politics.salon.com — One benefit of the prolonged campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has been the revelation that most of the 20 or 30 percent of Americans who describe themselves as conservatives live in a fantasy world. In their imaginations, Barack Obama, a centrist Democrat with roots in Eisenhower Republicanism rather than Rooseveltian liberalism, is a radical figure trying to take America down the path of “European socialism.” The signature healthcare reform of Obama and the Democratic Congress, modeled on Mitt Romney’s insurance-friendly Massachusetts healthcare program and closely resembling a proposal by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, is described as “statist,” “socialist” or “fascist” (as though Hitler came to power with the goal of providing subsidies to private health insurance companies). How can otherwise sane people believe such lunacy? The answer is that members of the right-wing counterculture are brainwashed — that is the only appropriate term — by the apocalyptic propaganda ground out constantly by the conservative media establishment.
Like a lot of former Obama voters, I've had my issues with the President. Sure, it helped when he sang that Al Green song at the Apollo Theater last week. (Good job, Mr. President! Good pitch and an appropriately understated delivery.)
But in a time of uncertainty people are looking for certitude. In a time of great battles people are looking for strength. They don't just need to hear the words when they listen to their leaders. They need to feel the music.
The State of the Union Address is scheduled for this Tuesday night. The President can go a lot further toward winning over voters who are disappointed, doubtful, or just unenthusiastic, if he chooses an issue that's vitally important to them and offers a clear, strong and unequivocal defense.
Social Security is the ideal issue. It's one of many, according to polls, where both parties are out of step with voters. After seeing their savings, pension plans, and housing values destroyed, people are frightened about their retirement security. They don't hear anybody in Washington offering to protect their benefits.
And to borrow a phrase from Rev. Al, they're tired of being alone. more »
truth-out.org — As we approach budget time we can look forward to another burst of handwringing by the Washington elites, who will once again tell us about the need to cut Social Security and Medicare. News stories and opinion columns will be filled with solemn pronouncements about how these programs must be curtailed before they drive the nation to bankruptcy. We can look forward to that famously deceptive graph showing how the cost of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are projected to soar as a share of the economy over the next two or three decades. Those with good eyes will notice that it is the cost of Medicare and Medicaid that are soaring, not Social Security. But this is old hat. We know that the elites tell stories to advance their agenda. What is worth noting — and celebrating — is that thus far they have failed.
In the New York Times on Tuesday, David Brooks attributed Rick Santorum’s last-minute surge in the polls to the appeal of his family values platform with working-class whites. If Brooks is right, then those same voters should take a second look at Santorum’s position on Social Security, a program that represents the best of American family values.
In the iconic Christmas film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” an angel offers the beleaguered main character, George Bailey, the stark choice between a hometown named for a cruel banker or one created by and for the middle class.
The banker’s town, Pottersville, is filled with bars, gambling dens and despair. more »
The Strengthen Social Security Campaign has created a guide evaluating the “friendliness” of six Republican candidates, “Among Republican Candidates, Not a Single Friend of Social Security.” The Campaign has also produced longer individual profiles of more »