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Hometown: Florida
Current location: Orlando
Member since: Wed Nov 10, 2004, 08:49 AM
Number of posts: 20,958

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This is politics: No permanent friends | No permanent enemies.

It's best to learn this early in political life. It's the core of power-building, so accept it, or find another hobby or vocation. No permanent friends, and no permanent enemies. Not everyone is going to come along on every campaign, but we still need each other in the long run. Also, you remember when people come to your side when it wasn't easy for them.

"No permanent friends, no permanent enemies," is one of those beautiful imperatives that enables society to function -- like the separation of church and state.

If your issues are workers rights, healthcare, Social Security, you're going to find those who are champions for your cause, who might be on the opposite side of the next issue, policy idea, or economic proposal. You work with those who bring themselves to the table with enthusiasm. If you're playing by gentleman's rules, you step around those who insist on being obstacles. But, "no permanent friends, no permanent enemies" means you'll always have the room to critique policy ideas and economic proposals that injure our interests.

Many Dems held their tongues on the president while working to GOTV, and voting for him (I'm sure that's the case with every president ever -- it's not new to Obama). Everyone knew Obama was going to have an extraordinarily short honeymoon this year, because everyone knew the lame duck session was going to be a huge fight for those opposing cuts in Social Security (such as unions and c-3's who just worked their asses off helping Obama get elected).

As the lame duck session reaches it's crescendo and I start to see the old "you're not a loyal dem, you emo-firebagger," non-sense, I have no sympathy. "No permanent friends, no permanent enemies," means that among equals, you never bully people or show contempt because next week, next month or next year you're going to need them in your coalition.

The lame duck fight happening right now…the one to protect Social Security/Medicaid/Medicare…is not being fought "among equals." You've got Pete Peterson's coalition of CEOs, "Fix The Debt," and you've got "rank and file" dems (little old ladies, workers and college students) coming up against party leaders who can't/won't have our back against this odious proposal. Subbing for Rachel Maddow the other night, Ezra Klein pointed out that everyone on the beltway food chain fears losing access and influence, and so they are counting on us, the rank and file with no access or influence to risk, to get loud and be heard.

Let's get real. Obama governs as a right-of-center Dem who too-often has sided with interests that seriously hurt the economic security of the rank and file. It's our right and responsibility to stand up for our interests. This is about survival, not whether we get a big enough bonus this year.

So here it is, Mr. President: This Social Security cut terrifies people. I've seen old ladies break down in tears describing how they already can't afford rent and medicine. The fear and shame is shockingly palpable. Seniors simply can't cut anything else from their budgets, and it's unconscionable that we'd ask them to. Future generations like myself will have even fewer resources available beside Social Security. I'm 46 and I know no one with a pension. I know no one with more than $20,000 in their retirement account.

No one is speaking for those of us who are terrified: not any beltway journalist or elected political figure who peddles influence. The people who do speak up are…well, they are heroes.

And clearly, not everyone is hero material.

Posted by nashville_brook | Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:42 PM (79 replies)
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