In the president's own words, $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years and a bipartisan committee with "everything on the table." Rep. Cleaver is calling it a "sugar-coated Satan Sandwhich. If at the start of this whole fiasco, you would have set out to write a snark "report" of the final deal meant to illustrate the absurdity of the constant capitulation and pre-compromise, and where it would lead, it would look a like this deal.
Below are some things to keep in mind when evaluating the deal.
This is an in-depth post. It reflects my belief that the debate about potential debt ceiling goes right to the heart of what the Democratic Party at its best stands for.
Before reading, please take a minute to contact Congress and voice strong opposition to Social Security cuts and raising the Medicare eligibility age. And please spread the word and get others to do the same. Thanks.
Far too many Democrats are still trying to beat something -- the Republican vision -- with nothing. Considering the inherent strengths and broad appeal of a fundamentally progressive vision in 21st century America, this decision is nothing short of political malpractice. We've got a vision the right-wing can't beat; one that underlines all of the winning contrasts. So why aren't we consistently articulating it?
Demos and The Democratic Strategist have teamed up on a very important series on the challenges facing the progressive vision of effective, responsive government. This discussion is one you'll probably want to block out time for.
On a related note, the notion that Democrats can inoculate themselves from charges of being "too liberal" by being "socially liberal, fiscal conservative" has been gaining steam again lately, perhaps because it dovetails so perfectly with the personal views of much of the Beltway press. There's one glaring problem with this approach: there is little evidence that it stands a chance of working, in any sense of the word.
The opportunity is ripe for Obama to pull a reverse Reagan-articulating a progressive populism that is more relevant now than at any time since the 1930s.
I can't recommend reading the entire piece highly enough. Berman talks to Mike Lux, Robert Reich, Stanley Greenberg, Paul Begala and other Democratic veterans who offer valuable insight. Smart Democratic strategists complete with backbones and sans Beltway Goggles are out there. There's a lot of them actually, contrary to what the presence of ineffectual pushovers who insert themselves and their lame ideas into the center of every conversation would lead you to believe.
Berman ends on this note:
Ultimately, though, the president has the nation's bully pulpit. It's up to Obama to use it.
William Daley is the president's new Chief of Staff. Clearly Daley possesses attributes that outweighed the downside of choosing another Wall Street power player to bring into the inner circle, at least in the president's mind. It would be a massive understatement to say that, in light of recent events, this choice does not inspire confidence in where the president is headed.
Those invested in the status quo consistently try to shame/intimidate progressives into accepting the premise that we should shy away from confrontation; whether with K Street, the GOP, right-wing talking points, or conservaDems. Though the resilience of the "progressives must speak very softly and carry the world's least formidable stick" school of thought isn't exactly the most pressing challenge facing us, the implications are far-reaching. The prevalence of the mindset ties into pretty much everything; how we see public opinion and the power of our coalition, our identity, our goals, and how we respond to setbacks.