Obama economic adviser: Using the sequester to cut benefits was “part of the DNA from the start”

We now have stunning confirmation that Obama is using the sequester “battle” as blackmail to get his Grand Bargain (Grand Betrayal) passed — and that “entitlement” benefit cuts are, and always were, part of the plan. It could not be more clear.

Barack Obama wants to cut entitlements, and he’s using the sequester to do it. This, and no other reason, is why the sequester is happening.

The person who made the statement quoted in my headline — that cutting entitlements is “in the DNA” of the sequester — is Gene Sperling, a “top economic aide” to Barack Obama, and someone who knows what he’s talking about. Let’s ignore the giggly high-school story of Woodward and Sperling threatening and cajoling each other and go right to the quote.

Here’s what Sperling wrote to Woodward in an email on February 22, 2013 as quoted in Politico (h/t Digby, my emphasis and reparagraphing). I’ve cleared up some of the tortured syntax, but the meaning is not changed:

[T]he sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand bar[g]ain with a mix of entitlements and revenues … [this] was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. …

[T]hat it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues … is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA [Budget Control Act of 2011]: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

Go to Digby for the full quote; you won’t see a problem with my version. Please note:

  1. The email to Woodward is just a few days old.
  2. The writer is Obama’s current director of the National Economic Council.
  3. The “grand bargain” was always a “mix of entitlements and revenues” — benefit cuts plus a tax-filled Dem-blackmailing sweetener.
  4. Everyone knew this and knows it today, that the sequester negotiation was designed as a way to cut entitlements.

Everybody knew this. But no one was telling you. Not one big news-name. Not one MSNBC host (with the possible exception of Chris Hayes, who still seems to see through both eyes). Not one CNN camera-face, not one breathless Politico Beltway secrets whisperer. No one — yet this was an open secret in a news-hungry town. Your lying corporate media at work.

Now add in the fact that when Republicans tried to cancel the Sequester, Obama defended it. Bill Black, writing at Naked Capitalism (my emphasis):

I wrote last year about the fact that President Obama had twice blocked Republican efforts to remove the Sequester. President Obama went so far as to issue a veto threat to block the second effort.

Black has decided, as have we at La Maison, that Obama’s goal is to frighten the progressives into supporting his “Grand Betrayal”:

Obama has made clear that he hopes this Grand Betrayal (my phrase) will be his legacy. Obama and [Jack] Lew do not want to remove the Sequester because they view it as creating the leverage – over progressives – essential to induce them to vote for the Grand Betrayal.

Need more proof? Here’s Barack Obama on March 1, 2013 (that’s last Friday on my calendar) after meeting with Congressional leaders about the sequester:

And what I’ve said very specifically, very detailed is that I’m prepared to take on the problem where it exists — on entitlements — and do some things that my own party really doesn’t like … [T]he deal that I’ve put forward over the last two years, the deal that I put forward as recently as December is still on the table.

“Leverage over progressives” is Bill Black’s assessment, and mine as well. That means you, Congressional Progressive Caucus, and your cousins in the Senate. Your turn at bat.

What to do

There’s a simple take-away here for readers, actually two:

■ Obama wants the Grand Betrayal to be his legacy. Give it to him. Everyone reading this has some “reach” — some group of people you influence. Every time you talk about Obama, tell just tell the truth.

“Barack Obama wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. He’s tried it every time these phony crises come along. He just needs Republican tax hikes to hide the knife.”

In other words, rebrand him; paint him with the truth. Don’t hide it from yourself; don’t hide it from your friends. At some point, the new paint will stick. But for that to happen, we must persist.

Can we get a political cartoon of cloaked Obama sneaking up behind “Social Security” (an elderly woman selling pencils perhaps) with a knife in his hand and a manic grin? ‘Cause that’s who he is. Until then though, until we get iconic images — or an iconic will.i.am song that corrects his previous one — we’ll have to use words. You have reach; use it. Paint Obama’s betrayal as it is. Talk loud and proud. You’ll be doing us all a favor.

■ Support HR 900, John Conyers’ Cancel the Sequester Act. It’s one sentence, and it does one thing. It cancels the sequester. There are just four sponsors so far, Conyers and three co-sponsors:

Last Name First Name District Party Phone Number CPC?
Conyers John MI-13 D (202) 225-5126 1
Grayson Alan FL-09 D (202) 225-9889 1
Jackson Lee Sheila TX-18 D (202) 225-3816 2
Wilson Frederica FL-24 D (202) 225-4506 0

In the CPC column, 1 means caucus member and 2 means leader. Note that Jackson Lee is to date the only leader of the CPC signing this letter, and that Wilson is not a member of the CPC, yet she still signed on. Good for her; she deserves your thanks, as do they all.

We expect more signatures next week, but we’ll need quite a number. I’m going to publish whip-lists (phone-call lists) in the next few days. One will include House Democrats who signed the CPC’s “we oppose cuts” letter. Another will include House Republicans holding seats in districts where Obama did well in 2012. I hope that as many of you as possible — and many of those in progressive activist positions as well — will start whipping (phoning) for this bill.

I also hope for news of a parallel bill introduced in the Senate. Once that’s in place, progressives (voters and activists alike) can work both houses of Congress. The goal — put a Cancel the Sequester bill in front of Obama for signature.

I know, he may want his Grand Legacy more; maybe he’ll veto the bill. I doubt it, but that’s on him. Getting the bill to his desk; that’s on us.


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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140 Responses to “Obama economic adviser: Using the sequester to cut benefits was “part of the DNA from the start””

  1. the 1% says:

    And William Crain has become (actually always has been) an insane old waste of oxygen. Get your medicare check and die already, Billy boy

  2. ezpz says:

    So you’re saying GP, FDL, Common Dreams, Smirking Chimp, Huff, and countless other sites all have it wrong? What is your source that says it’s ‘fantasy, made up stuff’?

  3. ezpz says:

    I agree with everything you said except their ‘potential to feel guilt’. I don’t think they’re capable of feeling guilt because they have no consciences. If they did, we would see some compassion in their actions or lack thereof. The only thing we might see from them is shame – not out of any kind of embarrassment that might evolve to an epiphany. No, they’d feel shame if they were exposed, but only for the sake of their own egos and how they appear before their donors, the voting public (if there’s another election for them), and anyone that might enrich them in their future endeavors.

  4. hollywoodstein says:

    It seems to be a very small club with people just waiting offstage to come in and help.

  5. hollywoodstein says:

    So this is what it looks like….

  6. lynchie says:

    Yeah I agree, everything is someone else’ fault. I have seen enough from Congress and the WH and their pandering to the rich and well off. They never seem to call the ordinary schmoo to their little committee meetings. They seldom spend time other than Xmas feeding the poor and actually listening to them. It is easier to call up some anecdotal crap about some guy collecting UI and having 3 jobs or a welfare “queen” being one of a family of 6 collecting the dole. They don’t know any of us and frankly they don’t want to. That way they don’t have to potentially feel guilty about how warm and comfy they all are. No worries on the health care front we help subsidize it, no worries on retirement we pay for it, no worries on a govt. subsidized place to live in Washington we pay for it, no worries on eating and the best restaurants paid for by a lobbyist,

  7. GaiusPublius says:

    The latest is chained CPI for Social Security COLA. That’s a benefit cut. Last round, they tried chained CPI, and then raising the Medicare eligibility age. That may come back.

    I put up a list of cuts here:

    All of these are cuts and count against the proposer.


  8. ezpz says:

    The obamabots will first question the veracity of this.
    Next, they will not only defend it, but cheer it because y’know it coulda been Romney.

    And if they are actually affected by these cuts and/or new cabinet members, well, they’ll just blame it on Bush and excuse Obama because, well, his hands are tied, don’t y’know?

  9. Drew2u says:

    Not in the least. I asked a question, looking for someone who knows something that I can’t really find myself, and all I get is a run-around by the used wad, above.
    Then, when I provide a relevant link, I get attacked for using 1): This site as a source and 2): CBS as a source while the only thing ezpz provided was a WIKIPEDIA link.
    It shouldn’t be that hard of a question, and as far as I’ve seen – Yes, all the repealing of the sequester the Republicans have tried to do was of JUST the DEFENSE portions.
    So, without a proper rebuttal and you guys attacking me for asking the question, then hell, I will stick with my conclusion – without anyone providing anything different – that Obama saved us all from the sequester being solely on the shoulders of non-defense spending.
    Jesus Christ, people, we’re all on the same side. It shouldn’t be that hard to get a question answered.
    Aren’t you a little arrogant, assuming I have all the answers already and am just sitting back, telling people to look for it? I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t looking in the first place.

  10. Hue-Man says:

    This is the first Google result: “Meanwhile, data show that many workers nearing retirement age have saved nowhere near the amount they need, and many have very little savings.
    More than half of all workers, 56%, say they have less than $25,000 in savings, according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.” http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/perfi/retirement/story/2011-12-02/retirement-not-saving-enough/51642848/1

    You have exactly proved my point – when we Boomers retire, many of us will have zero savings, may have health care taken away, and may have our only pensions – government pensions – reduced. Hence, cat food or death and no acknowledgement that it’ll be a problem when people in their 60s and 70s are homelesss and starving.

    Boomers did not save, either individually or collectively. Our grandparents and parents built much of the infrastructure that WE then allowed to collapse, sometimes literally. The best/worst example of Boomer excess is Bush Lite who wasted America’s savings and its future for unwanted tax cuts and obscene spending levels. The Boomers’ kids and grandchildren are left with 3rd world infrastructure and 1st world public debt.

    Who am I? Someone who ignored the constant ads to get a free credit card, who didn’t take expensive foreign vacations every summer, didn’t buy a brand new car every two years, and didn’t incur mortgages to buy the biggest house in town, etc. etc. In short, I took more from my Depression-era grandmother who raised 5 kids after kicking out my abusive grandfather. I also took a beating with the Great Recession but was more conservative than the standard investment advice at the time.

  11. lynchie says:

    I have come to this gunfight late. One piece of new information for you Obamabots.


    Obama has nominated Sylvia Burwell (a senior director of Walmart) as Budget Chief. she is a former Clinton insider and well known to Jack Lew another Clinton insider. She is going to coach Obama on how Walmart pays minimum wages and provides little health care and yet maintains as the biggest company in America all the while paying its executives and the Walton family boatloads of profits. Yes another startling appointment by your President. She will help him get over the regret of screwing the elderly, poor and middle class out of a taste of retirement and heath care. This plan will provide many more greeters for Walmart.

    Obama and the Clintons joined at the hip and at the ass of the GOP.

  12. confusion says:

    I need to quit reading bad ( real ) news….need to throw up now .

  13. GarySFBCN says:

    I’m a bot? You do nothing but cut and paste.

  14. GarySFBCN says:

    Wow, you can cut and paste! Get back to me when your meds kick-in.

    Funny thing is that your evil twin on another blog accuses me of being anti-Obama. Why is it that you louts can only see things in terms of black and white? If I’m looking at a green wall and you ask “Is it black” and I answer “no”, you assume it is white.

    If the meds don’t work, you can always try surgery.

  15. Bill_Perdue says:

    You voted for Obama and for the torture and imprisonment of Brad Manning, empire building wars of aggression, attacks on working people, people of color, immigrants and the Democrats adamant, pigheaded refusal to pass ENDA or repeal DOMA and their mad dog attacks on the Bill of Rights.

    You’re an Obot who votes for Democrats – that’s putrid.

  16. GarySFBCN says:

    Again it is you who lie. I have not been a Democrat for more than 25 years. I did NOT vote for torture, wars, etc. You are a shit-stain on progressive politics.

  17. Bill_Perdue says:

    Stop lying. You didn’t vote against Romney – you voted for the torture and imprisonment of Brad Manning, empire building wars of aggression, attacks on working people, people of color, immigrants and the Democrats adamant, pigheaded refusal to pass ENDA or repeal DOMA and their mad dog attacks on the Bill of Rights.

    You’re a Democrat – that’s disgusting.

  18. GarySFBCN says:

    So, the end result of your vote was exactly the same.

    Your accusations that those of us who voted against Romney ‘hold dear’ torture, etc., is an example of just how maladjusted you are. If we, who hold many of the same ideals as you, do not march 100% in lockstep with you, we become the enemy in your eyes.

    You are fascist fanatic who has more in-common with Hitler than reality, and what’s worse, you harm most attempts at progress for social justice with your vile hyperbole.

  19. Bill_Perdue says:

    It goes all the way back, – Wounded Knee, concentration camps in the Philippines after the Spanish American War, infected blankets and the worst crimes of all – slavery and the decimation native Americans after disease took it’s toll.

  20. Bill_Perdue says:

    It was for ‘None of the Above Candidates’ and it was against all you hold dear and that you candidate is guilty of – the torture and imprisonment of Brad Manning, empire building wars of aggression, attacks on working people, people of color, immigrants and the Democrats adamant, pigheaded refusal to pass ENDA or repeal DOMA and their mad dog attacks on the Bill of Rights.

    Now we have to live with it.

  21. GarySFBCN says:

    Please do tell – just what did your vote accomplish?

  22. Bill_Perdue says:

    Don’t delude yourself, you’re not part of any movement.

    You’re a simple minded Obot. A vote for Obama is a vote for the torture and imprisonment of Brad Manning, for empire building wars of aggression, for attacks on working people, people of color, immigrants and their adamant, pigheaded refusal to pass ENDA or repeal DOMA and for more attacks on the Bill of Rights. .

  23. GarySFBCN says:

    NOTHING. It’s all fantasy, made up stuff.

  24. GarySFBCN says:

    For the record, I haven’t been a Democrat for more than 25 years as I recognized then that they too support a totally unsustainable economic system that sucks the life out of the poor and middle class. But don’t let the truth get in the way of your rants. You and your pals – ‘the out-of-touch-with-reality inconsolables’ look like lunatics and accomplish nothing but alienating those who mostly share your opinions. You are so destructive to the movement that I’m starting to suspect that you are a right-wing plant.

  25. condew says:

    I suspect the plan is to use some opaque language that sets Social Security on the road to oblivion without admitting it. Something like chained-CPI or capping the government’s part of medical expenses. Then just let inflation do its work.

  26. condew says:

    You don’t believe Social Security has any effect on the economy? Really?
    I suspect it sopped up a lot of the unemployed over 62, and if Medicare kicked in at 62 it would have sopped up more. If all the people collecting Social Security stopped spending, would you believe that would affect the economy? I suspect a lot of small businesses would close their doors.

  27. condew says:

    Truth ^

  28. condew says:

    To be President is to live in a bubble. Look at the people Obama surrounds himself with; within his bubble, slashing Social Security and Medicare probably sounds like a good idea, everybody inside the bubble being rich and all.

  29. i agree FLL has become a Troll

  30. you two’s are talking past each other ~
    Expose the Exploiters no matter what.

  31. the Dem pty is part ‘n parcel to the inhumanity of man to fellow humans as there ever was Hello Hiroshima. Lots of Empathy there eh! Dem empathy is a faux-empathy grounded in Capitalism! They are indeed the other half of the problem.

  32. condew says:

    Aren’t you a little arrogant, demanding somebody else do work you should do for yourself?

  33. i cast my vote for Jill Stein… that said, the Dem pty is corrupted and devoted to the Neo-lib model which dove-tails well with the Neo-con evangelical Repug. I’d have prefered a bumbling idiot like GW and Mitt i’m stoopid Romney ~ (driving hundreds of miles with a dog on his car roof) ~ to the manipulative decietful Obama-CRYPTO-fascist or the maniacle Joe Lieberman yeah he coulda been pres ~ basically, without a doubt the Dem pty are bunch of Wall St demons and judaic whores so do not support them in any form ~ i support the New Progressive Alliance.

  34. condew says:

    We boomers have saved, and we’ve been repeatedly ripped off. First medical expenses skyrocked, then 401Ks got looted in 2008, then what savings we have left earns nothing because of a policy to keep interest low, supposedly to stimulate the economy even if business won’t use it. Then many of us lost our houses, always the nest egg of the middle class. The recession has been hardest on the 50+ crowd, you loose your job and nobody will talk to you about another, so you lose your career and the 10 highest-earning years in which the kids are educated and gone so you could really concentrate on topping off the accounts for retirement. Now, after many were forced into retirement, we’ve got politicians saying “let’s cut that, too.”

    Who the hell do you think you are to say “we boomers have not saved”. We boomers did save, but were robbed.

  35. condew says:

    I think the attitude changed when the old Soviet Union fell. While the robber barons feared communism, they were willing to share a bit of the fruits, just in case they needed to raise an army again to fight the red menace. Now they don’t fear Soviet communism and they’ve formed a partnership with Chinese communism; and they don’t think they need us anymore.

  36. i don’t believe SS has any effect on the economy ~ it wasn’t designed for that though many a Capitalist regime has pilfered it ~ its an old age cushion that each of us pay into A Socialist Trough they hate that word it’s like Kill meeeeeeeeeeeeeee ~ SS is not vested in to any biz or corp or stock or bonds ~ there’s no roulette wheel of SS on Economics these pholks are blow’n smoke up their own deirrier and they Love that ! (note: hate – love dynamic). The fn’g Neo-lib Obama-Crypto-fascist is doing his crypto thing ~ you should be able to smell the smoke = If Obama is a damn no good pinko socialist why is he gutting social safety nets? Ask them. SS is only paid on the first $106,000 after that SS is not collected. Ask your torturers: what about taking the CAP off SS? and lastly this is all about the Neo-lib model of privatizing SS and the PO and the very socialist VA ~

  37. condew says:

    I have not seen an Obot for years, not even in the last election. The mask fell a long time ago, and anybody paying attention enough to have been an “Obot”, must know by now that they were had.

  38. condew says:

    I don’t think he cares what cuts, it’s a political trophy not sound policy. If he can’t cut it, he’ll try to wound it. Only Nixon could go to China, and Obama thinks he’s the only one who can put a knife in Social Security.

  39. htfd says:

    If the Obama cheerleaders can accept and be in favor of murdering people, woman and children mostly, that they will accept any bs he puts out. There is no way that any house party member of MoveOn will alter there Obama the great stance, nor see the light on what the Corporate DNC mafia really is. They feel his re-election was a mandate. They do not take into consideration the low voter turn out and the many who voted third party as an indication of the growing dislike, possibly even hatred, of Obama. Maybe it’s time for some of John’s highway signs, but include homemade anti Obama signs on cars. Good way to get the message across.

  40. condew says:

    It’s been clear that Obama is gunning fo9r Social Security since he appointed the catfood commission; an overwhelming majority already on record as for cuts, and told to consider Social Security not in the context of making it sound, but within the context of deficit reduction. The problem for Obama is that every politician worth his salt knows that cutting Social Security is a political suicide pact; nobody involved will ever be able to face the voters again. (Convenient for Obama that he doesn’t have to.) The fact that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are political suicide is probably what fractured the committee so it could not issue a report, and it’s probably Obama’s main problem now.

    I’ve known this, but I have not known what to do about it. Steny Hoyer is my congressman and he’s one of the ringleaders. I could not bring myself to vote for him in the last election. He’s rich and he’s old and the idea of political suicide probably appeals to him. What do you do when your elected rep has no problem with a giant FU to his constituents?

    I’m glad to read some ideas here on what to do.

  41. htfd says:

    There is no lesser about evil, evil is evil. If you voted for Obama you voted for evil.

  42. Naja pallida says:

    Mass murder of brown people in poor countries has been SOP since about the time of Operation Ajax in 1953.

  43. Naja pallida says:

    It’s nice that the trolls have a built-in tool with which they don’t have to actually make any effort to rebut a point.

  44. BloggerDave says:

    You may have a point about GP spouting conspiracy theories. I just spent 20 minutes clicking on every single link that GP has above, and then clicking on every link those links lead to, and I still can’t find one single specific cut that he claims Obama wants to make other than chained CPI which I already knew about. I’ll read him again when he posts but if GP doesn’t NAME the cuts and just goes with the generic “Obama wants to cut Medicare and Social Security” again, I will conclude that he’s no better than the conservatives who make cases against Obama with half-truths and innuendo…

  45. hollywoodstein says:

    Yeah, get it for sake of the rubes, you have to fight the meme. But why should we bankrupt our country on the MIC? You are more likely to die from breast cancer than al quaeda, even if you are a male.
    Shouldn’t some politician at least try offering to raise benefits? It should be an easy sell in retail politics, though you wont get on tv since you are not very servious.

  46. BloggerDave says:

    Other than chained CPI which I know about, what are the specific cuts that GP is referring to?

  47. BloggerDave says:

    ““Barack Obama wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. He’s tried it every time these phony crises come along. He just needs Republican tax hikes to hide the knife.” In other words, rebrand him; paint him with the truth.””
    OK… Yes. Let’s rebrand him and paint him with the truth. Since you are so careful to inform your readers about your reparagraphing and choice of emphasis, I’m sure you won’t object if I insist that the truth I paint him with is specific so that it is, therefore, more compelling. What exactly are the cuts to Social Security and Medicare that Obama wants to do that I should be telling my sphere of influence about?

  48. hollywoodstein says:

    Better use this party whose base I don’t agree with.

  49. hollywoodstein says:

    Oh because the other party is racist, and he’s blah.

  50. Asterix says:

    Well, the current crop of the robber barons seems to be less willing to cooperate for the good of the country as in prior generations. Perhaps they consider US citizenship as the cost of doing business and that they owe nothing to the US in return.

    Can you imagine either party today asking for a 100% top marginal income tax rate and compromising on 94%–alll in the interest of bolstering the economy and getting the out of a deep recession?

    It would never, ever, happen today. They figure that they own us and that the government will back them up on that claim.

  51. hollywoodstein says:

    So why doesn’t he find another party?

  52. hollywoodstein says:

    Yes, to quote him he wants praise for making the choices that many in his party don’t want to make.

  53. Bill_Perdue says:

    Voting for a mad dog warmonger is disgusting. The goal of the left is not to win elections in a banana republic, it’s to create a workers government in a workers state.

    Try to stick to politics and maybe you won’t get all those down votes. All your posts tend to turn (if ineptly) nasty and personal and usually that happens when someone is trying to defend the indefensible like mad dog warmongers and union busters like Romney and Obama.

  54. FunMe says:

    EARNED BENEFITS … lather, rinse, repeat.

  55. FunMe says:

    Thank goodness this life-time Democrat did not vote for any evil!
    “Don’t blame me … I didn’t vote for evil!” :-)

  56. FunMe says:

    Then we have to keep repeating … no to our EARNED BENEFITS!

  57. FunMe says:

    I shared this with “Christian Left” facebook. Since the media won’t do it, it’s time for us to share far and wide about Obama’s NEXT BETRAYAL. We can stop if it we end up spreading the word.

    I’m so sick of these horrible politicians of both parties making a mockery of our American DEMOCRACY and trying to steal our EARNED BENEFITS.

  58. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’m not a member of the SP. But I do think that voting for a mad dog warmonger is disgusting.

    Try to stick to politics and maybe you won’t get all those down votes. All your posts tend to turn (if ineptly) nasty and personal and usually that happens when someone is trying to defend the indefensible like mad dog warmongers and union busters like Romney and Obama.

  59. hollywoodstein says:

    I agree it is not an entitlement, and words matter. But so what if it was? Why shouldn’t the citizens of the greatest, richest country the world has ever seen be entitled to free education, free healthcare, and a poverty free retirement as a birthright.
    Lesser countries manage to do it. Why shouldn’t we.

  60. Drew2u says:

    It pretty much sounds like, “The gubmint can’t handle mah munneh!” which would mean, I’m assuming, getting rid of the program entirely.

  61. hollywoodstein says:

    Hey, I have a brand now.

  62. hollywoodstein says:

    Do you trolls even read the comments anymore. Or is just my name enough for a drone strike.

  63. hollywoodstein says:

    And again.

  64. hollywoodstein says:

    Do they want to end SS or just trim its sails?

  65. hollywoodstein says:

    Any key player wanting a national profile, like Cantor, will eventually have to listen to the pigs squealing at the trough. The calls from the MIC will only get louder and louder. They are squealing already.

  66. hollywoodstein says:

    Yes the true believers are willing to burn the country down. But the votes are already there for taking the deal. This part is just playing chicken over the contours of the deal.

  67. FLL says:

    An obviously weak reply, and everyone noticed.

  68. FLL says:

    Absolutely. Vote Liza Minnelli Bradley Manning for Congress. Wait, Perdue, you haven’t gone onto the right-wing websites that your parents and your Uncle Zeke and Aunt Hattie like. You haven’t told them to vote third-party. Why not? Oh, I get it. You think they’d punch you in the mouth and throw you out of the house like they did last Christmas. OK, forget I asked.

  69. Ford Prefect says:

    You should seek professional help.

  70. FLL says:

    And where did your Socialist Party candidate win again? Refresh my memory.

  71. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s never a waste of time exposing “degraded shills for the .01% and their political prostitutes.” I’ve been replying to your indecent apologias for Democrats all along. I see you get a lot of down votes – get used to it.

  72. FLL says:

    Your list of links is from Bush and Clinton. No different than a list of links documenting similar atrocities under previous presidents. You’re the one who’s babbling. Your Socialist Party candidate can’t even get elected mayor, let alone congressman or president. How does it feel to be a waste of time at cocktail parties… or anywhere else, for that matter?

  73. Bill_Perdue says:

    Babble all you want.

    I supplied links, documents, facts and an analysis that proves that “degraded shills for the .01% and their political prostitutes” are the enemies of progress and decency. My goal is to expose those who lie to defend the ruling class. Sorry if that offends.

  74. vonlmo says:

    So does anyone think that Joe Wilson, “You Lie” was prescient? No matter, at least Obama supports ending DOMA. That alone should keep everyone happy, right?

  75. FLL says:

    Vague insults with no specifics. I’ll give you 237 years of American history to fish for answer here. Give me one example of a presidential administration which did not represent what you call “degraded shills for the .01% and their political prostitutes.” If you can’t find an example, you’re wasting everyone’s time, which I suspect is your real goal.

  76. Bill_Perdue says:

    I see what millions and millions see and that is that you and all apologists for the Democrats (and their Republican cousins) are roadblocks to progress.

  77. FLL says:

    Bill, you’ve compiled and interesting list of links, but I don’t
    think the term “Obot” describes the list because they are mostly from
    Bush’s and Clinton’s terms—both the Iraq War and the effect of Bill Clinton’s sanctions against Iraq. If you were concentrating on Democrats, you’d also have to include Jimmy Carter’s support of the Iranian Shah’s regime which murdered and tortured on an epic level. Still concentrating on Democrats, you’d have to include Lyndon Johnson’s almost genocidal war in Vietnam. Republicans, or course, were as bad or worse. In fact, your critique must go back through all of American history, paying special attention to the enslavement of African-Americans and systematic murder of Native Americans, which was supported by American presidents from the very beginning of the Republic. Do you see why the term “Obot” doesn’t really seem descriptive of the list that you’ve compiled? Do you see that? Do you see that at all?

  78. Bill_Perdue says:

    ^^^^^ Obots who approve of mass murder in Iraq.

  79. Bill_Perdue says:

    Obama has been for the imposition of a draconian austerity program from the beginning. He’s a self described admirer of Reagan and a ‘moderate’ Republican. This should come as no surprise except to Obots, who worship him.

  80. Bill_Perdue says:

    Another Democrat makes excuses for himself.

    Gaius Publius makes excellent points, proves them with sources and citations. His only major political fault, in my opinion, is that the thinks that some Democrats are better than Obama. I think he’s wrong.

    Democrats are defined by their allegiance to the Democrats real program, which consists of empire building wars of aggression, attacks on working people, people of color, immigrants and their adamant, pigheaded refusal to pass ENDA or repeal DOMA.

    In spite of their whimpering, pathetic excuses, that’s what draws rightwingers, including Democrats, to Obama.

  81. ezpz says:

    You’re right. To this day, Clinton gets major kudos from both parties for his “welfare reform”. NAFTA, too. Partisan hackery and blind loyalty are equal opportunity.

  82. Bill_Perdue says:

    The Iraq War that Bush launched with the full support of Hillary Clinton and other warmongering Democrats was catastrophically expensive in terms of money and human lives to the Iraqi people with over a million deaths and the massive degradation of Iraqi society, their infrastructure and their culture. It was preceded by an act of infanticide by Bill Clinton’s administration that murdered half a mill Iraqi children.

    Those who voted for Obama and the Democrats or Romney and the Republicans consciously voted for war and mass murder in Afghanistan, for attacks on the Bill of Rights, for massive unchecked unemployment and poverty and for draconian austerity.

    Democrats (and their Republican cousins) are the enemy.

    The Obama administration has laid all the groundwork. familiar to us by his use of the same kind of lies and maneuvering used by the Bushes and Clinton’s, for an attack on Iran.

  83. Get Real says:

    I’m not so sure there is a coherent “they.” Some in the Republican faction are so full of hate that were they to discover that Obama was nothing more than a total quisling Manchurian candidate, they would still be against him. Sometimes people really are just hateful morons.

  84. dula says:

    Clinton gets praised for welfare “reform” and financial deregulation, so Obama probably assumes he will be looked upon fondly for cutting Medicare/SS. The Dem electorate will always put the Party over the People…just like Republicans.

  85. Zorba says:

    Huh? This doesn’t make any sense. Care to explicate, Lt brinson?

  86. cole3244 says:

    although a better alternative given the choices in 08 & 12 obama has always been one of them and not one of us (left), actually not much of a choice at all.

  87. Lt brinson says:

    Give wondered just how likely this grand bargain is and I’m just not seeing it. I have a hard time believing republic will both vote for tax increases and cuts to the big 3 which is their base and i

  88. Blogvader says:

    My thoughts exactly, Nicho. There’s no tangible benefit to voting for either party when they already agree on the big-ticket items that affect 99% of Americans.

  89. Drew2u says:

    Dude, you STILL haven’t addressed my initial question!

    Address that sliver if you can see past your own plank. Otherwise, yes, there’s is nothing quantitative or qualitative to add by continuing a conversation with you. Go back to the /b/board on 4-chan.

  90. ezpz says:

    I guess that’s the default response when ya got nothin.

  91. Drew2u says:

    Ah, you’re trolling. I got it now. Thanks!

  92. ezpz says:

    Yes, I know what your link was, which is exactly why I said what I did.

    “Present them”???

    Again, do your own research.

  93. Drew2u says:

    If you completely miss the entire point of my question/concern, the yes, please stop trying to help. I did not ask what the sequester is, nor did you answer my question – again.

    And as for my link, it’s from this very website, to which I bring up again, the point of the only repealing I heard of from Republicans was of just the Defense part while slaughtering everything else. I would love to see the proposals as written, but I do not know how to view such proposals so – by all means – present them.

  94. ezpz says:

    “Stop being obtuse.”

    Actually, I was trying to be helpful. I won’t bother next time. Do your own research. And speaking of ‘useless links’ it seems that the one you posted is a bit less than objective, to put it mildly. The answers are out there if you’re willing to look.

  95. Drew2u says:

    Stop being obtuse.

    My inquiry wasn’t about what the sequester its self is, but the bills that were said to repeal it. As far as I remember hearing, those bills, as I said – and am now reiterating -, were only going to target repealing the Defense part of the sequester while keeping all of the social security, medicare, etc. cuts. Your links, as they pertain to my question, are useless. The link below is what I was addressing.


  96. ezpz says:

    There’s nothing made up or ‘hysterical’ about GP’s excellent post/s. Everything is sourced, and GP has given links to videos of Obama himself saying that he wants these cuts, as well as the one of Obama threatening to veto any bill that would take away the sequestration triggers.

  97. ezpz says:

    “I don’t seem to see him hiding that.”

    Not only is he NOT hiding it, he wants what he feels is due praise for it.

    David Dayen:

    “Obama Frustrated He Doesn’t Get Credit For Wanting to Cut Social Security and Medicare”</blockquote



  98. Asterix says:

    SS is not an “entitlement”–it’s an insurance fund that’s been paid into by a lifetime of wage-earners. The sooner that we stop calling it an “entitlement”, the better.

    All of this reminds me of the old Flanders and Swann song “There’s a hole in the budget” of some, what, 60 years ago…

  99. JD234 says:

    I’m looking forward to some movement on HR 900; we need a concerted effort to push the progressives and put them on the record if they refuse to sign. And while we’re at it, we should work on the pledge to never vote to cut SS or Medicare; there too, CPC members should be forced to either sign or go on record as having refused. Keep on it, GP!

  100. ezpz says:

    You may have read that from a so called ‘liberal’ site, like MSNBC, maybe?

    Actually the cuts did not just target military spending. It was across the board spending cuts that were to be mandated should there be no agreement on the budget and deficit reduction.

    Here are some basic ‘definitions’ of this sequestration:



  101. FLL says:

    If Iran actually starts a war in the Middle East (by launching an attack), that would be another story. The entire world would disagree with you and side against Iran. On the other hand, there is no liberal defense (or any other kind of defense) for the U.S. starting a war against Iran. But only you, great Ford Prefect, can use tarot cards, tea leaves and a crystal ball to tell all of us what what Obama intends to do.

    Don’t you ever get tired of pretending that you have psychic powers? Isn’t that pretense a form of mental illness?

  102. GarySFBCN says:

    I guess it’s how you read the emails. The Republicans never would allow revenue to be part of the package, so indicating that cuts AND REVENUE were part of the package was something new to them.

    I’m appalled with Obama in many areas, primarily with wiretaps, expansion of military force in other countries, having a center-right starting point for so many negotiations etc.

    But I’m also appalled that you (GP) have to make shit up about Obama’s intentions.

    Your hysteria is never going to change the world. Find something useful to do. Maybe knitting will calm your frayed nerves.

  103. hollywoodstein says:

    Language matters.

  104. Drew2u says:

    I’ve already pointed that out, as well as over half of income is from Social Security for 3/5ths of Americans, but aren’t there any CBO numbers or anything that looks at the economic impact of dropping that many people into poverty?


  105. nicho says:

    Just go back to the ’30s before SS. That’s what we can expect. Most of our seniors living way below the poverty level. It will never be “voluntary.” They will come up with schemes so the banksters can steal all the money.

  106. hollywoodstein says:

    If Barack Obama thinks cutting the social safety net will be a positive legacy for him I have to say that I don’t think legacy means what he thinks it means.

  107. Drew2u says:

    I have relatives going on an anti-Social-Security screed, recently.
    The numbers have to be there on what effect to the economy Social Security has, as well as what would happen were it to disappear or become voluntary. Would you know those numbers or how to obtain said numbers?

  108. Drew2u says:

    Weren’t the bills proposed, though, just targeting getting rid of defense spending while allowing the sequester to go through for only the domestic programs?
    I thought I read that was the case.

  109. hollywoodstein says:

    And help yourselves by calling yourn. It sometimes werks.

  110. Ford Prefect says:

    Yeah he lost. And still to this very day, Obamabots still say to anyone criticizing BO, “Are you telling me you wanted Romney to win?” Hence the sarcasm.

    If you don’t think BO is gearing up for Syria and then Iran, you simply aren’t paying attention. He’s been laying the groundwork for a long time now and now that he’s safely reinstated in the Imperium, he can do as he pleases. So please tell me the liberal defense of attacking Iran and save us the wait, okay?

  111. hollywoodstein says:

    Congress got him to at least stop talking in public about chained CPI, and raising the eligibility age.
    We have to rely on Dem Congresscritters to save us. Good Lord, help us.

  112. hollywoodstein says:

    No, they’ll take the deal this time. They just have to figure out a way to massage their way out of their no new taxes for rich people straight jacket.

  113. hollywoodstein says:

    OFA strikes again.

  114. hollywoodstein says:

    Hey, pasta e fagioli , Go post yourself!

  115. BeccaM says:

    He and his people also keep putting raising the Medicare eligibility age on the table, too. Even though it would actually save money if the age was lowered to 60 or 55.

    But I disagree that this is much ado about nothing. Eventually something will pass, and plain fact is progressives have no seat at the table. Or rather, those few who are warming the chairs are all too eager and willing to roll over when the time comes and votes are needed.

    The trouble with hoping for a status quo situation is it never lasts. Eventually they agree on something — and most of us, the 99%, are going to get screwed when they do.

  116. Hue-Man says:

    Buy cat food. After watching the entitlements, entitlements, entitlements discussion on Chris Matthews this morning, it looks like the war is lost. No talk about Time’s finding that it’s the cost, stupid; instead my favorite was how those low-life takers in their 50s and 60s suddenly show up at 65 and demand every fancy medical test known to the medical-industrial complex. Even worse, if you move the eligibility for these entitlements to 70, those takers will just delay getting expensive medical tests for another 5 years.

    Why am I making the point? I would guess that everyone on that panel has non-taxable employer medical insurance of the gold-plated variety which means these low-life takers are demanding all those same medical tests today! They also ignore that their flamboyant medical expenses are a subsidy from people in good health who don’t demand excessive medical costs. (Even the basic premise is wrong; here in socialist Canuckistan, most people would try to avoid getting medical tests, doctor visits, and hospitals unless necessary. “Please, sir, may I have another colonoscopy?” Doesn’t happen.)

    We Boomers have not saved, have been knocked back by the Great Recession, and find we have no corporate pension plan (there are some that are well-off). Buy cat food – or funeral companies.

  117. ezpz says:


  118. Ford Prefect says:

    Thank you.

  119. FLL says:

    The Iraq War that Bush launched was catastrophically expensive in terms of money and human lives on both sides. If Romney had won? Judging from his campaign, he was preparing to launch a war on Iran. But let’s set sarcasm aside. Romney lost. Many people who regret this are not sore losers. They’re just losers.

  120. Ford Prefect says:

    GP’s post is nowhere near hyperbole. Since the sequester was BO’s idea in the first place, he’s not going to want it undone. Even BO himself has almost said as much. No, he wants his precious “deal” and we know what he wants in that deal.

    What will likely happen with Conyer’s bit of wisdom is it will die due to lack of interest. Almost all House Dems are on board with austerity, including Pelosi, Hoyer, et al. Some 54 CPC members refused to even sign Grayon’s trivial little letter simply urging BO not to make any cuts to SS, Medicare etc. So even if Conyer’s bill gets out of committee, it will die on the floor if nothing else.

    Conyers knows his bill will evaporate into the ether. This is just a bit of messaging. It won’t reach BO’s desk. It probably won’t even receive a vote. It won’t show up in the Senate either. It’s already dead. This is mostly just signalling, so Conyers’ own constituents won’t hate him when the inevitable happens. I don’t blame him, since the Democrats are basically committing political suicide at this point.

  121. ezpz says:



    President Obama said today he will veto any efforts to get rid of the automatic spending cuts that will be triggered by the supercommittee’s failure to reach a bipartisan solution to deficit reduction.

    “There will be no easy off-ramps on this one. We need to keep the pressure up to compromise, not turn off the pressure,” the president said this evening. “The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion.”

  122. ezpz says:

    Take your own advice, ‘infirmus, et fatigati populus’ and comment under YOUR real name.

  123. Isn’t it common knowledge that Obama put Chained CPI for SS on the table?
    I don’t seem to see him hiding that.
    Besides, he’s not a dictator and whatever he wants (or not) must be passed by congress.
    Much ado about nothing!

  124. infirmus, et fatigati populus says:

    Gaius Publius you are not fooling anyone with your conspiracy theory. Why not use your real name rather than another one of your twisted thoughts. Does it really stand for Gay Public? Where’s the birth certificate? LOL. Be a man about it, stand behind what you write, rather than use a stupid nom de plume.
    People like you who spread misinformation on the Internet are not worth reading.

  125. Ford Prefect says:

    How many times does someone have to explain that Obama has repeatedly said he intends to cut SS, privatize Medicare and so on? How many times does Obama have to say it himself? Chained CPI alone is a cut. Over time, especially in our fakakte economy, those will be big cuts. His staff says it. His other surrogates say it. He says it with opaque language the self-deluded can mistinterpret… which they always do.

    Stop kidding yourself that Obama is some kind of reasonable person. He’s not. He’s never fought ReThuglicans on anything, because he’s one of them at heart. He’s the class warrior. Full Stop.

  126. Ford Prefect says:

    Don’t bet on that. Remember, in the last bit of deficit terrorism, Boner said he got 98% of what he wanted. This time he’ll probably get 99%. Why? Because both sides want exactly the same things.

  127. Ford Prefect says:

    He was raised in a white, Republican household. He’s been true to radical Reaganism the whole time. And he thinks he’s a moderate! Ha!

  128. KarenJ says:

    It amazes me how quickly and eagerly even progressives are willing to believe evil of someone most of them voted back into office only 4 months ago. That’s what The Professional Left did in 2010, and look what happened that November — Obama got “punished” for his “reaching out”, and we got the Tea Party.

    I think Get Real and Tornado have it right. You’d serve us better, Gaius Publius, if you weren’t so Glenn-Greenwald-ish inflammatory in your hyperbole.

    P.S. I was hyping on Twitter 3 days ago that Congress should just enact a law cancelling the sequester. And so, there’s HR 900. Good for John Conyers.

    Let’s suppose he’s successful, and HR 900 gets to Obama’s desk. Your hyperbole above suggests he would veto it. I don’t think so — but I also don’t think HR will get anywhere, because the sequester does what Paul Ryan’s budget would have done, and THAT’S what the Tea Party wants.

  129. Ford Prefect says:

    Yeah, so only four House Dems signed on to Conyer’s simple bill? I’m guessing a handful more will sign on, but that’s probably about it.

    Screw the Democratic Party. They are a complete waste of time, energy and money.

    Of course, it would be much, much worse, if Romney had won, amiright?!

  130. pappyvet says:

    The republicans and democrats appear to be not unlike two baseball teams before the big game.

    If you put a camera in the face of a Yankee lets say, he would tell you that they have the game plan, they have the pitching and look at those stats. Put the camera in the face of a Tiger,and he will say that he will win because he has the coaching,the heavy bats and so on. But in the back room where the money is discussed,they are good buddies. 10% of the population now controls 90% of our Nation’s wealth, that is the problem. But they have the best Player’s representation of any league out there and it is not likely to change. The players get fat,the owners of the team get really,really fat, and the fans pay the bill. Even if you dont follow the game. And the saddest part is that both the Tigers and the Yankees, pass themselves off as the home team.

  131. dula says:

    All one needs to know about Neoliberals like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton can be gleaned from their describing the safety net insurance we pay into with SS and Medicare as “entitlements.” Next they’ll start referring to your 401K as welfare.

  132. Tornado says:

    The words “cut”, “cuts” or the phrase “cut benefits or “cut entitlements” never appears in the Sperling emails but appears about 9 times above. digby uses the phrase ”cutting entitlements” in his headline and several times in his post but again the words do not appear in the Sperling email. Digby even puts the single word “entitlements” in quotation marks just after the word “cut” which isn’t in quotation marks in his post. Why make this elaborate accusation without any real evidence? And where did that block quote posted next to President Obama’s photo come from (about Obama wanting to hide the knife)? I wasn’t able to locate it. The Sperling email says entitlements and revenues were on the table but that there were serious disagreements about the composition of those items being negotiated. That could very well mean President Obama is offering some sort of reform to the social systems while the Republicans want very deep cuts. If I had to bet, I would put my money on President Obama fighting Republicans attempts at very deep cuts to SS and Medicare but is offering some sort of money saving reforms.

  133. GaiusPublius says:

    Thanks, Get Real. My goal is to make sure you’re right.


  134. Get Real says:

    Gaius, you miss the point. There will be no main bargain, because Republicans, even if they wanted one, are not interested in anything Obama proposes becoming law. They want to destroy him, country be damned. Even if what Obama proposes is consistent with their own ideology, they do not care. Don’t you get that? If Obama gets that, then that throws a wrench into your argument. It does not matter what anybody is reported to have said, because what people say and what people do are two different things. Nobody is a mind reader. Logic would dictate that he should propose the opposite of a grand bargain, if he wants a grand bargain with the extremists that have taken over the Republican party.

  135. ezpz says:

    The irony here is that for all the gop rhetoric about cutting ‘entitlements’, their unwillingness to work with this president might actually SAVE the New Deal, just as it did before when Boehner walked away from the Grand Bargain.

    Oh, and another pathetic irony is that this was one of the reasons to vote lesser evilism – because…y’know, the big bad gop wants to cut cut cut all the social programs.

    I’m glad I voted for neither evil.

  136. hollywoodstein says:

    Well, at least this is one thing he hasn’t wavered on.

  137. hollywoodstein says:

    Obama came of age when Reagan was at his height and said I want to be just like him, and take food out of the mouths of children and healthcare away from seniors.

  138. Indigo says:

    Oh. I get it. We were supposed to pretend we didn’t realize that. But we did, Barry! We did!

    (Some of us, anyhow.)

  139. nicho says:

    Good thing we didn’t vote for someone else. He might have screwed us over. Lesser of two evils — bullshit.

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