I have a question for President Obama. What is this “bitter pill” — or whatever words you did use in your recent speech to activists — that you expect us to swallow? Please, be specific. We — many of whom put you where you are today — deserve to be told now how you plan to disappoint.
Sir? You owe us at least this much.
Obama’s bitter pill
Now for the background. I included this item as an update to an earlier post — the one with Cornel West’s assessment of Barack Obama 2013 — but I don’t want this to get buried.
Sam Stein at the HuffPost has an article with some interesting quotes from a conference call Obama and staff recently held with “30,000 of his top campaign activists.” In the article, Stein writes (my emphasis):
The president, speaking from a White House phone, cautioned listeners to expect disappointments during his second term. As he has in the past, Obama warned that he was prepared to swallow some bitter pills during the negotiations, including some that would agitate the base.
“As we move forward there are going to be new wrinkles and new frustrations, we can’t predict them yet,” he said. “We are going to have some triumphs and some successes, but there are going to be some tough days, starting with some of these negotiations around the fiscal cliff that you probably read about, making sure that our tax system is fair. So we are going to need you guys to stay active. We need you to stick with us and stay on this.”
He wants us to stick with him. Will he stick with us? Color me dubious; the taste in my mouth is already bitter.
Gird up, guys ‘n’ gals. Those of you who won the last fight, this is the next one. The “fiscal cliff” is really an austerity bomb, and the Grand Bargain is a Grand Betrayal of all that Democrats believe and fought for, not just you, but those who went before, who created the world they’ve been taking apart — both parties — for the last 30 years.
What do we want?
What we want from our president is simple:
(1) No extension of the Bush–Obama Tax Cuts for incomes above $250,000 (or lower; no sneaking that already high number even higher).
(2) No reduction to safety net benefits — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. If possible, improvement of those benefits. (There are several bills in the Senate to actually-strengthen Social Security (not pretend-strengthen it). One is Mark Begich’s bill, which I strongly endorse.
Don’t count on the man you elected — it’s going to be up to us. Read how you can help protect Social Security here — it includes simple actions you can take. Read how you can help promote Sen. Begich’s bill here — again, just a few simple steps.
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