Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Six Rules for Criticizing Obama Over Social Security Cuts

These are confusing times for liberals.  They’ve just awoken from a seven-week bender to discover that their number one sacred cow – President Obama – wants to take a butcher’s knife to sacred cow # 2, Social Security.  Libs are feeling angry, betrayed, and sputtery.  They want to hold Obama’s feet to the fire but aren’t sure how to do so in a way that reassures Obama that they will always have his back. 

Thankfully, liberals themselves have developed – and relentlessly enforced – a number of rules about whether, when, and how it’s acceptable to criticize Obama.  Libs love rules almost as much as they love their rulers so hopefully this will help them get through these troubling times.

1. It is not OK to criticize Obama for something he said he would do before the election.
This rule was best articulated by uber-lib David Atkins, who took to the Daily Kos in 2009 to excoriate the timing of those who dare criticized Obama’s plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan in a piece titled, “Where Were All You People During the Campaign?

I have watched with no small shortage of puzzlement as much of the progressive blogosphere has taken the Obama Administration to task for its plans to send additional troops to secure Afghanistan from the threat posed by the resurgence of the Taliban.  . . . (W)here was all this sturm und drang from the progressive blogosphere over the need to leave Afghanistan during the primary process, when all the major candidates had made their positions perfectly clear?  Where were the screaming cries of agony during the campaign?
You get that? As liberals will always tell you, the time to for frank criticism of their guy is during the campaign. And what was Obama saying about Social Security then? Well, in the first debate with Romney, he said, “I suspect that on Social Security, we've got a somewhat similar position.” And as Matt Stoller documented back in July, cutting entitlements was always a major part of Obama’s agenda for his second term.
Bottom line: Obama told you he was going to cut Social Security – it’s not his fault if you were too busy monitoring GOP Twitter accounts to notice.  You missed your window for sturming and dranging, so STFU.

2. Obama is smarter and knows more than you do.
"I'd literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he's smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted. I voted for him because I trust his judgment, and I still do." – Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

Why does Obama want to want to cut Social Security? We don’t know but the fact remains that we are not privy to everything that Obama knows – and we probably couldn’t understand it if we were.  Maybe Obama is banking on the fact by the Post Office will be closed by the time the cuts take effect so there won’t be anyone to deliver benefit checks. Maybe he realizes that shit will be so fucked up from climate collapse that no will live to see sixty-five in the coming years.

Bottom line:  Obama knows what he’s doing so STFU.

3. Always consider the alternatives.
For those complaining about Obama, ask yourself this:  Is there another politician you’d prefer to cut Social Security?  Because we don’t love in some utopia where grandma gets to pay for food and heating oil.  Your choices were Obama cutting Social Security or Romney  cutting Social Security. And personally, I’ll take Obama every time.  At least Obama will act humble and pained about fucking over seniors.  Are you honestly telling me you’d prefer Romney’s smirk?

Bottom line: Grow up and STFU.

4. Pause to smell Obama’s greatness.  And take gratuitous shots at Ralph Nader.
Last night, Chris Hayes took to Twitter to express his dismay that Obama was considering cuts. When friendly Tweeters responded that they were surprised that Hayes was surprised since Obama has clearly been gunning for entitlements for some time, Hayes quickly dropped his Social Security complaints and moved on to weightier matters:
Honest question for lefties who think Obama is horrible. Who do you see as better, more progressive American presidents?
To which Dan Savage replied, “Remember President Nader? He was so awesome.”

(For readers unfamiliar with American history, there was no President Nader! Savage is making a brilliant, biting joke designed to belittle anyone unhappy with President Obama.)

Bottom line: Grow up and STFU. And Fuck Ralph Nader.

5. Remember Obama’s heart is always in the right place. If you must criticize him, do so only on tactics.
As liberals will endlessly tell you, if Obama has one flaw, it’s that he sometimes thinks too much of people. He has, for instance, failed to recognize that the Republicans are the party of Satan.  He consistently tries to bargain with the GOP and sometimes, because of his desire to promote bipartisanship, Obama will sound and act exactly like the enemy.  This combination of GOP evil and Obama magnanimity occasionally leads to people getting screwed. Badly.  But we can all agree that that’s not what Obama really wants.

So while it would probably be best if you just STFU about Social Security, please remember the following if you feel, out of some nagging sense of principle or concern for humanity, that you must say something:
    A. Anything bad Obama does is primarily the GOP’s fault.
    B. You can criticize Obama for “caving.” You cannot criticize Obama for wanting to cut Social Security. (You might want to forget everything you read in rule # 1.)

    Bottom Line: Fuckin’ Republicans.

    6. Keep your eye on the big picture.
    It is tempting to lash out at Obama and the Democrats for slashing  caving on Social Security. But remember, Social Security is an incredibly popular program and if voters start associating Democrats with benefit cuts, that’s not going to help come November, 2014.  Imagine Obama’s last two years in office if we win back the House and hold onto the Senate in the midterms. We could restore the Social Security cuts, ban guns, reverse climate change, and maybe even bring those Pakistani kids back to life.
    But that’s not going to happen if you keep whining about grandma, is it?

    Bottom line: We love you Obama.  And if we ever doubted you, that’s our failing, not yours. 


    1. I watched some Lincoln screen writer on Bill Moyers last night tell me how great Obama is. I found it interesting that when Moyers asked him if certain things were said as the movie portrayed he answered, No or I don't think so or it could have been or it was a compilation of things said.
      As I listened to this guy gush over Obama I thought how easy it is to cover and blur events in order to make a point. It's just as easy in real life as it is in fiction.

    2. Bottom Line:
      oBama is a fool, so speak out against this petty parsimonious puppeteer

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Obama is a left servant of the ruling class. Romney was the right servant, now gone to corporate pasture. Our rulers want us to give up control of a lot more of the wealth we've already been paid wages to produce. Our rulers need to discipline the working class. There is bi-partisan support for austerity (for those who have been employed, at ever greater levels of annual productivity). Our ruling class is counting on our apathy, fear and stab in the back, narrow individualism.

      1. Obama is the center right servant of the ruling class. Romney is the slightly more right center right servant of the ruling class. No wacky teabaggers or anybody remotely resembling liberal allowed in the club for servants of the ruling class.

    5. They are learning from their little experiment in Greece. When it comes to "austerity", move slowly, and let the "Liberal" party make all the cuts.

    6. To answer Chris Hayes' question, we might suggest FDR as a possible alternative. Plus on some specific points:

      - The GOP party platform of 1956 was better on unions and worker rights than Obama has been.
      - LBJ got the war on poverty started at the federal level and got Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voter Rights Act passed and signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (ratified under Nixon).
      - Richard Nixon favored a guaranteed minimum income program, which is far beyond anything Obama has even considered in passing.
      - George Bush was actually less of a threat to civil liberties. (Doubt that? Can you name me a single expansion of executive authority under Bush which Obama has not endorsed - and then in a number of cases expanded?)

      But here's the real answer: Suppose for the sake of argument that it could be shown by some neutral standard that Obama is the most progressive president at least of recent times.

      SO FREAKING WHAT? Is that supposed to mean that we should just give up trying for better? Should just STFU? For some, the answer is "Yes."

      It really is amazing how Chris Hayes can be so insightful in one breath and so bone-crushingly dense in the next.

      PS: Came here via Blckdgrd.

    7. Years ago a friend and bartender looked up one afternoon at the small group of regular customers sitting at her bar, and remarked that she seemed to attract all the pointy-headed people. She left that bar job to get her doctorate in primatology and it looks like the pointy-headed people came here. Comments at this website are some of the best I've seen anywhere online.