One of the problems people on the extreme ends of the political spectrum have is an innate inability to think about more than one thing at a time, or to relate several concepts together. I expect it from the far right; these are largely people with little real education who entertain a fantasy by which Rupert Murdoch cuts them a huge check someday for being his willing stooges. But this sort of cognitive dissonance is increasingly coming from the far left, and from people who should know better. And it has gotten ridiculous. The far left blogosphere is looking just as looney as Andrew Breitbart's "Big Government" bullshit.
Here’s an example from the last couple of weeks. The debt ceiling situation has brought out the loon factor on the far left more than anything I can ever remember. Given the choice between a few cuts in Social Security and default, if you choose default, you're ignorant, and are disqualified from speaking politics on anything. Default would do more damage to Aunt Mabel's and your Social Security than any cuts the GOP could think of. But that's neither here nor there, for the purpose of this article.
The Obama Administration put out a trial balloon that it was open to possible cuts in Social Security and Medicare about 10 days ago. The left wing “blogosphere” went absolutely batshit immediately. The very IDEA of cuts to Social Security and Medicare got them all in a lather and they started declaring the end of their support for Obama (as if they had ever supported him) and declared him a one-term president.
Yet, at the same time, the SAME blogs were decrying the activities of one Marcus Bachmann. For those of you who live in a cave, Marcus is the obviously-gay beard husband of “presidential candidate” Michele Bachmann. Now, no one cares much that he’s obviously a gay man pretending to be straight. What we all object to is the ridiculous agency he runs, that promises to “de-gay” homosexuals through prayer. There is no scientific basis for this, and there is no evidence that such a thing is possible. Basically, such “programs” feed off homophobia and often lead teens who are depressed over being gay to suicide. Such programs are despicable.
A few months ago, these same blogs were also touting the idea of means-testing Social Security because, well, rich people were collecting checks. A number of lefty blogs were kicking around this idea, because there were the rich, again sucking as the government teat, while “regular people” suffered.
How can the same blogs who complain about Marcus Bachmann’s anti-gay “therapy” and advocate for means-testing Social Security have such a cow over President Obama suggesting that Republican Congresspersons go on record advocating for Social Security and Medicare cuts? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?
Most of you have figured out what I mean. A few of you, though, are scratching your heads, and not because you're using an organic berry shampoo.
Some of you literally can’t see the connection between those three stories, but there’s a very strong connection. The means-testing story is a little easier. If we cut off Social Security checks to those with pensions and other income over, say $250,000 per year, wouldn’t that constitute a “benefit cut?” And since the Obama Administration NEVER suggested specific cuts to Social Security, and Obama himself has gone on television repeatedly to assure seniors, who have been scared shitless by the apocalyptic bullshit coming from the left, that he will NOT allow any cuts to their benefits, don’t you think it a little knee-jerky to whine and cry and sign petitions and assume that Social Security is dead because someone might cut something, since a few months ago, you were all discussing means-testing Social Security recipients, which IS a “cut” in Social Security benefits?
Even if you now get that connection, many of you are still scratching your heads over the Marcus Bachmann connection, right?
Well, Marcus Bachmann has made a shitload of money through payments from Medicare for his anti-gay “therapy.” Essentially, he’s received as much as $137,000 in Medicare money over the years, for “praying away the gay.” Something that the far left blogs have rightly decried.
Now, we know he can’t be the only one collecting money for such ridiculous “treatments.” Therefore, we all obviously agree that such “cuts” to Medicare would actually be good things.
Right. Not ALL Social Security and Medicare cuts would necessarily be bad. There’s no way anyone should be getting federal money for a program like Marcus Bachmann’s, and by not sending checks to people who certainly don’t need them, you might extend the current level of Social Security payments for another 20-30 years or more. On paper, such cuts could potentially be worth tens of billions per year, and would hurt absolutely no one.
So what the hell are these people bitching about? Stop it; you’re scaring the elderly for no reason, for Chrissakes. Plus, you’re muddying the waters. The Republican Party DID pass a bill to kill Medicare and replace it with a voucher system. President Obama DID NOT try to kill Social Security.
See the difference?
This kind of shit is why, during a period of time when we should be shutting down the far right and pushing them back onto the fringe where they belong, we have to constantly deal with the likes of the current GOP. We can't afford to have this nonsense going on. People are suffering right now, and right wing ideologues are preventing us from getting serious about fixing the economy, precisely because a large, loud and frankly, pretty stupid segment of the progressive population is screwing up politically speaking.
You see, President Obama is a political genius. Yeah, I said GENIUS! I personally think he’s better at this than Clinton was, and Clinton was no slouch. What’s funny is, Obama’s constantly accused of "caving," despite the fact that he hasn’t served up anything that even comes close to welfare “reform” or the Communications Act of 1996, which changed broadcast ownership rules. And let’s face it; as good as Clinton was, he punted health care, while Obama got it passed during the worst recession in 80 years. Yet, Clinton is practically lionized by the far left, while Obama, who was handed an economy in free fall, is excoriated by the far left.
Personally, I think there’s some racism in there. Why IS the black president expected to perform miracles and be an absolute hard core liberal, while the white one gets a pass? Ah well, that’s another column, I guess.
Obama could have easily whined and cried after the 2010 elections left him with a dysfunctional Congress, but instead, he’s managed to keep the damage to a minimum. And he’s done it by playing politics to near perfection. And why would we expect otherwise? His performance so far has been amazing.
You see, even though some of you are too blinded by your fake ideology, he’s been screwing the right wing into the wall ever since they took over Congress. In fact, it even started before then.
I know some on the far left LOVE to whine about the Bush tax cuts, but make no mistake; they were going to extend anyway. See, every attempt the Democrats made to extend them for the middle class but not for the rich was met with a Republican stone wall. If they had expired, they would have expired for everyone, not just the rich. That would have inflicted unnecessary pain on a middle class that was still reeling from the recession, which means it would have been a lead pipe cinch for the GOP to pass an extension anyway. And it would have been difficult for him to veto such a bill. And who knows what sorts of spending cuts they would have attached to that, besides?
Obama saw this, and made a pre-emptive deal with the GOP, to extend the tax cuts before they expired, in return for extensions of programs designed to help the unemployed, like extended unemployment payments. He actually took away a major issue for the GOP in 2012, and got a few things in return that the GOP might not have ever passed at all. If they had passed an extra year of unemployment, they would have demanded tons of spending cuts in for that. Essentially, by making that deal, we avoided a repeat of the same shit we’ve gone through with the budget and the debt ceiling at least 3-4 more times this year.
Obama has NO INTENTION of cutting Social Security or Medicare. But Republicans have been all over the media for months, demanding that “entitlements” be put on the table. So, finally, Obama called their bluff. He said, “okay, Republican creeps. You want to cut Social Security so bad, you tell me what I should cut.”
This little political maneuver actually did two things. One, it gave Democrats a platform, so they could get up and promise Seniors that they would NEVER allow any cuts to Social Security. Yes, folks, politicians do that sometimes. Sometimes, they’ll take a “controversial” stand, just to allow their fellow travelers an opportunity to go on the record as faithful guardians of the public trust.
But the other thing it did was to put Congressional Republicans on their heels. They had assumed all along that Obama would NEVER allow cuts to Social Security, and they would be allowed to go back to their wacko constituents and brag that “Democrats aren’t serious about the debt and deficit, since they won’t even look at cuts in ‘entitlements.’” When Obama suggested he “might” look at Social Security cuts, it completely threw them off their game. Keep in mind; they already have their attempt to kill Medicare on their resume; there’s no way they will propose any serious cuts to Social Security, as well.
As a result of this maneuver, Obama has actually managed to force the entire Republican leadership to blink. There ARE cuts that can be made to Social Security without affecting benefits in any way. To think there aren’t is pure silliness. But now, the Republicans are the ones who have to come up with cuts that are acceptable to both sides, which is pretty much impossible. There’s no way they can make the teabaggers happy and not scare the hell out of anyone over the age of 40. But the ball is in their court now.
The result: both Boehner and McConnell have been forced to “cave.” (Funny, isn’t that was Democrats supposedly always do? No one in the left blogosphere seems to notice that.) Boehner almost immediately trimmed his overall request for spending cuts in half, and McConnell actually offered to punt the entire debt ceiling altogether, giving it to Obama (whom he claims can’t be trusted), in return for promising to make cuts in the budget cuts in the future.
Here’s the key to both political success, and not looking like a political novice basket case, is to evaluate RESULTS. Some people spend so much time jerking their knees at every maneuver that’s made, they never take the time to look at the results. Keep in mind; most lefty blogs are in it to make a ton of money, and they need eyes. So they tell you whatever will keep you coming back. Talk show hosts and pundits on radio and television are trying to piss you off, because that’s how they get people to return every day, as well. And forget headlines. If you’re reading headlines and not articles, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Someone last week told me that Obama was planning to raise the retirement age to 67, probably because she read it somewhere. Of course, the retirement age is already 67 for everyone born 1960 or later, so that wouldn’t be much of a “cut.”
Be discerning, be curious, be skeptical. And above all else, stop going crazy over every little thing you hear about as you devour as much “news” as you can possibly find, and train yourself to look at the bigger picture. Look at results, not methods. Look at overall strategy, and realize that not everything a politician does is as it seems.
And always remember; you get the government you elect. If you don’t want the government to cut Medicare and Social Security, stop helping to elect people whose mission it is to cut Social Security and Medicare. You don’t get to trash Democrats throughout 2009-2010, which is how the teabaggers got elected, and then act shocked when they actually do what they said they would do.
House Democrats passed 375 bills that the Republicans in the Senate blocked. Many of those would have made a tremendous difference. The solution to the problem was fewer Republicans. Instead, we got more, and we have a far left meme that dovetails nicely with the right wing meme, which causes people to stay away from the polls in droves. We have to get smarter, politically speaking, and screaming at the top of your lungs that President Obama wants to cut Social Security, when he clearly is not serves no purpose, except to cement the right wing’s hold on the government.
Stop it and grow up.