Saturday, May 14, 2011

Will The Democrats Keep Their Nerve

By Fuzzyone (originally posted on May 11, 2011 and lost in the Blogger outage)

As I recently said, I think that the Democrats have been presented with a real opportunity to get some of their mojo back. It may well be, as a commenter recently suggested that Obama has failed to be more progressive, not because he can't be, but because he chooses not to be. True or not progressive democrats must be unified and must come up with a strategy to stop the right, bring progressive policy solutions more to the fore, and pressure Obama to stand tough and keep his nerve.

There have been some recent signs of life. One is that both President Obama and Harry Reid have gone after the Republicans for their defense of tax breaks for big oil as oil company profits and gas prices both soar. There was also some tough talk from the White House on the budget, describing the GOP as taking the economy hostage. (Greg Sargent suggests that Boehner's brinksmanship is in part designed to convince his own right wing that he got all he could, but that could be a dangerous game.) It also seems like Social Security is off the table.
Democrats also need to keep tying Republicans to their vote to end Medicare, which they have been doing (with some help from Republicans as they fight among themselves.)

But the news is not all good, there are some serious problems with Senate Dems who want to aid and abet the Republican's mindless budget cutting, including the ultimate in mindlessness, spending caps. It is unfortunate that progressives have to fight Democrats before they fight Republicans, but that is what they have to do and the good news is that they are doing it and having some success.

The critical thing now, and the thing that Obama and the Democrats have failed to do so far, is to not lose their nerve. The next big fight is over the debt ceiling and the truth is that the Republicans know it has to be raised. This is a game of chicken that the Democrats can win if they have the nerve. Winning it would not only prevent more mindless, destructive budget cuts, it would strengthen Obama and the Democrats for the budget fights still to come.


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