I’ve been reading a great number of articles by commentators who have expressed outrage concerning President Obama’s shocking capitulation in the negotiations involving the debt ceiling bill. Despite the Democratic Party’s tactic of blaming the “Tea Party terrorists” for the all cuts – no revenue, pro-billionaire legislation, a few pundits have seen through this fog to point out that Obama actually got the bill he secretly wanted all along. Glenn Greenwald presented a solid case for this theory at Salon.
Polling guru Nate Silver wrote two items on August 1, in which he analyzed the Congressional voting and demonstrated that President Obama – despite having been afforded the opportunity to include provisions in the bill to make it more economically stimulative and less onerous for those experiencing the greatest hardship from the economic crisis – decided to leave some available provisions “on the table”.
Nate Silver initially made this observation:
Fiscal austerity at a time of economic distress, and on largely Republican terms, is not what Democrats thought they were getting when they elected Mr. Obama in 2008. Mr. Obama might have done more to make short-term stimulus – like further reductions to the payroll tax, which would not have violated the Republicans’ ostensible goals – the price for long-term austerity.
Although it is impossible to prove one way or the other, I am not persuaded by the notion that Mr. Obama could not have delivered a better result to Democrats had he done more to stand his ground. Despite the dissent in the Republican caucus, which had originally seemed like a tactical victory for Democrats, the compromise wound up looking more like Mr. Boehner’s original bill than Mr. Reid’s.
Later that evening, Mr. Silver provided an analysis, which exposed Obama’s abandonment of the objectives he was elected to promote:
These results seem to suggest that Mr. Obama left something on the table. That is, Mr. Obama could have shifted the deal tangibly toward the left and still gotten a bill through without too much of a problem. For instance, even if all members of the Tea Party Caucus had voted against the bill, it would still have passed 237-to-193, and that’s with 95 Democrats voting against it.
Specifically, it seems likely that Mr. Obama could have gotten an extension of the payroll tax cut included in the bill, or unemployment benefits, either of which would have had a stimulative effect.
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With that payroll tax cut, the deal becomes a much easier sell to Democrats – and perhaps also to swing voters, particularly given that nobody spent much time during this debate talking about jobs. Plus, it would have improved growth in 2012 and, depending on how literally you take the economic models, improved Mr. Obama’s re-election chances.
As many observers have noted, the plutocracy has been able to accomplish much more with Obama in the White House, than what would have been achievable with a Republican President. This latest example of a bipartisan effort to trample “the little people” has reinforced my belief that the fake “two-party system” is a sideshow – designed to obfuscate the insidious activities of the Republi-Cratic Corporatist Party.
What follows is the transcript of an imaginary telephone conversation between President Obama and Roger Ailes of Fox News:
Obama: Hi Rodge!
Ailes: Hi Barry! Congratulations on the debt ceiling bill! Great work!
Obama: Thanks. I won’t have to renew the Bush tax cuts again until after the election. That’s a relief! Unfortunately, we’re getting some bad polling numbers now. Problems with the base. I need you guys to lean on the “liberal” stuff a little harder. Both O’Reilly and Hannity have been doing OK on it – but I just wish they would get back to some more of the “socialist” accusations. That would really help rehabilitate my cred with my estranged base.
Ailes: The “socialist” shtick was more Beck’s routine – but I’ll get them on it.
Obama: I found some old pictures of myself with Bill Ayers that you guys might want to use . . .
Ailes: Ayers is sooooo 2008! We need something new. We need to get you to Syria for a meeting with Bashar al-Assad. When you shake hands with him – make sure you bow! We can get a lot of mileage here from that!
Obama: No! That will piss off too many liberals – especially the Jews. I’m trying to keep the smart people in my corner!
Ailes: OK. OK. We just really need to get you on some sort of apology tour or something. You could start traveling around to abortion clinics and promising them some federal aid . . .
Obama: Great one, Rodge! I love that!
Ailes: I’ll plant some of our protesters along the way – the ones who’ve already been cleared by the Secret Service.
Obama: Yeah! Bring back that guy with the fake assault rifle! He was a trip!
Ailes: I have someone better. This guy has been posing as a “Tea Party activist” at “town meetings”. He’s a great new talent!
Obama: We could set up another “Joe the Plumber”-type of confrontation with that guy!
Ailes: Definately! I’ll have my people put a script together. That story will have some legs that will carry us all the way to the election! . . . Speaking of legs – I’m getting some good numbers in on Bachmann!
Obama: How’s our girl doing?
Ailes: Great! She’s really gonna’ kick some ass in Iowa!
Obama: I saw her on with Sean the other day. She’s doing a great job! Are you guys going to start a scandal involving Mitt?
Ailes: I need to maintain plausible deniability about what Rupert’s operatives are up to. You know . . .
Obama: Gotcha! ‘Nuff said!
Ailes: Well, I’ll let you get back to work. You must have loads of angry campaign donors trying to bend your ear right about now . . .
Obama: Yeah . . . But that’s not where the real money is.