Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Democrats seriously need to keep their heads together on defending Social Security

Laurence Lewis at Daily Kos provides some important perspective on the current situation of the Democrats going into this fall's elections in Life support 09/02/2010:

It was just about a year ago that we were hearing stories about President Obama's intention to escalate the war in Afghanistan. Again. The president's most ardent defenders insisted that we shouldn't listen to unnamed and anonymous sources, and should instead wait and see what happened. And then when he escalated, pretty much as had been reported, we were told that it was the right move, and we should support it. The same dynamic played out with the public option. For months, while it became increasingly apparent that the president wouldn't fight for a public option, we were told that he kept saying he supported one, and we didn't know what was going on behind the scenes. When the public option was punted, we were told that it never had been all that important, anyway, and the health insurance bill that was passed was all kinds of wonderful, so we should just be appreciative and grateful.

The same dynamic is playing out with the Catfood Commission. We are being told not to worry, and that Social Security won't be gutted, and it's just an advisory committee, and on and on. And it seems likely that there is an element of truth in the defense, but only an element. It doesn't seem likely that Social Security will be gutted, but don't be surprised if it is incrementally stripped down. An older retirement age. Less benefits. Things that can be defended by those reflexively inclined to defend. We'll hear that it wasn't as bad as we'd feared, so we should accept it and support it. But as with the incremental rollback of reproductive rights that was folded into the health insurance bill, it's the momentum that will matter most. Democrats buying into Republican framings. Democrats leading a movement backwards. Democrats refusing to stand on principle, on issues that should be core Democratic principles. [my emphasis]
If the Democrats can't get it together to block cuts in Social Security, no matter what form they take, what is the purpose of the Party?

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