Second, Obama correctly noted that Democrats have not asked for anything to reopen the government or raise the debt ceiling. And, as Congressman Gregory W. Meeks of New York observed, that is the problem.
Meeks told Politico, “At no point have we said what our demands are. All you’ve heard was what their demands are. Maybe we should put down what our demands are of what we need and what we want because there’s things that are important and dear to us also, and then the negotiations start from there.”
The tragedy is that Democrats won’t hold out even when public opinion is on their side. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press conducted a survey in March asking: What is more important, taking steps to reduce the national debt or keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are?
According to Pew, 55 percent favored keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are, 34 percent preferred taking steps to reduce the national debt, and 11 percent said both equally.
Yet, Obama is willing to make concessions on Social Security and Medicare.
With no demands on the table, it’s impossible to know what, if anything, is important to the Democratic Party anymore. That’s not the case with the Teapublicans. Love or hate them, they have clearly and forcefully stated they want to privatize Social Security, turn Medicare into a voucher system, and want deep cuts in social programs. They have not only articulated their priorities, they have demonstrated with the shutdown how far they are willing to go to fight for their misguided beliefs.
What are Democrats willing to fight to the end for? If you find out, please let me know.
(George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the NNPA. He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, http://www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at http://www.twitter.com/currygeorge and George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook.)
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