Uh oh, are we seeing here the ground work for some Democrats to (again) decide to teach their party a lesson and stay home and ensure a nice, big Republican victory at the polls in 2014 (and then complain about the Republicans winning so big)? Why do I get a sense of deja vu starting to rear its ugly repetitive head?
Liberals are mounting strong criticisms of President Obama amid news that his budget will include a Social Security benefit cut — an official endorsement of a policy compromise he’s offered Republicans for years — and warning Democrats not to dare vote to cut the cherished retirement program.
A trio of progressive advocacy groups issued scathing statements Friday in response to reports that Obama’s proposal will include a policy called “Chained CPI,” which would re-index Social Security cost of living increases to a lower rate of inflation — a benefit cut the president has included in deficit offers to Republicans since 2011.
“President Obama’s plan to cut Social Security would harm seniors who worked hard all their lives,” said MoveOn.org’s executive director Anna Galland. “That’s unconscionable. It’s even more outrageous given that Republicans in Congress aren’t even asking for this Social Security cut. This time, the drive to cut Social Security is being led by President Obama and Democrats.”
Stephanie Taylor of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee accused Obama of “proposing to steal thousands of dollars from grandparents and veterans” and threatened to subject any Democrat who votes for a Social Security benefit cut to a primary challenge.
“You can’t call yourself a Democrat and support Social Security benefit cuts,” Taylor said in a statement. “The President has no mandate to cut these benefits, and progressives will do everything possible to stop him.”
Jim Dean, the chair of Democracy For America, called the reports a “profoundly disturbing shot across the bow for the progressives who called their neighbors, spent weekends knocking doors and donated millions to reelect [President Obama].”
Obama’s decision to include Chained CPI in his budget, which is expected to be unveiled April 10, reflects his latest effort to entice Republicans into a grand budget deal that stabilizes the national debt at a level where it’s growing more slowly than the economy.
Obama’s problems are:
–There are no signs as of yet that Republicans want a Grand Bargain, a Nice Bargain, an Awesome Bargain or a Swell (using WWII lingo) Bargain or any kind of a bargain with Obama. They are determined to say no and not compromise.
–Voters want to see parties compromise.
–The wing of each party is averse to compromise on key points that the other side demands.
But this could also be positioning: if Republicans walk away from Obama formally offering this it will be (yet more) proof that the GOP has no interest in anything but total victory in imposing a conservative agenda and voters will be reminded of that in 2014. Polls show that this perception already exists (even among Republicans) and in the long term it will may please Sean and Rush and Fox and Friends but won’t help Republicans pick up all but the votes of the existing choir in 2014.
And the Democrats? Some may never forgive Obama for proposing this and already some websites and talkers on left radio are say Obama doesn’t know how to negotiate but does thirst for compromise. If they stay home in 2014 then “mission accomplished” for the GOP which will then easily hold all of its House seats (already firm due to gerrymandering in many instances) and possibly bolster their hopes for taking the Senate.