Liberals and union leaders will get tough with Obama after the election
If there’s one clear overriding domestic goal for Barack Obama, it’s certainly the consummation of a “grand” deal with Republicans to cut spending. There’s really no doubt about it. Not only did he create the Bowles – Simpson commission, he’s on record having offered substantial cuts in medicare, medicaid, social security, and other domestic programs. He was even ready to accept an even worse deal than had already been negotiated by the right wing group so properly named “the gang of six”.
His newly issued campaign booklet “A Plan for Jobs and Middle Class Security”, a disgusting neoliberal blueprint that will provide neither jobs nor security, actually boasts as an achievement that “The President has already signed $1 trillion in spending cuts into law and has put annual domestic spending on track toward its lowest level as a share of the economy since Eisenhower was President.” It goes on to call for a “balanced approach” to reducing the deficit but defines balance, in our age of robber baron inequality no less, as $2.50 in even more spending cuts to every $1 in additional taxes. Some balance! The “plan” makes absolutely no call for progressivity in the tax code and promotes what sounds like nothing other than a flat tax: “The plan makes sure millionaires aren’t paying lower tax rates than many middle-class families.”
The sad truth is that the middle class, not to mention the sub-middle class, has never had a greater enemy within the Democratic Party than Barack Obama. And it’s transparently obvious to anyone with eyes. So now, less than two weeks before the election, we read that labor unions and liberal groups suddenly fear a lame-duck betrayal. No shit! So, what are they going to do about it? Well, before a close election while they would seem to have a great deal of potential influence, their one point plan is as follows: 1) Work real hard for Obama’s re-election.
But they’ll get tough once they have no influence.
The liberal groups are planning to launch an aggressive campaign immediately after Election Day to pressure Obama and Senate Democrats not to endorse any deal that cuts Medicare and/or Social Security benefits.
The AFL-CIO has planned a series of coordinated events around the country on Nov. 8, two days after Election Day, to pressure lawmakers not to sign onto any deficit-reduction deal that cuts Medicare and Social Security benefits by raising the Medicare eligibility age or changing the formula used for Social Security cost-of-living adjustments.
“There’s going to be a major effort by lots of groups to make sure the people we vote for don’t sell us down the river,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future.
“People, groups, organizations and networks are working very hard to get Obama and the Democrats elected, and yet we are worried that it is possible that we could be betrayed almost immediately,” he said.
The leaders of the unions and other liberal organizations are selling their followers down the river. It’s already known what Obama plans to do and the time to apply pressure is before the election, not afterward. If the leaders of each of these groups called campaign headquarters and threatened to very publicly oppose Obama, say starting in two days, unless he clearly committed to no further cuts, it would certainly have a great deal of influence. It would be a game of poker of course and they’d have to credibly follow through. But is that not the nature of influence and power?
One can only conclude that the primary goal of these institutional leaders isn’t really to protect the programs, although I’m sure they’d like to, but rather to maintain their due standing in the Club. Waiting until after the election is a win – win; they remain part of the Club and they can then proceed, however futilely, to appear to be fighting for the People.
What a fraud!