Commentary Magazine


Liberals: “Don’t Ask for a Penny of My Money”

The mere thought of President Obama’s proposing cuts to Medicare or Medicaid during his speech tomorrow is sending some left-wing groups into fits of hysteria. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee just blasted out an email today threatening to withhold donations from the president’s campaign if he endorses cuts to these programs. The group asked its members to sign a pledge card:

“President Obama: If you cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits for me, my parents, my grandparents, or families like mine, don’t ask for a penny of my money or an hour of my time in 2012. I’m going to focus on electing bold progressive candidates—not Democrats who help Republicans make harmful cuts.” Click here to sign.

Left-wing activists are finding themselves in a tough position, as Obama adopts a centrist stance in preparation for the general election. If they attack him for not being liberal enough, they make him seem like even more of a centrist. And threatening to withhold campaign donations doesn’t seem like a winning tactic either.

Obama is pursuing a different fundraising strategy than he did back in 2008. While Progressive Change’s email encourages small donors to withhold money, Obama is focusing on large donors for the upcoming election. And the chances are small that a group like Progressive Change, which has only been around since 2009, will be able to have any sort of impact on Obama’s fundraising.

Besides, it doesn’t look like liberals have much to worry about anyway. According to Politico, Obama will avoid angering his base further during his speech tomorrow by falling back his trademark tactic of being as vague as possible.

“It’s looking less likely that President Barack Obama’s speech Wednesday will embrace a lot of specific ideas on how to cut Medicare and Medicaid—which would get him in trouble with Democrats and progressive groups anyway,” Politico is reporting. “Instead, his health care allies are expecting him to talk in more general themes, focusing on cutting wasteful health care spending rather than cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits.”

Update: More than 80,000 people have signed the Progressive Change Campaign’s Committee pledge to withhold support from President Obama in the event he proposes cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.