Via Pacific John at Alegre's Corner, the uncomparable Glenn Greenwald's Obama and liberals: A counter-productive relationship
But Krugman's larger point is correct: Republican groups demand from politicians support for their beliefs. By contrast, as Judis describes, Democratic groups -- including (perhaps especially) liberal activist groups -- now (with some exceptions) lend their allegiance to the party and its leader regardless of how faithful the party leadership is to their beliefs. That disparity means that there is often great popular agitation and political pressure exerted from the Right, but almost none from the Left (I'm using the terms "Left" and "Right" here in their conventional sense: "Right" being the core of the GOP and "Left" being those who most consistently and vigorously opposed Bush's foreign and domestic policies).
Campskunk has a terrific post up entitled: When is an Entitlement Program Not an Entitlement Program? WHEN IT'S YOUR !@*%# MONEY!.
The use of entitlement programs as a pejorative term by Republicans (and, sadly, some Democrats) tries to make you believe that they're all welfare programs created by a runaway nanny state. Obama's proposal to tax income over $100,000 a year is an effort to move Social Security toward such a program; higher-income people would be subsidizing the less well off. The beauty of the Social Security retirement benefit and Medicare benefit, though, is that you're getting your own !@*%# money back that you put into it. Everybody gets taxed on their first (and for most of us here, only) $100k of income. You have to work a certain number of years to qualify, etc. Social Security Disability and Medicaid are another matter, but, given the atrocious track record of our society in compensating people for work-related disabilities or taking care of the disabled, that's probably a good thing. In fact, hop on over to Alegre's Corner and read the incredible posts by Alegre and the other bloggers who post there. And, if you are in a position, Alegre recently became yet another victim of this rapidly shrinking economy, so if you like what you see, feel free to leave her a token of your appreciation.