If you haven't yet read Robert Reich's latest
, do so now. He gives a superb history of Obama's history of caving whenever he faces Republican threats...
In 2010 he agreed to extend all of the Bush tax cuts through the end of 2012. Were they satisfied? Of course not.
In the summer of 2011, goaded by an influx of Tea Partiers, they demanded huge spending cuts in return for raising the debt ceiling. In response, the President offered an overly-generous $4 trillion “Grand Bargain,” including cuts in Social Security and Medicare and whopping cuts in domestic spending (bringing it to its lowest level as a share of gross domestic product in over half a century).
Were Republicans content? No. When they demanded more, Obama agreed to a Super Committee to find bigger cuts, and if the Super Committee failed, a “sequester” that would automatically and indiscriminately slice everything in the federal budget except Social Security and Medicare.
Not even Obama’s re-election put a damper on their increasing demands. By the end of 2012, they insisted that the Bush tax cuts be permanently extended or the nation would go over the “fiscal cliff.” Once again, Obama caved, agreeing to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for incomes up to $400,000.
Early this year, after the sequester went into effect, Republicans demanded even bigger spending cuts. Obama offered more cuts in Medicare and a “chained CPI” to reduce Social Security payments, in exchange for Republican concessions on taxes.
Refusing the offer, and seemingly delirious with their power to hold the nation hostage, they demanded that the Affordable Care Act be repealed as a condition for funding the government and again raising the debt ceiling.
Reich's main purpose here is to criticize Republican intransigence, arrogance and adventurism. He is hardly alone; even Lindsey Graham has admitted that the right has overplayed its hand. But Reich's text conveys another message as well: When meeting challenges from the opposing party, Barack Obama has been the most vertebrae-free president of recent times.
The most appalling aspect of the President's history of concession is that, in his eagerness to bow before his Republican masters, he acted against the clearly expressed desires of the American people. The Bush tax cuts for the rich were not popular when enacted
-- most Americans preferred cuts that benefited the working class -- and were not popular in 2010
. Time and again, the will of the minority has trumped the will of the majority, because the minority was willing to take risks and punch hard.
The President has finally punched back. He really had no choice. The teabaggers are widely unloved, even by the megacapitalists
who conjured them into being
. (And make no mistake: The TP was not a grass roots creation
, even though those within it prefer to believe otherwise.)
Because the polls
continue to have devastating news for the Republicans, the Democrats should feel emboldened. True, they are talking about not just saving Obamacare but staving off the next round of sequester cuts
. Yet even now, even now
, the Dems intend to cave
on a key point:
But Democrats say their biggest objection was that it would make it more difficult to reach their long-held goal: to replace some of the across-the-board sequester cuts with a broader budget deal that would include tax-revenue increases and cuts in entitlement programs.
"Cuts in entitlement programs"? Why?
"Entitlements" is code for Social Security and Medicare. Obviously, these programs remain very popular. In a 2012 poll, only twelve percent
of the public wanted any cuts to Social Security. A year later, another poll
indicated that, although Americans wanted to make deficit reduction a priority, they had very specific ideas as to what needed to be cut:
Forty-nine percent of respondents said they would support cutting military spending, while just 23 percent said they would support slashing Social Security and Medicare. An overwhelming majority, 69 percent, said they would oppose cuts to social programs.
We know that the right doesn't care if their demands reflect the will of the people. But why would the Democrats
contemplate cuts to Social Security?
Check out what Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday dismissed the notion Democrats have been unwilling to negotiate with Republicans in the government shutdown fight, saying President Obama’s concessions have been “lost in the news.”
“The president of the United States has gone forward, extending the hand of friendship over and over. I think that has been lost in the news,” Pelosi said on CBS’s "This Morning."
“Here’s what the president has said — the full faith and credit of the government is non-negotiable. Everything else in the budget is [negotiable],” Pelosi continued. “But they can’t say our first premise is you have to overturn the Affordable Care Act.”
Everything is negotiable? The people who rely on Social Security don't want to hear that.
The Democrats have an addiction to spelunking. For some reason, they can't stop caving.