“It is safe to say many groups are very concerned that a grand bargain will be foisted on the Congress that goes against what Democratic candidates promised on the campaign trail,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. “And it is clear the president is considering making the grand bargain that he offered to Boehner previously.” – Liberals fear grand bargain betrayal if President Obama wins

THIS HAS always been the problem with the press and President Obama. They just don’t get that what he proposes is what he actually believes in, which inevitably comes out of compromised Democratic principles.

Nothing is a truer example than the coming negotiations for a grand bargain, however it manifests, that puts entitlements on the table, with Social Security one element that should be excluded because it’s not part of the any debt or deficit issue.

Steve Rattner announced the CEO team, which is led by the usual anti Social Security celebrities, starting with Pete Peterson.

“This plan should be enacted now, but implemented gradually to protect the fragile economic recovery and to give Americans time to prepare for the changes in the federal budget,” the “Fix the Debt” campaign says in a statement supported by more than 80 chief executives, including the heads of Invesco, UPS and Aetna. Such a grand bargain “must be bipartisan,” the statement said.

[T]he group seeks to reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and suggest comprehensive, rate-lowering, base-broadening tax reform. The group also advises that Simpson-Bowles recommendations serve as a framework for the plan. (Former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles is a co-founder of the campaign.)

… Fix the Debt has raised more than $30 million from business leaders, including support from Pete Peterson, whose foundation also backed the Committee for a Responsible Budget’s broad push for deficit reduction. The CEOs will also be pushing out the message to their employees and the rest of the public through townhall meetings and advertising, according to CFRB president Maya MacGuineas, who’s spearheading the campaign.

As Hickey said above, President Obama has already offered up a grand bargain deal to Speaker Boehner, so none of this is a surprise. It’s also not a betrayal, because Obama’s made no secret of his plans.

Progressives missed the chance to make Obama earn their vote by challenging him on entitlements and where his austerity plan will start, something I will never understand. They obviously haven’t learned the lessons from the Tea Party, which begins with knowing when and how to wield the power you’ve got. That starts with your vote. If you won’t leverage your vote you simply confirm that you’ve got nowhere to go and will accept anything. So progressives, as well as unions and other Democratic organizations, are as equally to blame for putting Obama in a position of power to bargain for austerity as he is for adopting it.

If reelected, President Obama will have no fear of retribution. Even if progressives decide to hold congressional leaders to account in 2014, Obama’s focused on legacy, because he’s on the way out. He also has to act quickly, in the first 18 months, before lame duck status sets in and everyone turns to 2016, which won’t take long.

Senator Bernie Sanders is already on this case, as are many others, including unions, though the general mood in the activist wing remains gloomy. It’s understandable, because they neutered themselves by not challenging President Obama on his austerity ideas long before Election Day.