The People’s Will Be Damned

From Common Dreams:

What exactly Is “politically acceptable?”

Published on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 by Common Dreams

So here we are again, approaching another self-inflicted economic cliff.  This time it’s the sequester – a truly stupid idea that will result in a mindless meat cleaver approach to cutting the budget in order to solve a problem that’s disappearing, using the same tactics that caused the problem in the first place. Oh, and quite possibly it will plunge us back into a recession.

What is Washington doing?  Trying to fix blame, of course.

The truth is, both Parties agreed to this uniquely idiotic idea.  Yes, it ultimately comes from the Republican’s decision to play brinksmanship with the budget and the debt ceiling, but Democrats in general and Obama in particular let them make debt and deficits into the all-purpose bogeyman it has become.  By failing to confront the myth, they empowered it.

But the Republicans have backed themselves into a corner.  They’ve been clamoring for austerity for 30 years as part of their “drown the beast” strategy, and now they are faced with a popular backlash against austerity.  Their response has been to blame Obama.  Mitch McConnell keeps saying the President hasn’t offered a politically viable alternative to the sequester.  Boehner says much the same.  Even the less rabid David Brooks has repeated this line.  In fact, it’s become one of those cascading talking points that the rightwing chants in unison, over and over again.

The key here is the qualifiers they use: “politically viable,” “politically acceptable,” or something comparable. They must, because Obama has put forth a plan. More about that later.

So what, exactly, is “politically viable?”

One would think it is defined by the will of the people.  And as we just had an election in which the people soundly rejected the Republican platform of drastically cutting social programs benefiting low- and middle-income Americans so that they could preserve – or in the case of Romney and Ryan increase – tax cuts for the rich, the will of the people is quite transparent.  The recent election, exit polls and polling in general all tell us the people want to increase taxes on the rich, preserve the social safety net, and invest in job creation.

Which sounds something like Obama’s plan, with the exception that the compromiser-in-chief is offering up cuts in Medicare and Social Security.

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