On MSNBC’s The Last Word Tonight, host Lawrence O’Donnell sat the firebaggers down for a brief lesson on Barack Obama and presidential politics 101.
Here is the transcript of the relevant segment:
Outrage notes have been struck today in the liberal blogosphere and elsewhere that the president was entertaining modest modifications in Medicare and Social Security that could save trillions, even though liberal democrats in the past have done exactly that. the president’s willingness to discuss raising the retirement age in Medicare or Social Security has met rage from some who don’t know that the eligibility age of social security has already been raised, that a gradual increase of a retirement age was enacted in 1983, increasing the full retirement age from 65 to 67, and that increase had the support of liberals in the House and the Senate.
Now, if raising the retirement age is in principle bad, then it would follow logically that people who even oppose discussing it would be in favor of repealing the increase in the retirement age that has already occurred, yet none of them have ever proposed repealing the current increase in the retirement age. Some of the new-found liberal defenders of Social Security that will reject any discussions in the program were voting Republican back in the ’80s when the retirement age was raised or not voting at all, not even bothering to register to vote. Some, of course, were not yet of voting age. They are all capable of getting up to speed on these issues reasonably quickly, but until they know more history, until they know where we have been, they will not have any comprehension of where we might be going.
The president’s been attacked today for considering the means testing of Medicare, as you heard him describe, the possibility of rich people like him paying a little more on premiums and co-pays on Medicare. As rich people on Medicare already know, that’s nothing new, they already pay more. The president is willing to entertain a discussion in which they might pay even more, and suddenly some liberals have found what is, in effect, a small tax increase on the rich that they can oppose. All such objections from the president’s base of supporters are actually — this is a bit counter intuitive, they are actually helpful to the president.
Adam Green, the head of the progressive change committee and a friend of this show has been among the loudest and most effective progressive objectors to the president’s consideration of cuts in Medicare and Social Security spending. Today his group delivered 200,000 petitions to President Obama’s campaign headquarters warning about entitlement cuts. These are 200,000 people saying they will not contribute money to or volunteer hours to an Obama reelection campaign if he agrees to any cuts in Medicare, and social security spending during these debt negotiations with the republicans, and these are people who have contributed to president Obama before and have volunteered for him before. These protestors are actually helping the president’s negotiating position, strengthening it, as well as his public appearance of being reasonable in the eyes of independence and swing voters by adding credibility to statements like this.
Apparently, Lawrence O’Donnell has also grown tired of the firebagger and far left’s ignorance of both history and politics. The problem is that the far left doesn’t understand political language. If you go back and read exactly what President Obama said at each of his press conferences, he never said that he would cut Medicare or Social Security. He simply said he would listen. He never has said that he would actually cut anything.
I too do not wish to demean the achievement of the PCCC. A couple hundred thousand people is a nice number, but these fine citizens are so misguided that they actually believed they were putting pressure on Obama or making him stand up to the GOP. What they are really doing is providing Obama with political cover. As O’Donnell said, the PCCC has just validated Obama’s claim that he is taking heat from his base.
In reality, Adam Green has just done Obama a gigantic political favor. The president now has evidence for his illusion that he is actually giving something up. Thanks, firebaggers. We owe you one. It is really interesting that when these people say they want nothing changed, they are helping the rich collect Social Security and not pay their fair share for Medicare. Talk about progressive values!!!!
The one thing that the far left and far right both have in common is that they are so attached to their emotion and ideology that they sacrifice facts and history to the altar of their feelings. As we already know the Tea Party and the firebaggers already share a common leader, so it is not surprising that their unity of heart is also a unity of mind.
Who would have guessed that both the baggers tea and fire would have the shared goal of not raising taxes on the rich?
I admire the passion of the firebaggers, no matter how misdirected it may be, but in the Democratic family they play the role of the weird cousin who at every holiday dinner manages to embarrass the rest of the family with their ignorance and antics.
Lawrence O’Donnell did his best to enlighten them but if there is one universal truth about firebaggers, it is that they never learn.