Is President Obama bipolar?
Because this constant pendulum-swing between huge victories that sandbag opponents and self-destructive surrender/craven appeasement that empowers opponents makes no sense otherwise.
If he's not bipolar, then he's truly the corporate whore we feared he was when he handed the keys of the treasury to Big Pharma.
President Barack Obama today will announce a compromise to broadly open new areas off the U.S. coast to oil and natural gas drilling while protecting specific swaths, including Alaska's Bristol Bay.
The plan, to be announced at a late morning energy security event at Andrews Air Force Base may help Obama court bipartisan support for contentious climate change legislation but also could chafe environmental activists in states affected by expanded drilling.
Voices of moderation Kevin Drum and Steve Benen both wonder what the fuck is Obama thinking, giving away his best negotiating prizes before negotiating on cap-n-trade even begins.
But of course, that's exactly what he did with health care reform, announcing that single-payer was off the table before repugs and Blue Dogs even opened their mouths.
Benen later posted this 11-dimensional-chess theory:
Obama preempts the other side's most resonant arguments, which forces them to come up with more and more extreme claims in order to differentiate themselves. In the end, he occupies the reasonable middle ground and his opponents are Palinized.
I'd love to believe that, but it sounds too much like one of those so-sharp-he-cuts-himself tales. As Digby explains:
I think the White House is believing their own hype again. Somehow, the health care bill passing is now seen as the result of brilliant messaging and legislative tactics when in fact it was an ugly war of attrition that only passed because the Democrats had no choice but pass a bill as a matter of survival. It's a huge mistake to think it was a matter of great strategy because it wasn't. They barely got out alive and they should be very, very humble about their ability to play even one dimensional chess at this point.
I'm guessing they think they can work with Huckleberry Graham and that he can deliver. Dear Gawd. Even if he had the desire to be the GOP's bipartisan poster boy (for target practice), the neanderthals he represents in the South Carolina Republican party will yank his chain like he's a misbehaving pit bull. The likelihood that he is acting good faith is close to zero.
And if they still believe that offering up gestures of good will will work with these Republicans going into the election the Republicans believe they are going to win because of their obstruction strategy, they are cracked. The only way they will win any Republican votes is by forcing them into it because the GOP leadership is certainly going to be doing everything in their power to force them not to. They've proven that there is no such thing as a brave Republican willing to buck their party anymore.
One of the problems with "The Best and the Brightest" fellows is that they always get way too fine with their strategic planning. There really is no nuance with this GOP. You need to be a Grant, not a McClellan. I would have hoped they'd learned that lesson, but it appears they're going to give Lucy the football one more time.
Glad to be wrong about this. Don't think I am.
BTW: On the merits, this decision is crap. They must know that much. And it won't make one bit of difference with oil prices this summer, so any idea that they can manipulate public opinion with this decision is a joke. People go nuts over gas prices when they go up, period. Saying you've agreed to offshore drilling isn't going to change that.
You know what would make everyone's life a lot easier? Cut out the tricky shit and just Do. The. Right. Thing. You've got a huge majority and the country behind you. Use it.