What has happened to Dick Durbin? He’s criticizing Bernie Sanders over Social Security

Senator Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate, used to be a fairly reliable liberal voice. Not anymore. He’s now part of the Senate “gang of six” working on the budget, deficit, debt proposal.

One of the problems is that the “gang” will come up with what they view as a “reasonable” — but it will become the starting point for negotiations with the hard-core GOP proposal offered by Paul Ryan. That means the final package will be closer to what the GOP wants. The very, very rich will continue to benefit. The safety net will be further shredded.

Durbin, as the senior Senator from Illinois, is considered one of Obama’s closest allies on Capitol Hill. But, for whatever reason, he has lost his bearings. Now, using right-wing talking points, Durbin is even criticized Bernie Sanders over Social Security. Via ABC News:

Durbin criticized a resolution put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a liberal independent from Vermont, that says Social Security should not be cut under a deficit reduction plan. Durbin said he would not vote for such a resolution.

“I think Bernie is going too far with his language,” Durbin said.

“In 2037, as we know it, Social Security falls off a cliff,” he said. “There’s a 22 percent reduction rate in payments, which is really not something we can tolerate. If we deal with it today, it’s an easier solution than waiting. I think we ought to deal with it. Many of my colleagues disagree, put it off to another day. But from my point of view, leaving it out makes it easier politically, including it, I think, meets an obligation, which we have to senior citizens.”

Yep. That’s Durbin adopting right-wing talking points. I think Durbin has already gone way too far with his language and his actions. This whole fiscal debate has been defined on the GOP’s terms.

But, it’s our fault for not getting it according to Durbin:

“Many of my friends on the left — they are my friends, these are my roots politically — are going through the stages of grief: denial, anger, frustration, sadness, resignation,” Durbin said. “They are going through those stages because they understand that borrowing 40 cents for every dollar you spend, whether it’s for missile or food stamps, is just unsustainable. But you’ve got to do something.”

Yeah. Blame us. It’s our fault the President and the Senate caved on the Bush tax cuts, among other things.

It’s astounding how often some Democratic leaders sacrifice principles when critical issues are at stake. They cave — constantly. But, then expect their “friends on the left” to do the work and give the money to reelect them.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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