Is “liberal” Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushing Obama’s Grand Bargain cuts?

A fast one about Obama’s Grand Bargain while I work on a climate piece. I wrote about House Democrat Jan Schakowsky here, someone who is presented as a “liberal” in her frequent MSNBC appearances, yet has many below-the-radar “centrist” and corporatist leanings. I praised her — and still do — for moving to the left and adding her name to the co-sponsorship of HR 900, the Cancel the Sequester bill.

In many ways, Amy Klobuchar is Jan Schakowsky’s equivalent in the Senate. She appears frequently on MSNBC espousing “liberal” views, yet has many centrist and pro-corporate votes that go unrecognized. For example:

■ In the run-up to the 2012 lame duck session, Klobuchar was among the senators who wouldn’t sign the Sanders letter promising no support for benefit cuts.

■ In June 2012, she was among the Democrats who voted against restoring $4.5 billion in cuts to the food stamp program. Other “liberals” voting against restoring those cuts were Al Franken and Debbie Stabenow.

■ Also in June 2012, Klobuchar voted with other Monsanto senators to make it illegal for states to permit GMO labeling. Note — the bill wasn’t a “labeling” bill; it was an “allow states to decide about labeling” bill. The Monsanto-voting senators also included Al Franken and Debbie Stabenow (again), as well as Sherrod Brown.

■ Ms. Klobuchar likes “property rights” far more than the Internet. She proposed S.978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, still pending. Justin Bieber blew up publicly when he heard about it. But there’s gold in them there property rights, and money to be made serving those who own them.

■ So of course, she’s a PIPA co-sponsor — not just a supporter, a co-sponsor. Along with other good “liberals” like Al Franken and Sherrod Brown (again), this time joined by Sheldon Whitehouse.

■ Ms. Klobuchar was a Yes on the 2010 lame duck bill to extend the Bush Tax Cuts (now the Obama-Bush Tax Cuts). That bill also reinstated the Bush Estate Tax, so the 18 families most affected (pdf) could sleep well. The Obama-Bush tax bill passed the Senate 83-15, so there was plenty of room for 25 cosmetic No votes. Klobuchar voted a solid Yes.

■ Remember the 2010 Internet Blacklist Bill, S.3804, the one that would have given summary blacklist power to the DoJ? Yep, Ms. Klobuchar liked it enough to sponsor it. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse joined her on that as well.

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what’s been hitting my radar. So what happened lately?

Amy Klobuchar appears to be promoting Obama’s Grand Bargain


Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

As you know, the Grand Cuts Bargain is stalled, thanks to your support for No Cuts and to Republican reluctance to raise taxes (among other reasons). Unfortunately for Dem electeds — and fortunately for us — Obama is being so insistent that said electeds are being force to take sides, to declare where they really stand.

House member Schakowsky appears to be standing with the No Cuts crowd, at least so far. Senator Klobuchar … well, the president seems to have her in his pocket. The Hill (my emphasis):

Klobuchar: Grand bargain on deficit still within reach 

There is still time for Republicans to find common ground with the White House and congressional Democrats for a grand bargain on the deficit, a top Senate Democrat said Sunday.

When asked point-blank on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” whether she believed a grand bargain could be reached, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) replied: “I do.”

“The American people will not stand for this anymore,” said of the fiscal stalemate that has blocked lawmakers from a deal. 

“There are [several] things we can do” to trim government spending, such as closing a number of corporate loopholes in the current tax code, while ensuring critical social welfare programs remain viable, she added.

“Viable” means “trimmed down” in the Obama formulation via Catfood CPI, with Medicare means testing as a chaser.

And like all Obama deals, there has to be a tax hike to take the onus off of the benefit cuts. Klobuchar carries that water as well:

However, House and Senate Republicans would have to acknowledge that tax increases must be part of that equation, she insisted.

Looks like surrogate work to me. Amy Klobuchar will be in the Senate until 2018, so we can’t hold her re-election over her head. But re-branding … that can start today.

Maybe someone would ask her if she likes his Chained CPI proposal — the one that reflects your change from Iams ProActive Health Pack (75¢ per tasty can) to Friskies Classic Paté (54¢ per less-tasty can) when the high-priced brand is just too much for your budget.

Your action

Today’s action is a simple one, something you can do easily.

Call Jan Schakowsky — 202-225-2111 — thank her for co-sponsoring HR 900, and ask her to sign the Grayson-Takano letter. That’s the one that says “I’ll vote No” to cuts.

Then call Amy Klobuchar — 202-224-3244 — and ask her if she supports Chained CPI. Please report back if you get an answer. (If she says yes, maybe we can break some news.)

And be happy. We’re winning this, so far. We have position — what Obama needs in the way camouflage, Repubicans can’t give him. We just have to keep pressing.

And besides the Internet is made of kittens.

Catfood choices for low-enders

How nice is that?


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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21 Responses to “Is “liberal” Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushing Obama’s Grand Bargain cuts?”

  1. htfd says:

    I see the naming of names on this issue and other important issues as the best thing that could happen. Most Internet media and all of Corporate MSM leave out the who. Thank you so much Gaius Publis.

  2. karmanot says:

    “Nader on the other hand stated that he wanted Bush to win….” That’s interesting. Got a link quote for that?

  3. having firsthand experience working with both I agree with you on Kloboucher but yo are very wrong on Franken. He is no bomb thrower and not the attention whore for our side a lot of people hoped for or expected but he is working very hard for a better deal and he needs to get reelected so don’t expect the sort of grandstanding that the GOP seems to need to survive. This is Minnesota, who had 2 GOP Senators and Gov. Timmy Pawlenty just a few years ago

  4. There actually was a very large difference between Gore and Bush and no doubt we would be better off had Gore been given the office he won.

    Nader on the other hand stated that he wanted Bush to win because it would push the country to the left and insure his eventual victory. How’d that work out for us?

    There is a hell of a lot wrong with the Democratic party but none of it will be solved by Nader and nothing as ‘left’ as Nader pretends to be could be elected even today after 8 years of Boy Blunder and 4 of Obama.

  5. Sen. Klobucher could not bring herself to vote against anything the Bush Admin wanted. Her staff had no problem lying about her positions or even her votes when I called. She has been a stupendous disappointment and it scares the hell out of me that she is mentioned as a possible Presidential contender. She is better that the alternatives she beat but she is not a particularly good Senator for the country or the State of Minnesota.

  6. Mocasdad says:

    This is nothing new for Klobuchar. She’s been generally awful since first being elected. And based on her embarrassing performance in one of the SOTUS confirmation hearings (asking if the nominee was on Team Edward from the Twilight movies), she’s apparently the intellectual equivalent of McCaskill. And Franken’s no great shakes either since assuming office.

  7. BeccaM says:

    Sorry if I came across as strident there. I’m just pissed off.

    As for why? It’s because the 0.01% owns the Dems just like they do the GOPers.

  8. GK St Paul says:

    Ms Klobuchar is a oppurtunist, who’s personal ambition takes first place before what’s good for you or me. She takes the spotlight by getting alot of publicity for helping certain individuals, and manages to keep her popularity numbers up. It is a shame, but I can see that her formula includes only the low hanging fruit. She truly does not represent what the tradition of the Democratic Party has been, but as so many others have said we have a Republican Party,and a Republican Lite Party and many more people every day realize it.

  9. cyberkim says:

    like everyone here, I’m just trying to figure out why and how Dems would cave on this one.

  10. BeccaM says:

    What if we simply raised the cap or removed it entirely, and left benefits alone rather than cutting them? Or better still, how about we do as the non-wrong economists have suggested and raise benefits to make up for the decades of slow erosion?

    Or even better than that: How about we all recognize that this sudden “entitlements MUST be cut” craze is nothing but a Shock Doctrine scam to distract us from the fact the real solutions to the current mess are quite simple:
    – Raise income tax rates at minimum back to late 1990s levels (better: restore progressive rates)

    – Raise the SS/Medicare tax cap so that, as originally intended, it covers 90% of GDP earned income (or better, remove it entirely)
    – Cut the military/defense budget to sane, peacetime levels and ban “off-the-books” wars.

    – Put a transactions tax on the stock and bonds markets
    – Eliminate the carried interest loophole- Use the current low interest rates to engage in some Keynesian stimulus, at levels necessary to get the economy back into real recovery
    – Prosecute and jail the banksters, and break up all the ‘too big to prosecute’ banks and investment firms.

  11. Naja pallida says:

    The GOP has already been re-branded, they’re now called Democrats. The “party” that is calling themselves Republicans now are just a bunch of loose mental patients, who think hypocrisy is the prime virtue.

  12. Ford Prefect says:

    For the last four years, Klobuchar has proven herself a rabid Neo-Liberal. Has she done one decent thing in that period? Maybe, but I can’t think of one. Unlike Shakowsky, she needn’t pretend to be anything other than what she is: On The Pad.

  13. karmanot says:

    Thank you for that. Nader will shine far brighter in the history of Democracy than ass****s like Clinton and Obozo.

  14. cyberkim says:

    What if the Chained CPI is paired with raising the cap to $250K?

  15. nicho says:

    I wish I could share your unbridled optimism. They’ve got big plans for us — and it’s going to get a lot worse.

  16. Salsolomon says:

    I agree with you. Though, I have now become so cynical that I have come to believe that nothing new that is coming unto us can be any worse than what’s already unto us. So, you see, there is indeed a silver lining out there :)

  17. Salsolomon says:

    I agree. I too used to doubt Nader earlier. But, now I see that he was right all along.

    BTW, the Democratic surely is going to screw the middle class. And, in some poetic justice sense, the middle class deserves to be screwed for being so naive and re-electing Obama and other Dems back into office. I still feel bad for the middle class folks for whom things are going to get even worse if the Dems get their coveted Grand Bargain.

  18. Drew2u says:

    Get the audio on tape or video if one makes it to one of her offices, and make a youtube video showing the difference between her words and her actions. Get her official office position on record.

  19. nicho says:

    And people still shit on Ralph Nader for pointing out — correctly — that there was little more than cosmetic differences between the two parties.

  20. Snaggletooth says:

    This is why I wonder how anyone can talk seriously about a GOP re branding without discussing what the new “take” is. Currently the the plan is distract people with wedge issues and hit us economically in the background. I’m sure the rich wouldn’t allow this without another plan in place.

    So if they allow the GOP to become normal with social issues what’s the new wedge? Blue dogs like Klobuchar are moneys people on the left, if they allow the GOP to mirror them how do they keep a distinction between the bought and paid for on the left and the right? They still need a facade of opposition parties.

    Something else bad and new is coming down their sleeves…

  21. Salsolomon says:

    Senator Amy Klobuchar, along with Obama, Pelosi, Reid and a host of others have shown (and continue showing) that today’s Democratic party is a essentially a faux GOP. No use writing to Senator Klobuchar or calling her office. Her office will give you the replies that you want to hear while Senator Klobuchar continues to work behind the scenes for the Grand Bargain and for the cuts to Social Security that the Democratic party want so badly.

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