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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

 
The Third Way continues its attempt to undermine the American people

by David Atkins

The Third Way, that crew of corporatist "New" Democrats that rose from the ashes of the defunct DLC, is attempting to make the case that voters answering inane questions in predictable ways about the deficit means that people want see to cuts to Medicare and Social Security that they clearly don't want.

Greg Sargent has the details:

A coalition of unions — SEIU, AFSCME, and the NEA — has released new ads today pressuring Dems not to give in to GOP demands for deep spending cuts. The ads — which target Dem senators Mark Udall, Michael Bennet, Claire McCaskill, Jim Webb, and Mark Warner in their states — make the key point that the best way to reduce the deficit is to invest in job creation and grow the economy, and they demand that the senators protect Medicare, Medicaid and education. They insist that Dems “continue to stand up for us,” rather than cut “programs that families rely on most.”

This comes as some self-described “centrist” Democrats are already making noise about not necessarily supporting the Obama plan to raise taxes on the rich. And the centrist group Third Way, in a message intended to generate inside-the-Beltway chatter, released a new poll supposedly showing support for a bipartisan deficit “deal.”

What you’re really seeing here is a battle over the meaning of the election. Labor and liberals contend the message was clear: At a time of runaway inequality, the rich must sacrifice more to bring down the deficit; the American people do not want any change in the core mission of Medicare; and they continue to support a strong safety net and an expanded role for government in spurring growth and social mobility. After all, the election was a straight up clash of ideological visions over tax fairness, the proper scope of governmental involvement in the economy and in reducing inequality, and the question of whether we should preserve the social contract underlying the major progressive reforms of the 20th Century. One side won decisively — liberalism.

The centrist reading of the election is harder to explain. The Third Way poll seems designed to create the impression that the public yearns for a centrist deficit agreement. It tells us Obama voters support a mix of tax increases and spending cuts as part of a “bipartisan” deficit deal and that they want lawmakers to “fix” entitlements. But so what? A mix of tax increases and spending cuts is the liberal-Democratic position. The argument is one over degree. No one is arguing for no spending cuts whatsoever or doing nothing on entitlements or the deficit. Rather, the left wants a fiscal cliff solution that doesn’t take benefits away from those who need them and doesn’t undermine the core mission of social programs and the safety net. On this, the voters have spoken clearly.
That they have. But the conservadems are going to continue to insist that what this election really was all about was a deep-seated desire to make grandma eat cat food.

Listen to the incredible bias of this Third Way "poll":

When asked whether they believed that “Democrats and Republicans both need to make real compromises to come to an agreement on fixing the deficit,” 80% said that statement described their views extremely well (9 or 10 on a 0-10 point scale), making this the most strongly supported statement in the entire poll. That group included 75% of Obama Liberals, 78% of Obama Democrats, 79% of women who voted for the President, 90% of African Americans, 83% of Latinos, and 69% of voters aged 18–34.
When asked which concerned them more, that President Obama will compromise
too much with Republicans to get things done or that he will stick too rigidly to his positions and not get things done, only 39% of Obama voters worry that the President might compromise too much with Republicans. And on the deficit specifically, only 40% are concerned that the President will agree to a deal that cuts too much spending. In fact, 31% of President Obama’s coalition says they worry he won’t do enough to reduce the deficit.
Yes, when the battle is set between "compromise and get things done" versus "don't compromise and don't get things done", everybody loves the former answer. Surprise! Just as long as you don't define what "getting things done" means, or what the compromises are.

Or this:

We asked, “Which would be better for the country? The President and Congress make changes to fix Social Security and Medicare? OR The President and Congress make no changes to Social Security and Medicare?” Seventy-nine percent of the Obama Coalition said the first outcome would be better for the country—only 17% wanted no changes made to these programs.
Notice the words "fix" and "change." No mention of direct benefit cuts or raising retirement age (which is what Third Way "fixes" are), because those results might conflict with the corporatist narrative.

As the Republicans continue to make themselves a rump regional party of old white men, the battle to defend the middle class is increasingly not one of Democrat versus Republican, but of the defenders of the middle class against the Third Way and its maleficent wolves in sheep's clothing.


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