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View Diary: American Crossroads, 2014, and the Brand Crushing Not-So-Grand Bargain (70 comments)

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  •  Another point of emphasis I think is important: (15+ / 0-)

    something that I also think we need to think long and hard about, and then think about some more:

    The Democrats are enjoying a demographic advantage because they are not Republicans. That's it. It's like profoundly mistaking being in the right place at the right time by sheer good fortune to take advantage of the gross stupidity of somebody else as being the inevitable consequences of your great talent, vision, and hard work.

    This advantage is an opportunity, admittedly, but is also can be squandered very easily. Getting something by default is not securing something lasting. It's luck. Who we used to be is our greatest strength in maintaining it.

    Not because there is a brand there that is thriving, it's a brand living on the accomplishments of the past, and those accomplishments are in play for the right price.

    You can't depend on your reputation or your history to save you when you throw it away, squander, or otherwise do real lasting damage it.

    Some things are brand crushing. You don't get back what you lose once it's gone.

    Only in the beltway is this kind of stupidity seen as good politics and good policy.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:32:17 AM PDT

    •  What bothers me the most (8+ / 0-)

      Is the idea that the inevitable end result of all this will be a surprise to anyone.

      The idea that President Barack Obama, or Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi, will be surprised when bad things happen. Shocked. Like Harry Reid and the filibuster "deal" that he didn't even get to go 24 hours before he was punked on.

      They will be shocked by losing the Senate over this own goalism.

      First, by the Senate loss, and then by the Great Ratfuck to follow.

      Impeachment? What? Are they crazy? Over what?

      Over Ben Ghazi? Fast and the Furious? This can't be happening. This is a joke. No way this happens. Somebody is going to stand up and put a stop to this. Somebody.

      The Village will put a stop to this.

      No. They will clear time to show it like Elvis is back from the dead. They will love every second of the drama. The excitement.

      The GOP moderates? "Moderates"?

      Who?

      John McCain? Please. He hates you. You won the White House. That's enough for him to watch you drown with the idea that you would be 'forced out of office in disgrace'. It would validate everything he believes about himself. About Obama. That it was a mistake. That he was run over by celebrity, not substance.

      How about the Independent Broderite Senator!

      Angus King? Please. You'll be lucky if that guy doesn't polish his bona fides by staying neutral or hrumphing a lot on camera.

      What about Susan Collins? She will stand up. I know it.

      Susan Collins? She's an older version of Kelly Ayotte with a fake reputation for common sense and moderation.

      I'm betting stunned disbelief as House Impeachment Managers are selected. Paul Ryan the first, who is then put on point in selling the shitshow.

      The Village would open up the floodgates and provide the GOP with hours and hours of time. It would be fun for them. It'd be like being on MTV's the Real World on steroids for every damned Villager.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:38:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fortunately, Obama has both probity on his (3+ / 0-)

        side and, if the country is desperate for a spectacle, he can always release the images from Iraq.

        Talk about a media frenzy! Talk about embedded journalists who had to sign away their independence to witness what they were then prevented from reporting!

        There are some real things for Republicans to be afraid of.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:47:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Even more depressing... (15+ / 0-)

        When the catastrophe happens, the Cassandras who warned against the actions that caused it will be blamed for the catastophe.  That story is as old as Troy....

        Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

        by Dallasdoc on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:52:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dallasdoc (11+ / 0-)

          I fully expect to hear an amen corner of Chained CPI apologists come running in. I do.

          And I expect the biggest attack to be that this is tearing down Obama. Trust him. Trust them. He/they are smarter than us.

          This is not about just Obama.

          This is about the Party. It's bigger than Obama.

          And I fully expect that if there is a Republican Senate take-over in 2014, I expect to hear constantly that it's the voters fault that the Senate is Teahadi. Not the Democratic Party. Not the White House.

          How have you failed the Democratic Party today?

          It never fails.

          Every shitty Democratic own goal in my lifetime has been enabled by faith-based and mystical thinking on the parts of Democrats who refuse to see that there is a real problem and it's only been growing worse and worse.

          The Rox vs. Sux fights were a kind of kabuki of self-deception.

          Its a systemic, party-wide problem. It can't be compartmentalized on any pol or faction.

          I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

          by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:17:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not just about the party (13+ / 0-)

            Politics, at its most fundamental level, is about who lives and who dies.  Who eats and who starves.  Who lies in a bed warm at night and who shivers under an overpass.  We forget this fundamental truth at our peril.

            If the Democratic party cannot be reformed to work for the vast majority of the people who never reached or are falling out of the middle class, it no longer has any purpose.  We don't need it if it will not help.  It's not treasonous to suggest this:  it's lunatic not to.

            Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

            by Dallasdoc on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:20:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You nailed it. I don't believe that it is any (5+ / 0-)

            coincidence that the Administration has 'revamped' OFA (Organizing for America?) at this time.

            They HAVE to have a MAJOR PROPAGANDA TOOL, with the cuts to the social insurance programs that they have in mind (based on their endorsement of Bowles-Simpson, that is) for the remainder of this term.

            Bear in mind, folks, the Chained CPI is the 'low-hanging' fruit of all the Bowles-Simpson prescribed cuts to Social Security.

            Just wait until the real battle begins over 'means testing' Social Security, and raising the FRA (and likely the ERA).

            I'll go ahead and post the WH and Capitol Hill phone numbers here, again.  If anything, we need to call on the Chained CPI for practice to the 'real battles,' yet to come. ;-)

            The fight is on!

            Please burn up the phone line to the White House, to Speaker Boehner's Office, and to Capitol Hill.

            Here's the White House Comment Line (live and recording):  

            1-202-456-1111

            Here's two Capitol Hill phone numbers (for Speaker Boehner, our Senators and US House Representatives):

            1-866-220-0044
            1-202-224-3121

            [These are current phone numbers.]

            Mollie

            "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            hiddennplainsight

            by musiccitymollie on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 10:07:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I expect to hear that by warning that Obama was (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeftHandedMan, musiccitymollie

            seeking to cut Social Security, we weakened him and made him "vulnerable", thereby forcing him to cut Social Security.

            It will be absolutely obvious that he'd never have done it if we had all just uplifted him with our magical support rays, and personally attacked everyone we ever encountered who was critical of his policies.

            I'm not joking.

            income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

            by JesseCW on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:14:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know you aren't joking (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, musiccitymollie

              I can see the batshit logic in the "this is just Obama Derangement Syndrome" and "nobody cares about Chained CPI" "defenses" that are popping up already in response to the backlash.

              There is a faith-based component to kneejerk Democratic Party boosterism that is very dangerous to the Democratic Party most of all.

              This is a time where 'trusting them' is like letting them close themselves in a garage filling up with carbon monoxide and turning your back.

              I know you aren't joking.

              I expect the 2014 debacle to be blamed on the people who tried to stop it by the faith-based who see themselves as the smartest people in the room.

              I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

              by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:52:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  When Republicans pick up seats (8+ / 0-)

          We'll be told that of course we must compromise with the new Republicans and the only thing we have that they want is an increase in the eligibility ages so of course we have no choice but to give them something, I mean we must compromise, we have to bargain, we can't get everything we want and they want Social Security and Medicare, so there you go, so sorry, please send money...repeat until we are praying for a voucher.

    •  Change or die (14+ / 0-)

      The Democratic party is irretrievably falling into the same cesspool of Petersonian austerity-mongering, Rubinite Wall Street-whoring and neocon endless-warmaking that the Republicans have long wallowed in.  The leader of the party is leading the dive into that cesspool, just as its last leader did.  Now even the "progressive" wing, as personified by Nancy Pelosi, is taking the dive as well.  

      The Democratic party has been doing its best to destroy its traditional New Deal brand for decades, and almost the last shred of that brand was its championship of Social Security and Medicare.  If it finally pisses those away, as the leadership is desperately trying to do, most casually interested voters will have even less reason to vote for Democrats.  They may not vote for Republicans, but they most definitely might not bother to show up and vote for Democrats.  We saw what happened in that context in 2010.  You're right to point out the dystopian consequences should it happen again.

      Democrats running in 2014 can still salvage their brand because of Paul Ryan and the Krayzee Kaucus in the Republican party, but it won't be easy.  They'll have to run against their own president and their own leadership.  That unlikely possibility would prove the most hopeful sign for the Democratic party, because it would signal a revival of its traditional wing.  One more collapse into the arms of the austerian leadership by the Progressive Caucus might kill off this possibility for good, though.

      If the Democratic party finally poisons its own well, the time will finally have arrived to discuss alternatives.  Labor, progressives, advocates for the poor and the elderly and the dispossessed -- all will have to find common cause in a new coalition to either oust the Democratic leadership or abandon the party.  We can't afford to follow our leaders anymore, not after chained-CPI.

      Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:47:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with the premise (7+ / 0-)

        that the Democrats have an existential crisis on their hands now.

        Preserving the Social Safety net and trying to preserve the American middle class are the only real reasons to vote Democratic straight ticket. The Democrats seem hell bent on pissing both away in the name of an illusion.

        Any gains in any "Grand Bargain" will be temporary.

        The pain will be permanent. The rollbacks.

        They have gone from looking like occasional suckers and chumps, to openly embracing that they are just as big a part of the problem as any in DC.

        It will be very, very hard for non-beltway Democrats do undo the damage they will have done to their brand here. They cannot credibly claim they were conned. They can't credibly claim they couldn't possibly know what would happen post Chained CPI debate.

        Barack Obama has built up the Barack Obama brand. Very similarly to Bill Clinton, Obama didn't build up the Democratic Party during his time in office. He created his own legacy and brand.

        When Obama is gone, his brand is gone.

        But the albatross of Chained CPI will be left behind to hang around the necks of the party he leaves behind.

        He doesn't have to run again, they do.

        Which is why their actions are baffling. There is no upside to doing this for them. None. And it's so blatant that this is the case that even the most low-information voter can see it.

        The American Crossroads ads, and the Village role in giving the GOP the ability to frame themselves as Social Securities defenders that write themselves, and the blowback to follow, which will have dire implications for Obama going forward as President... couldn't be more apparent.

        I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

        by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:01:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also (8+ / 0-)

          Nancy Pelosi has really made a huge mistake here. This is like spitting in the face of everyone who raised their voices when Heath Shuler pulled his little obnoxious Blue Dog/DLC grandstanding stunt to take her job after the House loss.

          I expect Harry Reid to be a weasel. He's my Senator and I know him well.

          There is no pragmatic explanation for such sheer stupidity. There is no upside. The downside, the risk, and the awful damage is all there staring all of us right in the face.

          I think we need, at a minimum, new Congressional Leadership in both the House and the Senate.

          You can't fix stupid.

          I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

          by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:06:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Only one out for Democrats (10+ / 0-)

          Campaign against Obama's austerity agenda.  If they don't rebel, they'll be out on their asses.  A populist agenda is out there --  the CPC just put out their annual too-sane-to-be-acknowledged budget -- but unless the party embraces it as a party and rejects Obama's Great White Whale obsession, they won't get the credit they don't deserve.

          If they fail and Republicans get back in charge, the time to kill off the Democratic party and go back to something like the militancy of the early labor movement will finally have arrived.  With the militarization of the police we've seen, that'll be ugly.

          Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

          by Dallasdoc on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:06:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, you know, a safety net assumes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Don midwest, LeftHandedMan

          that the performer is doing something reckless and making a spectacle of himself.
          Human beings, having been brought to life through no action or fault of their own, are entitled to sustenance. Period. The notion that life is a right, but living has to be earned needs to be rejected.
          Those who are here have obligations to the past and to the next generation. That's the essence of social organisms. Individuals can claim to be independent and self-supporting, but, whatever the motivation for that claim, the claim is false. It simply doesn't comport with reality. Humans are born weak and unable to support themselves and, unless somebody provides support they perish. So, in spite of themselves, they incur an obligation. They owe a debt. That some can't see that is a problem, but the way to deal with it is not to propound a myth.
          Some creatures are independent, but humans aren't one of them.

          We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:48:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  A large part of the American electorate (10+ / 0-)

        will be dispossessed.  Actually, we are already, but most of us do not realize it yet.  However, if the chained CPI or any other form of negative change to our social safety net occurs, it will require Democratic support.  And we are already seeing that from our President and Congressional leaders.  I am very close to giving up on the Democratic Party for good.  I cannot continue to vote for people who support Republican ideas.

        If the Democratic party finally poisons its own well, the time will finally have arrived to discuss alternatives.  Labor, progressives, advocates for the poor and the elderly and the dispossessed -- all will have to find common cause in a new coalition to either oust the Democratic leadership or abandon the party.  We can't afford to follow our leaders anymore, not after chained-CPI.

        "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

        by gulfgal98 on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:03:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Chained CPI is like Forced busing (3+ / 0-)

      Pelosi condescends to tell us that they will be helping the poor escape the CPI change.

      Now imagine how the Republicans are going to use that!  They will tell middle class seniors very truthfully that the Democrats are cutting their Social Security benefit every month for the rest of their lives to give it to the poor.  Democrats are buying the votes of immigrants with your hard earned Social Security.   Democrats are taking money away from your mother to give to someone else.  Democrats are taking money away from your grandmother to give it to someone else.

      If there is anything a swing votes fears about the Democratic Party it is that the money they earned will be taken to help someone who doesn't deserve it.  

      This plan which doesn't even pretend to touch the upper middle class or wealthy because it does nothing to the payroll tax cap will be seen for what it is, a transfer of earned benefits from the middle class to the poor.  

      •  I can't think of an easier (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, tardis10, lostinamerica

        GOP pivot to make, and massive ad campaign to run against Democrats, than Democrats putting their hands all over cutting Social Security.

        It's a gift from the Gods.

        This is going to be the non-Movement Conservative equivalent, in terms of fallout, to George H.W. Bush's "Read my lips" broken promise.

        There is 2008 footage of Obama being interviewed swearing that he wouldn't do this. On raising the retirement age. On Chained CPI.

        Lee Atwater is dead, but he ain't that dead that the GOP can't figure out how to turn this into a rout for the ages.

        I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

        by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:25:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And if Republicans could get smart (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftHandedMan, tardis10

          They'd figure out that if there's one place they can look to find some new voters it's with seniors.  Heck, Bush didn't touch Social Security in the end at all.  

          And if they convince American seniors that their money is SAFER being privatized than being left in the government pot where it can be STOLEN and given away to others then they've won the argument.  

          I mean your diary is so on point here.  The problem isn't the technical change in the CPI it is the fact that the Democratic Party is no longer committed to Social Security and Medicare.  I don't think we need Republicans to lie, I think it's the truth.  

          •  I really do believe (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greenbell, lostinamerica

            with all my heart that the Democrats who are pushing this have taken leave of their senses.

            You simply cannot undo this damage once it is done, it's bad policy AND bad politics, and the ads write themselves.

            Low-information voters are going to eat up the American Crossroads ads once they show up. The GOP as the defenders of Social Security from austerity Democratic Partyites?

            That's priceless to Karl Rove. It could add 10 to 20 years of relevance to a party that demographics would otherwise render a rump party.

            I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

            by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:51:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  better to assume dems acting rationally (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LeftHandedMan

              they know something that we don't know

              they are connected to something that we don't know

              better to assume rational action from where they stand

              from our position it is stupid, crazy

              but some how they are comfortable with what they are doing

              •  That's not a safe assumption (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LeftHandedMan

                We know for certain that Democratic representatives can be just as stupid, greedy, corrupt, and complicit as Republican ones can. And to me it looks like they're in a race to see who can rob the country blindest first.

                If it's
                Not your body,
                Then it's
                Not your choice
                And it's
                None of your damn business!

                by TheOtherMaven on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 01:49:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Hear, hear, LHM. It would appear to be a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftHandedMan

          'gift from the Gods.'

          I have this creeping suspicion and concern that that don't give a rat's patootie, either.

          And the only way that this could be, is if they have the intention to SO PLEASE the Pete Peterson's of the world (the One Percent) by accomplishing the evisceration of Social Security and Medicare, that they know they (the Democratic Party) will have the blessings and therefore, the money or funding from this crowd to infinity.

          So, to their minds, throwing the party base under the bus--no big deal!

          I hate to think this, but nothing else makes sense.

          I truly believe that we must be relentless in our pushback, or ALL of the Bowles-Simpson 'recommendations' may possibly be adopted by the end of this Administration's term.

          Heaven help us all, if Bowles and Simpson get their way.

          We wouldn't recognize this place in a decade or so, if they actually decide to totally impoverish millions and millions of seniors.

          This is all surreal.  And I expect that this little round over the Chained CPI is simply "a dress rehearsal" for the real deep cuts, yet to come.  I've never wanted to be wrong, more than now. ;-)

          Mollie

          "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          hiddennplainsight

          by musiccitymollie on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 10:20:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Nice post-- (6+ / 0-)

      What's unclear at this point -- I don't think anyone knows the answer -- is whether the Democratic Party would follow the President over the cliff if it comes to that.

      For every Bernie Sanders, there's a Mark Warner.
      For every Keith Ellison, there's a Nancy Pelosi.
      For every liberal, there's a this, whatever it is.

      •  I think it's likely (7+ / 0-)

        that a "Grand Bargain" would fracture the party after it passed, not before. This is why I'm so freaked out by this stupidity. It's going to be a huge disaster on so many levels for Democrats.

        That is why I think we have to be a big part of the reason it can't happen. That it is politically impossible to pursue.

        I think this is the kind of diaster where, at the point where it looks like a done deal, there will be a split.

        Some liberals will foolishly go with the 'we have to do this because the President says so' and they will be destroyed for doing it.

        The rest will recoil, a kind of Liberal pullback, and rueful private conversations about schadenfreude and here online will start happening too early. Before the fight is really over.

        I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

        by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:31:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  dm, respectfully, I think it's clear that they are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lostinamerica, LeftHandedMan

        willing to follow this Administration over the cliff.

        According to MSNBC talking heads, Rep Peter Welch from Vermont, is the epitomy of a "liberal," no?

        I saw him agree to vote for raising the age for Medicare eligibility, if the President backs it.  He was a guest on C-Span's Washington Journal.

        Mollie

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        hiddennplainsight

        by musiccitymollie on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 10:35:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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