Leaked deal memo for last year’s Grand Bargain: “Obama willing to go quite far”

Is it too early to bitch about the Grand Bargain Trainwreck Obama has planned for us? Hope not.

Here’s the ultimate Beltway insider, Bob Woodward, on Meet The Press with David Gregory. It seems that someone leaked Obama’s 2011 Grand Bargain memo to House Speaker John Boehner. First, Woodward’s on-air comment (my emphasis):

“This is a confidential document, last offer the president — the White House made last year to Speaker Boehner to try to reach this $4 trillion grand bargain.  And it’s long and it’s tedious and it’s got budget jargon in it.  But what it shows is a willingness to cut all kinds of things, like TRICARE, which is the sacred health insurance program for the military, for military retirees; to cut Social Security; to cut Medicare. And there are some lines in there about, “We want to get tax rates down, not only for individuals but for businesses.”  So Obama and the White House were willing to go quite far.”

Yes, “quite far” indeed.

The Deal memo

Now from the memo, here’s a couple of tastes (view the whole memo here). The colored markup is mine. The penciled markup is presumably Woodward’s or his staff’s. On that suite of cuts, including cuts to military benefits:

On Medicare and tax rates:

On Medicare spending:

On Social Security and taxes:

Take that, Democratic Party brand. And the AFP-funded Congress types said no. I don’t think we can count on that kind of help this time. David Koch says it’s time to raise revenue to get the rest of these great (Republican) goodies on offer.

What you can do

I haven’t written about it yet, but from that emotional speech Obama gave, which bought him much feel-good cred, you’ll notice he had no goals for the party he leads, just goals for himself. Typical, say I. (The link is Taylor Marsh, who’s on the right side of almost all of this stuff, in my opinion. A good bookmark and follow.)

So here’s another goal for just himself, one that just might sink the party that hosts him (in the biology sense). Time to get on your elected congressional Democrats about this — those who, unlike Obama, will face the voters again — and speak sternly and directly. They should not be confused about your unwillingness to back them if they back this.

First, follow the simple instructions here. Call your senators and don’t forget to report back (email address at the link). Everything you need in order to help out is on that page.

Second, be aware that the Grand Bargain may not happen in the lame duck — we should be so lucky — but be pushed to an even Grander Bargain in the first six months of 2013. This is going to be a long fight.

On the other hand, it’s not like is been a short fight up until now. In the 1970s, the MoveCons (professional movement conservatives like Richard Viguerie and the Powell Memo crowd) took over the Republican Party — the first of the cadre coups that party has endured. This led to Reagan’s ascension.

Then, in the 1980s, the pro-corporate, pro-banking “neo-liberals” led by DLCers like Bill Clinton and, yes, Al Gore, took over the Democratic Party. That led to the supposed “liberal” Clinton presidency.

We’ve been fighting since Reagan at least, and the smart ones have been fighting them both. Obama is the heir to Clinton — and would love to walk in his post-presidential million-dollar shoes after he descends. He thinks that the Grand Bargain is his legacy. Let’s hand it to him in spades. I’d personally like nothing more than to help paint Obama as who he truly is.

We have four years to do that, starting now. I’m ready if you are.

(UPDATE: Link fixed. )


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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