I wrote before the election that so-called progressive and labor groups working hard for the president's re-election were going to give him a brief honeymoon before launching a concerted effort to hold his feet to the fire on taxing the rich and protecting Social Security and other traditional New Deal stuff.
Oh, dear. I expected them to be cowed -- but to turn a negotiating session into a pep rally for Dear Leader? Say it isn't so!
Obama and the participants largely focused on areas on which they agree: in particular, the need to extend low tax rates for the middle class while letting them expire for wealthier households, according to people who attended the 45-minute meeting.
There was much less talk about possible areas of disagreement between Obama and his progressive partners, such as on cuts to entitlement spending.The Center for American Progress, truth be told, is only a quasi-independent group. It has direct ties to the Democratic Party. Liberal, it is not. Tanden herself came to her think tank job directly from the Obama Administration. Founded by Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, CAP is the primary conduit for controlled White House leaks and major source of the hot air used to float White House trial balloons. Podesta now runs a big lobby shop in Washington. No surprises there. What is shocking, though, is the blatant transparency with which the veal pen occupants are jumping onto the austerity bandwagon. They are directly skipping the part where they pretend to hold Barry's feet to the fire, then sigh in defeat down the road, when they whine that we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of good. Better to starve slowly under Obama than to have your guts ripped out by Romney.
“It was a great meeting. The president was really standing firm on taxes. Everyone talked about how much they have the president’s back in this fight,” Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, said afterward.
And today is the day the president will be closing the deal with the billionaires -- all of whom, of course, want to cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid in order to boost the confidence of the markets. (translation: inject a giant bolus of publicly-funded financial testosterone directly into their own over-clogged arteries.)
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, fresh from being not prosecuted for fraud by the Department of Justice, now has the freedom to dictate his own terms. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, he announced that he needs more assurance that he can keep hoarding his billions. He is willing to pay a bit more in revenue, but only if he is first allowed to steal money from the poor, the old and the sick. "We are all ready to roll up our sleeves and work with the Obama administration and Congress to help fulfill America's enduring promise," he wrote.
I hope he chokes on his diamond-encrusted cufflinks as he rips them off with his teeth in preparation for rolling up his sleeves.
So, now what do we do? Occupy is back in the limelight with its humanitarian successes in the wake of Sandy. It even garnered front-page headlines in the New York Times for its novel Occupy the Debt campaign. What Barry and the Banksters refused to do -- wipe out household debt the same way they rescued Wall Street -- the new group aims to do by buying it up at a discount and then forgiving it.
Barry, safe for a final four years as temporary emperor, is a lost cause. Now is the perfect time to start harassing your down-ticket reps. Either they promise to protect the New Deal now, or they are out in two, four or six years. Now is also the perfect time for the rising of third, fourth and fifth parties.
It's a perfect storm. As long as the physical climate is changing, we might as well change the political climate, too. So much pollution on so many levels.