Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lesson Unlearned

On the surface, today's decision by President Obama to lift a ban on some offshore drilling seems like a perfect follow-up to health care reform:  it's something that makes pragmatic sense, it doesn't require any arm-twisting in Congress, it appeals to moderates and it neatly traps the GOP (after all, it was their idea in the first place.)  Most importantly, Obama sees it as a compromise step towards climate legislation.  It's low-hanging fruit, and Obama could surely use something easier after the year-plus long slog through the marshes on health care reform.

All of this of course proves Obama didn't learn a friggin' thing from his last 14 months in office.  If he had, he never would have even attempted this.  In fact, this decision worries me about Obama to the point where I have to openly question if the guy's been paying attention at all to the Republican party.

I love Obama, but I honestly am shocked that he did this.  It's a carefully calculated political move, but the political calculus demanded that his next act needed to be something that would excite the Democratic party base, not piss it off and bring out the firebagger brigade while guaranteeing the Republicans would just attack Obama for not going far enough.


And that's exactly what happened today.  MoJo's Kate Sheppard:

So far, Obama’s gesture at bipartisanship has been met with scorn on the right. On Wednesday, John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House minority leader, fired off a statement saying that Obama's plan did not open up enough off-shore territory for drilling and chiding him for "delaying American energy production off all our shores." Obama’s previous offering to Republicans and apprehensive Democrats, a major expansion of government support for nuclear power, was met with similar disdain.

While Obama's overtures aren't earning him much goodwill among detractors, his drilling plan is sure to anger the Senate's progressive, coastal state senators, who last week fired off a missive to the senators working on a climate and energy package that said expanded off-shore drilling was a deal-breaker. New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg today condemned the plan as a "Kill, baby, kill" approach to energy policy.
Why Obama's first reaction towards starting the next leg of his policy agenda is "Step 1)  Compromise With Republicans By Telling Progressives To Eat This Bullshit" after the empirical evidence of HCR with all zero of its Republican votes for the finished product, I can't explain.

Well no, I can explain it, and all the explanations make me rather depressed for the rest of the Obama presidency.  I really do want to know who in the Obama braintrust thought this would be a good idea that wouldn't completely explode in the President's face.  I also want to know why the rest of Obama's crew didn't immediately say "Hey, no offense, but compromising with the Republicans seems to only encourage them to complain about not getting 100% of their own way 100% of the time, maybe this is not such a good idea."

What it says to me is that somebody's learning curve is a flat-line, and at this point in the Presidency going forward, that's unacceptable.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This was a calling of their bluff. It takes it off the table entirely! And it's not going to hArm the ocean when none of the companies actually drill- which looks like what will happen. This thing actually had traction with republidonts, now it is gone. Hilarious.

Paul W. said...

Agreed anonymous, this is about taking away talking points and appearing to be the only reasonable guy in the debate (a stance Obama has successfully taken dozens of times since the 2008 primaries) not about winning the far right wing. There's a quote somewhere about Obama saying he's "never going to win members of the tea party" and this isn't an attempt at that. We've already seen those folks denounce this move, instead this is for folks in the middle wondering what all the screaming is about when this nice man appears to be listening to what Americans want.

In Ur Blog Eatin Waffles said...

"I love Obama"

This we knew, there's a certain bond there.

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