New ProgressiveSpeak: Denial On Obama's Triangulation

Booman just can not accept that he is endorsing triangulation. So he invents a new definition - triangulation is NOT what Barack Obama does, even though it is exactly like triangulation:

I am going to posit that triangulation is a pejorative. It is a political act that is contrary to the interests of principled people on either the right or the left. Its use puts the immediate needs of the president over the needs of his party. It weakens his party and harms the issues for which his party stands. It's possible to argue otherwise. Some might see triangulation as a savvy strategy that is appropriate in certain circumstances (e.g., a Democratic president faced with a Gingrich Congress). But, I believe we are correct to condemn triangulation, provided we are careful to be sure we know what we mean by the term. And we are not careful.

All of this is a prelude to Booman tying himself in knots to explain why Bill Clinton triangulated but Barack Obama is not triangulating. Silly stuff. I'll explain on the flip.

Booman writes:

Triangulation was first self-consciously practiced on the advice of Dick Morris as a way for Clinton to recover from the disastrous 1994 midterms and win reelection in 1996. It succeeded in its primary goal, although alternative strategies may have worked just as well, or better. Clinton embraced deregulation and balanced budgets and most notoriously declared that the 'era of big government is over' in his 1996 State of the Union speech.

True. But to give Booman credit, he accepts that in fact Bill Clinton ran as a Third Way candidate, and even then, Booman acknowledges that:

Clinton didn't govern that way during his first two years in office. He pursued a employer-mandated form of universal health care reform and he attempted to keep his promise to the gay community that they could serve in the military. He passed sweeping gun control laws and the Family Leave Act. He hiked taxes to help balance the budget and pay for an expanded safety net. And he, and his party, got drubbed in the midterms. It was only then that Clinton really embraced a self-conscious strategy of triangulation.

(Emphasis supplied.) Indeed, faced with the reality of voter rejection of the Democratic Party, Clinton triangulated to take away wedge issues that hurt Democrats politically. And the result was, for the next 6 years, an improvement in Democratic political fortunes - much of it due to Clinton's ability (but mostly due to the economic success of his policies) to be seen as the middle in American politics while marginalizing the Gingrich GOP as the extremists.

But then Booman slides off the rails:

[Clinton] no longer had much of an agenda for himself, but instead decided to focus on passing items on the Republicans agenda. But he wanted to do it in a way that he could take all the credit for it. This was in part a nod to political reality. Gingrich's Congress wasn't going to pass anything on his agenda anyway, and he needed to show that he was still effective. But the cost was very high for liberal causes because Clinton was embracing one Republican idea after another and calling it his own.

This is just wrong. First, S-ChiP was no small achievement. Second, stopping the GOP agenda was Clinton's biggest agenda item. And he did it (Save Social Security First anyone?) I also refer Booman to Ed Kilgore on the subject:

Aside from the questionable suggestion that "triangulation" preceded and succeeded Dick Morris' brief tenure as a Clinton strategist, I'm reasonably sure that anyone connected with Bill Clinton would angrily reject the idea that "splitting the differences" between the two parties was the essence of Clintonism. But the same argument has raged with respect to the related concept of "The Third Way," which critics from both the Left and Right viewed as an effort to appropriate conservative policy ideas and political messages, but whose advocates always maintained was an effort to refresh the Left with new policy ideas while refusing to concede whole issue-areas to the Right.

Going to the source himself, Dick Morris did an entire chapter on triangulation in his 2003 book, Power Plays. Here's how he defined the term he made famous, as explained in a review of the book that I wrote at the time:

"The essence of triangulation is to use your party's solutions to solve the other side's problems. Use your tools to fix their car." Clinton, Morris shows, adopted the longstanding conservative goal of welfare reform as a top item on the Democratic agenda, but developed progressive policies, including higher funding for child care and stronger financial support for working families, to pursue that goal.

So according to Morris himself, triangulation isn't about compromising on principles or policies, but about preempting conservative wedge issues by addressing them through progressive policies.

That is what triangulation is supposed to be. And frankly, it never really works well from a policy perspective though it clearly worked for Clinton and the Democratic Party from a political perspective. Their political fortunes improved. So Booman's description of what triangulation is is simply wrong. From that error follow others:

So, I think we can see what triangulation is, but we're not yet clear on what it is not. At all times, in any era, a president must deal with the Congress he has and not the Congress he might wish to have. Except in very rare cases (FDR and LBJ) no president has the kind of majorities needed to just impose their will. It is therefore the norm that a president must compromise with the opposing party.

Let's stop right there for a moment. After chastising Bill Clinton for adopting triangulation in the face of the GOP takeover of Congress in 1994, Booman then jumps to saying it is "the norm that a President must compromise with the opposing party." Obama has the largest majorities in Congress since LBJ, Clinton had a Republican Congress, but it is Clinton who was wrong to adopt triangulation, not Obama? Incredible. Booman continues:

Obama cannot pass anything without getting some Republican support. But that does not mean he has to triangulate. He can still pursue his agenda, which includes climate/energy reform, immigration reform, financial services reform, and an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind. If he were to embrace triangulation, he would be adopting a Republican agenda and trying to call it his own.

Um, sort of like having a White House press conference announcing that you are in favor of off shore drilling? Come on. But those are small issues. As in his concern over school uniforms, Booman shows his talent for focusing on the meaningless - in this case Clinton's throwaway line that "the era of big government is over." (Harkening back to FDR railing about Hoover's deficits in the 1932 campaign if anyone cares to remember.) Booman writes:

This can be taken too far, as in the case of declaring the era of big government over, but on less fundamental issues it is harmless.

(Emphasis supplied.) The fundamental issue of Presidential throwaway lines over off shore drilling. Nice priorities there. But Booman ends with absurdity in his defense of Obama's triangulation:

Adopting your opponents' agenda and dropping your own, while praising things which, until yesterday, your party opposed? That's triangulation. And it will predictably do real damage to the party of any president who pursues it.

The irony drips, for that is precisely what Obama did yesterday regarding off shore drilling.

Whether Obama's triangulation is good or bad, justified or not, it is undeniable by any but blind devotees that Obama is in fact engaging in triangulation. Better to just take back all the nasty things you said about Clinton's triangulation than to continue this unseemly contortionist act.

Speaking for me only

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    there is nothing (5.00 / 12) (#1)
    by Turkana on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:00:10 PM EST
    some won't rationalize, no convolution of logic some won't attempt, and no factual inaccuracy that some won't embrace. this is change i can believe in.

    taking on booman's arguments is shooting fish in a barrel.

    Shooting Fish In A Barrel (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    Sure. But like Henry Adams said, "I want to fight some small  man and lick him."

    Wow (none / 0) (#9)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:17:29 PM EST
    "I want to fight some small  man and lick him."

    Sounds perverse.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:20:22 PM EST
    Old fogies like me have minds that do not work that way.

    Old Fogey? (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:30:16 PM EST
    Not sure age is the issue here, lol...

    I was called an old fogey not too long ago, and I tend to look younger than my age.

    Granted it was the first time and even though it was uttered by someone twenty years younger in a good spirited way, I was taken aback.


    You'll learn to like it (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:31:19 PM EST
    Especially when you have (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 03:45:53 PM EST
    no choice..

    As Jack N. said, "nothin' like havin' no choice to make you feel at home"


    Glad for your diary (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:13:47 PM EST
    at Big Orange....

    The off-shore drilling idea should fall....

    I don't see the same push to get a bill on energy as there was on health care....And, unlike health care, you can legislate piecemeal issues on the environment--you do not need a comprehensive approach to everything in one bill....


    having researched and written (5.00 / 6) (#18)
    by Turkana on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:46:56 PM EST
    quite a bit about climate change, i am sickened by yesterday's news. we are in a global crisis. and the same people are rationalizing even that.

    Thank you. (5.00 / 5) (#21)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:05:26 PM EST
    And it's not just climate change, as you know. It's massive biodiversity loss and extinction.

    Many studies have documented the connection between climate change and species extinction. A major example is the global decline of amphibians, which has been linked to a pathogenic fungus. Climate change is enabling the fungus to do its work.

    Yes, we are in an environmental crisis, and its saddening that our democrats aren't leading the way to help with any boldness or vision. Another example of fiddling while Rome burns, just like with the economy.


    Have you read Catton's Overshoot? (none / 0) (#45)
    by Raskolnikov on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 06:02:21 PM EST
    Brilliant book, written in the late 70s and published in '82, talks about how unsustainable our current ecological footprint is and draws analogs to other species overpopulating and dying out.  Ran across it when I was reading Derrick Jensen's Endgame.

    Full info for anyone interested:
    William R Catton - Overshoot: An Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change


    No, I haven't. Thanks. (none / 0) (#67)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:05:51 AM EST
    "our democrats?" (none / 0) (#54)
    by klassicheart on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 09:56:06 PM EST
    I assume you mean Obama?  Because Obama is the leader of the Democratic party.  All of his people control the Democratic party...This is not about Democrats...this is about Obama.

    I don't blame just Obama. (none / 0) (#68)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 08:06:25 AM EST
    I blame all the democrats in power, I'm sorry.

    Good articles and reporting (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:05:46 PM EST
    has moved opinion more than political leaders....

    Turkana is the last one left. (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by dkmich on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 03:43:27 PM EST
    They've pretty well driven everybody else off.  Dancing around the may pole and singing to the choir is what orange now does best.  Booman is another waste of time.  He doesn't blog.  He keeps a log on the web.  Blogging is a perjorative.

    Out-Republicaning the Republicans (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by bridget on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 04:57:33 PM EST
    Obama Revises Clinton's Disastrous Triangulation

    Ted Rall


    Obama's Triangulation is going wild .... and this after all those Clinton hating years when Clinton haters hated Triangulation no matter if they knew what it was:

    Electing Hillary Clinton? No way. He/She is a triangulator(ess). And there is nothing worse than that.

    I remember that so well ....On HuffPo, daily kos, just about on every blog years before the last election. So this is what change looks like!!!


    And more from the Rall link: (none / 0) (#51)
    by jawbone on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 09:07:17 PM EST
    Deficit negativity helped score votes among Democratic deficit hawks in Congress. But again, think about it: If the healthcare bill is making a profit for the U.S. government, where is that $130 billion coming from?

    Correct: you and me. Our taxes will be higher than they should be, our health benefits will be less.

    Obama, the media and many of us have forgotten what the problem was in the first place. Healthcare costs were too high. Thanks to this monster of a bill, they'll go even higher.

    The government should not make a profit off sick people.

    Even the Republicans wouldn't propose a tax this regressive.

    Now Obama is echoing Sarah Palin, right-winger-turned-Tea-Partier. "Drill, baby, drill!" says the president, guaranteeing oil-soaked beaches decades after he has retired. It's a terrible policy for the environment, won't lower gas prices by one red penny, and will further turn off liberal Democrats.

    Democrats will lose seats in Congress this fall. It may already be too late for Democrats to keep the White House in 2012. But if they continue to follow the Clinton-Obama triangulation strategy, they could destroy themselves for years to come. They might even expose the overall bankruptcy of our two-party pseudo-democracy.

    Ya think?


    Obama's not Clinton.- Never will be. (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by klassicheart on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 10:09:54 PM EST
    Except as noted by BTD, the circumstances surrounding Clinton's presidency were far more difficult for Democrats...and Clinton accomplished a lot given those facts on the ground...in addition to improving the Democrats' political fortunes and image.   The same cannot be said for Obama...I'd take Bill Clinton for President any day over Obama.

    So far.....me too (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 10:47:06 PM EST
    Obama is free to redeem himself anytime he would like to though.  He dude, my door is always open if you should ever decide to espouse Democratic principles :)

    Obama's announcement yesterday (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by magster on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:09:12 PM EST
    was well timed to give you a resounding victory in this debate over your fellow bloggers.  Wish you had lost...

    It really was (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:10:51 PM EST
    I was thinking that (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 03:02:23 PM EST
    Well, sorta anyway. There are two things going on:

    1. Obama is triangulating; and

    2. The left blogs are behind it.

    I was sure of #1, but uncomfortable with #2. And now #2 seems more correct than I had thought.

    Not everybody will defend everything he does, but too many do. More than even before, when it was already a problem


    The left blogs will end up tetrahedrulating (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by RonK Seattle on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 04:38:48 PM EST
    ... by positioning themselves at equal distances from three triangular points of reference (Congressional R's, Congressional D's, and President Obama).

    Some will assert that the tetrahedral light-speed cruisers in which they prowl the blogosphere are mere 3-space projections of their native 11-simplexes ... the closest representations our dimensionally-limited minds can grasp.

    And the funny thing is this: in our dimension, it'll be impossible to disprove these assertions.


    That's good!! (none / 0) (#56)
    by klassicheart on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 10:11:06 PM EST
    Morris sez (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:10:46 PM EST
    "The essence of triangulation is to use your party's solutions to solve the other side's problems. Use your tools to fix their car."

    Isn't this the opposite of what Obama did with health care, which was to use GOP solutions to solve the Dems' health care issue?

    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:13:09 PM EST
    But it does not really work that way.

    Yep. I'm beginning to think Booman is right. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Dan the Man on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:17:02 PM EST

    Please have some (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by david mizner on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:27:24 PM EST
    empathy for the Boo-man. It's not easy for professed progressives who are also longtime Obama champions. You either have to write "I was wrong" posts or crap.

    Any reasonable blogger would do the latter.

    Intellectual honesty is not a progressive (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by klassicheart on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 10:12:55 PM EST

    So it is unreasonable to be (none / 0) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 10:39:52 PM EST
    intellectually honest?  I think this is a spiritual crisis for Booman.

    Maybe Booman is right and we need (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:27:58 PM EST
    to come up with a new name for what Obama is doing. From the post:

    Adopting your opponents' agenda and dropping your own, while praising things which, until yesterday, your party opposed? That's triangulation. And it will predictably do real damage to the party of any president who pursues it.

    What Obama does:

    Adopts his opponents' agenda when in a majority position, claims it is Democratic policy, praises things which until yesterday the Democratic Party opposed. It does IMO do real damage to the party when he pursues it.

    For Other Current Examples (5.00 / 6) (#17)
    by The Maven on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:46:10 PM EST
    see also the current administration's adoption (and expansion upon) the Bush-era "state secrets" policy for keeping all evidence of government wrongdoing under wraps, or their walkback regarding civilian trials for accused terrorists & embrace of military commissions and preventive detention, and so on, and so on . . .

    These were issues we used to scream bloody murder about, and now they've only become mildly objectionable because "our guy" is promoting them and "we trust he knows what he's doing".  Sheesh!  It wasn't too long ago that the Republicans/right-wing had the market on hypocrisy cornered, but the New Progressives are certainly giving them a run for their money.


    Greenwald is all over this today (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jawbone on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 03:07:26 PM EST
    New judgement finding NSA wiretaps under BushCo illegal.

    What will Obama and his DOJ do? As they have done previously?

    Bets are on siding with BushCo in appeal. Power is addictive.


    Obama will most certainly side with BushCo (none / 0) (#38)
    by bridget on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 04:10:47 PM EST
    Power is not only addictive but it corrupts.

    Now is the time for the so-called "Progressives" to tell the man they voted into the White House to do the right thing: protect the civil liberties of the American people. AFAIR they promised to hold the Prez feet to the fire when nec. Well, Now is the time.

    But the Obama followers who keep glorifying him no matter what he is doing now and has done in the past .... will keep on doing nothing, find ways to defend his decisions ... and just keep on believin. Besides, Obama wouldn't care one way or another. He will continue and follow Bush's footsteps. .. It is hopeless.

    Thanks goodness there are still some decent judges left ... but it took a long time for this to happen. A long long time. There will be an appeal but at least the truth was out: wiretaps are illegal.


    At this stage, I am hoping that (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:52:55 PM EST
    the choir to which Booman is preaching is dwindling, because while it may be easy to shoot down his arguments, there are many who continue to find them eminently credible.  Which is pretty disturbing in and of itself.

    Booman's belief that Obama's strategy is not triangulation, but merely a "somewhat counterintuitive means" to [fill in the blank], is like an alcoholic saying that if he really wants to get sober, he has to start drinking.  Pretty much exposes the irrationality of Booman's thinking, but in this game of bloggy strip poker Booman's playing, I think he's about as exposed as he can be, even as he animatedly argues that he's still "wearing" aftershave and is convinced he's going to win!

    It's just so sad, really.

    Honestly, Booman is starting to be someone Garry Trudeau could have created for Doonesbury...

    Josh and Markos have yet (none / 0) (#23)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:09:18 PM EST
    to offer opinions on this....

    Meteor Blades notes the blowback....


    Access, n.t (none / 0) (#36)
    by dkmich on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 03:47:06 PM EST
    Oh, Bill Clinton just sat around trying to out (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by masslib on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:03:56 PM EST
    Gingrich Gingrich, huh?  Lawd.  Clinton let Gingrich shut down the federal government, an exceedingly gutsy move.  He wasn't exactly Gingrich's pasty.  

    One amphibian that hasnt declined (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:26:19 PM EST
    (enough): Newt Gingrich.

    Is it just me, or does that name sound like a character in The Screwtape Letters?


    interesting exercise in selective reading (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by kempis on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:24:43 PM EST
    I looked at Booman's wikipedia source on "triangulation" and found this:

    However, the campaign of President Barack Obama made expert use of triangulation. In his book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote, "It was Bill Clinton that recognized the categories of conservative and liberal played to Republican advantage and were inadequate to address our problems. Clinton's third way... tapped into the pragmatic, nonideological attitude of Americans.

    So Obama himself is on record as admiring Clinton's "third way" and the triangulation that naturally evolves from it. (I think Morris rebranded an old political idea and touted it to make himself look like some genius.) And Obama's own "red state, blue state, United States" stance is actually Clintonian:

    In a recent piece in the New Republic[2], Jonathan Chait writes Obama's "rhetoric removes the locus of debate from the realm of tribal conflict-- red state versus blue state, Islam versus America--and puts it onto specific questions--Is the American health care system fair? Is terrorism justified?-- where Obama believes he can win support from soft adherents of the opposing camp."

    There really is nothing new under the sun. But Obama ran as something new. He was the un-Clinton choice who ran against all the old, established negative images long-held by progressives regarding the Clintons. So by contrast, Obama seemed progressive to those who resented Clinton's Third Way centrism. In reality, Obama is following Clinton's footsteps, but with less integrity. After all, Clinton made it clear from the get-go in his 92 campaign that he was a centrist, a founding member of the DLC, and he intended to "end welfare as we know it." Obama, who is now adopting conservative and corporatist positions all over the place, ran as a "reformer"--the kind of Democratic leader that we boomers like to think that Bobby Kennedy would have been had he lived. Clinton ran as a centrist; Obama ran as a transformational reformer. Clinton governed as a centrist Democrat; Obama governs as a moderate Republican. We got transformation, OK. But Obama was what transformed.

    My main problem with all of this is that people like Booman and other Obama loyalists are losing the meaning of the term "progressive." Obama is pushing the center farther to the right, not to the left, as he "bargains" by first ceding enormous ground to the right. He did it on health care and now on energy reform. Pretending that Obama is a progressive only adds to that rightward shift. When progressives think off-shore drilling must be A-OK because Obama sez so, then I wonder what "progressive" means now.

    And all the demonizing of Bill Clinton in the world won't clarify "progressive," not as long as these folks can't see that their "progressive" president is a "third way," non-card-carrying DLC-er--only he didn't say so in 2008.

    It's dangerous to sacrifice the meaning of progressive to preserve the fantasy that Barack Obama is one.

    To Many of These Folks (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by The Maven on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:49:25 PM EST
    whatever Obama decides to do = "progressive".

    In redefining the term that way, it loses all ideological significance (and coherence, for that matter).  By imbuing everything supported by Obama as progressive, the word is drained of its potential positive connotations from a framing standpoint, though I suspect the idea was to try to lock in those connotations by tying them to a popular leader.  The term may thus ebb should Obama's popularity wane.


    Well, at least history isn't repeating himself (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by observed on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:48:51 PM EST
    Even Chamberlain didn't abjectly surrender to the Germans before a single shot was fired.

    Maybe Booman likes the word Appeasement (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 03:48:22 PM EST
    better than 'Triangulation'

    behind in describing Obama...He is definitely not a leader...let alone a visionary.  But Ted Kennedy told everyone Obama was the second coming...Shouldn't be we asking all those elected Democrats why they supported Obama?  Did they know something many did not?

    O-angulation (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by lambert on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:58:29 PM EST
    If we call it O-angulation, instead of tri-angulation, would that make Booman happy?

    Baraculation? (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 07:26:34 PM EST
    That's better. (none / 0) (#48)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 07:27:27 PM EST
    Strangulation. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Salo on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 07:26:01 PM EST
    That's what i call it.

    Quite perfect but maybe on the mild side (none / 0) (#59)
    by klassicheart on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 10:21:11 PM EST
    Triangulation, hell, it's POLITICS (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Dadler on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 03:21:14 PM EST
    The true believers can't even get themselves to admit that Obama is, first, a politician.  Saying he's a triangulator, too, holy sh*t, not a chance.

    My question is... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 04:52:23 PM EST
    ...is anyone going to fight Obama on this? I don't mean our useless "representatives," but people who voted for him and supported him, environmental groups and the like? Is there going to be any blowback whatsoever?

    This isn't like healthcare. It's actually much, much worse. Once those coastlines are devastated (and the Chesapeake Bay, where I live, is already in a death spiral), there is no fixing them. Once those ecosystems are trashed, there is no going back. Nobody in the WH seems to get this, or give a flying frack, so who is going to make them care?

    Surfriders? (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 07:28:14 PM EST
    10, 28, '88, (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by seabos84 on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 10:24:18 PM EST
    I was a 28 yr. old, poli sci major drop out, 10 buck an hour cook in Boston in '88.

    I remember the DLC third way dukakis stuff -

    I remember being on welfare and financial aid as a teenager in the 70's, and it really sucked, and I remember the lies that worked so wonderfully for Prop 13 & for Ronnie Raygun and for cutting the sucky programs that helped keep us from living in some grapes of wrath squalor.

    I remember a dim-o-pathetic party that couldn't give water to thirsty people getting their butts KICKED by the most blatant lies.  I remember randomly meeting various political wannabees full of themselves & looking for chumps to use. I remember reading the Tip O'Neil - my congress critter - sycophant excuses for losing to the lies of the right.

    I remember hoping & believing that this 3rd way would make programs work and would make government work, and we'd take on the liars of the right, and get the dim-o-losers stuck in 1948 to get up to speed on a new collapsing casino economy.

    I do NOT remember voting FOR clinton to then have right wing lies turned into policy. I do remember my cousin despising clinton cuz "clinton only cares about clinton", and I do remember that I really didn't understand what my cousin was saying until all the lewinsky nonsense came out.

    And I moved to Seattle in '89 & worked cooking on the Dimmest Catch in Alaska on 11 different death trap boats, & saved money, & got a math degree from the u.w. in seattle, and I didn't drool in interviews & ummmm worked in high tech in the late 90's ...

    and I remember the same kind of credentialed cliquey back stabbing wannabee k-school charlatans trying to move and shake their way to the top of the dim-o-diaper-pooper party of seattle and washington...making excuses and excuses and excuses for gore and kerry and murray and cantwell  and gregroire and gary locke and ron sims ...

    and after decades of losing to liars, at a very BASE level, WHO fracking cares what the excuses for losing are?

    The ONLY thing which is interesting about the excuses is their complexity - the more complex, the more we the peeeeee-ons are losing. It ain't that complicated, and it don't take a an ivy degree or a law degree to figure out.

    The more complex the excuses, the more we the peeeeee-ons are losing. Triangulation is too complex, and, by the way, the policies are right wing.


    I just read Booman's sad rebuttal (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:26:25 AM EST
    I guess he hasn't noticed that since being inagurated Obama has surrounded himself with DLC leadership.

    From the comments (none / 0) (#11)
    by lilburro on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:26:31 PM EST
    Booman sayeth:

    Re: Triangulation: What It Is, and Isn't (none / 0)
    it's okay if you don't accept my argument, but what I am arguing is that Obama is pursuing his own agenda (a bill to address climate change) which is something most Republicans seem to deny is even occurring.  It's clearly his own agenda.  
    Drilling is merely a somewhat counterintuitive means towards that end.  Repealing Glass-Steagall and taking credit for it?  That's triangulation.  See the difference?

    In another comment I noted his workable definition of triangulation (also in defense of Obama):  "Traingulation isn't a strategy of saying things that make unions unhappy, it is a strategy of doing things that make unions unhappy."

    You noted elsewhere that pretending not to see the triangulation hurts progressive issues.  I know Booman doesn't give a sh*t about framing (unless it's framing the President) but I'd say he is a perfect example.  His endless contortions on the public option (no really, Obama is planning it out, we just have to trust him and be less critical) were completely wrong.  And he's obviously doing the same thing again here - attributing this drilling announcement to an 11th dimensional chess plan in which Obama will appeal to the nation and say "I gave the Republicans what they want!" and an outcry will begin that overcomes FoxNews and the Republicans and that will make them suddenly reasonable and viola! the climate change bill will pass intact.  Although maybe Obama believes this too, I don't know.

    Let's be clear (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 01:30:28 PM EST
    LIKE ALL POLS, Obama is acting in his own political interest as he perceives it.

    From what I know, on the politics, this is a smart move for Obama.

    People often think I am criticizing Obama most of the time. I am past that now. Mostly I am criticizing New Progressives mostly now.

    Obama is a pol. And they do what they do.

    Progressives need to detach themselves from pols.


    The politics on this (5.00 / 6) (#26)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 02:32:28 PM EST
    may not be all that favorable.  

    Many Republicans have been fine with the off-shore ban.  The Maine Senators are one example....Independents are one group who have been willing to listen to environmental issues....This is, has been, and can be a winning issue for Democrats.

    All Obama had to do on on off-shore drilling was not fumble.  Just hand the ball off to the fullback for three yards and a cloud of dust....There are all kinds of talented Democrats who know how to go forward on this....All Obama had to do is listen to them.

    Instead, he tried some kind of razzle, dazzle play...and in the process intentionally lobbed the ball to the defense to run the ball back for a touchdown--all in the hopes that now that he has allowed the defense to score, they will now be nice to him and let him score on the next possession.


    Great comment (none / 0) (#33)
    by lilburro on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 03:41:19 PM EST
    with environmental issues, framing DOES matter.  As does adhering to facts.

    I have not the slightest idea what you are saying (none / 0) (#40)
    by bridget on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 04:33:55 PM EST
    must be guy ball talk so popular on TV ....

    but playing ball is for kids .. no?


    Yes, "playing" is for kids (none / 0) (#44)
    by MKS on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 05:18:03 PM EST
    So, when you get older, you get to "talk."

    Progressives detaching themselves from Obama? (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by bridget on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 04:27:40 PM EST

    It may even be more difficult for them to do that than for the chocoholics or alcoholics who try to give up that beloved addiction.

    It would be just too painful.

    Besides, what would they do once the source of their daily pleasure is gone?
    Turn of the computer ... learn to walk again ... and form a new political movement? Fight for peace? The peaceful way? Remember how the Berlin Wall came down? Just like that.

    Just dreamin ...


    Change (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by norris morris on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 09:20:18 PM EST
    Thanks for your post. We get what we fight for.
    And if what we've got is not good enough we have to tear our own walls down.

    Yes, what happened to peace?  Along with all the rest.

    I'm waiting for people to wake up and pushback.


    So do I, norris morris, So do I ... (none / 0) (#65)
    by bridget on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 12:59:04 AM EST
    I was so glad to read your response. And I thank you, too.

    Peace! Peace! Peace!


    Bloggers are bloggers too ... (none / 0) (#50)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 08:05:54 PM EST
    And most of their actions relate to making a living as bloggers.  They are acting with these interests in mind, rather than progressive policies or intellectual honesty.

    When viewed through this prism a lot of their nonsense makes perfect sense.

    Those few who have another source of primary income, completely outside the political sphere, are different.  But there are very few of those. Especially among the so-called "a-listers."

    Whether this makes them more craven than pols is a debatable point. (I tend to think it does, because most of them couldn't make a comparable living doing anything else, which isn't true of the majority of pols.)  But I think suggesting Pols have an ulterior motive, and bloggers don't, shows a misunderstanding of what most bloggers are about.


    I think access is huge with Booman (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 10:49:49 PM EST
    He will write sh*t like this in order to be in whatever inner circle the administration will throw his way.  Even if they do nothing but use him like the tool he seems to want to be.

    A very important point (none / 0) (#61)
    by klassicheart on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 10:27:41 PM EST
    that I agree with completely.  Assuming these people are intellectually honest disappeared with the primaries.  Most of these people are bought and paid for.  The new assumption is that there are no other choices out there....BTD has ably argued that true progressives must be willing to walk to have any influence on the policy debate.

    Detach? (none / 0) (#52)
    by norris morris on Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 09:15:53 PM EST
    So, we just detach ourselves? Nonesense. Obama is a pol? Duh. What a cop out.

    So, we are supposed to go somewhere and not hold this hype artist accountable for caving on just about everything?  Because?  Because he's just a pol?  This is crazy reasoning. Passive,destructive and lacking any ethical expectation from our elected leaders. This is ok?

    Of course, Obama must be held accountable for flip flopping on just about everything.  His opportunistic rhetoric and driven Chicago politics  conned a lot of people into thinking he had principles. He laid it on and promised change.

    It's up to us to point out where he caves and what we expect. Cynically both Obama and Rham & Co have no regard for progressives or liberals as they feel we don't count as we have no place else to go. Their vote counting tells them they only need the middle.

    Obama hasn't changed a thing. The HCR is heralded by sycophants as an FDR moment. Absurd.

    We have a long way to go if this is an idea of HCR, and now the Gas and Oil drilling which is costly and meaningless on every level.  The hypocrisy is so blatant and hubristic that it's mind boggling.

    But we really have choices. One is to always speak up especially against drivel like Boorman's, and illumninate facts when we find them.

    Other choices? Voting. Or not voting. Plying political pressure and exerting influence on the grass roots.

    This is actually how change happens.  Obama just needs to get elected and preen in his countenance as a more benevolent version of Reagan.  You know, everybody liked Reagan.

    Well we know that not everybody liked Reagan. We just voted for the wrong guy.

    And we don't. Except to call out compromises,
    hypocricy and broken promises, and poor choices  Obama has been using [newest Oil/Gas flip] to gain credibility and triangulate.

    How Boorman can knock Clinton's triangulation which was actually good pushback against Gingrich & GOP's hijacking the country to a standstill, and deny that Obama is using triangulation is a mystery. His denial of Obama's political ploys have no merit. And his inability to criticize Obama's approach to governing leaves me wanting to read someone else whose objectivity is not for sale.