Liberals Can Take Hostages, Too!

Both MoveOn and the smaller Progressive Change Campaign Committee are responding to reports of entitlement cuts in a debt deal by threatening a strike. MoveOn releases a poll of 1489 members, asking which compromises will send them running away from the Obama re-elect faster; the winner is “cuts to middle class programs without ending tax breaks for the rich,”* with 82 percent of them becoming “less” or “much less” likely to work for Obama. The PCCC announces “over 100,000 people pledged at BoldProgressives.org to withhold time and money from President Obama in 2012 if he supports Medicare and Medicaid benefit cuts.” That petition is three months old. And it sounds like what the PCCC was saying during the wrangling over the tax cut deal last year, which resulted in… the passage of the tax cut deal.

The left isn’t lacking public support for its positions; tax hikes on the rich are popular, as they were in 2001, as they were in 2003, as they probably were back when people had to render to Caesar. But they lack the power to make credible political threats. Republicans fear their base, and they know 1) they can be primaried by conservatives if they buckle on taxes and 2) they can’t be rescued by pro-business groups, which aren’t so Randian, like the Chamber of Commerce. Democrats don’t need to fear their left flank. The last campaign the PCCC poked its head into** was the special election for Jane Harman’s seat in California.

A new poll from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee shows voters in the southern California district soon to be vacated by Rep. Jane Harman (D) are ready to support a candidate who’s going to protect traditional entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare… Several Democratic candidates have emerged to take Harman’s seat, but two well-known candidates are seen as the front-runners: California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn. The PCCC poll shows Bowen ahead by four points, but also includes a “significant undecided” vote that PCCC says suggests the race is “wide open.”

Other numbers from the poll, obtained exclusively by TPM, suggest that whichever candidate can make clear her support for the nation’s entitlement programs may have the upper hand.

Right, okay. And then Bowen lost to the heroically uninspiring Hahn, and there was no real fight in the campaign on this issue.

*Not a loaded question, is it?

**I rephrased this to make it clear that PCCC conducted a poll but didn’t endorse anyone.