Monday, February 2, 2015

Being a Journalist Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Exactly three weeks ago today, Dylan Scott wrote an article titled: Advocates Fear Obama Can't Be Trusted In New Social Security Fight.
When House Republicans signaled last week that they would provoke a fight over Social Security in the next two years, progressive stalwarts like Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren decried the action, with Brown alleging the GOP wanted to "set the stage to cut benefits for seniors and disabled Americans.”

But notably silent on the Republican stance, which prevents what has been a routine transfer of revenue between the retirement and disability funds, upping the chances of a crisis for the latter in late 2016, was the Democratic official who might actually be at the table if conservatives succeed in forcing negotiations in the next Congress: President Barack Obama.

TPM asked multiple times last week for the White House's position on the House action, but never received a formal response, a stark contrast to the loud public pronouncements of Brown, Warren, and others. It also invokes the uneasy relationship between the White House and Social Security advocates, who were dismayed by Obama's willingness to accept cuts to the program during the 2011 grand bargain talks with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
And then today, without feeling the need to connect the dots with what he'd written less than a month ago, Scott wrote: Obama Throws Down Gauntlet On Social Security In New Budget.
President Barack Obama signaled in his fiscal year 2016 budget released Monday that he was ready for the fight over Social Security that congressional Republicans made clear last month they wanted...

"Any reforms should strengthen retirement security for the most vulnerable, including low-income seniors, and should maintain robust disability and survivors’ benefits," the budget documents say. "The Administration will oppose any measures that privatize or weaken the Social Security system and will not accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations or reduces basic benefits for current beneficiaries."
In other arenas, one would be required to at least include that "advocates had no need to worry about President Obama on Social Security." But the bar is set much lower for journalists.


  1. It's not just journalists but all garment-rending, teeth-gnashing naysayers. When President Obama offered Chained CPI if and ONLY IF the GOP raised taxes on the very wealthy, the progs insisted he'd sold us out (then added mythical ideas about what he'd do to Medicare as well). If he talks to corporate leaders - he's sold out to them. If he discusses anything with conservatives - he's sold out to them. If he entertains ANYONE other than of whom purists approve, he has sold out to that interest. Except - he never does. CCPI was a ploy, a political 'gotcha' for the RIGHT because of course they'd never raise those tax rates, and here was the proof. So journalists MIGHT be understandably of the belief that if the president is spilling his guts with righteous blabber, he's considering to be back-stabbing everyone. The fact that it's never come true - Keystone on - never seems to quiet the critics. When 'serious concern' is cover for the ideological insistence that PBO is no different from the GOP, that he is a sell out, we have come to the point when nothing matters other than the hype itself. Journalists or ideologues - who can tell the difference?

  2. Don't be shocked when this is painted as a Warren/progressive victory over the President.