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Bill Keller, op-ed columnist for NYT who was for eight years the executive editor of the newspaper (until Sept. 2011)
In Bill Keller's defense,
maybe President Obama was
secretly crossing his fingers
behind his back.
Greg Sargent takes former New York Times editor Bill Keller to task for some really bad sequester punditry, and with good reason.
Republicans are waving around a column by the New York Times’ Bill Keller that pins the blame for the sequester on the President. The title is “Obama’s fault,” and Keller’s effort is reminiscent of plenty of other punditry we’ve seen that adopts all kinds of strange contortions en route to reaching this conclusion.

In Keller’s case, though, the zeal to find Obama at fault for the sequester impasse leads him to commit a straight up falsehood. Keller offers up the widely held belief that if only Obama had embraced the Simpson-Bowles commission’s plan, he’d have a good deal more leverage to force Republicans to compromise.

The problem, as Sargent documents, is that President Obama actually has embraced the Simpson-Bowles plan. Keller's thesis is rooted in nonsense. You can make the case that President Obama was wrong to embrace Simpson and Bowles ... but it's just false to claim that he didn't embrace them. And he did so during the heat of the campaign. For example, during President Obama's DNC speech, he said:
I'm still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. I want to get this done, and we can get it done.
Setting aside the fact that the commission never voted to support the Simpson-Bowles plan, Obama clearly nonetheless embraced the plan that the two two men proposed. Moreover, he did so while literally speaking to his party's base—exactly as the Simpson-Bowles acolytes demand of him. Then, one month later, Obama did it again, during the first presidential debate, telling Mitt Romney that embracing the Simpson and Bowles plan is "what we've done." Obama said he had "made some adjustments to it, and we're putting it forward before Congress right now, a $4 trillion plan."

In other words, Obama repeatedly did what Keller says he should have done. And what did he get in exchange from Keller? Nothing but grief.

The Simpson-Bowles agenda was imperfect, and had plenty to offend ideologues of the left and right, which meant that it was the very manifestation of what Obama likes to call “a balanced approach.” So did he seize it as an opportunity for serious debate about our fiscal mess? No, he abandoned it. Instead, he built a re-election campaign that was long on making the wealthiest pay more in taxes, short on spending discipline, and firmly hands-off on the problem of entitlements.

If Obama had campaigned on some version of Simpson-Bowles rather than on poll-tested tax hikes alone, he could now claim a mandate from voters to do something big and bold. Most important, he would have some leverage with members of his own base who don’t want to touch Medicare even to save it. This was missed opportunity No. 1.

Given that Keller is one of the few people in America who are actually super-duper-enthusiastic about supporting the Simpson-Bowles plan, you'd think he'd give the president credit not just for putting Simpson and Bowles on the map in the first place, but for embracing their ideas even as members of both parties go running for the hills.

Instead, Keller pens an op-ed that relies on a false representation of the facts to conclude that the sequester situation is "Obama's fault." Keller should issue a correction, though I doubt he will. But in the slim chance that he does confess to getting the facts wrong, I sincerely hope he doesn't blame it on Obama.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 11:39 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos and Daily Kos Economics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Whatever. I'm not going to defend Obama for (12+ / 0-)

    embracing the Catfood Commission.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 11:50:02 AM PST

      •  But isn't it? (0+ / 0-)

        I support the basic principles of Simpson-Bowles because I largely view it as a basic math problem.  Similar to how I view climate change as a basic math problem.

        Now, each side has a core constituency that we can label as "deniers" and I, personally, reject both these denial camps because each of these camps are looking at the problem through their political lenses instead of merely looking at the data first and THEN coming to a conclusion.

        In my mind those that want to argue about a "cat food commission" are very reminiscent of those that want to argue that climate change is a hoax.  Unfortunatley, both of these groups aren't easily persuadable as to the facts at hand and so the "reality based" community is left tilting at windmills.

        To quote a bit of wisdom:

        "So crucify the ego, before it's far too late
        To leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical,
        And you will come to find that we are all one mind
        Capable of all that's imagined and all conceivable.
        Just let the light touch you
        And let the words spill through
        And let them pass right through
        Bringing out our hope and reason ..."

        I "pray" for hope and reason.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 08:08:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think this is less about defending Obama and (10+ / 0-)

      more about calling out the media enablers of Republican intransigence. This was the key paragraph for me:

      This is not a trivial mistake on Keller’s part. It goes directly to the heart of what this debate is all about. The claim that Obama and Democrats are insisting only on tax hikes to bring down the deficit is absolutely central to the GOP’s messaging in the sequester fight.
      ...
      If Republicans openly acknowledged this, the absurdity and intransigence of their position — that we must bring down the deficit only with 100 percent spending cuts, and not a penny more in new revenues — would be drawn into such sharp relief that not even the “both sides are to blame” pundits could ignore it.
      emphasis is mine

      Conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less. E.J. Dionne

      by blueyescryinintherain on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:11:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That wasn't the point of the diary (0+ / 0-)

      Barack Obama for President '12

      by v2aggie2 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:40:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dracowyrm, KayCeSF, nextstep

    The Budgets he has sent to Congress the last two years certainly did not "embrace" Simpson Bowles. His budget for FY 2013 was due to Congress on February 4, and will be submitted to Congress on March 25.  I suspect that it will not be styled on Simpson Bowles.  If he had "embraced" Simpson Bowles, I would have expected his proposed budgets and/or legislation he sent to Congress to be styled on Simpson Bowles.  

    I guess it depends on what you mean by "embrace."  If by "embrace," you mean "use as a basis for budgets he sent to Congress," or "use as basis for proposed legislation he sent to Congress," then no, he has not "embraced" Simpson Bowles.

    •  This. Once again, entitlement-cut fearmongers (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerry056, Aquarius40, KayCeSF, FiredUpInCA

      either fail to grasp--or refuse to acknowledge--the difference between political positioning and actual policy positions.

      The fact is that this President has been presented many opportunities to cut social safety net programs, and in every case, has chosen to protect them, instead. Cf the 2011 debt-ceiling hostage crisis.

      Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

      by Dracowyrm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:00:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There has been a certain amount of hysteria (5+ / 0-)

        on the left about this. But on the other hand, Obama hasn't ever to my knowledge come out and said that Simpson/Bowles is so off kilter as a policy proposal that it should not be taken seriously. To me one of the key flaws in it is that, despite being tasked with reducing the deficit, the commission chose to propose Social Security cuts, despite the fact that Social Security does not, and cannot by law, affect the deficit. They also proposed Medicare changes with the goal of capping government expenditures, even if it means shifting more costs onto beneficiaries. This is good policy only if you are so focused on lowering government spending you don't care what the human costs are. In short the "entitlement reform" part of Simpson/Bowles is garbage and should be treated as such.

        •  That's because S-B doesn't exist. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aquarius40

          S-B never actually recommended anything. So it becomes a convenient blank slate of "bipartisan compromise" onto which anyone can project whatever he pleases. A useful icon for positioning, but completely irrelevant when it comes to actual policy.

          That's why both parties point to it. It doesn't mean anything.

          The Administration has never endorsed any of the specifics you mention except chained CPI, which, whatever you think of it, is a mathematically more accurate way of estimating the COLA, and therefore a truer implementation of the law than we have currently. It's pretty hard to argue that we should deviate from the law because it gives us a better deal--if you want to do that, amend the law, don't scoff it.

          And it remains a fact that a reduction of a future benefit increase does not equal a benefit cut.

          Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

          by Dracowyrm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:25:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Simpson and Bowles are still on the talk circuit (0+ / 0-)

            and what they are talking up is based at least in part on the unapproved final plan, which in turn was based on a draft they co-authored. So in that sense it is still out there as a concrete proposal. And the GOP side does take it seriously, although Mitt and Ryan's campaign chose not to accept it, partly because they didn't want to sign on to the tax side of it, which had actual tax increases and limitations on deductions.

          •  There is absolutely NO proof (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Slightly Wobbly, Hugin, Dave925, KenBee

            that a chained CPI is a more accurate measurement for senior spending and many years of BLS tracking,the CPI-E, that shows it is not. And sorry,but reducing benefits so that they do not keep pace with inflation is a BENEFIT CUT here in the real world.
            If the concern is truly accuracy, then the BLS should construct a full elderly CPI to get the Index formula right. But the concern is just a ruse to shovel more $$$ to the top, so I don't expect to see it..

            "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

            by tardis10 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:25:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Any COLA formula (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KenBee, tardis10

              That includes the falling cost of electronics instead of the rising cost of food is bullshit to begin with and then to eff it up even more with this "CPI" nonsense is the height of not giving a damn about Seniors.

              SS as it is isn't an adequate retirement and since so many people's savings and the few who had pensions have been wiped out, looted actually by unpunished criminals, we're going to see some real suffering inflicted on Seniors forced to live on what is a paltry and inadequate SS benefit and these fuckers want to cut it more??? And we have someone here on DKos saying CPI is more "accurate" and "not a benefit cut" tells me the propaganda trolls have been paid and are at it on this site. I simply refuse to believe a real progressive or a Democrat for that matter can belief such heartless nonsense.

  •  As someone pointed out in the (10+ / 0-)

    comments:

    Always consider the source. Bill Keller was one of the earliest supporters of the War in Iraq and was a leading voice in calling for Sec. Colin Powell to be fired He was a supporter of Paul Wolfowitz.  

    Enough said.

    Remember Paul Wolfowitz? Indeed, enough said.

    Conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less. E.J. Dionne

    by blueyescryinintherain on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 11:57:25 AM PST

    •  Excellent points. (7+ / 0-)

      Keller and Woodward are working hard in support of the Republican world view.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:02:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not only that...he called the President's plan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925

      balanced as late as last October.

      http://mediamatters.org/...

      Here's what Keller said to expect from a reelected President Obama:

         

      With Obama, we can anticipate that the unfinished business of universal health care and the re-regulation of the Wall Street casino will be finished. We can expect investments in education, infrastructure and innovation, followed by a gradual, balanced attack on deficits that includes higher taxes on the wealthiest. (And this time he will have a hefty stick to apply to a recalcitrant Congress: the fiscal cliff, which forces Congress to compromise or share the blame for the ensuing havoc.) We can expect the Pentagon, after winding down two wars, to bank a peace dividend. If Obama is re-elected, especially if he is elected with substantial Latino support, we can expect that he will try to deliver on his postponed promise of comprehensive immigration reform. The fact that these objectives represent a continuation of his first term does not mean he is aiming low. These are ambitious goals.
      They can no longer be consistent because Republicans craziness has turned the pox on both houses meme into mush.

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:16:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The question is why (8+ / 0-)

    aren't you making that case.

    You can make the case that President Obama was wrong to embrace Simpson and Bowles
    1. Pundit accuses Obama of not being sufficiently conservative.

    2. Progressive defender cries foul, points out that he has, in fact, been precisely that conservative.

    3. The foreheads of other liberal-leftists-progressives hit keyboards with loud thwacks.

    •  Because 2016 (5+ / 0-)

      And if way suggest that the President was in any way wrong, we will of course lose the next election.

      /snark

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:04:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  To be fair to Jed, showing the B-S was wrong (11+ / 0-)

      (and Obama wrong to the extent he supported B-S) was not the point of this post.  All he was doing was showing the Keller was factually inaccurrate, as part, I think, of a bigger point that no matter what Obama does, the punditocracy will argue it is not enough and, therefore, Obama and Rs are equally at fault.

      I have never read a post in which Jed has endorsed B-S, or had complimented Obama on statements favoring the overall aims of B-S.  

      I'll let Jed talk for himself, but I think he opposes B-S, and was critical of President Obama in the best for even appointing that commission.

      So this comment "The question is why aren't you making that case" really does not fit.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:07:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  he has (4+ / 0-)

      if you've been reading jed these past months, he has been very critical of the administration when it embraced various forms of austerity. this is about the dishonesty and incompetence of the media.

      right now, during the sequestration showdown, everything is about framing. all of obama's efforts at centrism, at compromise, at offering up traditional democratic values must be used to prove the absolute intransigence of the republicans. the more the public blames the republicans for sequestration, the more room it gives the democrats to play hardball. and just as importantly, the less excuse it gives the democrats not to play hardball.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:07:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not so sure about that-- (5+ / 0-)

        Under pressure, the GOP could rethink the sequester and decide to give President Obama his Grand Bargain. Right now the pressure from Broder-Keller world is on the GOP Cantor-caucus to accept increased taxes and on liberals to accept cuts to the New Deal.

        •  Yes. One of which will fly w/voters, and one won't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aquarius40, Dave925

          Which is why the longer this mess drags out, the worse things get for the GOP in 2014. Thankfully.

          Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

          by Dracowyrm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:27:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think the key term in your comment is "decide to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aquarius40

          give". That's what they can't stomach. They can't give him a "win" even if it contained exactly what they wanted. If he proposes it, they have to hate it.

          The funny bit is that he has now figured this out, and he used the fact with the immigration bill "leak"...which, of course, was nothing of the kind.

          Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

          by Dracowyrm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:29:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  most of the pressure (5+ / 0-)

          seems to be on the democrats- and i think that's part of jed's point. the entire media narrative is, as usual, skewed to favor the republicans. and you're right- if the gop had even a handful of collective functioning brain cells, they'd take obama's offer. they'd have taken his offer in december. they'd have taken his offer last summer. but if they prove themselves as stupid as they have every time, obama can win this in a very big way.

          i'm not saying this is obama's plan, but i'm also not giving in to despair about rumored offers. but for two years, i've been wanting obama to stand up to the republicans, and allow a showdown- sequester, in this case- just as clinton allowed gingrich to shut down the government. the pressure builds, the media make their play, and everyone watches the polls to see who is getting blamed. right now, the blame is falling on the republicans. obama needs to keep acting "reasonable," and that blame on the republicans will increase.

          and as the impacts of sequester build, if obama steps back and says he did everything he could to cut a deal, and the republicans wouldn't negotiate in good faith, he can then say all deals are off, and he wants a clean bill to end sequester, a clean budget bill, clean debt ceiling bills, and an end to gop brinksmanship. that would break the current gop, once and for all. and i'm not saying that is obama's plan, but the path is there for the taking.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:34:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. & I think that is happening now. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurence Lewis, Aquarius40

            Second-term Obama is clearly no longer worrying about maintaining every possible edge for what he knew would be a knife-edge election, with the giant unknown of Citizens United thrown in. He's not running any more, he's had enough of this bullshit, and in the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling and sequester run-ups, he's made it clear he'll be reasonable, but he won't be steamrollered.

            I think, to quote the late great Jim DeMint, the sequester will be this GOP Congressional majority's Waterloo.

            Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

            by Dracowyrm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:38:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  i'm convinced, either way (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dracowyrm, PlinytheWelder

              but this is the showdown, finally, and now we will find out, finally, just what obama really wants.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:40:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think that's always been clear: he wants to solv (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Aquarius40

                problems, and to do it in a way that works best for ordinary Americans. But he'd rather solve a problem--or partially solve it--in a less-than-optimal way than to fail to make any progress at all.

                The 2011 debt-ceiling deal made it pretty clear that among the "things Obama wants" is not to cut Social Security, Medicaid Medicare benefits, TANF, SCHIP and the other programs he insisted be exempted. He had ample opportunity to allow these to be cut, and cover for that action because he was being held hostage. Instead, he drove a deal far worse for Republicans than Democrats.

                Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

                by Dracowyrm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:45:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think that is a false reading. He knew he (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  v2aggie2

                  could include those in a deal without revenue. That is why they are not there.  It is  fair to say he will not cuts entitlements without simultaneously tax increases, like Reagan.  Mostly because he knows he would give up Democrats primary edge in all future elections.  But what he doesn't realize is his statements have already moved the goal posts and the will be hard to put back.

                  "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                  by justmy2 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:21:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  How do you figure? (0+ / 0-)

                    Republicans wanted to cut those programs. If Obama didn't mind cutting them, he had no reason not to let it happen, and he would have had political cover for doing so.

                    Instead, he drove a deal that protected everything all the Chicken Littles were swearing he was going to slash.

                    That is proof positive that his intention is not to cut these programs.

                    Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

                    by Dracowyrm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 03:29:23 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I just provided the reason (0+ / 0-)

                      He didn't want to cut them WITHOUT a give on the Republican side as well.  Unilateral disarmament, prior to re-election would be disastrous.  The fact that he doesn't  just cut entitlements unilaterally is not proof of his end goal.  

                      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                      by justmy2 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 06:44:49 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  But you're kinda (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chuckvw, 420 forever, tardis10, Hugin, Dave925

            whistling past the Catch-22 sitch. Political pressure on the GOP could produce a Grand Bargain; that's why I don't respond favorably to progressives saying things like You could argue Obama was wrong to embrace austerity, as opposed to He was wrong, dead wrong to...more than that, it was his embrace of austerity that helped bring about the sequester.

            Speaking of, Dean Baker is going off message.

      •  Jed (0+ / 0-)

        Well, Jed jumped the shark so ridiculously in support of Obama in 2012 that some of us stopped reading when baseball season arrived.

    •  Prog defender...FALSELY "points out" etc. (0+ / 0-)

      There. Fixed that for you.

      Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

      by Dracowyrm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:08:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the media (6+ / 0-)

    are in full shrill incompetence mode. facts be damned.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:01:27 PM PST

  •  Referencing seeking a deal "based on principles" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, KayCeSF

    is not the same thing as embracing the specifics of the commission's (unadopted) proposals.

    It is factually dishonest to claim so.

    Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

    by Dracowyrm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:02:53 PM PST

  •  Ummmm, Mr. Keller, how about Democracy? (6+ / 0-)
    If Obama had campaigned on some version of Simpson-Bowles rather than on poll-tested tax hikes alone, he could now claim a mandate from voters to do something big and bold. Most important, he would have some leverage with members of his own base who don’t want to touch Medicare even to save it
    By his own logic, since the president won by running on tax hikes for the wealthy, doesn't he have a mandate for raising taxes on the wealthy? I thought that was how democracy worked. It would seem that the majority of the public is supportive of tax hikes on the wealthy and avoiding cuts to the social safety net. Bush barely squeaked out "victories" and yet claimed mandates for big things. Obama's margins of victory were far larger, but we're still supposed to shut up and swallow Republican policies? Fuck that.

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:29:22 PM PST

    •  You just don't understand (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, kbman, bluezen, ferg, Dave925

      Unless the Very Serious People in the Village support it, it doesn't matter worth a damn what the people actually want.

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:00:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear they think Pete Peterson (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave925, milkbone

        Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

        by kbman on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:24:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Any mention of Simpson-Bowles w/o (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          milkbone, kbman

          identifying they are spokesmen (sycophants who hate non-wealthy Americans) for Peter G. Peterson's corrupt Fix the Debt org. is a co-conspirator or ignorant of the facts.
          How could Keller possibly be considered legitimate w/o identifying Peterson as the funder of those two nuts.

          Peterson spends hundreds of millions of dollars using the corrupt MSM to facilitate the obscene discussion that the poor and middle class haven't given enough to the incredibly wealthy who, over the past forty years, have stolen our productivity and democracy.

          From Paul Blumenthal..paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com

          "According to a review of tax documents from 2007 through 2011, Peterson has personally contributed at least $458 million to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to cast Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and government spending as in a state of crisis, in desperate need of dramatic cuts."

          That's "at least".  And that doesn't include the Koch's, de Vos', Waltons, Simmons and the other billionaire sociopaths.

          Don't believe everything you think.

          by BrianParker14 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 10:17:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman, Dave925
      Instead, he built a re-election campaign that was long on making the wealthiest pay more in taxes, short on spending discipline, and firmly hands-off on the problem of entitlements.
      That's why he won.

      "Whenever a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me."-- Harry S. Truman

      by irmaly on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:36:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What does he write on? Toilet paper?? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, bluezen

    What a partisan ideologically blinded hack.

    Obviously he has an agenda and he feels that agenda is more important than his very credibility, on which his entire career is based.  He probably figures he can always fall back on a job with Rupert (aka Humbert).

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:36:36 PM PST

  •  Republi-Cants (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, Dave925

    Republican Ideas Not OK If You Are A Democrat: RINOKYAAD

    1. Insurance Mandates
    2. Contracts sacred for bosses and Bankers
    3. Simpson-Bowles
    4. Privatize Public services, prisons, armed services post office
    5. Democracy and majority rule

    Ibis Exilis "Mingling religion with politics may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America" Thomas Paine

    by Ibis Exilis on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:00:22 PM PST

  •  On the other hand...lost in Keller's lies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    is a pretty good point...

    That year-end tax deal was not a negotiating triumph for the Democrats. Obama wanted $1.2 trillion in new revenues over 10 years. Boehner let it be known he would go as high as $800 billion. By the time the master deal-makers of the White House were done, the “compromise” tax hike was $620 billion. I’d love to be the guy who sells the president his next car.

    But the bigger mistake was to do the deal at all. Here we had Washington staring down the double barrels of that fiscal shotgun — automatic spending cuts and automatic tax hikes — and the White House agreed to remove one barrel. Once the tax deal was done, the Republicans, having budged once on taxes, felt no inclination to budge again. As John Boehner would say, over and over, “He’s gotten his tax hikes.” And with Republicans unwilling to revisit the issue of taxes, Democrats had even less enthusiasm for a broader budget bargain that would cut programs they regard as sacred.

    If Obama had held firm and let the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone, as some recommended at the time, he would now have at his disposal a powerful inducement for both parties to come together. A bargain could be built around restoring the lower rates for most taxpayers. With an actual, large tax cut at the heart of it, you just might construct the kind of big bipartisan bargain that has been so elusive. But it’s too late for that.

    I have trouble disagreeing with any of that. Too bad his lie earlier will make this point get lost.   He is actually give the DFH crowd some credit...even though the goal of his kudos is different from those who made the original argument.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:18:56 PM PST

  •  I think the Daily Kos should endorse the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, Dave925

    Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act 2013 introduced and authored by Senator Mark Begich (D. AK) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D. FL-21):

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

    by poopdogcomedy on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:22:31 PM PST

  •  so the catfood commission wins after all (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joeyess, Churchill, Dave925

    Gee, what a surprise.

    (sigh)

    So how long till we congratulate and cheer the Dems for cutting Social Security---the bestest thing they'll do since  . . . um . . . adopting insurance mandates?

    And what ten-year-old Republican plan will we introduce next?

    Go Team Blue !!!!!!!!!!!!

    (sigh)

  •  Four trillion is now supposedly not enough (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925
    So, what’s left to be done?  “It may be the ‘petit bargain,’ I guess,” Carney joked today. “If you, you know, go all French.”

    Enter a prominent bipartisan group of debt and deficit experts, who aren’t laughing.

    “If they won’t go big, we shouldn’t go petit,” Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told ABC News.  ”At least we could go medium.”

    MacGuineas, who also heads the Fix the Debt campaign co-founded by Obama fiscal commission chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, said in the two years since policymakers set their $4 trillion goal things have gotten worse.

    The magic number to trim is now closer to $6.5 trillion over a decade, she said.

    http://abcnews.go.com/...

    "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

    by FiredUpInCA on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:38:09 PM PST

    •  Fucking Assholes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FiredUpInCA

      There is no deficit problem, period. Grow the economy and grow us right out of it. Simple shit but then a healthy and growing economy is not in the interests of the top 400 families who run this country like it was their own goddamn plantation.

      •  Wall Street broke our economy (0+ / 0-)

        in a way that a foreign enemy would envy but they can't be asked to invest the a percentage of the trillion they have hoarded in order to help revitalize the country that provided the conditions for them to start and grow, they can't be asked to consider a financial transaction tax, they can't be asked to lead they way in public/private partnerships to put people back to work.

        Nothing can be asked of the people who benefited from the greatest transfer of wealth in a generation. As if they had nothing to do with the current crisis we're in.

        The only way we can get our house back in order is cut retiree benefits and Medicare.

        All the richest people agree that this is the only way. And they are all going to keep repeating that until we agree.

        "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

        by FiredUpInCA on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 09:44:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  If you want to blame Obama for the sequester, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, Dave925

    you have every right to ... but use Dean Baker's logic, not this inane Woodwardian word salad that Keller employs here

  •  Keller is a well paid idiot...... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, Dave925

    .... Just like David Brooks.

    “I used to be disgusted....Now I try to be amused" --Elvis--

    by PlinytheWelder on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:42:44 PM PST

  •  Answer: Bill Keller (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, Dave925

    Question: Cite an example of how dumb do you have to be to write a column for the New York Times.

  •  Keller lacks the integrity to apologize. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill

    The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

    by psnyder on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:53:23 PM PST

  •  Perhaps They Should Stick (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, Dave925

    Perhaps the New York Times should stick to reviewing luxury electric vehicles.

    Oh, wait. They lied about that too, didn't they.

    God gave you free will to define God, use it to make the best God that you can.

    by Dotty Gale on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:53:24 PM PST

  •  Bill Keller is full of shit. Ask him about WMD! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925
  •  Bill Keller/Judith Miller= F the NYC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up! CLIMATE CHANGE: The era of procrastination, half-measures & delays is coming to an end; In its place we are entering a period of consequences!

    by Churchill on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 08:02:45 PM PST

  •  "ideologues of the left and right"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    Fuck you, Keller. The ideologues of the right are the only ones flogging an "ideology," if by that you mean pushing vaporware, ideas that have been empirically debunked but which they keep pushing anyway because they further their class interests. On the contrary, the so-called ideologues of the left insist on promoting ideas that have been repeatedly employed and shown to work for the broader population. So, yeah, fuck you, Keller.

    The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

    by psnyder on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 08:06:20 PM PST

  •  No accountability (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    Why does this nincompoop still have a job at the NYT?
    He put the full resources and credibility of his paper behind Judith Miller, and he still works there? How is this possible?

    To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it

    by meade on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 08:13:22 PM PST

  •  the simpson bowles commission did not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    even vote on a plan

  •  Plan? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    felix19

    The Simpson-Bowles abomination commission adjourned without producing an official "plan". Why? Because what Simpson and Bowles wanted to do was just so much BS they couldn't get a majority to go along with it.

    It bus the shit out of me that people talk about Simpson-Bowles as if they actually did something. They did not. There was no majority agreement and therefore no "plan". Period.

    It really makes no difference however, Obama is there to destroy our earned benefits (if I hear one more Democrat call them "entitlements" I might become homicidal) just as Clinton was there to push NAFTA, Welfare "Reform" and Telecommunications "de-regulation" and as Nixon was there to go to China. Each of these would have been impossible for a member of the opposite party to accomplish. I often wondered why Wall Street tossed so much money at Obama in 2008. When I saw, read and heard- all from his own mouth and hand, his ideas about a "Grand Bargain" and other thieving bullshit it became rather clear what he was there to do. And damn, here in the second term he's shown he will not let it go until he's got 'er done.

    Just watch this fucked up government do the opposite of everything that needs doing and then watch our economy and our country fall apart. It's coming. Fuckers.

  •  jesus save us from wealthy east coast centrists (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    al23

    who always have a better idea about how to deal with the great unwashed...david brooks just bought a pad in DC for 4 million bucks - this douche undoubtedly lives large in manhattan, observing life from his chauffer- driven limo...seriously, fuck all these people

    Howard Fineman needs to have a chat with Chris Cilizza about Grecian Formula and its effects on punditry

    by memofromturner on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:01:08 AM PST

    •  Does anyone really read (0+ / 0-)

      Bill Keller? Besides his tendency toward false equivalencies, he's a pretty boring writer. Howell Raines could write, but he left under a cloud, so no column for him!

      Victory is sweet-November 6, 2012

      by al23 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 04:30:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm pretty sure (0+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty sure that if Obama got a tattoo of chained CPI, Republicans would say that he isn't "serious" about gutting the social safety net with them because the tattoo wasn't in a prominent enough place, and Obama's liberal defenders would claim that it's actually just a washable tattoo because Obama doesn't really want to cut Social Security, he's just playing games to trick the Republicans and is not a self-described 1980s conservative at all.

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