Who coined ‘Catfood Commission’?: a Contest!
by Bruce Webb
(A contest with no prizes, AB doesn’t have fundraisers or sell t-shirts and is lucky if ad money keeps the servers on. And this is just a solo effort by me anyway.)
‘Catfood Commission’ or alternately ‘Cat Food Commission’ apparently started as a lefty-blogger in-joke but has since caught on in a big way, to the point that it is moving the messaging on Social Security. For example below the fold you will find an invite to a counterprotest in DC that hit my in-box specifically using this theme. And note they don’t even have to explain the reference directly, this one went viral in a big way. So who gets credit?
Early contenders are Digby of Hullabaloo and Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake but they might have just picked it up from their commenters or bloggers. A preliminary search on ‘Catfood Commission’ turns up this one from Lambert at CorrenteWire on June 16th, but already seems to be assumed to be familiar to the sites readership Cat Food Commission is strategic default by the rich. I’ll be poking around and updating as I find earlier cites, others can put candidates in the comments. But somebody deserves credit for this one.
(Update 1) So far it looks like Jane may have conceptual credit, she drew the connection between the Peterson inspired Fiscal Responsibility Commission that was supposed to come out of the Fiscal Responsibility Summit all the way back in Feb 2009. Hedge Fund Billionaire Pete Peterson Key Speaker At Obama “Fiscal Responsibility Summit,” Will Tell Us All Why Little Old Ladies Must Eat Cat Food. But I am still interested in finding the first citation of ‘Catfood Commission’ specifically referring to the Obama Commission.
Update 2) A search at Digby shows she drew the same conceptual connection a few days after Jane but first seemed to use the label ‘Catfood Commission’ in connection with the attempt to attach Conrad-Gregg to the Debt Limit Bill in this post from Nov 12, 2009 It’s Baaaack
Not that it ever went away. The catfood commission is the Zombie that has been clawing at the door since Obama was elected:
Please join the Americans United Protest at the Young Guns event tonight at 5:30 outside Johnny’s Half Shell near Union Station. There will be a big display of cat food backing our protest against the Republican plan to gut Social Security.
Seniors, Activists Gather for Cat Food Feast; As Republican “Young Guns” Take Aim at Social Security, Medicare
Reps. Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor Unveil New Book, Old Plan to Force Millions of Seniors into Poverty
On Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:30 p.m., seniors and advocates will gather for a symbolic feast of “Cat Food on the Half Shell” outside the restaurant where Republican leaders will snack on lobster and tout their plans to gut Medicare and Social Security and force millions into poverty.
Ed Coyle, National Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans will detail the potential damage that could result if Rep. Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy’s misguided plans to replace Medicare with vouchers to buy private insurance and to gamble your Social Security on Wall Street take affect under a Boehner-led Congress.
What: Public Protest; Date: Tuesday, September 14th; When: 5:30 pm EDT (event will end by 6 pm)
Where: Side walk outside Johnny’s Half Shell 400 North Capitol Street, NW (1 block from Union Station) Corner of North Capitol and Louisiana Ave. (in DC)
Just in case things get interesting, I hereby claim coinage of “catfight commission”.
“does he think…?”
and anyway all those problems you mention won’t happen until he is out of office. and every young person knows he will never get old. and when he does he will be rich. and he will love his job and never want to retire. and he can make more by managing his own money.
i read it in the news so i know its true.
Jack–go to Fire Dog Lake and run its search for catfood commission. Hamsher’s Feb 2009 use of the phrase pops up first but that’s a search just for FDL. I think.
Regarding “seniors eating cat food”, it was a common theme among the Notch Baby crowd in 1986 when I became manager of the SS office in Santa Maria. We had a little “contact station” or temporary facility for periodic visits in Lompoc, CA (that’s Lom-POKE, not Lom-POCK, y’all). Went there twice a week to do business for the citizens there to save ’em a trip to Santa Maria or Santa Barbara. So, that was the end of the Reagan administration and there was NO MONEY. NADA. ZILCH. ZIP. ZIPPO. for excursions to the country side to talk to 20 or 30 people twice a week. So, I proposed not going. And all because they were born after the magic cutoff back in the
Hysterical attacks by all and sundry by people calling on the phone and writing angry letters to the Lompoc paper saying that this evil govt bureaucrat was trying to starve people to death or force them to eat catfood because we weren’t going over to visit them. That in turn brought on an avalanche of complaints about how recent retirees had been screwed out of their rightful benefits by, YES! Greenspan’s Commission, and were forced to eat catfood because they couldn’t afford McDonald’s anymore. The cutoff date for the old computations was DOB’s before 1920 something and everyone who was affected had it figured out in a NY minute. People never caught on to the increased FICA though. Odd, that now you think about it. FYI. NancyO
Buff. The term Catfood Commission was first applied by Digby in reference to the attempt to attach Conrad-Gregg to the Debt Limit Bill in Nov 2009. And Conrad-Gregg like its House counterpart Cooper-Wolf SAFE were directly inspired by Peter G Peterson and proposals to establish precisely this kind of Commission back before 2007 with the Concord Coalition Fiscal WakeUp Tour. If you examine the people involved in the Fiscal WakeUp Tour, the Brookings-Heritage Fiscal Seminar, and the Peterson-Pew Commission, all of which proposed Catfood Commissions well before Obama was President you will see substantial overlap and continuity in personnel, argumentation of even phraseology, particularly between the various Peterson groups and Cooper-Wolf SAFE, in fact if you visit the various webpages you see explicit cross endorsements between Brookings-Heritage/Concord/CRFB/Peterson-Pew and Cooper-Wolf. The connections between these PGP Commission proposals and Conrad-Gregg are not as clear because Cooper-Wolf left room for participation by ‘non-partisan/bi-partisan experts’, i.e. Peterson’s hand-picked folk, while Conrad-Gregg proposed a strictly Congressional membership for its version. In any event the subsequent Obama Commission is clearly a direct blend of Cooper-Wolf and Conrad-Gregg with fewer Congressional members than the latter but fewer outside experts than the former.
So the wellspring for all of this can be said to either be just from deep red Republican billionaire PGP or from two parallel proposals by Conservadem/Blue Dog and Republicans introduced originally in 2007, in reality it is a blend of both. It is perfectly fair to blame this on Obama, nobody put a gun to his head and made him convene the Fiscal Responsibility Summit at the suggestion, and originally planned to be carried out under the supervision, of a conservative Hedge Fund billionaire Peterson, but the only way to plausibly blame ‘Democrats’ as such is to put a hand over one eye while jabbing a sharp stick in the other.
This is not remotely an enterprise pushed by Democratic leadership, although admittedly Hoyer rolled over early and Durbin has been wishy-washy, this is a conservative and largely Republican inspired push.
Frankly your all purpose ‘Democrats have been in charge since 2006’ line is pretty stale and unconvincing to anyone who actually has paid any attention to process. Instead the Republicans have used filibuster rules in hyper-aggressive fashion to ensure that progressives have effectively zero voice in any of this and that all ‘compromise’ is defined as having Conservadems like Nelson and quislings like Lieberman agree to far-right proposals.
The roots of the Catfood Commission simply do not lie in Democratic soil, And this WAS NOT STARTED BY Obama.
As far as “couln’t even take a half-heated swipe’ what the eff do you think Bush’s ‘bi-partisan’ CSSS and its push for the so-called ‘compromise’ Model 2 privatization plan was?, something that Bush was pushing kind of aggressively in Spring and Summer 2005, only to see Republicans get their asses handed to them in 2006. Boehner and pals took the biggest swipe they could, anyone who doesn’t think this wasn’t high on the Republican agenda the last time they were in total control is the guy that needs to start taking the NEVER FORGET pills. Did the Bush Social Security Tour of 2005 simply not happen at all? That they failed didn’t mean they didn’t try. They just recalibrated and introduced Cooper-Wolf in 2007, a backhanded attempt to succeed where the Congress before had failed.
Actually if you want to take this back farther the roots of both Bush’s CSSS and the various plans proposed here can be traced back to the Peterson inspired and staffed Kerrey-Danforth Entitlements […]
Now I know what else you flew I won’t be as kind.
Check this out, http://www.salon.com/news/economics/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2010/09/14/lind_war_socialism
A cat food commission for all fed retirees is coming.
Gregg is an old New Hampshire yankee form a rich conservative family who is leaving senate to retire on the fed munificience. A Reagan top oner neocon!
ilsm will not change
You had a catfight and didn’t invite me? (sniff)
Y’all in Lompoc say “y’all”?
Because the most important thing is not getting policy right. NEVER forget that. The most important thing is getting partisanship right. What crap.
No, K. They ain’t y’all. All y’all here is y’all. Got it? NO
i was responding to jack, but js=kit intervened.
Stop thinking so much and get in touch with your baser instincts. The times require a more thoughtless approach.
I am fairly certain that Digby coined the phrase. A chronological search of the internet finds no hits before Digby’s 11/2009 posting. But the concept of old ladies being forced to eat catfood has been around forever. A while back I emailed Digby to ask if she coined it or heard it from someone else. Didn’t get a response.