LA Mayor Villaraigosa joins corporatist “Fix the Debt” board; petition wants him to quit

This is yet another story about the corporate-created “Fix the Debt” media fluff-job, but it has interesting angles, so I want to point them out to you. This time I’ll present the take-aways first, since these are far more important than the story that got us here. Then the news itself (click to jump there now if you wish). To go right to the online petition against Villaraigosa, click here.

Bottom line — The news is that Villaraigosa is a corporate shill, and he’s doing you the favor of saying so. The take-away is that this is a ground-zero crossroads for the Democratic Party — this so-called deficit deal. It’s a true Fiscal Crossroads, and once Dems pick a path, they can never go back. Nor should you let them.

Yes, you too are a player with a role to fulfill. Read on.

Your take-aways

I’m putting these upfront, since in my view they’re more important than the news that underlies them. I have four take-aways for you.

Corporate Shill

Shill via Shutterstock

1. Antonio Villaraigosa is a corporate shill. There’s no other way to say it. The article linked below, and the acts they report, should leave no doubt. Antonio Villaraigosa  is a progressive only in the sense that Cory  Booker (“Leave Bain Capital Alone”) is a progressive — he’s not one. He plays a progressive in front of the TV tubes.

Remember this when Villaraigosa comes around looking for his next elected office (he’s being term-limited out of the LA mayor’s chair). Antonio Villaraigosa is a corporate shill with faux-progressive cred. Just like Booker (that’s a Krugman link). Just like Clinton. Just like Chris Van Hollen. (Both Clinton and Van Hollen are regulars at Pete Peterson events.)

And just like corporate shill Steny Hoyer, who wants to make sure Catfood is on the table with the other “fix the debt” menu choices. (Is Hoyer carrying Obama’s water in the House, the way Dick Durbin carries Obama water in the Senate? Is Hoyer Obama’s man in the House? Some back-channel voices say yes; we’ll just have to see.)

The next time Antonio Villaraigosa comes selling, tell him you’re not buying, and then tell him why. It’s all in the article below.

2. The way to de-corporatize, de-BlueDog, de-ThirdWay, un-DLC the Democratic party is to paint all of the people named above — and all of their enablers — in their true colors. I can’t emphasize this enough. This is a huge rebranding op, and we need your help to do it.

These people are all shills — made men and women — bought-and-sold retainers with masters, chains, and dog collars — and very high hopes for their careers and bank accounts. Wall Street holds their chains; the oil industry holds their chains (Obama’s a huge drill-baby-drill fan); the defense-and-“security” industry holds their chains.

They are owned, most of them eagerly, and they don’t work for you. My advice — you should return the favor. You have four years until the next big Democratic blackmail bonanza (sorry, 2016 propaganda campaign). Use it while you can.

In that sense, this is not just about Villaraigosa, or even Bill (and Hillary) Clinton — it’s about the Democratic Party as a whole. You, progressive readers and citizens, have only a few choices ahead of you:

■ Hunker down and pray.
■ Vote Dem and hope.
■ Spend the next four years radically attacking the Democratic Party to produce a radical transformation.

Me, I choose dot number three, but that’s me. I believe the future is unknown till you get there. Plus it’s more fun to play to win than just hide your head.

3. Ultimately, the Fiscal Crossroads is an Obama op. He holds all the cards. He can end this in a day — just tell Boehner (and Dem corp shills like Hoyer and Pelosi’s DCCC chief Steve Israel) that first, he’s going to let the 2001 tax cuts expire. Then he’s going to let the sequester kick in (cause he too loves his deficit reduction).

And then, on January 2, he’s going sort the whole thing out the right way — by giving back those tax breaks to the truly-deserving middle, and by retroactively cancelling as much of the sequester as Congress — in its sweet wisdom — wants to cancel. Voilà — huge Dem win; huge lower and middle class win. Huge dare-you-to-stop-me to the Republicans. No downside.

And Obama can do all this without anyone else’s permission. If he takes his family to Hawaii and sleeps until January 2, he gets all the above automatically. It happens if he plays beach ball for the rest of the year.

So anything he signs, it’s what he wanted. Obama — and the rest of the Democratic Party — own this deal. It’s all on them.

4. If the deal goes bad, the Dems will have it around their necks forever, and Obama will move on to Legacy Land. That’s the game that the Republicans (and Obama?) are playing.

If the Republicans and all those Dem corporate shills succeed (hi Steny; hello Antonio), they will hang the receding shoreline of Dem-created social insurance — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — around Democratic office-holding necks for the next generation. And Obama, if he enables this, will count like Clinton his net worth in multiples of what it is today. Those are the choices he, and office-holding Dems, face.

Why bring this up? Because you can help — by making sure every office-holding Democrat knows that you are holding the entire party responsible for what Obama does or doesn’t do. It’s win or lose — for the entire party — on the next throw of the dice. And you don’t need permission to tell them that.

How? Start with your senators and congressperson. Senate phone numbers here. House phone numbers here. If you want to work the Senate (a very good idea, since they can stop this), click here.

Be sure to include Nancy Pelosi in your efforts — she’s playing a middle game, holding a left-leaning leader’s chair while surrendering power to the Hoyer’s and the Israel’s of her world. She — and they — need to know that for you the base, the middle is not a safe place to be, and you won’t help them stay there.

And thanks for helping out — you’re only a spectator if you want to be.

And now the news that got us here

Did I mention that Antonio Villaraigosa is a corporate shill? The LA Times reports (my paragraphing and emphasis):

Petition demands Villaraigosa resign from Fix the Debt campaign

More than 5,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa resign from a steering committee of the Fix the Debt campaign, a national bipartisan [but see below, same article] group lobbying for Congress and the White House to address the national debt.

On Tuesday, Villaraigosa announced that he would be the first Democrat now in office to join the campaign, praising the group for its attempts to pursue “practical solutions” to the mounting national debt. But only 24 hours after he joined the coalition, nearly 5,000 people have signed an online petition [click to join them] demanding he step down and accusing Fix the Debt of using claims of bipartisanship to mask a staunchly Republican agenda.

The article then goes on to belie that claim of “bipartisanship”:

The Fix the Debt campaign bills itself as a bipartisan lobbying group aimed at solving the nation’s debt crisis and was founded by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, co-chairmen of President Obama’s 2010 deficit-reduction commission. …

Note,” Fix the Debt” a Simpson–Bowles Catfood op; not in spirit, in actual  fact. It’s also a Billionaire CEO op:

The campaign has earned the support of more than 80 chief executives – including the leaders of Microsoft, Time Warner, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital — and has amassed a war chest of more than $60 million that it has used to buy print, digital and outdoor advertisements.

But Fix the Debt has come under fire from many on the left. Critics say the group is backed almost exclusively by corporate bigwigs looking to line their pockets with further tax breaks while passing the burden of the national debt onto those who rely on services such as Medicare and Social Security. The Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive Washington, D.C.-based think tank, declared the campaign a “Trojan horse for massive corporate tax breaks” in a study released earlier this year.

For fans, that online petition is well worth your signature.

The article has more and is a good read. By the way, Antonio Villaraigosa is also big on “education reform” — that’s the corp-funded push to transfer public money to private schools for the wealthy, so their kids can have what your kids can’t (like history and art classes) — at your expense.

See? It’s just looting. Check the first part of this piece for some ways to stop this stuff. We stopped the Republicans. Now we have to stop the Democrats.

Yours in good stoppage,


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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5 Responses to “LA Mayor Villaraigosa joins corporatist “Fix the Debt” board; petition wants him to quit”

  1. Kim_Kaufman says:

    Thanks for writing about this. I’m in LA and we’re really trying to push this out. Here’s Mayor V’s complete statement:

    “As a progressive Democrat, I joined the Campaign to Fix the Debt because Democrats and Republicans need to come together to find a balanced approach to our fiscal future. We need job-creating investments in our nation’s infrastructure. We need to ensure a safe and secure retirement for all Americans. We need to preserve the social safety net for the most vulnerable. We need to demand that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.

    “That’s why I join President Obama in advocating a balanced approach that includes spending cuts and letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the top two percent of Americans. But I also believe that there are tough decisions ahead and the only way that we are going to find long-term solutions is by stepping out of our
    ideological boxes and reaching out to a broader coalition to get something done. ”
    So Mayor V is acting as Obama’s proxy on this. We understand that Mayor V is expecting to become new head of Dept. of Transportation in Obama’s new cabinet. We think that shouldn’t happen and this action is a good way to expose the social security haters on “Fix the Debt.”

  2. Naja pallida says:

    I have a problem with this whole thread. Nobody is talking about the real solutions to solving our budgetary and deficit problems. Such a budget was put forth by the House Progressive Caucus last year, and nobody paid any attention to it at all. Even that group has basically ignored it since. No matter what comes out of these “fiscal cliff” debates, it will still only be a half-measure. Kicking the can down the road, yet again, without actually seriously addressing the underlying problems. Slowly stumbling and crawling towards deficit reduction with the intent and pace of a stoned snail in a flow of molasses. Simple fact is, nobody is taking deficit reduction seriously. No matter how much they are publicly setting their hair on fire about it.

  3. arcadesproject says:

    How can there be any o-bots or dem-bots left on the planet? Thanks, Gaius, for ripping the masks off the evil alien imposters.

  4. A reader in Colorado says:

    And what about Ed Rendell,hmm? He’s also a member of “Fix the Debt”, and he’s feted on MSNBC including the Al Sharpton shows, the Chris Matthews show and perhaps other shows, as if he’s a liberal concerned about the fiscal cliff. These people are hosting a shill in their stable of commentators and are TELLING NO ONE WHO HE IS, except that he’s an “ex-governor”.

  5. karmanot says:

    Good plan and reporting. Many of us are screaming: “How’s that lesser of two evils working out for ya.”

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