Taylor Marsh, 2007: Obama “wants to hold hands with the wingnuts to save some fantasy Social Security ‘crisis.’ “

John and Joe have done a great job of covering the Obama “Grand Cave” on Social Security and Medicare — from rumor to news to denial (three of the four basic food groups, politically speaking).

This leads to several questions: Is he really going to do it? Are Dems going to follow? How should progressives react?

On the first, there’s plenty of evidence that he’s going to try really hard, despite the denials. Thanks to the alert research of Matt Stoller, we find this from Taylor Marsh writing in 2006 (my bolding throughout):

[Barack Obama] is so far off the Democratic party reservation I don’t know where he’s planting his primary flag, but it’s nowhere a progressive Democrat or our party should willingly go.

It’s bad enough that Mr. Obama continues to use wingnut talking points on Social Security. … Paul Krugman asked nicely, Why, Barack, Why?, then took him out.

[It is] just incredible that Barack Obama would make obeisance to fashionable but misguided Social Security crisis-mongering a centerpiece of his campaign. It’s a bad omen; it suggests that he is still, despite all that has happened, desperately seeking approval from Beltway insiders.

Here’s the up shot, folks. If you are a Hillary hater there’s one candidate who isn’t the anti Hillary. His name is Barack Obama. So if you’re in his camp and you think he’s got the answers, I suggest you check your idolatry, because this guy isn’t about Democratic ideology, that’s for sure, which I told you months ago. He’s a deal maker, first, last and on the bottom line. Social Security is in “crisis,” according to Mr. Obama, nod to the Republicans, but don’t forget that wink.

“What they want is somebody who understands the struggles they’re going through, is going to be thinking every day about how to make their lives better, has a grasp of the issues that not only Democrats, but Republicans and independents are worried are not being attended to in Washington. And if I provide that kind of leadership, I think that they will feel confident that I’m going to be able to do the job.”

– Barack Obama, Meet the Press (11.11.07)

What this Democrat wants is that our nominee passionately pursue Democratic party ideals, jamming them down the throat of Republicans if we have to, because those guy are clueless on how to implement policies that work for the American people, the world, as well as foreign and military policies that include, dare I say it, competency. Barack Obama isn’t interested in that, however, he wants to hold hands with the wingnuts to save some fantasy Social Security “crisis.”

That’s 2007. I’ve already mentioned the Ken Silverstein Harpers article, Barack Obama, Inc., from 2006. My view — he wants it bad.

Will Congressional Dems follow along? Not sure. Some, like Van Hollen, are making noises like they won’t, but Van Hollen is seriously suspect, as this interview shows. What will Pelosi do? Don’t know; did she even get a tweet into yesterday’s fabulous TweeterCon? And Pelosi gave us Steve Israel.

But the real question is, what should progressives do? Many believe, understandably, that Obama’s won’t lose to the “Republican clown car“. I’ve stated publicly that I disagree, that he can lose, and under a variety of scenarios.

But that avoids the question. It’s been argued that Obama must be primaried from the left to preserve the progressive name (I hate the word “brand”), and it’s been said in these pages that the one who primaries Obama and loses in 2012 is the next Dem president, the next time a Dem is elected.

As regular readers know, I tend to the primary camp as a way to enforce discipline and cull the strays. To be sure, the consequences of primarying Obama are far greater than the consequences of primarying McCaskill.

But (1) how will we ever win if we don’t take risks? And (2) how can Obama win if he keeps offending Democratic consciences, if he insists on removing what for many Democrats is “the last straw“? Because, in answer to this question, more and more Dems, pros and ams alike, will be forced to consult their consciences before saying Yes.


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

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