Imagine what would've happened if John Boehner had said yes to the President's "big deal." The President, a Democrat, offered to cut Social Security, Medicare, and extend most of the Bush tax cuts. If not for Eric Cantor's reticence on the revenue issue, it's highly likely that John Boehner would've said yes.
And thus the knife would have been inserted in the heart of the New Deal, and into the Democratic party platform, thus harming the chances of Democrats to take back Congress in 2012. Even with that said, the Republicans will still attack Democrats on this because the President put out the prospect of cutting SS, Medicare, and Medicaid on the table. Once it's out there, it's hard to take it back.
Now we don't have to imagine anymore. You see, Republicans are priming the pump for their attack ads in the fall against President Obama for being in favor of cuts to Social Security. You can see this right here in the opening salvo from Erick Ericksen in an e-mail to his supporters:
Dear RedState Supporter,
It’s the devastating truth that young voters will believe whatever Barack Obama tells them.
First he says he’ll never consider cutting Social Security. Now he says he WILL consider cutting Social Security. And the young will go along with it. Just because he says it’s right.
“Don’t worry, Dad, President Obama says you’ll hardly notice the cuts.”
If I were counting on Social Security today, I’d be dead scared.
David Dayden notes that this is totally ridiculous coming from Republicans, and he's right. But it's worked before in 2010 because Republicans used the cuts to Medicare Advantage (which was a huge boondoggle for private insurance companies) to scare seniors and independent voters into voting against Democrats.
Now, this is totally ridiculous coming from a conservative movement which has cherished cutting the social safety net since its inception. However, it’s pretty much the same gambit that conservatives pulled off in 2010, when they created ads about the $500 billion in Medicare cuts in the Affordable Care Act. Those cuts largely went to ending corporate welfare in the form of Medicare Advantage overpayments, but that didn’t matter. This slightly plausible attack line was the only substantive critique used by Republicans in 2010, and it was devastatingly successful. In the event of a grand bargain that implements an immediate benefit cut to Social Security recipients through chained CPI, or makes other cuts to safety net programs, there can be no doubt that they will try the same thing. In fact, they’re already on it.
There’s something more to this than merely an attack line. It’s an attempt to chip away at 80 years of Democratic branding. And the President has handed the opposition the pick axe. The White House would claim that they are making modest adjustments to make these programs sustainable over the long-term. But once cuts enter the equation, you give the other side rhetorical space for attack.
Back in 2006, we were swept into Congress in a historic landslide due to dissatisfaction with President Bush, the Iraq war, and his trying to privatize Social Security.
President Bush himself, seen as the leader and face of the Republican party, was a large factor in the 2006 election. Exit polls showed that a large block of the electorate had voted for Democrats or for third parties specifically because of personal opposition to or dislike for Bush. The size of the segment that said it had voted specifically to support Bush was not as large. Opposition to Bush was based on a number of factors, these not limited to opposition to his Social Security plan, the slow response of his administration to Hurricane Katrina, his perceived inaction in the face of and association with rising gas prices, and as mentioned above, his continued commitment to the war.
Do you remember this newspaper headline that rang out across the country back then? I sure as hell do. I worked hard to make that happen as did many other progressive Democrats. And now we'll see a reverse of that newspaper headline, all because President Obama put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, and it hurts the entire Democratic Party. We may lose more seats than the current ones we have in Congress as a result.
And if the President somehow gets re-elected, and faces an even more Republican House, there's no telling how many more spending cuts will be put on the table. We need a Democratic Congress in 2012 so that President Obama can work with a more hospitable Congress, or if President Obama does not get re-elcted, the Democratic Congress will be there to act as a bulwark against whatever insane Republican there is in the White House.
It's why Democrats can't vote to cut Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid. We need to take action to remind them why. You can do so by calling these numbers below.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
From joanneleon's wonderful diary below:
Phone calls now and while you are making the calls get ready. Get ready to go to your local Congressional office. Get ready to go to DC if you can. Get ready to get out on the streets.
Today's Action - Day 1
1) Contact the DNC (Democratic National Committee).
2) Contact your representatives and the White House (We will call for this every day).
Tell them not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid in any way, shape or form. Contact information is below.
White House Comments Line: 202-456-1111
White House Switchboard: 202-456-1414
White House FAX: 202-456-2461
White House Email Page: www.whitehouse.gov/contactCongress
Capitol Switchboard: (202)224-3121
(Just ask for your Rep.'s or Senator's office).
Look up your Representative's / Senator's contact information:
http://www.contactingthecongress.org/Democratic National Committee (DNC)
DNC by email: www.democrats.org/page/s/contact
DNC by phone: (202) 863-8000
DNC by snail mail: 430 S. Capitol St. SE, Washington, DC 20003
To help spread the word to others so they can take action, just click the Facebook "like" button above, and the "tweet" button to send it out everywhere!