On Friday I read in the New York Times that President Obama would be happy to cut $200 billion out of Medicare in order to inflict pain on his Democratic base, part of an imagined tradeoff in which the two parties inflict pain on their imagined bases in order to reduce the deficit without imposing sensible taxes on billionaires or shrinking military spending to sane levels. Also on Friday I got an Email from True Majority asking me to celebrate Obama’s defense of Medicare.
We’ve progressed from “I feel your pain” to “I inflict your pain,” and we’re being told to like it.
“President Obama: If you stand up to the Republican hostage-takers and protect Medicare,” it says on MoveOn.org’s website, “we will have your back.” Or, of course, even if you don’t do that, President Obama, even if the whole idea of it is based on myths about who is on whose side, MoveOn and most other online groups that don’t have the back of the Republican Party will have yours. That’s the way this game works. Except that it hasn’t been working.
True Majority’s traditional focus was on reducing military spending, but during the early Obama years it celebrated particular weapons cuts, masking overall increases. MoveOn used to organize anti-war rallies, albeit only in Republican congressional districts, as long as the president was a Republican and the Democrats tolerated it. Now, you’ll have a hard time finding any of our wars’ existence acknowledged on MoveOn’s website, which is dominated by opposition to the Tea Party.
Even in the bad old days of a Republican president, True Majority had to be pushed hard by its members to oppose wars, and MoveOn conducted a poll of its members asking if they preferred Nancy Pelosi’s plan to keep the wars going or President Bush’s, and then used the inevitable result to dishonestly claim that its members preferred Pelosi’s plan to Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s proposal to actually end a war.