Friday, December 21, 2012

Saved by the Tea Party... AGAIN.

Conservatives in the house publicly humiliated John Boehner last night, rejecting his messaging bill in pretty spectacular fashion. I tend to agree with David Dayen here that this prevents any future deals until the 3rd, after the vote for speaker goes down. So going with the assumption that we end up going over the fiscal cliff, this would provide the second time that President Obama has tried his hardest to cut our social insurance programs, only for these plans to be stopped not by fellow democrats or liberal groups, but by the tea party. This seems like an opportune time to examine where we stand in relationship with the Democratic party.

The main push for Social Security and Medicare cuts over these last two years has come directly from President Obama, there is no way around that (read this from Jane Hamsher for a depressing play by play). He seems hell bent on including it in negotiations from here on out, so we should do whatever we can to call him on having done so and try to shame him into not doing so. He seems pretty committed, but bringing up how much he wants to do something insanely unpopular can't hurt. Reid and Pelosi didn't get to their respective positions by talking out of turn, so I fully expected them to fall in line and support whatever Obama was pushing. I was slightly surprised at the soullessness of Pelosi cheerfully advocating for chained CPI as way of strengthening Social Security. Don't click that link on a full stomach.

But the most disgusting of the lot and the only one that actually felt like a betrayal was Rich Trumka. Watching someone who I like and respect a great deal, not strongly opposing a benefit cut to social security given away in unnecessary negotiations to solve a nonexistent problem is a bit tough to take. Unions should demand that he take back his statement or resign. And if he won't, they should take votes on pulling out of the AFL-CIO. There will always be crappy political leaders to hold us back, but we get to choose those who lead our organizations and shit like this just can't be tolerated under any circumstances.

It's a time for being thankful that the tea party exists and killed this deal, but it's also a time for introspection into our side and ask how the fuck that nearly happened, what needs to change and what can be done. I'll hopefully have some more posts on these topics as I'm able to digest what just happened. But for now, we can breathe deep until after Christmas.

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