To set the public up for his ‘budget crisis’ claptrap Mr. Obama pulled ‘a Clinton’ by appointing a deficit commission stacked with deficit hawks that included none other than Mr. Clinton’s old ‘commission’ standby, right-wing hack and inheritance baby Erskine Bowles, to play the part of ‘Democrat concerned about the deficit.’ Readers may remember Mr. Bowles as Mr. Clinton’s Chief of Staff when he appointed the earlier deficit commission that first recommended privatizing Social Security. Unable to find the consensus needed to put forward a proposal in the name of the commission, Mr. Bowles joined fellow despiser of social spending Alan Simpson to write a faux report to give Mr. Obama cover to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in his second term should he be re-elected.This reminds me of an old political debate show on CNN (I can't remember its name). The program advertised itself as representing two viewpoints: liberal and conservative. There was only one problem: the liberal wasn't all that liberal! On many issues, he would agree with his ultra conservative counterpart and often, when they did disagree, it was a matter of degree, not a dispute about the policy or initiative itself.
~ from Meet Barack Obama by Rob Urie ~
What this TV program really did was that it featured two conservatives pretending to squabble. By declaring that their perspectives were far, far apart -- they weren't -- it worked to narrow the acceptable public discourse. If a true liberal or leftist had been allowed to participate in their round table debates, he/she would have been considered a heretic!
In this same vein, Obama followed this blueprint by selecting people for the Deficit Commission who already agreed on the basic parameters. The big question they wrestled with was not, should the social security fund be eviscerated, but how deep should the cuts be.