Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Deepest Cut

Many of us Obama supporters have been urging our families, friends, and co-worker's to be patient with him. I've said, "he has to do what he has to do to get re-elected. Just wait until his 2nd term", more times than I care to remember. I want to believe that each and everything that he does is some kind of ingenious, calculated strategy designed to thwart Republican advances. But as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I just can't help but feel betrayed, and maybe even a little disappointed.
I know that President Obama is first and foremost a politician, but it was difficult not to get caught up in history, given the monumental significance of his election and his presidency. But 5 years in, I have begun to grow tired of the presidents desperate need for bipartisanship, and abject failure to directly address the issues of his constituents. Being slow to address the issues is one thing. But being on the wrong side of an issue that is considered sacred to your constituents is quite another.

President Obama has upset loyal Democrats by tossing Social Security onto the table in his poker game with Republicans. Not to worry. I have a theory as to how this story ends. A year from now, when the 2014 congressional campaigns are hot underway, Republicans will be running against "Obama The Butcher", promising to protect Social Security from the bloodthirsty Democrats.

By then, having lost on his "I am smarter than they are." strategy, the president will be reduced to lamely reassuring old folks, that he didn't actually intend to cut their benefits, really he didn’t. It was just a ploy to get tightwad conservatives to give in a little on tax increases. Republicans can pull out the videotapes in which Obama and team explain their high-minded purpose, sacrificing the Democratic party’s sacred honor in order to get Republicans to play nice.

But is it worth it? If Obama insists on playing his own idealized form of chess, social security should not be the pawn that he uses. For many, social security is the only insurance that they will have in their old age. Those who have paid into the system deserve to reap the benefits. Social security is not charity, or an entitlement program. Social security is a right, not a bargaining chip for wealthy politicians.


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