By the way, Sundance Channel is offering up the movie Shock Doctrine, also On Demand. After watching it, you may feel as panicky as I feel right now about the reason why we're being told "everything is on the table," and the brutal similarities to the deficit commissions recommendations that favor to the wealthy and what has come before.
The state of the Democratic Party is summed up by this E.J. Dionne editorial:
The idea of freezing the pay of federal workers … an obvious element in any negotiation. But
Obama simply threw in the federal workers in exchange for -- well, as best I can tell, nothing. And in the short term, shouldn’t jobs and rising incomes be a higher priority than austerity?
Worse, every signal out of the White House is that it is prepared to cave in to Republican demands for a temporary extension of all of the Bush tax cuts … how can anyone take a deficit-reduction proposal seriously when the main order of business in Congress is to make sure we widen the deficit by keeping all of the Bush tax cuts alive?
What we are witnessing here is the political power that comes from the Republican Party’s single-minded focus on high-end tax cuts and the strategic incoherence of a Democratic Party that is confused and divided -- and not getting much help from its president.
Obama seems to have decided that showing how conciliatory he can be is more important than making clear where he stands. The administration’s strategy is rooted in a fear of what the Republicans are willing to do, which only strengthens the GOP’s bargaining position. The president figures the Republicans would be quite happy to let taxes on the middle class rise on Jan. 1 if that’s the price of continuing to fight for the tax cuts for the rich.
In a game of chicken, Republicans are willing to gamble -- even if the economy would take a hit.