Posted by | August 30, 2010 18:09 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

As the co-chairman of President Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission, Alan Simpson’s job is to find areas in the federal budget to make cuts or make suggestions for tax increases to help balance the budget in an impartial manner. Simpson’s judgment was called into question when he described Social Security as a “milk cow with 310 million tits” in an angry e-mail to an elderly woman last week. Simpson also told the woman to “find honest work!” His comments sparked calls for his firing or resignation from the Older Women’s League, from progressive congressmen like Rep. Raul Grijalva, and from Senate candidates Jack Conway and Elaine Marshall. One would think that given the way The White House threw Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod under the bus for fake controversies created by the right-wing media, they would swiftly remove Simpson of his chairmanship for his unquestionably offensive comments. Apparently that isn’t the case this time. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters today that while they “regret that he sent that e-mail” and “don’t condone those comments,” Simpson will continue to serve on the commission.

The White House seems to have drawn its line in the sand on this issue and set a couple of unfortunate precedents. When there is the slightest hint of controversy with progressive individuals who have spent their lives trying to protect the environment and help poor farmers keep their land, like Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod, they are tossed away like piles of human refuse without any questions asked. But when  a former Republican Senator like Alan Simpson spits on the poor and the middle class in this country, as he works to cut the Social Security benefits they’ve paid into all their lives, he is defended.

When Andrew Breitbart releases an edited video online calling for the firing of an Obama administration official or for ACORN to lose its funding and the conservative noise machine runs with it nonstop, Obama buckles to their will immediately. Yet when progressive candidates, congressmen, and organizations — who all voted for and support the president and make up his base — call for someone to get fired, they are ignored completely. Maybe Obama will finally figure out why progressives are turning on him when his Democratic colleagues are eviscerated in the November elections, or maybe it will take him till Mitt Romney’s inauguration speech in 2013. So much for “Change We Can Believe In.”

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