Cheering For The Team

Writing about the Obama Administration actions against confidential journalistic sources and whistleblowers, Glenn Greenwald writes:

Along with the apathetic, who by definition pose no threat to anyone, prominent cheerleaders for the President and his party, who labor every day to keep them in power, are the last ones who will be subjected to such programs. Obviously, nobody in the Obama administration is monitoring the phone calls at the Center for American Progress or ones placed to the large stable of columnists, bloggers and TV stars who daily spout White House talking points or devote each day to attacking the President's political opponents. That's why purported civil liberties concerns manifest only when the other party is in power, but vanish when their own is. Partisan loyalists are indifferent to their leader's ability to deter dissent; if anything, they're happy that their party's leader wields such power and can use it against political adversaries.

While I think the language is too strong (particularly on being happy that the Leader is wielding such power against political enemies), as a general matter, partisans are less concerned about what their Leader is doing. But I think a "so what?" is in order (to me as well on the Libya Congressional authorization question ) in this sense - did anyone expect otherwise? It is time to readjust expectations - there are team players on both sides. I think in general members of the Democratic team have less need for contortions, but will do so as required. I understand Greenwald's frustration, but fixation on what the "team" players are doing is not productive imo. I used to do it myself, but no more. At least, less of it.

Speaking for me only

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    I have Republican (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:06:22 AM EST
    friends who make similar complaints and I always say well Republicans didn't seem to have a problem with Bush having these powers and did nothing to strip him of those powers so don't complain now that Obama has them.

    I do think there are a few that are happy that Obama has those powers to wield against the GOP but I'm not one of them. What happens if a Buchananite wins in '12 and then that person has the same powers? Nobody on our side is going to be very happy about that.

    Also (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:09:27 AM EST
    I'm old enough to remember the days when the Republicans in congress went against Bush Sr. and the Dems in congress went against Clinton. For the last ten years, it seems that it has been "follow the leader down the drain" for both parties.

    Only when the GOP realized how toxic Bush had become and when immigration legislation was pushed did they finally break ranks.


    What is a Buchananite? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:28:20 AM EST
    Michelle (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:49:27 AM EST
    Bachmann comes to mind.

    There's a black gay spokesman (none / 0) (#6)
    by observed on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:59:00 AM EST
    who frequently appears on CNN. Obama has his full support, no matter what the policy on LGBT rights. What an awful representative.

    IF you think that language is too harsh, BTD (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:01:20 AM EST
    whydontcha ask John Edwards about it.

    The only reason Edwards is being prosecuted is because he represents (not "represent as in "lead", but "represent" as in "exemplify") a populist wing of the Democrats (and some Rethugs, to be fair) who are both anathema to the corporatists who are in charge and a mortally threatening alernative to the corporatists.

    It was not for nothing that the first thing Rahm, one of the lead corporatists, did when getting back into the WH (actually, part of the transition, before Inauguration, IIRC) was to disassemble the 50 state strategy to elect more and better Democrats using grassroots organizing.  That kind of popular democracy was and is a vital threat to the corporatists, so it had to go.  Rahm's personal pique with Dean was just icing for Rahm.

    Setting aside the can't-keep-his-unit-under-control talk, would anyone in the Democratic heirarchy be talking about cutting social security if Edwards (or someone with policy positions like him) were in office, or even a viable alternative to Obama in 2012?  Would any corporatists stand to profit from cutting social security if Edwards were in office?

    Who in the "Democratic hierarchy" (none / 0) (#8)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:13:41 AM EST
    is talking about cutting Social Security?

    Obama (none / 0) (#10)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:46:30 AM EST
    has mentioned "entitlement reform" numerous times and Biden is offering up cuts in Medicare in the negotiations apparently. But no one has specifically said "social security" but they seem to be offering up everything else for cuts so it wouldn't be a far leap for them to be offering up social security too.

    "entitlement reform" is a phrase (none / 0) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 01:40:41 PM EST
    I loathe, ut it does not equal "cuts in benefits."  I also rather strongly doubt Biden has been "offering up" cuts in Medicare benefits, either.

    And yes, it would be an enormous leap to go offering up cuts in SS benefits.  However loathesome our politicians on both sides are, they aren't suicidal.  And if any of them have lost contact with reality on the subject, the response to Ryan's Medicare voucher plan has woken them up.


    How does "Chained CPI" sound? (none / 0) (#13)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:07:10 PM EST
    From David Dayen...this just in from Ezra:

    Ezra Klein casually mentions that chained CPI (CPI stands for the Consumer Price Index) may be part of the deficit deal.

    Right now, Social Security's cost-of-living increases are tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers and the tax code is indexed to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. For reasons too technical to go into in this post, but which the truly committed can read about here, experts on both sides of the aisle think that these measures overstate the actual rate of inflation.

    To answer these criticisms, the Bureau of Labor Statistics created a new measure of inflation known as "chained CPI." Because I'd like at least a few readers to get to the end of this post, I'll omit the gory details. What's important is that, as you can see on the graph atop this post, it grows more slowly than its predecessors. That means two things: The checks issued by Social Security and other federal retirement programs grow more slowly, and people's incomes grow more quickly than the tax brackets. So the government spends less and, because more people are finding themselves in higher marginal tax brackets, raises more.

    Like Klein, I'll say that we can go into the details, but they don't really matter. The end result is that chained CPI results in a smaller COLA. To add some numbers to this, chained CPI leads to $300 billion in government savings over ten years, $200 billion from smaller benefits on Social Security and other programs which use a COLA, and $100 billion from higher taxes because the brackets increase more slowly. So it's a 2:1 benefit cut to tax increase.

    As for what this means to the average Social Security beneficiary, Rep. Xavier Becerra asked Social Security's chief actuary to assess the impact of moving to chained CPI on benefit levels. Basically this would lead to an average COLA reduction of 0.3 percentage points every year. Over time, those numbers accumulate. So an 85 year-old beneficiary misses out on 6.5% relative to current scheduled benefits. That's for those who turn 65 the year of the turnover; those who turn 65 in later years end up losing out on much more income. Over time, this generates a lot of savings out of the checks of Social Security recipients.

    As David concludes:

    If the retirement age cannot be raised, if a real benefit cut cannot be undertaken, this is plan C - a wonkish, confusing-sounding concept that is intentionally obtuse. But it's really not. It's a benefit cut.

    I know you don't want to believe they'd do this to the elderly, but refusing to think it's possible makes no sense to me.


    "checks...... grow more slowly...." (none / 0) (#14)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:35:40 PM EST

    If they "grow" any slower we'll be paying them.

    They've "grown" exactly "0" for the past two years

    and since the things that everyone needs to live like food, fuel, electricity aren't included in the CPI we can look forward to much more "growth" for our seniors & disabled.


    You should know by now that it's (none / 0) (#11)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:14:32 PM EST
    all in the semantics: they think that if they say that the amount of the monthly check won't change that people won't realize (aren't smart enough?) that one of the things that has been discussed - raising the age at which one can collect - is most certainly a cut in benefits.

    Whether or if this actually happens now, later or ever, it's hard to argue that it hasn't been discussed.