On the budget deal and the liberal left’s reaction

So about this so-called budget deal, which many a blogger on the right has reminded us, is not a real deal at all. Conservatives are not too keen on it; but the liberals —- my God! — they are in sackcloth and ashes!

Consider some of the reactions…..

Melissa McEwan over at shakesville is not a happy camper:

We’ve sure come a long way (no we haven’t) from Barack the Feminist (LULZ). I guess he’s just one of those “pragmatic feminists” who understands that sometimes women’s reproductive rights need to get thrown under the bus in order to make way for Important Democratic Politics, like empowering the most rightwing elements in the Republican Party.

To understand how thoroughly the Dems caved to the GOP on this deal, it was struck with “historic” cuts about which that nincompoop Reid is actually bragging, as if misogyny, Social Darwinism, and allowing infrastructure to fester until people die on collapsing bridges are radically brave progressive ideas.

Obama’s a fucking disaster. We needed FDR; instead we got FML.

Richard (RJ) Eskow at HuffPo says a whole bunch, a snippet:

Say what you will about Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal, it’s a vision. By proposing to dismantle Medicare for people retiring in 2021 and afterwards, he’s laid out a radical alternative to today’s policies. By slashing taxes for the wealthy and proposing deregulation for all industries, the Ryan plan envisions a future America: one where the environment is despoiled, the poor go unfed, and the middle class faces a lifetime of financial insecurity following by an old age of sickness and penury.

It may not be a good vision, but it’s a vision.

Where’s the progressive vision for 2021? Where’s the dream people can seize upon and make their own? Where’s the ideal that can energize activists? Where’s the extreme position from which the Democrats can be “bargained down” so that they, too, can only get 20% more than they asked for when the negotiations began? If they’re not going to do it, we have to do it for them.

Here’s a start: First increase Social Security retirement benefits by 15%, across the board, by lifting the payroll tax cap and imposing a financial transactions tax. Second, increase income taxes on a sliding scale that goes up to 60% for the highest earners in the country. (It’s been as high as 90% during periods of our greatest prosperity.) Third, add $500 billion to our stimulus spending over the next two years, and keep adding it until unemployment is down to 4%. Fourth, immediately add a public option, “Medicare For All” plan that’s voluntarily available to Americans of all age brackets.

Have fun. Add your own visions. Dream. Then demand your dream. It’s working for the Tea Party, and it can work for you.

One thing’s for sure: The old definition of insanity, “doing the same thing and expecting different results,” still holds. Whatever the progressive movement’s doing right now, it’s not working as well as it should. It’s frustrating, but it’s no reason to give up. Like a guy with a guitar said a century ago: Don’t mourn, organize.

Benintn over at DailyKos, is surprisingly reasonable:

There’s understandable frustration about President Obama’s deal with the devil Speaker Boehner and House Republicans to pass the 2011 budget and fund government for the rest of this fiscal year.  After all, with a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in the Senate, why couldn’t Democrats protect the budget from these job-killing, growth-slowing, economy-damaging budget cuts?

But as President Obama said to the Republicans in 2009: “I won.”  And now, in 2011, the tables are turned.  Republicans eager to show off their newly discovered fiscal sobriety are trying to roll back not only the stimulative impact of the Recovery Act, but also the legislative and political progress of the last two years.

In 2008, we won.  In 2010, we lost.  (Badly.)  This is what happens when you lose elections.


But if Progressives are really interested in redrawing the map in 2012, the way to do it is outside of electoral politics.  Let’s face it: redistricting in 2012 will reduce the number of safe progressive districts in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Arizona.  And with 23 seats to defend in the US Senate, we’ll have to play defense more than offense in 2012.  And if elected officials are forced by Citizens United to run to the middle, then the real solution is something that will happen outside of the push-pull of Republican v. Democrat.  The real issue comes down to a massive voter education campaign that will take place in coffee shops, libraries, churches, schools, and neighborhoods all over the country.

So, you can blame Obama, blame me, shake your fist, write a blog, or…

What if we started doing what we do best on Daily Kos?  What if we got back to the kind of high-quality opposition research, candidate profiles, policy papers, and community-building diaries that make this community the most interesting online political forum out there?  What if we let go of the need to change Obama and got refocused on effective netroots organizing strategies?  What if we acknowledged the harsh reality that we got our asses handed to us in 2010, and took that lesson as an opportunity to stop doing things that don’t work?

Or we could just have more pie fights.

It’s up to you.

Cenk Uygur at DailyKos:

These budget negotiations were a giant win for the Republican Party. President Obama initially cut $40 billion from his own budget proposal — and he got absolutely no credit for that. It was a very typical preemptive concession by the president. It was so typical, you wonder if he recognizes what an indisputably terrible strategy it is or if he has a different agenda.

So, after getting no credit for his original $40 billion concession, then the negotiations began at square one. The Republicans claimed in February that they wanted $32 billion in cuts from that point on. About a week ago, the president came out an announced that they had given the Republicans another $33 billion in cuts — a billion more than they originally asked for. And still the Republicans wanted more.

Why not? They’re dealing with the world’s worst negotiator, why not ask for more? After February they came up with a brilliant good cop-bad cop strategy with the Tea Party, where they had the Tea Party force them to go to $61 billion in demands. Which pushed the spectrum out further to the right. They know President Obama will go to the middle of any spectrum, no matter how radical. And then once they had baited Obama out to the $33 billion number, which was past their original goal, they baited him out even further. Finally, they got him to $38.5 billion in cuts an hour before the deadline.


I didn’t write this to rub it in the face of the feckless Democrats who always wind up playing the role of the Washington Generals to the Republican Globetrotters (remember the Democrats have the White House and the Senate — but they let the GOP run the place like they are totally in charge). I wrote it to tell you how incredibly important it is that you put real pressure on the president from the left. He will move to the middle of any spectrum!

If you don’t help push the spectrum to the left, the Republicans will move it massively to the right — and the president will fall for it.

The whole point of the insane, draconian, ridiculous Paul Ryan budget proposal for next year was to move the spectrum all the way to the radical right, so that they can lure Democrats to a false middle, that is in reality the far right.

It’s time to stop playing nice with Democrats. Good cop-good cop doesn’t work. We need a bad cop. We need a strong progressive wing to keep shouting “no deal!” every time the White House wants to concede (which will be every time).

You can ignore this, blame me and go hug the president one more time, but you won’t be doing your side any favors. If you actually care about policy and progressive priorities, you must get tough with the president right now. There is no next time.

Which did not go over too well with joelgp over at DailyKos at all:

Cenk, I’m just about sick of you bashing the president with your unrealistic, bombastic crap.  You my friend, have become Sean Hannity by day and Bill O’reilly by night.  You don’t want or need a president, you need a servant who will do exactly what’s in your head.

After all, Obama is the president of 300 million, not just you.

I rejected your stuff way before today after I watched the most despicable segment you ever produce on Obama in some time.  You know what, the Republicans loved you for it.


Do you simply ignore the fact that conservatives and independents make up nearly 60% of the electorate and Obama should completely reject them?

Of course I’m not happy with everything Obama does but I feel the same way about my wife and kids.

I support him because there has never been another man in U.S. history who inherited a great depression, two wars, a jacked-up banking system, earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, a totally transforming Middle East and a bunch of freakin’ tea party nuts who believe he’s from Mars.

What Obama need’s most is our help–our voices, our support.  The last thing he needs is another cable-news loud-mouth whose eating ice cream and candy on his fat Comcast salary while the president is battling for middle America.

Cenk, today you need to decide, either join us in helping the president or apply for the chalkboard vacancy on Fox at five.

I thought you should know.

Finally, there is this here, by DailyKos Diarist teacherken:

Here I am doing my civic duty, working on my taxes.  I am paying my fair share.

My wife and I gave you money when you ran for President.  We supported you.

But now?   Blow, after blow, after blow.

The ‘deal’ about which you bragged is perhaps the final straw for this camel, whose back is breaking at the same time as his heart is shattered.

Dear readers, I apologize for what I am now writing.  It will not be coherent, because I am responding to the policy and actions of an administration that are not coherent.

It is an expression of …  what?  Disappointment to be sure, anger, almost despair.

Mr. President, with what you have just done, on top of all else your administration has done – and failed to do – you have destroyed the hopes of millions, and shifted power and wealth in the direction of those who are fueled by hatred and anger.

And you expect us to continue to support you?

Perhaps you had better ignore this.  Because you will not be happy with what I have to offer.


This is a screed, I admit.  I am sitting here just letting it hang out.

I claim no wisdom.  I claim no original insight.  None of my arguments are original.

That is something that should concern you.  I am borrowing from what I hear and 4ead from others.  That includes members of your own party who hold federal elective office.  It includes party officials in states and local organizations.  It includes key voices in the progressive wing of the Democratic party.  You know, those nasty types who remember that it was unions and progressives who have helped create the social safety net that built the American middle class, the social safety net the that Republicans are now dismantling a piece at a time, as they simultaneously impose a vision of this nation that should horrify you.

So go ahead Mr. President.  Ignore me.  Ignore all the voices that have been trying to explain to you, trying to help you help this country.

You might as well.

It seems as if you have been ignoring us all along.

But just one question, Mr. President.   One that perhaps you need to consider.

What happens if we decide we have had enough?  What if we return the favor?

What if we decide we will ignore you?

Sorry, that was a good deal of quoting; but I wanted to give you a feel for what is happening within liberal progressive Democrat circles. The truth is folks, that progressives put way too much stock in Barack Obama. They projected themselves on him; their dreams, their hopes and yes, even their wishes for progressive policy change in Washington D.C. and ultimately, President Barack Obama gave them some good old-fashioned lip service and laughed all the way to the White House. Now, this is not anything new to politics; President Ronald Reagan did the same very thing to the Religious Christian Conservative right back in the 1981 election. He had them believing that he was going to outlaw Abortion and put prayer back in schools; none of which he did at all. Instead he ran up deficits, shipped arms to Iran, and basically played much of the Republican Party and the far right for a fool. 

So, while all of this sadness and naval grazing might be humorous to watch; it is a little silly. Did the liberals actually expect Obama to cater to their every whim?

Now, as for the Republicans, I think all of this belly aching is a bit silly; we all wanted cuts. We should be glad we got anything at all. Sure, we all want more. But anything is better than nothing.



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