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Progressives Threaten to Withdraw Support for Obama in 2012

Progressives Threaten to Withdraw Support for Obama in 2012

Reacting to President Obama’s apparent willingness to bargain with Republicans to achieve a broad agreement to cut the federal deficit, a group of liberal activists led by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) are signing a pledge, saying that they will not support Obama’s 2012 campaign if he cuts social insurance programs.  In an email to supporters, PCCC leadership asked its recipients to tell President Obama:

“If you cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits for me, my family, or families like mine, don’t ask for a penny of my money or an hour of my time in 2012.”

In the email, PCCC leaders declared that it was “outrageous” for Obama to consider reducing Medicare spending, and address the rising cost of social security.  ”There’s no need for a bad ‘deal,’” PCCC wrote. “If we fight, voters are on our side.”

And, as of today, the petition seems to be working.  In an update, PCCC announced that 155,000 people had signed the petition.  This is the equivalent of “1/3 of the donors the Obama campaign had this past quarter.”  And, as the organization pointed out, many of these people spent their time and energy as well as their money to get Obama elected in 2008.  If they do withhold support in 2012, it could be devastating for Obama’s reelection campaign.

Everyone, including Obama, seems to be aware that the stakes are high.  Congressional Democrats were “caught off guard,” and senators “expressed concern,” according to the New York Times.  ”Depending on what they decide to recommend, they may not have Democrats,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, told the NYT. “I think it is a risky thing for the White House to basically take the bet that we can be presented with something at the last minute and we will go for it.”

The question is whether the “bold progressives” who are signing the petition would actually refuse to support Obama during the 2012 campaign, regardless of what he does to social insurance programs.  After all, I know that there is no one in the Republican primary who I would want anywhere near the White House.  But it’s also heartening to see progressives, who routinely accept policies that are not as liberal as they would like, standing up and refusing to be disappointed by a president they worked so hard to get elected.

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Photo from marcn via flickr.

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5:39AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011


Either you just don't "get it" or you are a Repugnican just trying to create more problems for our President. He will NOT be a one-term President. Even if the crazies in the Repugnican Party get their way and crash our economy, people like me will get the word out as to which party really caused the problems we are having.

5:27AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

If Obama caves on SS Medicare and Medicaid, he will be a one term President. If he calls the Republicans' bluff, he needs to be prepared to immediately make it very plain that debt service gets top priority, he he chooses within whatever budget was already passed after debt service. SS has its own trust fund and is not part of the budget Congress appropriates. Medicare part B is a problem. Medicare part D is entirely premiums.

6:41PM PDT on Jul 18, 2011


The Dems had a nominal 58 votes from 7/7/09 to 8/24/09 and from 9/25/09 to 2/3/10. The two independents caucused with the Dems. I say nominal because Kennedy and Byrd were very ill throughoout their terms and rarely voted. The 58 vote periods included summer and winter recess. It ain't true to say he had both houses for 2 years. If even ONE D didn't like the bill, it wouldn't pass. The 111th congress was the most productive since LBJ, who had 68 D'd in the senate.

On the tax issue, there were three options (1) all tax cuts expire and unemployment benefits are cut off, (2) government shuts down, (3) he trades keeping tax cuts for the rich for 2 years for extended unemployment benefits. (1) is unacceptable. Plans were made to shut down government - I know because a senior White House staffer told me. Obama judged shutdown would be diastrous in mid-recession. Obama chose (3), so would I. I don't consider it a cave.

6:35PM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

@V. Lee H: "Trickle down doesn't work. Instead, we are being bled by the very people who are trying to put the blame for this mess (Charles) onto the head of our President, when it really belongs plastered over the faces of those so-called 'Tea Party' Repugnicans."

Lee, I don't put ALL the blame for this mess on the President. Just the part where he caves to the Repubs in spite of having HUGE majorities of the people on his side. 80% of the people say "Don't cut Social Security or Medicare!" But Obama says such cuts are "on the table". WHY???? 70% of the people said "Don't extend the Bush Tax Cuts" for the rich, but Obama went along with that anyway. Can you blame us for being worried that he'll go along with cuts to SS and Medicare?

@David C: "Good luck with President Romney and Ryan Medicare"

Frankly, I haven't done so well under President Obama. My tax rate actually went UP last December, under the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts. (Because of the parts only affecting the lower income groups that WEREN'T extended.) My health care copays, coinsurance and deductibles went UP 30% last September. (Because of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2009.) Of course, he's better than anyone in the current Repub candidate field. But he seems hell-bent on throwing away the HUGE advantage the Repubs gave us when they all voted for the Ryan "Medicare" Plan. Why should I throw $$ to him after that?

5:37PM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

@V. Lee H: "This is exactly the reaction Republicans (that were elected in 2010 own the House of Representatives) want to see."

President Obama doesn't have to go along with them. I'm not basing my decisions on what the Republicans want or don't want. I'm basing them on what I want and what I believe in. I really believed Obama when he promised "Change you can believe in". While he has got a lot done in 2 1/2 years, it hardly qualifies as "Change you can believe in". I literally gave until it hurt in 2008, both in time and money. I won't do that again if he caves on these 3 critical social programs.

You can't blame 2010 on me. I donated multiple times to all kinds of Democrats (7 times to Russ Feingold, 10 times to Barbara Boxer, 6 times to Alan Grayson, 5 times to Patty Murray, 6 times to Joe Sestak, 5 times to Elaine Marshall, 6 times to Tammy Baldwin, et al), and even to the DCCC and DSCC. So I tried to get him the support that he needs. But even when he had both houses prior to last November, he still wasn't fighting for the issues that are important to me. He caved on extending the Bush Tax Cuts, and that was the last straw. I'll vote for him, but I won't make any sacrifices for him, if he caves on any of those 3 programs. I'll work to win the House back. I'll donate to other Dems. But not him.

5:07AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

Charles W

Good luck with President Romney and Ryan Medicare

4:42AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

Oh, and Don,

I think you are one of those lying "Tea Party Repugnicans", and a corporate hack, trying to foment unrest and divisiveness among the liberal and progressive people in this country so that they won't unite and beat your political behind into the ground in 2012 as you so richly deserve. I don't even believe that you depend on Social Security; I think you are one of the people who want to see Social Security and pensions put into the hands of (of all the insane ideas I have EVER heard) Wall Street and the stock market. You should be ashamed of yourself.

4:26AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

I need to add that, had progressives been more diligent in supporting their President in 2010, a lot of the compromises he has had to make would not have been necessary. Do I like those compromises? I do not. But the truth is, the voters in this country, especially the ones who mean well, are too easily distracted by the media. The Republicans (and some conservative Democrats) are entirely to blame for this mess. Obama is not getting the support that he needs and deserves, or he would not be having to make these hard choices. Again, I say, grow up, support your President. Work actively in 2012 to get him the legislators he needs to pass the measures he needs to pass. THEN you will see the real change he promised. He can't do it alone. I repeat, he is not a dictator, he is a duly elected President who needs others elected who can (and will) support the programs that are needed.

Trickle down doesn't work. Instead, we are being bled by the very people who are trying to put the blame for this mess (Charles) onto the head of our President, when it really belongs plastered over the faces of those so-called "Tea Party" Repugnicans.

4:02AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

Don I

You are showing your ignorance, parroting lies put out by Repubs.

“Obama Administration failed to give all Social Security recipients the COLA”

Social Security COLA increase is NOT controlled by the administration. It is on automatic, tied to the CPI. CPI increases so do SS payments. No CPI increase, no raise. Obama tried to help a little with a $250 check to each SS recipient.

“Obama and the Democrats have also taken $500 Billion away from Medicare”

Of course they haven’t. The $500 billion is total cost savings projected over ten years. NOTHING has been reduced yet. The number of tests covered by Medicare will or has been INCREASED. Savings are from reduced reimbursements and improved inefficiency plus some cuts in subsidy to private insurers for the Advantage plans. Compare with the Republican Ryan plan. They want to pass increasing costs on to Medicare recipients AND turn everything over to private insurers – the people who charge 10% more than traditional Medicare.

“Obama Health Care Plan rammed through Congress without letting anyone read or comment on it”

The bill was intensely debated for weeks. The Republicans had made it clear from Day 1 that they would oppose ANYTHING the D’s proposed. “Ramming” was the only way to get anything through congress. It was expected that tweaks would be needed, one reason

3:49AM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

Charles and Don,

Don't you get what's happening? This is exactly the reaction Republicans (that were elected in 2010 own the House of Representatives) want to see. They are giving Obama a really good choice here. Allow some cuts to valuable programs that he strongly supports or allow a default on the country's debt and throw the country into a worse downturn than you have EVER seen. And when he tells them that, they are saying "so what". This is the kind of people he has to deal with in order to get ANYTHING done. He is President, not dictator, and he lost vitally needed support in 2010. IF SS gets cut, it is on the heads of those Republicans and unfortunately for us is a MUCH better deal than the alternative he is facing. Grow up!!!

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