IT’S NICE TO be Pete Peterson.

But who is this guy? Besides the man who can get all the cool millionaires into a room to bargain away the U.S. social safety net?

Read Ryan Grimm and Paul Blumenthal, consider it your assignment today.

But if you haven’t figured it out by now why Pres. Obama thinks he can get away with a grand bargain, which will likely come in his second term, all you need is three of the most potent words in American politics: William Jefferson Clinton. The grand bargainer himself.

From E.L. Eskow on HuffPost:

The Rich Get the Elevator. The Middle Class Gets the Shaft.

“Simpson-Bowles makes the Social Security system more progressive,” said Bill Clinton. Actually, it would gut Social Security benefits while lowering the top tax rate for billionaires like Peterson and millionaires like Clinton. That’s the opposite of “progressive.” But it would give the illusion of ‘progressivity’ by offering a slight benefit bump to the extremely poor, funded by benefit cuts for the middle class.

It would also give a tiny bump to seniors who live an especially long time after retirement. That would also be funded by middle-class benefit cuts. And since minority and low-income life expectancy is still far below that of white people in general — and white women in particular — this would also be economically regressive.

The fact that this false ‘progressively’ would transform a social insurance program into a welfare program seemed to disturb the former President not one bit. And he seemed entirely unaware of the what it means to the political discourse when a former Democratic president argues for a plan that would cut taxes even more for the wealthiest Americans, while cutting the few hundred dollars per month received by many elderly and disabled Americans in order to provide benefits for the poor. Bill Clinton calls that “progressive.”

And that was the leftmost wing of the Fiscal Summit’s leadership.

Note to everyone, there is no “leftmost wing” in politics. It does not exist, otherwise there would have been a primary challenger for Barack Obama.