Romney is pulling ahead because of Obama’s bad debate performance, where the President decided not to attack Romney/Ryan on the main populist issue of the day, Social Security, commenting with gross foreboding to Romney, “I suspect that on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position.” Joan Walsh writes,
I am bewildered about why [Obama] embraced Mitt Romney on the issue of Social Security, and let the entire first section of the debate, which was supposed to be about jobs, get derailed into a discussion of taxes and the deficit.
I’m not so bewildered as conventional Demopundits like Walsh. I think it’s clear that Obama is hoping to win re-election without playing the Social Security card. The reason is obvious: Obama’s main financial supporters want to cut Social Security, and therefore Obama wants to cut Social Security. If he nonetheless plays the S.S. card now, he will then have a hard time next month telling us “everything’s changed” and now we ‘have to’ cut Social Security.
The President and his advisers I assume learned from his failed 2011 effort to put the program on the table (i.e., to cut it). The people made him back off then. So he’s being stealthy and hoping to squeak through to re-election with minimal populist lies and maximal Wall-Street-pleasing ‘responsible austerity’ non-specifics.
Right now, Bernie Sanders and 28 other Senators are asking Obama to “oppose including Social Security cuts for future or current beneficiaries in any deficit reduction package.” If he doesn’t do that, Sanders and the Democrats are going to hold their breath till their faces turn blue. But they’ll still no matter what tell us all to vote for Obama. Lemmings and sell outs.
What I would love to see is Jill Stein sharpen her rhetoric and make ‘No Cuts to Social Security’ the center of her campaign, not just a sound bite. Here she is on Social Security (I deleted her ‘on the defensive’ verbiage as should she):
Q: How do you feel about privatizing Social Security?
A: Social Security needs to be protected. … we can hardly afford to trim back Social Security as would happen in a privatized system. We would challenge the very notion that Social Security is in crisis mode warranting messing with its foundations. It’s not in crisis at all.
Q: Do you support raising the cap on Social Security deductions, above the current limit of $106,000?
A: The cap could be lifted to ensure that Social Security should be solvent m without question forever.
NOW is the time for the Green Party to attack Obamney and his/their post-election plans to gut Social Security. Let Obama’s “I suspect that on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position” be his epitaph. And/Or, let Stein and Green Party attacks be the stimulus that makes Obama come out and promise to defend and not cut back Social Security. So, uh, C’mon Jill, fire away!