(Updated) Blue Dog–ish Steny Hoyer (#2 Dem in House) wants benefit cuts. What will Obama do?

Update 1: Technically, Hoyer’s not a Blue Dog, he just acts like one, so I fixed some text to reflect this.

Update 2: Here it is, the petition to push hard on Hoyer. Click to make the call, via PCCC (boldprogressives.org). The time to lean on him (and send a message to Obama that there’s more where that came from) is now.

Update 3: Here’s CredoAction with another push against Hoyer. The phone number is Steny Hoyer, 301-474-0119. Then click the link to report back. And thanks.

This post is not about Steny Hoyer, a known made man. This is about Barack Obama. Read on.

Steny Hoyer, House Democratic whip, wants benefits cuts to be “on the table” during the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations — even though he may not support them himself. In other words, he wants Barack Obama to sign a deal with benefit cuts, but he doesn’t want his own fingerprints on them. Nice one, Steny.

Another county heard from, this time County ConservaDem. From the Hill (my emphasis, paragraphing, and bracketed comments):

Entitlement cuts should remain on the table as party leaders seek to hash out an end-of-the-year budget deal, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday.

A number of Democratic leaders — including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), John Larson (Conn.) and Xavier Becerra (Calif.) — have said they would support some spending reductions in Medicare, but that cuts to direct benefits should not be a part of the negotiations [note: weasel-phrase alert]. Along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), they also maintain that Social Security reform has no place at all in the [fiscal poker game] talks. …

Hoyer said GOP proposals to raise the Medicare eligibility age, make wealthier seniors pay higher Medicare rates and limit the cost-of-living increases for some federal programs are legitimate ones, even as he warned he might not support them. “They clearly are on the table,” Hoyer said of the Medicare changes during his weekly press briefing in the Capitol. “They were on the table in the Boehner-Obama talks. They’ve been on the table for some period of time. That does not mean that I’d be prepared to adopt them now, but they’re clearly, I think, on the table.”

Hoyer said the GOP’s proposal to reduce the cost-of-living increases to certain federal programs – the so-called chained consumer price index (CPI) – should also be considered as part of the [fiscal poker game] talks.

All you need to know

There are several take-aways here:

1. Hoyer is lead ConservaDem in the House, along with Nancy Pelosi–reappointed Steve Israel, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and their Pelosi-enabled ilk. Hoyer is carrying New Dem, Blue Dog, Fix the Debt water.

2. Hoyer’s goal is to move the Obama needle. He knows Obama will ultimately sign a deal. He wants to make sure the deal is Wall Street–friendly (“Fix the Debt” is a billionaire– and Wall Street–funded and run operation). Also corporate Dem–friendly. Catfood Central.

3. Obama owns the deal he signs. What will he do? He has three choices:

■ Play his two aces and win. (His two aces — let Bush–Obama tax cuts expire by inaction; let sequester kick in by inaction. Congress will eagerly fix both after January 1. Even I could play that hand.)

■ Not play his aces, sign a benefit cuts deal, and bitch that the other side “made him do it” (Obama the Progressive Wannabe cum Victim).

■ Not play his aces, sign a benefit cuts deal, and brag he did something good (Obama the Courageous, our NeoLiberal handyman).

Will Obama play his aces and win? I can’t wait to see.

What you should do

There are a couple of things you can do that will help a lot:

1. Follow the simple steps here to put pressure on friendly Dems in the Senate. Any bad bill has to pass the Senate for Obama to even be tempted by it. There’s a real shot. Help us out.

2. If a SignOn.org petition emerges in Hoyer’s district opposing this move, jump all over it. You’re not trying to move Hoyer (he’s a made man, bought to stay bought). You’re showing Obama what’s in store for him if he signs any deal with benefit cuts. I’ll pass on any news of a move against Hoyer.

3. Let the members of the Democratic party know that you’re holding the whole party responsible for the deal that Obama (king Democrat) signs. He owns it; they own it.

You can do this in several ways, but the best is to call your senator and congressperson and say so — often. Senate offices here. House offices here.

Why number 3? Why so strict, even with “good” Dems? Because as I’ve written before, the Democratic Party as a whole enables the worst behavior of its ruling elite, while “helpless” (so-called) “progressives” (there aren’t a lot of real ones) look on and say “Not my fault.” That makes the party always look good while constantly doing bad.

The way to break cycles of enabling co-dependent behavior in addicted destructive groups is to demand change from the enablers. In this case, that means demanding stronger, more effective action from those who want to be considered progressives.

What’s the only way to change anyone else’s behavior? Incentives. Apply consequences to behavior and let others decide what they want to do. In this case, the consequences should be these — “If the Party attacks the safety net, the Party is responsible; all of it.”

That’s the only way I can think of to encourage stronger behavior from progressive office-holders. But that’s me — I’m a huge “time for an Open Rebellion Caucus” man, as many of you know.

Yours in good behavior,


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

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

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  • If they’re gonna keep whittlin’ away at our benefits (and they’re gonna), they should at least make buying it optional. But, of course, that ain’t how the gubmnt works…

  • Butch1

    I would like to see all the millions of dollars ( if ever that could be possible ) restored back into the Social Security funds that Congress has “borrowed” stolen from us with no intention of ever paying it back. That is our money from OUR payroll checks for OUR retirement that our employers also put in for our retirement. It was NOT a piggy bank for the government to raid every time it feels the need to do so. They are criminals for doing this and yet they have the nerve to call it an “entitlement” program like they are giving us a gift from the government!! How dare they!! They need to keep their filthy hands off of it, take the cap off of it and let it grow the way it was supposed to. There is nothing wrong with Social Security. THEY created this emergency so they could fix it. These fat rich cats in Congress and the Executive Branch want our money and they want it for their friends on Wall Street so they can make billions on it in the Stock Market. When the next crash is planned by the Insider’s who create these things to make their zillions, they will have it all and the people will be left with nothing . . . zilch.

  • Butch1

    Agreed, and as much as Pelosi will lie about protecting our Safety Net, she is on board with Hoyer and Obama as well. They’re all in on it together. What a bunch of liars when they can stand in front of those cameras and say they are protecting Social Security and you know they are sharpening their knives and salivating in anticipation of chopping at our money. These very rich bastards have no soul and could care less about the common man. Their “nests” are already feathered quite nicely.

  • Butch1

    Eventually, she will be exposed as well. The truth usually wins out in the end whether she is met out justice or not. History will sign her fate. I do hope I’m around for the fireworks as well. ;-)

    ( I love a decent perp-walk to the Hague. )

  • Kenneth C. Fingeret

    Hello Butch 1,

    We should demand the return of the trillions of dollars that have been “pissed away” by giving them to the “job creators” (sic) “job destroyers”!

  • Kenneth C. Fingeret

    Hello htfd,

    If that were true there would be some variation of the Nurenberg Trials held from the time of Reagen to the present.

  • Kenneth C. Fingeret

    Hello Kelvin Mace,

    If only!

  • Kenneth C. Fingeret

    Hello Butch1,

    Look at his paymasters. He gets paid for servicing the wealthy not for anything else.

  • Kenneth C. Fingeret

    Hello Gaius Pubilus,

    Obama will fold like a cheap suit! The term ConservaDem is more accurately DestroyaDum Party. The barbarians are killing the remnants of the “New Deal” and making it the “Shitty-Shaft Deal”. We get the Shitty-Shaft and they (1%’ers) get the “Sweet Deal”.

  • htfd

    I posted just about the something. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that has Pelosi’s number…good old corporate DNC politician to the very end. The biggest mistake she made was not blocking Kucinich’s Bush and Cheney’s Impeachment incitements being read into the Congressional record. Perhaps she couldn’t. Future history scholars will question why an impeachment never went forward, also eventually the ICC with try the Bush and Cheney war crimes and crimes against humanity and Pelsoi will be cited as being complicit with the crimes, as will Obama. I hope I live to see the day.

  • Butch1

    Ha! Exactly! Here’s another Congress person involved in the insider trading scandal that will never lift a finger to “punish” those in Congress for doing it. ( It wasn’t against the law so no one will get punished. ) She has been around for long enough and she has known about the Bush problems along with other Congressional leaders tied to agreeing with Bush with his wars giving him carte blanche with the Patriot Act in not even reading the damned thing before signing off on it. She made sure that impeachment was off the table with Bush because that would have dragged her behind into it as well. It makes one wonder just how much she is tied into his dealings.

    You will not get her to do anything about Wall Street considering her past. She is too much like them being a 1% er herself. This person is no real Progressive. I will say that she may be a social progressive but when it comes to Social Security, I do not trust her holding my money one bit.

  • Butch1


  • Butch1

    I think he’s been out of the picture for a long time. I used to think he was relevant but after awhile his word started to ring hollow. It’s really a shame we cannot get any true liberals with backbones to fight for us anymore. Tonight on the Ed Schultz show I watched Hoyer dance around the issue of Social Security and Medicare being on the table for negotiation. A simple yes or no answer needn’t take a paragraph to answer. That traitor needed tap shoes to work around that question. I don’t know how he can sleep at night the way he earns his paycheck.

  • htfd

    The problem is that pushers for Obama to be re-elected were only interested in 3 issues. The next Supreme Court Justice, shows you how stupid these people are…the President only nominates the Senate picks either to approve or not to approve, a contrived Women’s Rights hysteria and free contraception, and a fear factor politics of the GOP born of ignorance…obviously their short memory doesn’t allow them to remember how much resistance Bush Co had and that it was a Democrat …Pelosi…that took Impeachment off the table the day after the 2006 election when the House and Senate became a Democrat majority… to push for a “lesser of two evils. They forgot all about the budget cuts, Social Security, et al cuts, Indefinite Detention, Kill Lists and Drone Killings of innocents as being issues, the more important issues. These should have been explored and dealt with before not after the election, not that the lesser keeps his word. Now these same people are once again pushing his fiscal cliff scam. Wake up, us commoners have been over the cliff for 4 years, hold a house party on that.

  • htfd

    Yes, but the newly elected, mostly progressives Congress members, won’t be sworn in until January. These members may be more approachable by the voters and less controllable by the DNC and the old Democrat guard.

  • htfd

    Yes, but now he faces impeachment for UN-Constitutional acts. There is already HR107 that is in place.

  • htfd

    Yes, but Nancy can count. Pelosi is one of the few who knew before the torturing began that it was in the works. She’s voted for both NAFTA and the repeal of Glass Steagall and, against a complete audit of the Fed besides other disastrous bills. 60 minutes caught her and called her out on insider trading. I think the best was when she wanted the tax break ceiling moved to a million in stead of the over inflated quarter of million. How about her calling herself a progressive?

  • htfd

    You forgot Dennis Kucinich, he’s another common man/woman supporter, for now anyways.

  • htfd

    The DNC and Obama both use the racist card. As to deterring Obama, it will not happen, he has only child syndrome, his way or no way. Even if his way is wrong, it still will be the only way. How many other agreements on on anything do us commoners hear about? None because there is only Obama’s way. I wonder how much longer it will be before his house party cheerleaders wake up.

  • Yep, how’s that lesser evil working out for ya Obots of the nation?

  • Pelosi needs to go.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Oh, and Blue Dog or Cerulean Pooch, in either event they stink the same.

  • Butch1

    In case Obama has already forgotten, the 99% have already paid in their dues for the past fourteen years; not another dime should be invested by OUR side until we see the 1% give their “balanced plan” a fair shake and we wring their wallets of the money they owe this country.

    Not . . . another . . .dime . . .!!!

  • Butch1

    So has Pelosi. It depressed me to hear she decided to accept her renomination as minority speaker. It will be “much of the same” with her in the same position. We needed new blood and backbone in that position and she doesn’t have the backbone to hold a position right to the end. She always folds in the end and just gives up.

  • Butch1

    Obama has made it very plain that he wants to slash Social Security and the rest of our safety net. He was the very first one to put SS on the negotiating block regarding the budget when it had nothing to do with the debit. He is NOT our friend when it comes to protecting any of these things. Neither is Hoyer or Pelosi. They have proven it in the past and their talk is cheap. The only champion we have is an Independent named Bernie Sanders who has spoken out tirelessly on our behalf. How many democrats have we seen go to bat for us? There are third party folks who would love to defend us if ever they could get elected.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Not play his aces, sign a benefit cuts deal, and brag he did something good (Obama the Courageous, our NeoLiberal handyman)

    There is no need to read tea leaves. the President you voted for, who you told everybody else to vote for, is being quite clear.

    “I think there’s a recognition that maybe they can accept some rate increases as long as it’s combined with serious entitlement reform and additional spending cuts. And if we can get the leadership on the Republican side to take that framework, to acknowledge that reality, then the numbers actually aren’t that far apart,” Obama told members of the Business Roundtable this morning. “Another way of putting this is, we can probably solve this in about a week. It’s not that tough. But we need that conceptual breakthrough that says we need to do a balanced plan; that’s what’s best for the economy; that’s what the American people voted for; that’s how we’re going to get it done.”

    -Barack Obama

    (emphasis mine).

    Oh, and didn’t we hear, just yesterday, on this very site, that Obama had stopped negotiating with himself? Now what does this sound like? Negotiating with an empty chair labeled “Republicans” or negotiating with himself?

    Balanced Plan, in this case meaning catfood for grandma, chained CPI and waiting for people to drop dead before they’re eligible for Medicare, while taxes for the rich go up a very, very small amount. And overall government spending cuts aren’t good for the economy when millions of people are out of work and the economy is soft, Obama knows that, so he’s outright lying about what’s “best for the economy”. What’s best for the economy is additional stimulus and Obama knows it, but he’s talking about being a vicious budget cutter.


  • It’s not possible, some of us turned on Obummer during his second year, but the base has no power what so ever. All the who-ha and anger will be moot. Once in office, we are ignored as dupes.

  • What should be on the table of cuts that will affect 99% of us should be massive cuts in congressional lifetime benefits!

  • ezpz


    From the link I posted above:

    “…Fitch gave his remarkable speech before an unlikely audience at an unlikely time: the Harlem Tenants Association in November 2008, hard on the heels of Obama’s electrifying presidential win. The first part contains his prescient prediction: that Obama’s Third Way stance, that we all need to put our differences aside and get along, was tantamount to advocating the interests of the wealthy, since they seldom give anything to the have-nots without a fight….”

    Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/05/exclusive-how-obamas-early-career-succes-was-built-on-fronting-for-chicago-real-estate-and-finance.html#PiAC8b2yCVqpPQu7.99

  • Naja pallida

    Steny Hoyer, proudly ignoring the electorate and wishing he was a Republican for over 30 years.

    Let’s be real here. Obama’s starting point in all of these contrived fiscal cliff negotiations was a giant bone for the Blue Dogs to begin with. There is nothing seriously progressive involved. If they still can’t get on board, they’re simply idiots begging to be eaten alive by the Republicans. If Obama can’t hold his ground against his own people, we’re seriously screwed. Screwed even worse than we would be if he entirely got his way… and even if Obama does entirely get his way, we’re still pretty much screwed, because it is nothing but a kicking of the can down the road. This will all be up for debate again in another year.

  • ezpz

    “What will Obama do?”

    A rhetorical question, no?

    From Naked Capitalism, May 4, 2012:

    “…A remarkable speech by Robert Fitch puts Obama’s early career in a new perspective that explains the man we see now in the Oval Office: one who pretends to befriend ordinary people but sells them out again and again to wealthy, powerful interests – the banks, big Pharma and health insurers, and lately, the fracking-industrial complex…”

    Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/05/exclusive-how-obamas-early-career-succes-was-built-on-fronting-for-chicago-real-estate-and-finance.html#PiAC8b2yCVqpPQu7.99

    Link to this most insightful speech:


  • This is the main difference between the Dems and the GOP.

    The GOPers line up and pretty much try to do everything they said they stood for in the election, even if they lose. They attempt to do both what their base and their plutocratic masters want.

    The Dems, on the other hand, fall apart and try to pass the stuff they said they did NOT stand for in the election. They do what their plutocratic masters want, but openly disparage their base, and wonder why they always do so crappy in the mid-terms.

  • If Obama caves to Hoyer and his goons, the base will turn on him and the rest of his presidency will go very badly.

  • mf_roe

    Obama has used his race as an effective shield from criticism all his life. While many of his critics are racist and ignorant, many more are silent because they fear being labeled as racist and ignorant. Take a look at your friends, if you aren’t able to be critical of them and challenge their actions when they act in ways that offend you are they truly your friends? Obama has made it abundantly clear that he serves the Plutocrats, anyone unable to see that is unable to effectively influence Obama’s actions. Those of us that see Obama for who he really is also see that he will not be deterred and that the future is very very ugly.

  • caphillprof

    Steny Hoyer has been in Washington waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy toooooo looooonnnnggg!

  • Butch1

    This traitor who is against the 99% of us having a safety net that has nothing to do with a budget. ( really it doesn’t ) needs to be constantly pointed out and shamed by the people of this country. We should be cutting Defense and many other things. We do NOT need to cut the very programs that help the struggling classes get by especially during bad times. Just what the hell is wrong with these rich 1% Congressmen? ( I think I just answered my rhetorical question. ) When Congress is composed of the rich 1% who basically try and please the Lobbyists who continue to flood their chests with campaign dollars for favors, one knows they will not listen to the constituents who expect them to protect Social Security, Medicare / Medicaid and Veteran’s Benefits. Even Obama’s plan cuts benefits out of Veteran’s benefits and he has the nerve to go around saying how much we need to help the vets and respect them and behind our backs he wants to stab us with taking money away from Veteran’s Benefits. He is one of the greatest Flim-Flam artists of all time and this country just is mesmerized by his words whilst he is stealing their wallet at the same time. He is amazing. He needs to be called out on it so that he will halt stripping money from Social Security ( which is NOT even a part of the budget ) and do NOT take money away from the VA. These soldiers, marines, sailors and national guardsmen and women have earned every penny from fighting these wars YOU cowardly Congressmen and women and presidents continue to get them into each and every time. You talk bravely about their heroism but dis-guard them once they are of no use to you. Shame on you; stick to the bargain and take care of these honorable men and women who did something most of you in Congress and the presidency did have the cojones to do..

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