Friday, July 22, 2011

Quotable: President Obama to Bernie Sanders, On "The Problem" With Progressives ... And Vice Versa

"That's the problem with YOU PROGRESSIVES. You see this as half-empty."
~ President Obama, holding up a glass to Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders had asked the President whether he would nominate Elizabeth Warren to head the new Financial Consumer Protection Agency.
"At this point at least, despite a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate, the Republicans have won a MASSIVE victory, moving this debate FAR TO THE RIGHT."
~ Senator Bernie Sanders, earlier today on the state of play in the debt so-called "negotiations."

Just to illustrate the mentality of the Beltway Idiot Punditocracy, Jonathan Capehart of WaPo and an MSNBC "political analyst" said Senator Sanders was "amusing." They keep pounding this type of message day after day after day. It's almost a 'Fox News'-like alternate reality.

A final note about what so infuriates this progressive about President Obama. Today at his town hall at the University of Maryland, President Obama raised the example of the Emancipation Proclamation he had made in an earlier talk to young Republicans — which got rave reviews from Lawrence; something about "the politics of governing." The President said the Proclamation, which hangs in his office, did not free all slaves immediately. President Lincoln had to "compromise" with slave-holding Union territories because his first priority was to save the Union. Eventually, it happened with passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.

Fair enough. I can understand such a rationale with respect to the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare." I'm not convinced but I understand it. The President explained that to govern effectively leaders must compromise: "you cannot get 100 percent of what you want." Understood. The problem becomes, though, how to define 80 percent, or 60, or 55? Progressives have always maintained that the President's definition of a "good deal," of 80 percent, is overly broad and much too accomodating of his Republican opponents.

Eventually, in twenty years or so, we might get affordable health coverage that is cost-effective and halfway comprehensive, if and when it ever becomes more like Medicare. But then — and this is what sticks in our craw — not only is the President prepared to slam Social Security by hitting beneficiaries where it hurts them most, in the pocketbook for people living on fixed incomes, but there's an even crueler irony to such a betrayal of core, bedrock Democratic values embodied by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Consider this: As a result of President Obama's health care act being so compromised, thousands of people approaching retirement age will have fallen through its cracks. These people may be suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, or any number of life-threatening senior diseases. They may be holding on for dear life, in the hope and expectation they'll have Medicare by age 65. But lo and behold, President Obama who gave up too much on health care reform in the first instance, now breaks bread with Traitor Joe Lieberman and Tom Coburn, and agrees to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67.

How many potential lives will have been lost as a result of such a decision? This is not an abstraction; it's a moral issue. A question of life and death. And no one in those "negotiations," least of all President Obama, seems to be giving this serious consideration. Because if they did, benefit cuts in Social Security and Medicare (let's not forget Medicaid as a disabled student today implored the President) would not be on the chopping block. After all, it truly is an abstraction to those Congress persons who can get free medical care at Bethesda Naval Hospital, or afford a luxury suite at the Mayo Clinic.

Negotiating away Social Security — which was NEVER a part, however tangentially, of this manufactured debt issue — and Medicare with extremist, hostage-taking terrorists who are holding a gun to our heads is not right. What would FDR do? Or Truman? What would Bobby Kennedy do.

Where have you gone, Mr. President?

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