Posted by | August 2, 2011 16:09 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath
(Yashwanth’s opinions are his own, and do not necessarily reflect other opinions here)

Obama’s disastrous leadership during the debt ceiling debacle is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for me. The end result of the debt deal was a Republican “wet dream”: no tax increases for corporations or the wealthy, no extension of unemployment benefits, no jobs provisions, and crippling spending cuts to programs that benefit the poor and middle class like Head Start, child care, K-12 education, family planning, job training, and Pell grants. In addition to being completely unfair under any definition of adequate social justice, these cuts will only further cripple the economic recovery, and actually make the long-term fiscal picture worse. And that is just the initial phase of the debt deal.

The second phase creates the asinine “Super Congress,” the sole purpose of which is to make it easier and more politically expedient for both parties to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Anyone who says the “Super Congress” was created for any other reason is either being completely naive or totally dishonest. I wrote a few months ago about how if Obama endorses cuts to Social Security he is even worse than a Republican president on that issue because his compliance disarms a significant chunk of the normal liberal opposition. The “Super Congress” only brings that nightmare closer to reality.

Obama’s pitiful negotiating strategy has taught Republicans that ruthlessness, heartlessness, and intransigence will get them everything they want, and has only encouraged more of the same in the future. By giving into these economic terrorists Obama has created a new precedent. Ronald Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times without threat of default or serious controversy of any kind, but now the debt ceiling is a new financial weapon of mass destruction that Republicans can wield in their indefatigable quest to destroy the middle class and make us the fantasy “banana republic” that they envision.

There has been an ongoing debate among liberals as to why Obama does not fight harder for progressive principles. Is Obama complicit in the Republican plan to enrich Wall Street, while destroying the social safety net, or is he just appeasing them in an effort to look “centrist” and “moderate” for his own political gain in 2012? That debate is irrelevant at this point. What matters are the results and if this is the best Obama can do with a Democratic Senate then liberals have nothing left to lose in mounting a serious primary challenge against him. My ideal choice is pictured above, left.

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