Pelosi endorses Obama’s safety net cuts (2013 alert)

It’s a target-rich environment here at la maison chez nous, choosing this morning’s post. Google (the company, not the tool) is hitting the radar big time, and will soon get its share of attention.

But Nancy Pelosi, our “progressive” fierce defender, has center stage this morning with her recent announcement that she (and by the way, Obama) are still on board with a Grand Bargain — you know, the one where you trade away your children’s safety net so long as you keep your own.

Ryan Grimm at the Huffington Post:

Two progressive organizations have found themselves in the unusual position of being on the opposite side of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Over the course of the past two years, the former House Speaker has been the most significant obstacle to the ongoing effort to slash entitlements and cut social spending.

But a series of recent comments, and reports that Pelosi was willing to accept draconian cuts as part of a debt-ceiling deal, have liberals worried that their most powerful and passionate defender may be buckling on the issue.

During a recent press conference, and again during an interview with Charlie Rose, [Pelosi] said that she would support what’s known as the Simpson-Bowles plan, a budget proposal that was created by the co-chairs of a fiscal commission set up by President Obama (dubbed the “Catfood Commission” by progressives).

Ignore the accurate but yes-butish first paragraph, and the praise in the second. The meat is in the third paragraph.

It takes a layer to unpack that, which Grim provides a few paragraphs later:

The Simpson-Bowles plan is a mix of tax increases and spending cuts that trims four trillion dollars off the deficit in ten years. Its cuts to social spending and entitlement programs made it “simply unacceptable” to the Democrats’ liberal base almost as soon as it was announced. Pelosi’s rhetorical retreat from that hard-line position has progressives worried they’ll have nobody left to defend the social safety net, even Medicare and Social Security.

And for good measure, there’s this to worry about as well:

They are also worried by the willingness Pelosi expressed during the manufactured debt-ceiling crisis to agree to cuts much greater than Simpson-Bowles was going for, as reported by the Washington Post.

There’s more in Grim’s reporting, but I won’t belabor the point.

The article includes many kind words for Pelosi, from Grim and from others such as CREDO — hoping I’m sure to shame her back to her former position (meaning, of course, her former words).

There’s also prose and a video at the HuffPo site that explains this isn’t a cave since she supported “real” Simpson-Bowles, just not the bill that made it to the House floor last time the subject raised its ugly head. Read and watch if you wish. (If you want even more on Pelosi, try this. It’s not just one source.)

Since they’re all being so nice, I can be direct. Here’s me:

Don’t trust Nancy Pelosi. She’s trying to sell out the safety net. All that verbal obfuscation simply means she’s also protecting her “San Francisco liberal” brand in the process. She can’t have both, but she’s trying.

GP’s rule for dealing with Dems:

    If you want something from them, threaten what they’re desperate to keep.

This usually means their jobs (primaries anyone?), but in a few cases it’s their “brand” — their “unique selling point” — the persona (the mask) that allows them to fund-raise.

What does Pelosi want? To be the “liberal” face of the Pelosi-Hoyer axis. Threaten to take that away and you get her attention. (Which means, Mr. CREDO Action Arm — With all respect, confirming her liberal brand may have the opposite result of the one you want.)

Side note — How to deal with Obama in his “legacy” years? How about threatening his legacy as the next Bill Clinton? Here’s a start.

Simpson-Bowles was designed to attack the safety net. Read here for what the chairman’s report wanted to do (note the new lower tax rates, offset by revenue that will never happen). Putting it more simply, Alan Simpson said:

We are going to stick to the big three [Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid].

Got that? The rest is just words, the fog. Krugman calls Simpson-Bowles a “wealth transfer” and faux-progressive Pelosi’s on board.

Obama still wants to sell you out as well. As we reported here in March (all of a month ago):

Working late into the evening, Obama asked someone to get Boehner on the phone. [Obama’s] message: I’ll take your last offer. “Mr. President,” Boehner answered, “we don’t have time to reopen these negotiations.”

White House officials said this week that the offer is still on the table.

“Still on the table” means still on the table.

Don’t forget this:

As Uncle Straight Talk says, “An unfettered Obama is a dangerous Obama.”

And never forget this:

All you need to know? Our Betters are joined against us, all of them. They just need an opening to kill the New Deal and they’re on it.

What can you do? Maybe rebrand Nancy Pelosi. She’s acting like Steny Hoyer; let her fundraise as Steny Hoyer.

Time to fight, folks.


(To follow on Twitter or to send links: @Gaius_Publius)

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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