Simpson And Obama Targeting Social Security
The interview appeared on ABC's This Week (with Christiane Amanpour) but instead should have been a product of The Onion. Talking Points Memo reports
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says that the toughest part of being a progressive-leaning politician these days is dealing with progressives themselves. Ironically, Blair says, activists on the left often assist their right-wing opponents by piling on the pols who lean their way rather than defending them against a conservative onslaught that he says is "vicious" and begins from "the word 'go.'" Blair says the politics of the day can leave ostensibly left-leaning leaders like President Obama "in an isolated position," with right-wing opponents eager to destroy them and the activist left (more often than not) happy to help.
"I love my own politics and progressives and all the rest of it," Blair told ABC's Christiane Amanpour in an unaired portion of his This Week interview from Sunday. "But if we have a weakness as a class, when the right get after us and attack our progressive leaders, instead of defending them we tend to say, 'Yeah, well, really we've got a lot of complaints about them, too.'"
Blair said that the tendency of the left to pile on rather than defend its own leaders can leave their politicians alone to face the right wing attack machine, which Blair says is merciless. "It doesn't matter how well intentioned you think you are," Blair said of the right. "They're going to go for you completely."
"And then the interesting thing is, the progressives say, 'Hey you're not being progressive enough! Why don't you do more for us?'" Blair added. "And so you can end up in quite an isolated position if you're not careful."
Imagine that! The President's chief of staff calls his strongest, most loyal supporters "F_ _ _ _ _ _ retarded" and his press secretary denounces them. These two top aides remain in power even after- or perhaps because- condemning the same liberals/progressives who consistently warned that President that no matter how much he cozies up to Republican politicians, they will not support him. And now there is a complaint that the President is isolated- and Tony Blair blames it on whom?
And the professional left, which Robert Gibbs believes is never satisfied and Rahm Emanuel believes is handicapped, largely has remained faithful to this president. It does so even after he appoints a long-time critic of Social Security and of the elderly to be co-chairman of a commission the President hopes will "reform" (i.e., weaken) Social Security.
It's not as if President Obama should be shocked- shocked!- at anti-woman and anti-elderly comments of Alan Simpson.
In February, he complains about the "howling" of "the AARP, the committee for the preservation of Social Security and Medicare, the gray panthers, the pink panthers" and pledges that his deficit reduction commission will limit its consideration to Medicare and Social Security, though the latter contributes nothing to the deficit. Criticized by Ashley Carson of the Older Womens League for coming up with something called the "pink panthers," Simpson writes Carson, suggesting she look at a graph if she "is able to read a graph," admonishes her for "bubbling into the vapors," and asks her to "call when you get honest work."
Simpson later apologized for "remarks (which) have caused you anguish," which was enough for Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who assured critics that President Obama stands by his man.
President Obama is entitled to have as co-chairman of the commission he established a fellow who looks down on women and the elderly. And he's entitled to have as co-chairman a guy who has been consistently critical of, and wrong about, Social Security throughout his career. But Americans are entitled to understand that President Obama is determined that corporate America, the wealthy, and the defense budget will not be asked to sacrifice when he can target Social Security.
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