The Mandate and the Cliff

 Posted by at 9:34 am  Politics
Nov 162012

When GW Bush claimed that his mandate gave him political capital to spend, he had won (albeit Diebold assisted) by 2.46% of the popular vote.  Republicans agreed that Bush’s mandate was clear.  Barack Obama just won by 2.85% of the popular vote, but Republicans claim he has no mandate.  Obama clearly has a mandate to govern, because Democrats also gained seats in both the Senate and House.  In fact more voters voted for House Democrats than House Republicans.  Republicans maintained control in the House only because they have abused power to stack the deck through gerrymandering.  Obama must therefore govern from strength as we approach the speed-bump, exaggerated as the fiscal cliff.

16Fiscal cliff"I’m more than familiar with all the literature about presidential overreach in second terms. We are very cautious about that," President Obama told reporters Wednesday.

Still two months from the start of his second term, the president stressed again and again that he wants to work for the middle class, saying in his first full-scale news conference since the spring that his only mandate is to help them and stressing that the wealthy can easily pay more in taxes.

Mr. Obama said the American people sent him a message: "Work really hard to help us. Don’t worry about the politics of it; don’t worry about the party interests; don’t worry about the special interests. Just work really hard to see if you can help us get ahead — because we’re working really hard out here and we’re still struggling, a lot of us."

He added that he doesn’t have another election to worry about and insisted, "I didn’t get re-elected just to bask in re-election."

Yet he sounded a confident note about his charge for the next four years, on the matter of taxes and spending but also on immigration reform… [emphasis added]

Pasted from <PBS>

Bear in mind, that if no deal is reached now in the lame duck session, there is no immediate need to change the rates at which taxes are currently withheld, so there need be no immediate effect on wage earners.  There is no doubt after the first of the year, every item on the list will be fixed, because the political cost obstructing them will be more than the Republican Party can stand.

Ed Schultz covered this issue in two segments. In the first he discussed the progressive position and the Republican dilemma with EJ Dionne and Ruth Coniff.

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In a funny way, Little Lord Willard was right. We want the gifts Obama promised us. Examples include wanting the gift of receiving all the Social Security benefits we paid for and all the Medicare benefits we paid for. We also want our tax money being used to meet need, not greed.

In the second, he explores the pit falls of Republican desires with Minneapolis Mayor, RT Rybak.

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Republicans want local governments to have less federal support, so they can give more gifts to billionaires, and if they get their way, local budgets will be devastated. Which local services do you want to give up?:

In short, Obama must stand firm, and America must ignore the scare tactics Republicans are using to pressure for a better settlement than they deserve.  Holding out is far preferable to a bad deal.


  14 Responses to “The Mandate and the Cliff”

  1. Right now The President holds the aces–!
    n short, Obama must stand firm, and America must ignore the scare tactics Republicans are using to pressure for a better settlement than they deserve.  Holding out is far preferable to a bad deal.

  2. Born a Green Mountain Boy, I stand with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont who is the spokesperson for working and elderly Americans.

  3. Today I called both Senators to urge them to support  Lugar's presentation to reduce the Pentagon budget by  $1 trillion over the next decade – I think it can be done!
    Of course the President campaigned on taxing the millionaires and it is absolutely absurd to counter that argument, it is why the President was reelected! "Poopy head" lost! It was considered "Patriotic" to pay large taxes on incomes that were high at times when the economy was vulnerable – has that changed?

    • Only in part, Lee.  A large group of millionaires are saying that we should tax them more, so for them, it has not changed.  In the other hand, there are others like the Koch Brothers for whom it has changed.

  4. McConnell — "…an opening bid of $1.6 in new taxes just isn't serious … it's a joke …"
    Rush Limbaugh (from a Lawrence O'Donnell segment) — "… I'm seeing the signs of Republicans giving in on opposing new taxes…" 
    The trouble is, these are NOT new taxes.  When Baby Bush brought in the tax cuts, there was a built in expiry date to those cuts.  Mr Obama extended those cuts.  So how do McConnell and Rush manage to justify not going back to the tax rates in place before Baby Bush's tax cuts?  How do they manage to see these as tax increases?
    I think that the Republican/Teabaggers are starting to self destruct over the fiscal cliff.  Publicly, Boehner it seems is starting to "soften" his stance and mentions putting 'revenues' on the table for discussion along with spending costs.  But McConnell, seems to be laughing about it all, and seems to be digging his heals in even more if that is possible.  Other Republican/Teabaggers are moderating their stance, although I'm not convinced, even remotely, that they are serious.  By making some of the spending cuts, the cuts will filter down to municipalities and basic services for education and protection (and others) will diminish or disappear.  Nick Hanauer, a billionaire and member of the Patriotic Millionaires has said that tax rates for the wealthiest should go up to the Clinton era rates and then some.
    I guess we're just going to have to wait and see over the next days and weeks how this unfolds.  Although I have no stake in this personally, I hope that Mr Obama and the Democrats hold the line without giving anything up.  There is a football cheer I remember from my high school days that I hope characterises Mr Obama's stand.  "Roll 'em (GOP) back!  Roll 'em back!  Way back!"

    • Lynn, I think that's it.  If you remember Health Care Reform passage some Republicans pretended to be negotiating, when they were only trying to look like they were.  That may be the case here.  I suspect they will try to tie ending the Bush cuts for the rich with raising the retirement age or something equally unacceptable.

  5. This was in an email I received from MoveOn and it explains the situation very well. John the Bonehead is trying to scare Americans with a "fiscal cliff" boogeyman.

    The "Fiscal Cliff" Is A Myth. As Paul Krugman put it, "The looming prospect of spending cuts and tax increases isn't a fiscal crisis. It is, instead, a political crisis brought on by the G.O.P.'s attempt to take the economy hostage."1 Republicans are manufacturing this crisis to pressure Democrats to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and accept painful cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
    The Bush Tax Cuts Finally End December 31. If Congress does nothing, the ax will fall on all the Bush tax cuts on New Year's Eve.2 Then, on January 1, the public pressure on John Boehner and House Republicans to extend the middle-class tax cuts (already passed by the Senate and waiting to be signed by President Obama) will become irresistible.3So the middle-class tax cut will eventually get renewed, and we'll have $823 billion more revenue from the top 2% to do great things with.4
    The Sequester. The sequester is another political creation, forced on Democrats by Republicans in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling last year to avoid crashing our economy.5 It's a set of cuts (50% to a bloated military budget and 50% to important domestic programs) designed to make both Republicans and Democrats hate it so much that they'd never let it happen.6 And the cuts can be reversed weeks or months into 2013 without causing damage.7
    The Big Three. Nothing happens to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits on January 1—unless Republicans force painful cuts to beneficiaries in exchange for tax increases on the wealthy, which are going to happen anyway if Congress does NOTHING.8 So, there's literally no reason benefits cuts should be part of the discussion right now.
    We Should Be Talking About Jobs. The real crisis Americans want Congress to fix is getting people back to work. And with just a fraction of that $823 billion from the wealthiest 2%, we could create jobs for more than 20,000 veterans and pay for the 300,000 teachers and 52,000 first responders, which our communities so desperately need.9 That's not to mention jobs from investing in clean energy and our national infrastructure.


  6. You have too much faith in their connection with reality. These guys don't sweat elections, because their constituents are morons. Plus, their constituents have demonstrated a willingness to slash their own throats to make sure that "they" get hurt, time after time. I can see this easily becoming n "over the cliff" issue.

  7. Even republicans support raising taxes on the wealthy:    

    As the debate about how to deal with the federal deficit heats up, two new polls show that large, bipartisan majorities of Americans support raising taxes on the wealthy, as President Obama has proposed doing.   A central piece of Obama’s deficit reduction plan calls for raising taxes on annual income above $250,000. Though tax hikes are generally thought to be unpopular, both a Washington Post/ABC News poll and a McClatchy-Marist survey found that a majority of Americans supported that proposal. What’s more, even a majority of Republicans in the Washington Post/ABC News poll said they favored raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. [emphasis added]

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