The president indicates that funding for the hallmark Democratic program is on the table. Is this the last straw?
By David Sirota
July 7, 2011
Wednesday night, the Washington Post reported that on top of the big cuts to Medicare he's already proposed, President Obama is now considering endorsing cuts to Social Security. In making this announcement (which formally embraces the concept of Social Security cuts first proposed by Obama's debt commission), the White House has lost all credibility in arguing that its 2012 political problems are the result of unfair expectations, particularly on the left. At the same time, the White House has finally exposed the strategy behind what so many of its apologists insisted was deft "three dimensional chess" on behalf of old-school liberalism -- and as we see, these tactics have nothing to do with liberalism and everything to do with Orwell-ism.
To review: The Wall Street Journal reports that "across a wide range of measures -- employment growth, unemployment levels, bank lending, economic output, income growth, home prices and household expectations for financial well-being -- the economy's improvement since the recession's end in June 2009 has been the worst, or one of the worst, since the government started tracking these trends after World War II." In light of this miserable situation, it's no surprise that Gallup's Frank Newport reports that the president's job approval rating "has been hovering near the fault line between probable re-election and probable 'one-term' presidency."
For most of the president's tenure, he, his staffers and his devoted-but-dwindling army of sycophants have insisted that the political fallout from the crushing recession reflects unrealistic expectations of Obama in the wake of George W. Bush's destructive reign. It is, dare I say, an audacious claim, especially coming from a candidate who asked us all to have the "audacity of hope" -- and it's more than a little insulting. After all, much of the complaints about the president have been about campaign promises that he didn't just fail to fulfill -- but that he refused to even try to fulfill.
Indeed, when a political candidate promises to try to pass a public option to compete with private insurers, attempt to crack down on Wall Street abuse, do what he can to stop unfair trade deals, oppose extending his predecessors tax cuts and avoid initiating initiate costly new wars sans congressional approval, and then once in office works to kill a public option, refuses to prosecute Wall Street crimes, presses the rigged trade deals he opposed, supports the extension of his predecessor's tax cuts and starts a new war in Libya with no congressional authorization -- whose fault is it that he ends up in reelection trouble?