Going big on entitlements

Isn’t it great that campaign adviser David Plouffe wanted (and probably still wants) Obama to “go big on entitlements”? And that Obama doesn’t like us to know what he’s doing?

Via Brad DeLong, excerpts from Christina Romer’s new book:

[Top Adviser David] Plouffe urged the president to give [entitlement reform] a shot. “I said he [Obama] should be big on entitlements,” Plouffe told one former administration official, by which he meant reining in these budgetary elephants. Sure, this would enrage the party’s base. But the political upside with the rest of the country would more than make up for it … “Plouffe is pretty big on accomplishments trump normal politics,” said one White House colleague. “Plouffe’s view is that big trumps the little.”…

[W]hile internal staff disputes did play a role, Scheiber ascribes blame ultimately to the president. As he concludes:

[T]he Jobs Act punctuated the chronic confusion about the connection between politics and governing. Too often, the two activities were treated as an either-or proposition in the West Wing. Obama generally believed the way to pass his program was to engage earnestly with the opposition, not take his case public. A president never has more leverage with Congress than when he’s riling up voters, but Obama rarely exploited the massive stature of his office as a tool for influencing legislation.

7 thoughts on “Going big on entitlements

  1. That the Democratic base (the Left) has been treated shabbily for the past 3 years is not news. That has been a fact of life for thousands of years. The Left is always pushing to go where no man (until recently no woman need apply) has gone before. Picture a few brave souls out front pulling on ropes attached to humanity and trying to inch this mass slowly forward. There is no reason to be discouraged because it has always been so. Keep on truckin’. And keep the naysayers as uncomfortable as possible.

  2. That’s the point of it all. The naysayers–including Obama–are afraid of the issues Progressives desire in their hearts. They fear it may be a slippery slope to Socialism with no stop-gap measure to return to “civility”.

    Overcoming these same unwarranted fears from the right meant a Civil Rights movement that had to create at least one martyr to press forward, a bold President Johnson to sign the Medicare, Medicade, and voting rights laws of the 60’s.

    We’re at that historical cross-street/intersection once again where presidential legagcys are born: Will Obama find the strenth to do what’s right, and fundimentally correct, for the masses of the next generation on issues of gay rights, marriage equlity, brith control freedom, tax and income equality, world peace, homeowner security, and entitlement reform?

  3. “Will Obama find the strength to do what’s right?”

    You’re being funny, right? Or off-planet these last three years?

    He’s doing exactly what he wants to do. His old law prof at Harvard was surprised when his old student resurfaced as a Democrat. “I always thought he was a Republican,” he said.

    Assuming he gets re-elected, you can expect more of the same. More drones, more “going big on entitlements,” more Stupakistan for women, more oil drilling and pipelines.

    He’s been throwing bones to the base because it’s an election year, but if he’s re-elected he won’t have to worry about all that bother.

    So our choice, paraphrasing Vastleft, is whether we want the Republicans or Obama denying us Plan B.

  4. Not so, quixote, unless I’m dreaming, Obama has a distinct opportunity to leave a lasting NEVER-SEEN-BEFORE legacy that generations to come will long admire.

    Yes, we all know what he has been to date, how he has come up short, but I just have to believe that for many different reasons he will move beyond everything we’ve seen for the last 3 years.

    If, indeed, his hero is Lincoln, he’ll leave a Licolnesque body of work behind—perhaps even if it means his own demise.

    Not hoping that his 2nd term ends in that fashion, mind you—the man does have a beautiful family and all—but I’ve been a dire critic since February 1st, 09, so I ain’t lickin’ him up…………………

    So, just watch my theory come true in the years to come. The country will make a huge economic comeback under Obama, setting the table for Biden’s son to take the reins in ’16!

    …Yep, you heard it HERE first!

  5. (Hi Dandy! OT, but I had a second set of epidural shots and have some relief, but not complete. MRI shows all back issues leading to leg pain, alas. I can take far fewer pain pills, thank goodness, and when I do take one it is more effective. T/U again for your input last month.)

    I thought Reagan was Obama’s hero. And his dream is to be as “transformative” as Regagan, meaning he will move the nation permanently and further rightward. Perhaps utterly change the Democratic Party? Or just destroy it.

    Obama said during his general election, and to private fundraising events for the Big Money during the primaries, that he believed the US could not afford the kind of social services it provided. He saw Medicare, Medicaid, and SocSec as the big programs to be changed to provide less and cost more for the recipients.

    Obama is basically conservative. As Ian Welsh wrote recently, progressives and liberals better get from Obama, right now, as much of what they want as they can, because after the election he will be back to his conervative track. Big time, with no reelection to consider and temper his actions.

    I am deeply worried about either Obama or any of the Republicans running being president. The only difference might be Democratic Congress Critters standing up to fight against a Repub president’s attempts to bring down the major accomplishments of the Democratic Party (and Progressive movement, right back to TR) of the past century.

    We so desperately need a new party which actually represents the needs and desires of the 99 Percent and which truly recognizes the Constitution about separation of powers.

  6. Glad your back pain is subsiding, jawbone. I actually have an epidural set for the 7th of March, just finished an MRI on Wednesday. Good luck with your pain issues.

    I agree 200% re: a 3rd party, but I won’t hold my breath that it’ll happen in my lifetime!

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