Okay, I admit it. I was impressed.
It’s like the Obama from 2008 finally clawed his way out of the attic, punched out the guy who’s been playing him since, let’s say, just after the Health Care Reform fight started and managed to hijack a podium long enough to throw out some hand grenades of hope before being dragged off by the Secret Service and shoved in a crawlspace that’s been blocked up by a carton of Jimmy Carter’s old Playboys.
It was especially gratifying to see him lay out the case against Paul Ryan’s budget which promised to turn Medicare into a voucher system and cut domestic spending to the point where the only jobs created would be by the inevitable Thunderdome franchises. (This also had the side effect of hurting Rep. Ryan’s feelings. Which in turn prompted this response from your humble narrator.) Hell, even Paul Krugman liked it. And Krugman has not exactly been in Obama’s corner lately.
He does however, offer this warning.
I should probably say, I could live with this as an end result. If this becomes the left pole, and the center is halfway between this and Ryan, then no — better to pursue the zero option of just doing nothing and letting the Bush tax cuts as a whole expire.
Or as Bruce Springsteen once wrote, Between our dreams and actions lies this world.
The temptation for Obama to fritter this away in pursuit of the white whale called bipartisanship is always there. Fortunately, we have three things on our side.
One, The Ryan plan is a Dog’s breakfast.
Two, as the events in Wisconsin and Ohio have shown, a blacklash is starting to form against the GOP’s overreach.
Three, The Progressive Caucus of the House introduced their own proposal called “The People’s Budget”.
Here’s a general overview of the People’s Budget:
- Reduces unemployment—and thus the deficit—through extensive investment in infrastructure, clean energy, transportation and education;
- Ends almost all the Bush tax cuts, creates new tax brackets for millionaires and enacting new fees on Wall Street;
- Full American military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other reductions in military spending;
- Ends subsidies for non-renewable energy;
- Lowers health care costs by enacting a public option and negotiating Rx payments with pharmaceutical companies;
- Raises the taxable maximum on Social Security.
Keep in mind that any Republican who comes out strongly for the Ryan plan can expect to see those endorsement cut into ads for their opponents. And I’m going to bet that a lot of Blue Dog Dems are going to keep their heads down and not make any waves.
On the other hand, we still have the specter of “Citizens United” to deal with.
Make no mistake, folks. This is going to be a slug fest.
But then again, when has it ever been otherwise?