This story from the Guardian is both sufficiently important and true to Obama’s form as to merit posting. Our Fearless Great Betrayer is about to repurpose his campaign sales machine to persuasion of the American public of the necessity of making do with less to appease the Bond Gods. The bizarre part, as many have noted, is the Bond Gods actually don’t seem to want the human sacrifice involved (old people dying faster) but their Wall Street soothsayers would have you believe otherwise.
On the one hand, propaganda generally works, so we sadly can expect Obama’s “grassroots” effort to have an impact. But the flip side is that Pete Peterson and the many deficit scaremongering allies he has recruited over the past two decades have failed to make much of a dent in the public’s overwhelming support for Social Security and Medicare, which are prime objects of the budget-cutting exercise. Even though the Team Obama has made much of its microsegmentation and messaging prowess, Romney had so many warts that it wasn’t hard to find something bad about him to play up to particular target audiences. By contrast, most Americans have a simple response to the notion of “reforming” these popular programs: cut military budgets and raise taxes on upper income groups.
The fact is that unless enough Senators decide to oppose Obama, the middle class is going to take a hit out of a budget deal. But it’s now clear that ordinary citizens will also be subjected to a full bore messaging campaign to persuade them that they should regard this counterproductive sacrifice as good for them.
Key extracts from the Guardian:
Barack Obama has enlisted the help of his formidable grassroots army of volunteers in the battle with Republican members of Congress over the fiscal cliff, the January 1 deadline for a deal on tax and spending….
It calls on them to spread the word about Obama’s position to friends, families and neighbours. It said he wanted a balanced budget that will extend tax cuts for 98% of the population, eliminate tax cuts for the wealthiest and cut spending by $3tn.
The article indicates that the reason for turning up the messaging is that no progress has been made on the Great Betrayal since Obama went to Asia. That further suggests that he still firmly intends to get a deal done before year end, when it’s clear that going past Jan. 1 would strengthen his negotiating position….if his interest really were in increasing taxes on the rich and sparing Medicare and Social Security. His sense of urgency is further confirmation of whose interests he holds most dear, and they aren’t yours and mine.