By Dave Lindorff
The smoking ruin that is the the Obama White House, and the rotting corpse that is the Democratic Party, have, incredibly, together been boxed into a corner by, of all things, the certifiably insane Republican Party.
This amazing situation has resulted not through any brilliant strategy on the part of the Republicans, but by the self-inflicted wounds of the Democrats.
Faced with a collapsing economy that is at serious risk of performing a reprise of the Great Depression, Congressional Democrats and President Obama were in a perfect position to grab the flag and run home with it by declaring war on unemployment and on the party that has unequivocally declared itself openly to be the standard bearer of the wealthy and powerful.
All the president and Congressional Democrats had to do was announce that Social Security, Medicare, education and programs to protect the poor were all off limits in any discussion of the federal budget, and to declare an immediate 25% cut in military spending, as called for earlier by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.
How hard would that have been to do? The polls show it's what the public wants. Any elected official who did this, particularly someone elected and re-elected as a Democrat, would have been hailed by voters for such a bold action.
According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in late May and released June 11, 60% of Americans correctly attribute the nation's enormous deficit primarily to military spending, which eats up 52% of every tax dollar (Social Security and Medicare are entirely funded by separate payroll taxes, and not only have not contributed a single dollar to the federal deficit, but have been routinely borrowed from by the government to finance the deficit in the government's operating budget caused by military spending). Only 24% blame the deficit on domestic spending other than military (and probably every one of those is a Republican or right-wing independent who likely believes that the earth was created 6000 years ago, and is flat, and who will never vote Democratic no matter what).
That same poll showed that the vast majority of Americans (73%) object to proposals to cut the budget by reducing federal funding for social programs, or federal funding to the states for education, or by reducing Social Security benefits (59%), for example by raising the retirement age...