets them.