88 Thousand Former Obama Supporters Pledge NOT to Help in 2012 if Medicare/Medicaid Are Cut

In his speech today, President Obama affirmed his support for the Big Three social spending programs:  Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security  as essential to the American dream and the social contract, while at the same time pledging to "change" and "reform" them to meet budget needs. "I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other," he said. "we will reform these programs."

What exactly does "reform" mean, and how much will be cut? For many progressives, deep cuts to these vital programs are a line in the sand. So they're voting with their grassroots activism, pledging to withhold that resource--so vital to the last Presidential campaign--if that sacred line is crossed.

In 2008, so many of us knocked on doors and phone-banked, leafletted and rallied for "Change." In 2011, a lot has indeed changed, and not all for the better--and progressives are worried it will still get worse. That may explain the overwhelming interest in a campaign instigated by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in which former Obama volunteers and donors have declared that they won't lift a figure or write a check in 2012 if Medicare or Medicaid are cut.

With the big budget talk happening today, and a lot of progressives are absolutely terrified that major components of Medicare and Medicaid will be in due course offered up on the chopping block of "fiscal responsibility," effectively repealing the Great Society. So many have signed this very sharply-worded pledge saying they'll do none of those things if those two health entitlement plans are "put on the table" for serious cuts. Here's the text of the pledge:

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 to key programs.

And here's how many have signed it, according to the PCCC earlier today: "In less than 1 day, 88,000 Obama-2008 supporters pledged to withhold donations and volunteering from Obama if he cuts Medicare/Medicaid. This includes over 26,000 volunteers who gave 1.1 million volunteer hours in 2008 and over 43,000 donors who gave $8.2 million to Obama in 2008."

That's a lot of time and money.

Social Security supporters are similarly alarmed. A coalition of over 300 groups in the Strengthen Social Security Campaign have been engaged in their own full-court press to protect the program. They wrote a letter todayexpressing their own alarm about cuts to Social Security, and sent another letter from nearly 300 experts in the field to the same effect yesterday.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at April 13, 2011, 8:44am