Forget Michigan. Worry about Steny Hoyer.
While most political eyes are fixed on Romney's primary results, the middle class faces a threat to its financial security right in the heart of the Capital.The Democratic Party does, too.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who is the living embodiment of Washington's corporatized politics, is once again pushing a "Grand Bargain" that would cut Social Security and Medicare—and result in more electoral losses like the ones he helped bring upon his party in 2010.
Hoyer is the Lobbyists' Legislator, the Revolving-Door Representative, the Minority Whip who really drives floor votes for the Corporate Party rather than the electorate. Hoyer's pseudo-centrist deficit pitch will please the rich individuals and corporations that have given him one of the biggest campaign war chests in Congress.
It will also help Republicans run a repeat of their 2010 play, when they took the House by running to the Democrats' left on Medicare and Social Security.
Corporate Democrats like Hoyer makes the GOP's work easy. He proposed raising the retirement age to 70 just a few months before the 2010 election. The GOP responded to that kind of talk, as well as the President's "Grand Bargain" overtures and right-leaning deficit panel rhetoric, by writing a "Seniors' Bill of Rights" that painted Democrats as Social Security and Medicare cutters.
Republicans should have been politically vulnerable on Social Security. They'd recently failed to pass a highly unpopular privatization plan, and prospective Speaker John Boehner refused to take benefit cuts off the table. Enter Steny Hoyer, who came to the Republicans' rescue by saying "We should consider a higher retirement age or one pegged to lifespan" in July of 2010. That led to headlines like "Republicans and Democrats Lining Up Behind Major Cuts to Social Security and Medicare" - and that was on the liberal-leaning Talking Points Memo website. A headline in the right-leaning Washington Times reading "Both parties mull raising retirement age" was featured below a large color photograph of Hoyer.
Hoyer's comments undercut House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Republicans played Hoyer and other Blue Dog Democrats for suckers that year (unless they were working from a shared script), luring them into making these comments with promises of a grand deal—then nailing them at the polls by posing as these programs' defenders.
Now he's at it again. By pushing for yet another would-be "Grand Bargain" in an election year, Hoyer's backing a course of action that will all but guarantee more electoral defeats for Democrats in 2012.
Steny Hoyer, (MD, D-Corporate)