Obama's Inching Closer to His Pink Slip

The SuperCommittee Henchmen meet today. Raising medicare eligibility to age 67 is on the table for discussions. The Democrats have submitted a memo with various proposed changes and a discussion of each. Here's the memo. Raising the eligibility age appears on page 7.

President Obama proposed raising the Medicare eligibility age as part of the debt-ceiling agreement, but Democrats are hardly united behind the policy.

The Democrats note that it's not going to be a money saver -- it's just going to shift who pays the money. They give the same reasons I gave last month. [More...]

I wrote:

Raising the age of medicare eligibility won't save the Government money in the long run due to the huge numbers of 65 and 66 year olds who will shift to Medicaid. It will break the backs of small businesses providing health care to elderly workers. It will force middle class, elderly workers who don't have employer-paid health care to pay premiums of ten thousand dollars a year or more for the extra two more years, on top of hefty deductibles and out of pocket costs.

The memo writes:

Even assuming current law with respect to the ACA, some people over age 65 who are subject to the new policy may become uninsured if they no longer have access to employer sponsored insurance (ESI) and cannot afford coverage through the exchanges. Furthermore, this policy does nothing to control costs, it simply shifts substantial costs from Medicare to other parts of government and to private and public employers. More specifically, this policy would increase costs for employers as more near-elderly retain employer-sponsored insurance. It will increase Medicaid costs, as more low-income near-elderly would remain on Medicaid for longer and others who would become eligible for coverage through the exchange may be eligible for the new Medicaid expansion through the ACA. It would also increase government costs for subsidies in the exchanges, because some people who would otherwise receive Medicare will remain in the exchanges for longer. It would increase premiums in the exchanges – raising costs for other individuals and raising government spending for the tax credits – as the risk pool gets a little worse when the population shifts to be slightly older and more costly. Similarly, this policy may also slightly increase Medicare per capita costs as the population shifts to be slightly older.

The gang of henchmen is at our door and not only is Obama not trying to protect our medicare, he's on their side on this.

This is the last straw for me. If President Obama doesn't change course fast and mount an aggressive opposition to raising medicare eligibility, he's lost me. I will not vote for him. I will choose not to exercise my right to vote for a President. If millions of others join me in refusing to pull any lever in the race, rather than switch to the batty Republicans with even worse plans, so be it. The country will go to hell in a hand-basket faster than you can count 1-2-3, and they will be booted out in masse in 2016 when we get a real Democrat to run and win the Presidency.

In the meantime, we'll have to put up with imbecelic Republican proposals to get tougher on crime, to treat immigrants as criminals, and find new ways to curtail our civil liberties.

If there'a a low turnout for Democrats, and all their votes came from their beloved Tea Party section, they will win with the smallest number of votes ever. And when they fail miserably at governing this country, there will be tens of millions ready to boot them out so we can start over with a Democratic President with Democratic principles.

I was not an early supporter of Obama. I wrote post after post attacking his record. But once he became the nominee, I thought, as a good Democrat, I should do my part to help get him elected. Not this time. Obama will not get a dime from me.All he'll get is blogposts that make their way around Google and Facebook and end up with five times the traffic they would otherwise get. That's how movements are born.

Obama was inexperienced although intelligent. He's now had three years to get something done we can feel hopeful about. I don't think there'a a person in the country, no matter what economic bracket they are in, that feels hopeful. And the people I talk to feel as I do -- we got tooled.

We didn't get the hope or change he promised us when he campaigned for the job. We got a conciliator, a bargainer, a President who was always willing to give up something his supporters wanted in the name of bi-partisanship and compromise.

Four years later, the problem isn't Obama's lack of experience that's causing his supporters to desert him in droves, it's his lack of judgment. President Obama makes poor policy choices. Either he's not creative enough or interested enough to come up with a solution those in his party want, or he's too weak or fearful of Republicans to take a stand and stick to it.

He promised to equalize the crack-powder cocaine ratios for sentencing. He settled for 18:1 from 100:1. Can't he ever put his foot down and stick to his guns? He's continued many of George Bush's invasive electronic monitoring and wiretapping programs. He's backtracked in his candidate promise that there would be no federal raids on medical marijuana. He's ramped up the war on drugs allowing the DEA to become a global police force working with the military in countries like Africa making busts where drugs were never intended to reach this country. He's done nothing to lean on Congress to repeal mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders -- even first time, non-violent offenders. He's failed to appoint judges in districts in dire need of more judges. As for U.S. Attorneys, he's managed to appoint a Republican in each of the four districts in Texas. The job is a political plum. surely there were qualified Democrats seeking to be appointed.

If the Republicans win and we end up with more right-wing judges, that too will be Obama's fault. All he had to do was uphold Democratic principles and values in his first term and he would have sailed on to this second term, retaining the ability to shape the Supreme Court for decades to come.

So, President Obama, since it seems all but written that you will be endorsing raising the age for Medicare to 67, I'm done. Except for going Facebook and starting a run at all the high school classes that graduated in 1967 and 1968, and encouraging them to abandon you as well. You have thrown us under the bus once too often, and we've gotten nothing good to balance it out at the other end.

Like they tell drug addicts, you have to sink to rock bottom before you can get whole again. We're going to have to sink into the bowels of the earth and wait out a Republican Administration before we can turn it around.

So here's your pink slip. It will be issued formally the day you endorse the plan to raise the eligibility age for Medicare. Think long and hard, that's a bell you can't unring. You will have destroyed whatever is left of the trust we had for you.

You and your partner Joe Biden need to go ride off into the sunset. You've brought us as much hope and change as we would have gotten from your father's Oldsmobile.

Please,President Obama, if you want a second term, switch parties and run as the Republican you've become, and let us Democrats run a true Democrat against you. Better yet, bow out of a second term and go back to teaching and the state legislature. With the record and non-record you've managed to accumulate in 3 years, we've changed our mind about you. You're not for us.

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    Obama:Tool you can believe in (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by klassicheart on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:08:52 AM EST
    It's also possible Obama was selected as a Manchurian Candidate....Think about it....he never had a full time job other than one year as a community organizer who didn't appear to get much done...he was a part time state senator and part time law school instructor...How is it possible so many liberals were suckered in by a slick marketing campaig?  I guess they're not so different from the religious right....Let's see how many independents like this raising medicare age idea...But Obama doesn't care...because the interests he represents come first...

    Obama has no judgment all right..just like the fools who supported him in the primary...

    Not voting is a bad option (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by HenryFTP on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 05:32:59 AM EST
    because it plays into the corporate media's narrative of how "conservative" the country is. You'll all remember that the corporate media pretty universally interpreted the results of the 2006 and 2008 elections as somehow being consistent with the nation's innate "conservatism" -- aided and abetted by the likes of Rahm Emanuel, champion of feckless Blue Dogs, to be sure.

    The 2010 election is a terrific example of how abstention by fed-up voters skews politics to the right.

    Given the fact that it is extremely unlikely at this point that Obama will not face any serious challenge to his re-nomination, the only way our withholding of support can be registered is by voting for a third-party or write-in candidate.

    If progressive elements can coalesce around a third party or write-in candidacy in each state and attain double digits in the popular vote, that would send a message to the leadership of the Democratic Party that they would no longer be able to ignore.

    The irony is that I was furious with Nader for his spoiler's candidacy in 2000, but in the ensuing eleven years a lot of blood has passed under the bridge. And if we're honest with ourselves, I think we can see clear daylight between Nobel Prize-winner Albert Gore and Nobel Prize-winner Barack Obama.

    I no longer think it's an exaggeration to state that the country would have been better off under a President John McCain, assuming he would have had to work with solid Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress in 2009-10. I don't think much our the Democratic congressional leadership, but at least they would not have consistently undercut by the "post-partisan unity schtick" president who was actually elected in 2008. We could be rallying now to take back the Executive branch instead of despairing about whether the sovereignty of the people has meaning any longer in this warped republic of ours.

    But there's no one to vote for (none / 0) (#12)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:55:09 AM EST
    and the corporat emedia will stick to the "conservative country" story even if Dems win in a landslide.

    People can vote down ticket. (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:07:43 AM EST
    And you are correct about that.  The Democrats did win in two pretty huge victories in 2006 and in 2008 and those elections were spun as center-right.  Interestingly, and this should have been a red flag, the Democratic Party leadership didn't really do much to combat that narrative.  It isn't just the media's fault.

    I'm sure there will be (none / 0) (#27)
    by sj on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:01:48 AM EST
    But there's no one to vote for
    But not provided by either of the major parties.

    Truly profoud comment (1.00 / 1) (#59)
    by MKS on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:14:49 PM EST
    I have never heard that before.

    Try looking... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Romberry on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:38:15 AM EST
    ...for a third party that actually believes what you believe in* and use your vote to help make that party viable. The two corporatist parties we have now are corrupt to the core.

    *I don't agree with everything from any party, but I see a lot of potential good in Kermit.


    I registered with Kermit (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by nycstray on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:12:22 PM EST
    I don't agree with it all either, but I figure h*ll would freeze over before what I don't agree with passes :D  

    Same Same (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by koshembos on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 06:51:13 AM EST
    The post reflects my opinions almost to the T. The only comments I want to add are. Obama is intelligence below average although he has a slick tongue. The primary debates showed his intellectual weakness relative to both Hillary and Edwards. As president he has not taken a single smart move.

    He ignored the courageous fight of labor in Wisconsin. The bitter and prolonged fight is at the core of us being Democrats. He even encouraged the local Democratic party to fight labor.

    I never voted for a Republican except in 2008 when I voted to Obama. Never again.

    If I don't vote for Obama (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 06:55:31 AM EST
    I will probably make the point by voting for whatever little known liberal candidate is on the ballot. Usually there is some alternative - Green Party, etc.  That would register the dissatisfaction with Obama better, I feel, by showing the direction I'd rather go. No vote at all can be interpreted multiple ways.

    I will see what my options are at the time. Romney? Not that different from Obama. Bachman or Perry? Must be stopped.

    Great post Jeralyn.

    rinse lather repeat (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Bornagaindem on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:09:44 AM EST
    John horse
    if you want to guarantee the loss of social security and medicare as viable programs then vote for Obama in 2012, if you want to stop that, vote for anyone else. At least if a republican wins the dems in congress (and dems will take back the house this time and probably keep the senate) will once again have permission to fight for those programs. Only a democratic president can dismantle the new deal and Obama has told you in every way that that is what he intends to do. But you don't want to hear it.

    Raising the Medicare age to 67 (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:22:31 AM EST
    is one of the worse and most harmful ideas on the drawing board. It is no surprise that Obama is seemingly promoting this draconian idea. It is just one of the previously Republican ideas that Obama wants to make sure gets passed during his term.

    Not only is this extremely harmful it also takes the Republicans off the hook for their vote on the Ryan proposal and validates their position on the safety net programs.

    I will vote in 2012. We need good people at the state level. I plan to write in Bernie Sanders for president. There is no way that anyone can interpret that vote as being cast because Obama was not conservative enough.  

    Great to hear, Jeralyn (5.00 / 7) (#21)
    by mjames on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:05:14 AM EST
    and welcome to our world under the bus. I voted socialist last time and will do so again, as that party most represents my views.

    BobTinKY, I am 66. I am vociferously opposed to raising the Medicare eligibility age - as are all my equally old or older friends. A deal is a deal and Obama is trying to break it - and most of us have kids and grandkids about whom we care deeply. Others of us have a generally humanist approach to life. Still others see how this plan will further destroy the economy and the vestiges of the middle class. Methinks, you need to get out more.

    I see no age warfare. And, honestly, no Republican v. Democrat warfare either. This is class warfare, pure and simple. And all who are not in the top 1% should join forces, regardless of age. Even my Republican associates agree with me on this.

    But I Thought the Supreme Court Nonmination.... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:25:19 AM EST
    ... trumped all, or so I have been told by many here, including the author.  I'm joking, the only difference is Obama lost me about 6 months ago.

    This is what troubles me most, my former party is backing me in a corner, Obama or Republican.  Where's option C ?  Giver me anyone, something so at least I can cast a vote.  I don't care if it's Alan Grayson, James Carville, Howard Dean, at this point I would proabably vote for JC, Jimmy Carter.

    Throw me a GD bone.

    Option C (none / 0) (#24)
    by sj on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:31:32 AM EST
    won't be provided by the Democrats.  We each have to find our own.

    I'm with MO Blue.  Bernie Sanders gets my vote.


    I Was Kidding About the Choices... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:49:03 AM EST
    ..trying to make a point that I vote vote anything just to vote.  Put me down for Sanders.

    Wow, Jeralyn (5.00 / 5) (#23)
    by sj on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:29:08 AM EST
    So well said.  And the thing about him is that when his bad ideas don't get traction he just tries again.  "Bipartisan" bill failed so on to Catfood Commission I -- which failed.   So on to Catfood II.  But just in case, he tried to use the debt "negotiations" to accomplish this -- where it was the Republicans who rejected the terms.  They have their own incomprehensible reasons to be sure, but it was still the the Republicans who prevented that action.  Now the same trial balloon shot down so many times before is being floated as part of a "jobs" effort.

    It's getting harder and harder for him to make it happen without being obvious to even the most uninformed that his fingerprints are all over it.  

    And while the uninformed can see what's happening the apologists are still talking "incremental" and "de-power" and "milquetoast" and all sorts of other nonsense.  This is what he wants.  Can he be stopped?  I don't know.  Even if he doesn't endorse it publicly I will be watching to see if he continues to push it through via other means.

    Aren't the environmentalists (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:25:35 AM EST
    now mad at him too? How many agenda-driven groups of voters can he afford to lose?

    Yep. (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by mentaldebris on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:30:40 AM EST
    Along with Al Gore, Barbara Boxer, and Robert Redford and others.

    Typical of the administration:  they completely underestimated the fallout of tampering with the ozone standards. Part of their "alienate a core constituency to appeal to a constituency who won't vote for us if a Republican runs anyway" strategy. Success as defined by this administration: they appear business-friendly and they made the GOP smile while tossing yet another group of supporters aside.


    The major environmentalist groups (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:46:29 PM EST
    are furious with him. Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, all of them. It's on all their websites.

    Even scientists within agencies like EPA and Fish and Wildlife are speaking out.


    Yup. (none / 0) (#39)
    by nycstray on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:13:35 AM EST
    I really don't know what he's thinking right now . . .

    Where will the votes come from? (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:25:51 AM EST
    I realize Obama and Axlerod feel they have built a "new" and improved Democratic Party but I'm not convinced of the fact.

    Over the weekend I read an article that claims union support is down 40%. This is a cornerstone of the party strength whether Obama believes it or not.

    Folding on emission regulations certainly won't endear him with the environmentalists.

    Dismantling Medicare and S.S. will cost him dearly. These are basic Democratic principles.

    His new party certainly didn't help the Democrats in 2010 and he continues to throw established Democrats under the bus.

    You can only count on lousy opponents to a certain point. We've reached the point.

    Approval is dropping like a stone (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:31:09 PM EST
    Like Armando so effectively pointed out... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Pacific John on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 03:37:00 PM EST
    ...class demographics dominated the primary process. Just like people of similar income levels of the various (non-AA) races, Latinos saw through Obama by 2:1. Since I was in Latino networks from just after tsunami tuesday through the convention, I saw the most pragmatic, informed voters I've been exposed to in 15 years of organizing. One difference that sets Latinos aside from demographic averages was their disdain for 2008's political evangelism. Unlike most Americans, IMO, Latinos rejected the Billy Graham Crusade aura of the OFA campaign.

    Latinos did vote pragmatically in November in large numbers, but only weeks earlier, Congressional Latinas snubbed Obama and refused to meet with him. It takes clear-eyed realism to know you were screwed by, but still vote for, a candidate who is likely to shield you from the fringe right. But that was then, this is now.

    Latino voters are savvy and pragmatic, far more so than the latte liberal voters that put Obama into nomination (hey, I'm a traitor to my class).

    Watch Latino numbers plummet as it becomes clear that Obama is not the pragmatic choice, but that it might be better to fight the corporatists in the open rather than have one of them in the White House.

    I'm generally opposed to the concept that Obama's failures are due to inexperience and lack of savvy, but I will say that he's a poor student of the '90s. What we saw in 1994 and 1996 was that landslides can happen just by dispiriting the opposite team's base. This time, Obama is doing it to his own side.


    I firmly believe that Obama (5.00 / 4) (#99)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:39:47 PM EST
    is not only pursuing the policies that he wants to pursue but is being very successful in getting the legislation that he wants signed into law. Very little of what he has done to date should be a surprise for anyone paying attention to what Obama was actually saying and doing in the primaries and the general.  



    LOL (none / 0) (#105)
    by chrisvee on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:16:31 PM EST
    I read this quickly and thought his popularity was down with hipsters...

    "You have nowhere else to go" (none / 0) (#61)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:31:23 PM EST
    That's where his votes will come from.

    Even many of  those who talk big now will end up voting for him.


    We survived 8 yrs of GWB! (none / 0) (#70)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 02:19:19 PM EST
    More and more people are giving serious thought to the idea that rewarding bad behavior is not in the best long term interest of the party.

    It may take a major defeat for the Democrats to realize just how far they have drifted from their base.

    Money controls politics. Corporate campaign funds will dry up if they're losers. If they won't listen to us, I'm sure they'll listen to the buck.


    no we didn't (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by CST on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 02:33:04 PM EST
    Due in large part (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 02:52:12 PM EST
    To the fact that Obama did nothing to undo any of the damage. He chose to seek their advice on how to cure what ails us in spite of the fact that they created the monster.

    By surviving I was speaking in terms of I'm still alive!


    mmm (none / 0) (#83)
    by CST on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 03:04:58 PM EST
    due in large part because he started multiple wars he couldn't finish and then drove our economy right into the cr@pper.

    What Obama did or didn't do is irrelevant to what Bush did do.

    And if that's how you "save the Democrats" from themselves, wouldn't they have been saved already?  We've seen this show before.  It didn't end well for anyone.


    Line in the sand (5.00 / 5) (#93)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:02:30 PM EST
    You don't have to convince me on the ills of GWB. I know them only too well. But I refuse to accept the argument that I have no choice.

    The mess GWB left should have been more than enough ammo for Obama (and the Democrats) to use to ensure a Democratic majority for years.

    I will not vote for any Democrat that guts the New Deal. The party doesn't stand for much anymore and if we reward them for their actions in this, what's next? Do you think the rightward movement of the party will end with this?

    There has to be more than "the other side is worse".


    I don't know what will work (none / 0) (#95)
    by CST on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:09:24 PM EST
    how's that for an answer?  It's honest.

    I just don't see your way working out very well.  I don't see my way working out great either.  But I think it's probably less bad.  So that's it.  That's all I've got.  But I'll stick with it until I find something better because I can't reason my way into anything different.


    I understand exactly (none / 0) (#97)
    by sj on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:19:50 PM EST
    I just don't see your way working out very well.  I don't see my way working out great either.  
    My conclusion of what is less bad is just different than yours.  We're all just looking for something better.

    Just out of curiosity, do you think the rejection (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:47:38 AM EST
    of Obama and his Republican policies moves Congressional Democrats back to more traditional Democratic positions, restores the ideological tension that has been waning?  Does it send the message to Congress that those who have decided to legislate as arms of corportate America need to remember who it is that's going to the polls to vote?

    I don't see any hope for Obama; he's made his choices, shown who he is, and where he's most comfortable, and he's not going to "return" to being something he never was to begin with.

    On issue after issue, he has rejected long-standing Democratic principles; turnabout is not only fair play, I think it's the only play if the label "Democrat" is ever going to be one we can once again claim with pride.

    Don't be fooled again.

    I agree (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:12:33 AM EST
    Obama is a lost cause. Now is the time for Congressional Democrats to stand up to him and refuse to be drummed out of office.

    If a Democratic president signs the death certificate for the new deal, the party is lost.

    Republicans would never do it on their own because they wouldn't want the blood on their hands.

    I've written and called all my Democratic reps and told them that if they go along with Obama they will lose my support. I won't vote Republican whether they have an R or a D after their name.


    Not just raising the age.... (5.00 / 5) (#34)
    by trillian on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:50:06 AM EST
    Let's Just Raid Social Security

    But here is one thing the payroll-tax cut did do very effectively: It raided Social Security by $100 billion. And now, they're proposing to raid it again. But to be fair, let's include an employer portion. Combined, it would amount to $200 billion for next year. And why not make it permanent? Because letting it expire would be decried, much like today, as a huge jobs-destroying "tax hike," while the $2.6 trillion Social Security Trust Fund just sits there, fat and plump with all this "money."

    So, if we wanted to phase out our Social Security Trust Fund, that would be one way of doing it. After a decade or so, it would be gone. China would have a quarter or more of it, and the rest would be spread around. End of story. We'd finally be rid of it.

    J - you make one mistake about motive here: (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by Pacific John on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:03:14 AM EST
    Four years later, the problem isn't Obama's lack of experience that's causing his supporters to desert him in droves, it's his lack of judgment. President Obama makes poor policy choices. Either he's not creative enough or interested enough to come up with a solution those in his party want, or he's too weak or fearful of Republicans to take a stand and stick to it.

    It is not lack of judgement, it is his core world view. Go back and read, Tone Truth and the Democratic Party. It's the only really passionate thing I've ever seen him express. He simply believes that principle is antithetical to making the system work smoothly. He believes in process and compromise, not results or moral stands.

    Matt Stoller expressed this clearly here:

    Yeah, Obama got money from Wall Street. But Obama is choosing to pursue a policy of foreclosures and bank bailouts not because of any grand corporate scheme. He just wants to. He thinks it's the right thing to do, and he's doing it. If you don't think it's the right thing to do, then you shouldn't be disappointed in him any more than you might have been disappointed in Bush. Obama is not trying to do the opposite of what he's doing, he's not repeatedly suckered by Republicans, and he isn't naive or stupid. Obama is simply doing what he thinks is right. So is Eric Schneiderman. So is Tom Miller. So are any number of elected officials out there.

    Well said, Jeralyn. (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:23:28 PM EST
    "we got tooled"

    I believe what I've often said, as far back as July 2007 in George W. Obama? Or Hillary R. Bush?

    You are being played again.

    They are counting on getting your vote by default...

    And more recently, many times...

    It Is Not Obama's Fault

    It is not Obama's fault that even though he promised transparency there are still some people who are still unable to see through him.

    Obama is not incompetent, nor is he stupid. He has a history of setting very high goals for himself and of achieving the goals he sets out to achieve.

    He made it to President, after all. Incompetent and/or stupid people do not become President.

    If he keeps on getting the kinds of results he keeps on getting, it's because those are the results he was aiming for.

    Everything he's `accomplishing' he's accomplishing on purpose, because it's what he sets out to accomplish.

    Aside from his now obvious intent to dismantle social safety nets and bankrupt the middle class, another good example is that by the end of 2012 after his Afghanistan "drawdown", he'll have twice as many troops in Afghanistan as there were there on the day he was inaugurated (while telling people he's reducing troop levels).

    All of his actions since he was inaugurated suggest that he is doing exactly what he wants and intends to do.

    Like it or not, that's the real Obama.

    He is NOT caving. When someone continually and repeatedly goes along on everything with someone else whom they 'claim' to be opposing, it's not 'caving'.

    It's the plan. The INTENTIONAL plan.

    Yesterday Roger Shuler posted a story at FDL and various other places, titled: Obama Advisors Feared a Coup If the Administration Prosecuted War Crimes

    Obama and his team fear the military/national security forces that he is supposed be commanding-and that Republicans have intimidated him right from the start of his presidency even though voters in 2008 rejected Republicans by the largest combined presidential-congressional mandate in recent U.S. history. Edley responded to our request for additional information by providing a description of the transition team's fears, which we present below as an exclusive email interview. Among his important points is that transition officials, not Obama, agreed that he faced the possibility of a coup.

    The Coup is complete now.... the Democratic Party and the GOP are now (and have been for a long time) two wings of what is effectively, for all intents and purposes, a single 'corporatist' party with no appreciable foreign or domestic policy differences between the wings, and they present a false choice to voters.

    There needs to be at least one more choice for government - a real secular and populist choice that puts people first.

    NPA: New Progressive Alliance: Unified Progressive Platform

    The New Progressive Alliance (NPA) will endorse only those candidates who publicly sign the Unified Progressive Platform, which combines the ideals of four present-day and two foundational Progressive organizations. Any candidate or elected official who fails to uphold these tenets will be just as publicly exposed as a fraud and will lose the Alliance's support.

    This is politics as our nation's Founders envisioned it: The people telling their public servants what they expect, and the public servants doggedly fighting for the people's interests - not those of corporate benefactors.

    I find that coup story... (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by Romberry on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:50:54 PM EST
    ...at Kos and elsewhere to be implausible. It strikes me as just another excuse in a long line of excuses to try and explain why Obama did (and is doing) what he wanted to do anyway. The thing that popped into my head when I read that coup BS excuse was Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles.

    The word "coup" (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:11:36 PM EST
    as far as I can tell is just the writer's characterization, not what Edley himself said.  He said the fear was that NSA/CIA etc. would "revolt," and he clearly meant it rhetorically.

    The person who wrote that headline is either astonishingly stupid or a deliberate liar.


    I understand. But... (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Romberry on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:22:30 PM EST
    ...I still find it implausible. The NSA works pretty much directly for the president. The CIA is also an executive branch agency. Unless "revolt" is supposed to be a synonym for "pitch a fit, whine and complain", the whole thing strikes me as BS. And rather than excusing Obama and his advisers, it makes them look scared and weak.

    If a president can't bring himself to do the right thing because he's afraid of how subordinates in an agency that answers to him may take it, then that person has no business being president. I don't actually believe that's what happened with Obama. But I do believe he has no business being president.


    "Pitch a fit" (none / 0) (#100)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 06:35:10 PM EST
    is exactly what I think he meant.

    Geez, we hear this all the time especially about the Pentagon.  I think I've said this before in some other context, maybe Panetta, but when you've got two wars and a GWOT with a new incoming president, esp. a Dem. one, with no military background and no executive experience, they're going to want to tread very carefully until he can establish some sort of trust and credibility with the entrenched defense and security establishment.  So the concern is legitimate.  Acting on it is something else again.

    To me, if this is the main reason they didn't go after war crimes-- which I actually doubt, I think it was only peripheral-- it would be spectacularly short-term thinking.

    I agree with you, basically.  But I can certainly see the transition team getting their drawers in a twist thinking about it this way.  I doubt it had any impact one way or the other on the actual decision.


    Well, my reading of it (none / 0) (#76)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 02:39:48 PM EST
    is that his title was rhetoric too, but maybe not. Effectively it's already happened - Obama is doing only what they want and allow him to do.

    Mebbe so, but (none / 0) (#101)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 06:36:28 PM EST
    it sounds like a fair number of people took it literally, so in that respect, it's wildly irresponsible, IMO, given the left's widespread paranoia about the defense and security establishment.

    I think most people have more brains than that (none / 0) (#104)
    by Edger on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:30:23 PM EST
    and there's probably not much that can help the few that don't..

    Hallelujah! (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by the capstan on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 03:59:11 PM EST
    An entire chorus; thank you!

    Great Post Jeralyn (none / 0) (#3)
    by john horse on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 06:05:02 AM EST
    Like you I've become disillusioned with Obama.
    To borrow a phrase from Glenn Greenwald, under Obama the Democratic party has become the Little Less Awful party.

    In times such as these we need a political party that will help solve our problems, not make them less worse.

    But having said all that, in the end I'll probably vote for Obama.  Less awful is still better than really awful.  I never thought I would say this about Obama, but he really is the lesser of two evils.

    Less awful is more likely to cut SS & Medicare (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:44:52 AM EST
    really awful always tries and fails.

    No, Obama is not the lesser of two evils (5.00 / 6) (#54)
    by Romberry on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:26:20 PM EST
    Obama is the Democrat that makes the evil we fear from Republicans into reality, because as a "Democrat", Obama effectively neuters the progressive opposition.

    If Dubya was proposing these cuts to SS and Medicare, the plan would be dead in the water. Obama will likely get them through. But skip all that and even pretend that Obama is not pushing for these things. Try taking a look at "The ACLU on Obama and core liberties" and see if that looks like the actions of a lesser evil to you. It sure doesn't to me.

    Too many people are still hanging on to the idea of Obama that they formed back during the primaries and the campaign. The reality of Obama is a different thing. An entirely different thing.


    Great post, and yes, The White House is listening (none / 0) (#8)
    by Babel 17 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:31:20 AM EST
    The White House is listening to the increased rumbling on the internet from those who voted in 2008.

    Let the rumbling become a tidal wave of adamant dissent and we may yet forestall disaster.

    I'm not (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:36:56 AM EST
    so sure about that. It seems the more people on the internet rumble, the further right Obama moves.

    Then party elders need to tap him on the shoulder (none / 0) (#10)
    by Babel 17 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:46:47 AM EST
    and ask if he seriously expects our party's nomination.

    I think that the party elders are about (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:19:07 AM EST
    as obstinant and out of touch as the people in the White House are.

    I agree with Ga6th that the more people push for more liberal/progressive ideas, the more it seems the White House and the Dem Leadership seem to run to the right.

    Jay Carney, in response to a question about why the narrative that Obama is destroying jobs is gaining so much traction, was irritated and extremely dismissive of that view as being "opinion" rather than real.  He went on to spin the "inherited" economic crisis and said that no one was aware of how bad it really was in 2008/2009.  It was interesting to me because I remember thinking that it was pretty damn bad and I didn't know anyone else who did not share that view at the time.  More out of touch rhetoric...

    How did they not know?  Millions of job losses in a few short months; people's retirement savings ravaged on the market; oh and that minor detail about bailing out banks to the tune of a trillion dollars?  I'd like to know what they'd define "bad" as because as far as I'm concerned that was really freakin' bad.

    The irony of this Medicare attack is that the widest panic across the country came from people seeing their retirement funds evaporate.  People are still experiencing some level of post traumatic shock from that one - and this President is dumb enough to go after Medicare and Social Security?  It is just amazing.  Jeralyn certainly won't be alone in her sentiments if they go forward with this plan.  


    Why would they do that? (5.00 / 7) (#47)
    by Romberry on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:42:29 AM EST
    I think you may be where I was a few years ago, and that is laboring under the illusion that the party elders object to this kind of rightward movement. They don't. They knew what they were getting in Obama, and they put their thumbs on the scale (via the actions of the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party) to be sure that they got it.

    The Democratic Party as we knew it, or as we thought we knew it, is no more. There is only one major political party in these United States anymore, and that is The Money Party. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are but its two wings, fighting against each other not over principle but over power and the spoils.


    Exactly right, (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by NYShooter on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 02:11:46 PM EST
    And it's the position I've been advocating almost since O's inauguration.

    We are in a horrible situation. The country is being led by an ineffectual, defective Dino. The political reality is that American voters only vote for radical change when calamity strikes.

    I agree with Jeralyn 100% on this. We will not get our country back until the public feels the full brunt of what the "Conservative" movement has in store for us. Getting rid of Obama isn't enough; we must purge the entire lot of our irrevocably corrupted "democratic" representatives.

    I'll take my inspiration from Winston Churchill, FDR, & MLK. Unless we're willing to sacrifice some blood, sweat, and tears now, we will be the first generation in American history that will leave behind offspring that will hate us forever.


    It's (none / 0) (#15)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:19:39 AM EST
    not going to happen. For whatever reason they would rather rearrange the deck chairs on the SS Obama.

    Well, they may ease the (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by sj on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:01:14 AM EST
    rumbling by changing his rhetoric but frankly?  Should he start talking like a Democrat I wouldn't trust that at all.  

    I'm going to watch what he does.  Not what he says.


    1967 & 68?????? That's wrong (none / 0) (#11)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:53:32 AM EST
    The raise in age won't affect those folks much if at all.  At most 3 months of lost eligibility (which is not to say that that is not a problem).

    It's people my age, Obama's age he is screwing. With the planned one month/year phase in 49 and unders are the ones who will see & feel the full impact of the rise in Medicare eligibility age to 67.  Hell, we already got shafted by Obama's idol on SS eligibility age and regressive payroll tax increases in 1986.

    This is a horrible policy proposal that most adversely impacts Gen Xers, not baby boomers.

    That said, I am all for the pink slip.  He has richly earned it.

    It is bad for everyone. (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:21:50 AM EST
    Look at the rate of unemployment of college grads.  They're not able to put anything away for the future much less to even start their lives in many cases.  On top of that wages are going DOWN for everyone.  These people are totally reengineering the potential quality of life for everyone - for the worse.

    I've had my fill of 65 yos telling me what a good (none / 0) (#17)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:30:32 AM EST
    idea it is.  Folks who claim to be liberals.

    I got mine . . . .


    I'm sure that there are 65 year olds (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:46:45 AM EST
    like those you are describing. There are also a whole lot of us older folks who are up in arms about the changes that are being proposed. We want the benefits of the current safety net programs to be available for our children and grandchildren and feel that these changes will seriously harm the programs and make them easy to dismantle. I didn't vote for Obama in 2008 and his position on "fixing" the safety net programs was one of the main reasons for my refusing to vote for him.

    As one of the older folks, I've had an opposite experience to what you have described. I've had younger Obama supporters tell me that these are either great ideas or that they are necessary to preserve the programs. So maybe, how much unqualified support for Obama by an individual is the primary factor rather than age.


    BTW, there are proposed changes (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:56:55 AM EST
    to Medicare that would seriously adversely effect current seniors. Here is one that would greatly reduce available income and or health care for current seniors:

    Increase Cost-Sharing/Premiums or Impose Excise Tax on Beneficiaries with Medigap Coverage (-$12.1 Billion to -$53.4 billion, CBO): CBO and various health analysts have proposed several options that would affect Medigap coverage. One option scored by CBO in 2011 would prohibit Medigap policies from providing "first dollar" coverage. First dollar coverage generally means that the beneficiary does not pay any additional costs beyond a premium (i.e., their cost-sharing is completely covered, starting at the "first dollar," by this supplemental insurance). This option would prohibit Medigap plans from paying any of the first $550 of an enrollee's cost-sharing and would also limit coverage to 50 percent of the next $4,950 in Medicare cost-sharing. Currently, the two most popular Medigap policies offer this type of coverage and roughly 5.5 million Medicare beneficiaries would be affected by this policy. CBO estimated that this policy would save $53.4 billion over ten years. A different and earlier option prepared by CBO in 2008 would apply an excise tax of 5 percent of the premium on all Medigap insurance plans, regardless of the extent to which the plan covers first dollar coverage. This policy option raised $12.1 billion over five years. A third option under discussion would require Medicare beneficiaries with a Medigap policy that provides first dollar coverage to pay a supplemental Part B premium. This option was not scored, but it is important to note that the vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries have their Part B premiums directly deducted from their Social Security checks. The addition of a supplemental premium would further reduce their Social Security checks.

    Discussion: Economists and some other analysts believe that first dollar coverage results in greater health care utilization (induced demand). Strengthening incentives for more prudent use of services could limit costs. However, studies have shown that cost-sharing increases discourage both necessary and unnecessary services. In addition, there are many complications with any of the proposals. For example, if the option to eliminate the coverage is pursued, will it apply retroactively or just prospectively? If the tax option were pursued, insurers would pass along the tax in the form of higher premiums, so this could be viewed as a tax increase for seniors. The supplemental premium, again, will result in lower Social Security checks. A final point is that it seems difficult to craft a comparable policy for employer retiree coverage that wraps-around Medicare, which covers a substantial portion of the Medicare population.

    Blue makes a very important comment. (5.00 / 5) (#53)
    by KeysDan on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:24:11 PM EST
    Medicare is in President Obama's sights, and raising eligibility age, as bad as that is, represents but one and not necessarily the only, grand idea that will impact those already covered as well as those not yet 65. The ideas all involve cost shifting cuts that do not reduce health care costs but only shift costs from government to the private and business sectors.  It is weakening of Medicare that will be presented as strengthening. And, Up is down.

    Let's put it this way... (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:35:32 PM EST
    Your argument is stronger if you find the many weaknesses of these plans for people of all ages.  The GOP and Obama like to pretend that most people will simply "adjust", but that won't happen.  Most people will just fall farther down.

    In case you missed the memo (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by nycstray on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:10:04 AM EST
    Boomers WILL get shafted if Obama gets his way. Think about where we are sitting right now. Many 50+ have lost good jobs with no hope of getting them back. Retirement savings have been lost also, with not much time to readjust and make up those loses (especially since he's sucking so bad on the economy). And now he wants to add another nail in the coffin by raising the Medicare age for people that have been paying in for 30+ yrs? A 50yo would have to wait 15 more months for Medicare. And yes, we got scr*wed by his idol also.

    Members of the Class of 67 & 68 (none / 0) (#57)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:00:41 PM EST
    are 62 and 61 yo this year.

    This is not largely about much less solely the baby boomers.  Whatever co-pay increases etc. current retirees and boomers will face, under 50s will get that PLUS the FULL two year delay.


    Agreed. But as one (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Towanda on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:51:13 PM EST
    who just turned 62, hasn't had a raise in years, just got a huge pay cut, etc. -- talking with my younger sibs, we agree that at least they've got time to recover from the Obama recession and still retire "on time."

    That's no longer possible for me; I have to put off retirement for years to try to make up somehow for these last lost six years -- and the losses in years ahead with this pay cut, from which I will not have time to recover by the time that the economy is predicted to come back for my sibs.


    The Obama recession (none / 0) (#94)
    by CoralGables on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:03:25 PM EST
    that's an interesting approach. First time I've heard it phrased that way. You must think the same of economists that Perry thinks of scientists.

    You are so much better than that.


    "the Obama Recession" (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by sj on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:12:13 PM EST
    Hmmm... you're right.  It's not a typical description.  But you think it should still be Bush's recession?  This is, after all, the third year of O's administration.  How else to describe it, and the appropriate era?

    Good goddess, Bush is long one (5.00 / 5) (#98)
    by Towanda on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:39:32 PM EST
    and Obama owns the decisions that he has made.  Perhaps the problem is that you voted for him and don't want to take ownership for that decision that you made, which allowed him to make decisions he has made?  Really, you are no better than that?

    Look at the jobless rate and other data in January 2009 and look at those measures now.  And I look at the jobless rate in my family then and now, since Obama's decisions have devastated us -- as he prepares to try to do some more damage to us tonight.

    You bet I am better than that.  I was the one on this blog warning during the campaign about his economic advisers from the U of Chicago.  You didn't listen then?  Well, you own the blame now.


    I'm not saying it's more unfair (none / 0) (#107)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Sep 09, 2011 at 02:39:57 AM EST
    for 60 year olds than 40 or 50 year olds in the long haul. My point is the timing -- telling people between ages 60 and 65 that they won't get Medicare until age 67,doesn't give them enough time to save enough to cover the extra thousands it will cost them for continued private health insurance. If I knew at 40 or even 50 that Medicare wouldn't kick in until age 67, I'd have chosen policies with less coverage (and cost less) for those decades and put the extra money aside; I would have factored the added cost into my discretionary spending; I'd have gotten a disability policy that covered me until 67 instead of 65, while the rates for the extended coverage were still affordable. I don't plan on living until age 90, and I've always  expected to work until I'm dead, but this is just a huge burden on too short notice. When you combine the short notice with the huge amounts we've paid in by age 60 -- far more than we will ever receive in return -- it's just unacceptable.

    bohica (none / 0) (#103)
    by chrisvee on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:29:07 PM EST
    I was born at the end of the baby boom and I've known for a while that my generation (born in early 60s) will bear the brunt of the pain.  We're the forgotten boomers -- it's the early boomers that seem to get the focus of the attention since they are closer to retirement I guess.

    Is there enough time for them to screw it up and fix it again before I try to retire?  I've been paying taxes for 30 years only to find the safety net is getting dismantled just in time for my retirement.  So the taxes paid during my peak earning years (that I've paid without complaint) don't matter a hill of beans because my eligibility age just keeps going up and up while companies reduce their benefits...

    Hard to say what will take the bigger toll -- class warfare or generational warfare?


    Great Post Jeralyn !!!! (none / 0) (#26)
    by samsguy18 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:54:32 AM EST
    Obama has been a disaster for the country! The MSM is responsible for this calamity.

    Disagree.....the ones responsible for this are the (5.00 / 5) (#31)
    by Angel on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:29:44 AM EST
    DNC who shoved Obama down our throats and did an end run around Hillary so she couldn't get the nomination.  Told you so long ago....  I said from the day he announced he was running that he wasn't ready for the job, didn't have the necessary intelligence or experience to be President.  

    Angel I agree with you. (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by samsguy18 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:58:40 AM EST
    I blame the DNC as well... they went along with the MSM fabricating Obama's resume...the blatant distortion of the facts around his personal history and their most disgusting act they went along with supporting Obama's campaign when they  used the racism card against Hilary Clinton !

    Nonsense. The Obama voters (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Towanda on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:52:02 PM EST
    got exactly the MSM that they wanted.  And now they are getting the result that they deserve.

    Why won't somebody primary Obama? (none / 0) (#28)
    by lyzurgyk on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:09:51 AM EST
    There has to be a significant constituency in the Democratic Party for an alternative.   I bet they'd would be competitive in the polls from the start.   In any case, it would get the White House attention.   And the media would love it.   A challenger would get instant publicity.

    Although I was a Hillary supporter, I voted for Obama enthusiastically in the general election.   He's been the biggest political disappointment of my lifetime.  I'm honestly starting to doubt whether the alternative would be worse in the long run.  I don't think I can vote for him again no matter how heinous the opponent.   He doesn't deserve it.

    My mother-in-law is 75 (none / 0) (#32)
    by Dadler on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:38:15 AM EST
    She loves Obama, really doesn't want to believe he likes Reagan, and she thinks it's a good idea to tinker with the age eligibility, because, as she says, "We're living longer, we all have to make changes."  It's so depressing I can hardly stand it.  She got hers, everyone else can wait.  I told her that was an odd opinion for someone who volunteers so much and sees how needy many people are.  But she watches those talking heads on TV and takes them at, ahem, face value.

    Did you tell her (none / 0) (#45)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:38:30 AM EST
    that even with the upper eschelon people who live longer (poor people do not), living longer doesn't mean you're employable longer?

    It also doesn't mean you don't get sick...only that the cures are better.


    I told her a lot of things (none / 0) (#50)
    by Dadler on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:53:35 AM EST
    But she said "Shh, I want to hear this!" as she turned to watch David Brooks on TV.  Seriously.

    What about Obamacare? (none / 0) (#82)
    by diogenes on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 03:02:47 PM EST
    If Obamacare is the greatest thing since sliced bread and will give health care to all Americans UNDER 65, then why not give Obamacare to those who are 65 and 66 and raise the Medicare age?

    barking up the wrong tree (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by CST on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 03:07:19 PM EST
    I don't know of anyone here who wouldn't replace Obamacare with Medicare for all.

    You won't (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 03:07:59 PM EST
    find too many fans of Obama's HCR around here.

    I think that is the idea. (5.00 / 7) (#86)
    by caseyOR on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 03:12:54 PM EST
    Force more people into the arms of the health insurance cabal is clearly an Obama priority.

    IMO, his end goal is not the strengthen Medicare, but to convert it to Obamacare. There will still be some government subsidy so the health insurance companies don't take a hit of any kind for adding the elderly and the infirm to their rolls. And we all will be facing medical bankruptcy.

    Still, demolishing Medicare will help Social Security's bottom line. People will die even earlier,and thus, not collect much SS.

    For the record, I find Obamacare to be a horrible legislative creation, even with the few good things that were thrown in. The massive harm it will do will not in any way be balanced out by the good of letting 26 year olds stay on their parents' policy, if their parents still have insurance.


    Thread cleaned of (none / 0) (#102)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:07:41 PM EST
    off-topic comments about a particular poster. This is about Obama and Medicare and his pink slip. Thanks.