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July 9, 2011 - Ray Hall (Archive)
The heart and soul of the Democratic Party I have know all my life has been that of a party that championed a strong middle class and fought vigorously to improve conditions for the poor, the working poor, the downtrodden and disabled. Today the Democratic Party is but a shell of its former self and bears little resemblance to FDR and the aspirations of JFK are a distant memory.

Instead of embracing divergent elements of the Democratic Party candidates are eager to use the party’s progressive wing as a “straw man.” Ever since Bill Clinton created a Sister Souljah moment in 1992 Democratic candidates want to demonstrate that they are unafraid to “Punch the Hippy.” (See Footnote)

Democrats flee in horror at the thought of being tagged a “wild eyed liberal” by Republicans. As a result Washington Democrats seem ready to abandon the remains of popular programs that changed the lives of millions of Americans for the better.

President Obama has put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in jeopardy just to appease reactionary Republicans using slash and burn tactics to advance a bizarre political agenda. Congressional Democrats claim they will remain steadfast in safeguarding programs that have become essential for the survival of so many Americans, but one can only hope.

We have become accustomed to the President’s rhetoric exceeding his actions. He talked about improving education but his Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has left many educators wondering. He ignored the adage that a camel is a horse created by a committee and watched from the sidelines as the Senate left many of his healthcare ideas on the committee room floor.

Democrats leave unchallenged pejorative comments by Conservative propagandists that participants in social safety net programs are analogous to children accepting candy from a malevolent contributor. When attacked by Republicans as big spenders too many Democrats run and hide from social programs that pull people from poverty, educate our children and lengthen our longevity.

Now the President is engaged in one-sided negotiations over the debt limit that will ultimately weaken Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. Even the most casual observer understands that millionaires and the well off that are involved in secret budget talks just don’t get how necessary those three programs are to the American people.

Democrats in Congress are already beginning to parse words. Angry words from Democrats prompted by Paul Ryan’s budget that effectively ended Medicare are now replaced with more accommodating terms. Comments like “Medicare is not on the table“ are replaced with the more ambiguous “we are going to make sure no benefits are cut.” However, those words leave room to fundamentally change the program.

The President will cave to belligerent Republicans despite holding a winning hand with the American people. Democrats in Congress will find a way to go along with a one sided agreement that favors the rich, leaves the Democrats empty handed and betrays the American people.

Footnote: The term “Punching the Hippy” seems to have originated with Susan Madrak Crooks and Liars Blog) who told David Axelrod that he should stop punching hippies. She told him she was the girl (the White House) would take under the bleachers but would not be seen together in public


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