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      A Progressive Mandate

      It was a progressive mandate. A mandate the Republicans and media want to ignore, a mandate to tax the super-rich and preserve core Democratic social programs. The Republicans and most of the mainstream media already are spinning the election as an affirmation of the same old status quo, one requiring a bipartisan consensus to avoid the fiscal cliff. This is a conservative self-serving spin. The election was a tremendous mandate for the incumbent president, given the depressing level of unemployment, a galvanizing win for Senate progressives, and a shattering blow to the Tea Party, the Christian Right, the voter suppression cadres and the billionaires with their One Percent brethren.

      There is a danger in winners reading too much into the mandate, however. For example, Paul Krugman is back at demanding more than Obama can delivery. Krugman, in an op-ed titled “Let's Not Make a Deal,” insists that Obama should just say no to the Republicans and “go over the cliff if necessary.” Does it occur to Krugman that there was no voter mandate for Obama and Biden becoming Thelma and Louise?

      The important fact stressed by Krugman is that Obama enters the immediate confrontation with a much stronger hand than at any time in the past two years, a voter mandate to tax the super-rich, preserve Social Security, Obamacare, and core Democratic social programs. The House Republicans are playing with a far weaker hand, but a hand nonetheless. If they commit suicide, of course, there will be no deal. But the more likely strategy is to achieve a deal with minimal Democratic sacrifices, and set in motion a showdown with House Tea Party Republicans in the 2014 elections.

      Everything depends on where the AFL-CIO, NAACP, Latinos and women’s rights groups, and allies like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown want to draw the line. This could well be a repeat of national election on domestic issues, with the Democrats backed by a voter mandate while the Tea Party has been stripped of theirs. 

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      Reader Comments (5)

      I have to agree with Krugman. When will the hostage taking stop if O gives in to Repub blackmail? If he bargains w/ the House extremists, and damages Social Security and the public health care programs, the damage will be much more severe over the long run than calling the Repbulican bluff. It's time to stand up and fight the opposition, not bend over for them.

      November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Bonetti

      Krugman is absolutely correct! It is well past time for Democratic spine development.Obama had a much stronger mandate in 2008. The frogs,( the American Population), where jumping from the pot,they understood that if they stayed in the heating water that they were going to be boiled alive and voted for hope and change, thinking that they were going to get an FDR but ended up with another "slick Willy". The majority was demanding real health care reform in the form of a single player plan but got "National Romney Care" an exercise in let them eat cake.I know that you Obamabots will say that was the best deal Obama could get, well you are wrong. As Commander-in-Chief Obama could have just said, in three months I will declare a national emergency and all medical professionals will be drafted into the military and all medical facilities will be mobilized into service, if a single payer plan is not passed into law. It would have taken about a week for single payer to be the law of the land.
      The majority also supported an end to the,"Long Wars", need I say Commander-in-Chief, why are we still there, and why have we added Libya, and Syria to the list? The answer is clear we have had the same president sense 1980 when 666 became president.
      "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power".- B. Mussolini
      The only real difference between the Dem and the Repug branches of the global fascist party is speed, the Repugs want to turn up the heat faster than the Dems, but either way the frogs will be boiled alive. Rev. Pheary Watkins

      November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRev. Pheary Watkins

      I agree. The President and the Democrats in Congress need to let the tax cuts for the wealthy expire and cut loopholes as well, but the right kind; ie. oil tax breaks, not the home mortgage deduction.

      November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Schilz

      If the President doesn't show willingness to take us over the "fiscal cliff" the Republicans will again have a hostage and we'll get next to nothing. Negotiating with Attila the Hun just meant he'd be back next year for more tribute, better to do battle now than in 2 years at election time.

      November 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJC Dufresne

      This two party system of representation we live in, by definition, will reach the middle since both sides will always have to compromise in order to accomplish anything. That said, Paul Krugman is absolutely correct to be out there "talking" about being willing to go over the cliff. Where is there to compromise from - to if you start in the middle? How is it possible to get the other side to compromise if there are no consequences to their holding their line? As Krugman points out when the other side realizes they will lose if they do not make some concessions, only then will they actually negotiate in good faith. We know when the two sides get to the negotiating table, ideally, each should have to give something in order to reach agreement. We all hope that agreement is in the best interests of the people and the country. Paul Krugman and the other voices stating the ideal are providing a starting point for negotiations. More voices need to support that starting point. The middle should not be the starting point but the best possible result of negotiation and compromise by both sides .

      November 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie55441
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