Stand by the President's VisionPresident Obama has called for a plan that ensures we can live within our means while still investing in our future. I stand by his vision to:
- Rein in the deficit while protecting seniors and the middle class, and making the investments we need to win the future;
- Ensure that the most vulnerable Americans are not the only ones sharing the burden of fiscal responsibility;
- Keep spending low while strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, and end trillions in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires who don't need them; and
- Set aside partisanship in favor of a renewed sense of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice.
I am being asked to sign a pledge or oath of some kind. I hereby promise to be a crusading centrist/compassionate Republican-lite. Umm.... I don't think so. Just yesterday, I signed that progressive petition telling Obama he could fuggedabout me voting for him, working for him and sending him any more of my dollars. I even asked him to return the fifty bucks I sent him two years ago because I have to pay my electric bill. I guess he didn't get the message yet.
These people think a wonderful speech changes everything and we will all just swoon at his feet again when he graces us with that million-dollar smile. How do you spell c-l-u-e-l-e-s-s? On second thought, I am probably in the minority. Based on what I am hearing. liberals are celebrating Obama's return to liberal principles. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me a hundred times. But ask yourselves this. Where, in the speech, did Obama talk about jobs, jobs, jobs? How many times did he utter that corporatist mantra "winning the future?"
Make no mistake. This was a typical, persuasive Obama campaign speech. It was not a presidential policy speech. It made a lot of us feel good, have renewed hope. But, like Glenn Greenwald, I have long given up paying attention to the speeches. Just keep an eye on what Obama actually does.
We were all being set up for a disappointing capitulation, but surprise! He will defend Medicare and Social Security! (no mention of Medicaid. Uh oh). Therefore, we should all be grateful he didn't fall into Paul Ryan's arms in a bipartisan embrace. Think about this in terms of political theater. Paul Ryan is the bad cop, the evil character, and whether he knows it or not, the fall guy of the season. Barack Obama is the good cop and the savior who says he will refuse to extend the Bush tax cuts again. But that's not for another two years. Notice that he is not specifically backing Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky's Fairness in Taxation Act, calling for an immediate tax hike on millionaires and billionaires? Of course, he will take Ryan on -- Ryan is easy to take on, because he is extreme beyond all rationality. His own party won't back him once push comes to shove.
|I Wantcha Back in My Personality Cult|
Jim Messina, a protege of Montana Senator Max Baucus, is a former White House deputy chief of staff whose job was to have weekly meetings with progressive groups to make sure their independent grassroots efforts on health care reform jibed with the Administration's. He clashed with several progressives over the secret deal with the pharmaceutical industry to back away from reimportation of drugs from Canada. Read the excellent article by Ari Berman in The Nation to get the full background on Messina, who has been called Obama's Karl Rove.