The groups, including MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, USAction, the Service Employees International Union and People for the American Way, plan to hold “Save the American Dream” rallies in 50 state capitals on Saturday. “Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich and then cutting funding for education, police, emergency response and vital human services,” the groups declared in their call to action. “The right to organize is on the chopping block. The American Dream is slipping out of reach for more and more Americans, and we have to fight back.” – Liberals to stage Tea Party-like revolts against GOP spending cuts
White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said recently about Gov. Walker’s union busting strategy that “This is a Wisconsin story, not a Washington one.” Unfortunately, there never seems to be a “Washington one” for the Obama White House, which was echoed by some in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.
If there is a more clueless, damaging Democratic message I haven’t heard it. This was in response to Republicans flooding the zone that Pres. Obama is “butting into Wisconsin’s business,” to quote a Newsmax blast this week. But if Pres. Obama isn’t going to fight for the middle class what good is he to the Democratic Party? The Left doesn’t have an answer for that question.
When I am President, I will end the tax giveaways to companies that ship our jobs overseas, and I will put the money in the pockets of working Americans, and seniors, and homeowners who deserve a break. I won’t wait ten years to raise the minimum wage – I’ll raise it to keep pace every single year. And if American workers are being denied their right to organize when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States.
Mother Jones lays out why the union fight in this country is so critically important to the middle class. It’s because America doesn’t have one anymore.
I’m sure Pres. Obama didn’t mean to make the Republicans’ job easier for them, but that’s what he’s done. I have no doubt that Barack Obama’s heart is in the right place when it comes to workers. It’s just he doesn’t have the ideological instinct for when he’s being suckered, while his staff has the collective wingnut I.Q. of 2. They’ve also so fetishized Independent voters, as has the entire traditional media, that they don’t know a trap when it’s being laid.
No one has been a bigger sucker for austerity than Pres. Obama.
He was the right man for 2008, but it’s clear that the ideological battle brewing going into 2012 makes him a weak spokesman for what Democrats need, but he’s all they’ve got. So what’s going to happen as the Right takes aim at the heart of what Democrats are all about: supporting the working, middle class against all odds through policy? So far all Obama’s done is yield the field to the Right, which is why we’re now seeing an assault on public unions.
The Obama White House still hasn’t figured out how the Right, in whatever party it lives, wages political warfare. Look at health care and how they targeted women on reproductive services. Both Obama and Pelosi gave Stupak-Pitts the power to serve women up, which culminated last week with Rep. Mike Pence taking the Right’s war on women to target Planned Parenthood, while states like South Dakota and Nebraska tout “justifiable homocide” bills.
Maybe this all started when Sarah Palin beat Pres. Obama on health care messaging when she squealed about “death panels.” The lack of fight was evident, because Obama preferred making the deal with big pharma and private health insurance companes, instead of fighting for the public option in the open. The Right sensed he didn’t have the steel for the battle, which is turning out to be any battle at all.
One of the biggest moves from Pres. Obama that legitimized the austerity craze came when he authorized the deficit commission, teasing a bipartisan solution in the midst of all out ideological war coming from the Right. He even teased he’d put Social Security on the table.
Listening to Rush Limbaugh talk about “busted” unions and “Armageddon” for the labor movement this week, there can be absolutely no doubt the battle in Wisconsin is an ideological fight.
Same with Gov. Walker, who basically said on “Morning Joe” that it doesn’t matter what concessions Wisconsin unions serve up, he wants to break their ability to collectively bargain, which would make the public sector unions obsolete. Walker also said that any taxes would be wrong, including those for the wealthiest Americans. That’s likely because they’re the people who paid for Walker’s ride into office.
This tax message was aided by what Pres. Obama and the Democrats said in December when they extended the Bush era tax cuts. Coming after Obama’s deficit commission, the message Obama sent to the Right was that he was buying that the deficit was the main issue, but more importantly that the primary way of dealing with it is through spending cuts and tax cuts, basically adopting the Republican economic message that got us into this mess in the first place.
It was the set up for what’s happening in Wisconsin and beyond, with Republican governors and legislatures across the country primed to take unions out. The midterms were a Right rout, which is why I kept emphasizing the state houses turned over & the number of seats lost after November’s elections. There was simply no way Republicans would gain such an advantage and not use it through policy.
The minute Pres. Obama embraced the Right’s economic world view, as well as their austerity craze to cut spending, he emboldened Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Right to attack government spending as the only problem and make taxes the enemy of the public good, which Obama and the Democrats aided by extending the Bush tax cuts, but also by buying into the notion that the deficit should be handled through spending cuts alone, instead of including tax increases on multi-millionaires and billionaires.
Pres. Obama has miscalculated horribly by handing the Republican Right the biggest advantage on economic policy since Ronald Reagan won in 1980. Through the deficit commission and extending Bush era tax cuts, he handed the Right the only thing they needed to further threaten and weaken the Democratic Party worse than what the Tea Party did in the midterms.
It’s gotten so bad that last week on “Real Time” with Bill Maher, CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera said that Social Security was one of the biggest problems we have today, while actually lauding Sharron Angle for saying it should be privatized. At one point John Heilemann looked at Bill Maher and said that maybe it was time to realize that Pres. Obama just doesn’t think the same things as many Democrats do is all that important, because he agrees with Republicans. It was the first time I heard someone in the traditional media world say what I’ve been writing since 2007.
It’s clear Pres. Obama has no intention of countering the austerity craze to tackle the deficit. The only hope is that the Left will see this as their own Tea Party moment and force the issue into reality. The super wealthy aren’t paying their fair share, because nobody in either party is asking them to.
It’s time to ask the comfortable what they can do for their country.
However, anyone waiting for candidate Obama to show up to do just that is going to be very disappointed.