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Dec 09 2012

Obama sellout in the works?

The Democratic party has long been perfecting the art of whipping up populist rhetoric to win elections and then finding ways to sell out its supporters to benefit the oligarchy. They methods have become so transparent that Glenn Greenwald has identified the six stages by which they do so.

  1. Declare loudly that touching Social Security and Medicare benefits are totally unacceptable.

  2. Some progressive pundits and anonymous administration officials start suggesting that making some changes to those programs will not really be all that bad and would actually benefits the programs in the long term.
  3. As a result of such comments, more progressives will begin to be resigned to some sort of deal, rationalizing that president Obama has no choice because of the impending (and largely artificial) disaster that has been given a suitably ominous name like the ‘fiscal cliff’ that will otherwise occur.
  4. Those who vigorously oppose these changes will be marginalized and excluded from discussions and lose access to the media, increasing the sense of inevitability of the deal.
  5. Once the sell-out deal has been agreed upon, those who still oppose it will be castigated as extremists who are only aiding the Republicans by being purists, the Democratic equivalent of the Tea Party..
  6. The final signing of the sell-out deal will be hailed as a grand act of bipartisan statesmanship.

So where are we now? We seem to have passed stage 2, with ‘liberal’ columnists like Jonathan Chait, Ezra Klein, and Kevin Drum arguing that the Democrats should make concessions on these two programs. While the changes they suggest seem to be modest, what they don’t seem to realize is that they are opening the door to much more harmful changes. What the oligarchy needs to get its foot in the door is acceptance of the idea that reducing benefits in any way is acceptable. Paul Krugman (one of the ‘extremists’), quoting Klein, is worried about signals from the White House that a bad deal is in the works.

I suspect that the gossip from anonymous sources that Klein is transmitting is the usual trial balloon put out by the administration to see how loud will be the howls of anger from their supporters before they go ahead with it.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    Tabby Lavalamp

    And then in 2016 the fear-mongering over a Republican presidency will be whipped up again to keep progressive voters from punishing the Democrats by voting for an actual progressive third party.

    Perhaps it’s easy for me to be on my high horse about this because I live in Alberta so my vote switch from Liberal to NDP last election didn’t matter because the Conservative would have won my riding anyway, but I’d like to think I’d have done the same even if I lived in Ontario.

  2. 2
    Valde

    zomg, a liberal in Alberta!!!

    GAWD bless you! :P

  3. 3
    Tabby Lavalamp

    I live in Edmonton, which can come close to being like Austin, Texas as times.

  4. 4
    Psychopomp Gecko

    The problem with supporting a third party instead of the Democrats is all the Republicans it would put in office to do even worse things.

  5. 5
    Tabby Lavalamp

    And that fear of the GOP is why the system will never change and the Democrats will keep moving further right.

  6. 6
    Leo Buzalsky

    Hmmm…I’ll have to read that Klein piece if I have the time, but I find it interesting that he was hosting The Rachel Maddow Show on Friday and was pointing out that raising the Medicare age to 67 would be more costly (because employers and/or the Affordable Care Act would have to pick up the slack) than leaving the age as is. So at least he’s rejected that proposal.

  7. 7
    Leo Buzalsky

    Yeah, this makes me think of an interestingly contradictory post over at Near Earth Object. This was linking to an article over at The Daily Beast where the author says, “we ought to see [the presidency] as an instrument through which progress can either be advanced or retarded” and then does a 180 and says the nominee must be Hillary Clinton, perhaps the least progressive of all the people who have been named as potential nominees, because “she could handily beat the whole parade of Republicans.”

  8. 8
    Mano Singham

    Klein has been receiving quite a bit of pushback for his comments so he may have had second thoughts.

  9. 9
    Psychopomp Gecko

    I would love for the Republicans to finally self-destruct like they need to just so we could finally get a liberal party. I believe in having more than one party, because there are some good questions to be asked about the limits of government and concerns over its spending abuses. The Republicans aren’t that party, though. They’re the party of conciliatory attitudes toward rape, pro-life, going to war, homophobia, anti-science attitudes, and talking about financial security while running up the debt any chance they get.

    We need at least two serious parties, but what we have now is one batshit party and one party that rests on knowing it has the support of the non-batshit people who just don’t want the greater evil in office.

  10. 10
    Psychopomp Gecko

    And to correct some confusion about a liberal party, the Democrats aren’t really one. It’s just that the Republicans are so far to the right, they see centrist as Marxist. If the Republicans go, people could actually break away from Democrats and have an actual liberal party without fear of the Reds coming to take our drugs from our warm, stoned hands (see what I did there?).

  11. 11
    Pierce R. Butler

    Obama sellout in the works“?

    Only if you define “in the works” as “starting no later than 2008″.

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