He's done it again.
Politics is the art of the bargain. You start with a strong position, fight for it as hard as you can, and give in a bit toward the end, some magnanimous concession to the other side to secure a compromise. That's what's done by smart politicians who really want to accomplish something.
That's not what Barack Obama does, though.
Instead, every time the Obama launches a new policy initiative, his goal seems to be to achieve some sort of "bipartisanship," rather than to actually do what the initiative was allegedly intended to do. Toward that end, he rushes forward like a blind fool, giving away the store right out of the gate, demanding nothing in return, and clinging to the hope that the other side will recognize his magnanimity, and fall into a skipping, merry line behind him, singing "Kumbaya" all the way.
He's been in office over 14 months, and this has NEVER happened. Not once.
Nor, of course, will it ever happen, because his conservative rivals have adopted, as their official policy, stopping anything and everything he tries to pass. No matter what it is, they're officially against it.
If they hadn't made their intentions very plain in what they said 14 months ago, no one could argue they haven't made it as clear as crystal to the dimmest wit in the village by their actions in the time since.
The Obama proposes a stimulus plan--he lards it up with wasteful, less stimulative tax cuts in order to try to attract some Republican votes. 40% of the bill. At a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, he gets two. The Republicans' sincerity in opposing the bill can be gauged by the fact that over half of them, after voting against it, then returned home to their states and districts and took credit for all the money the bill is bringing in.
The Obama gets to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead of trying to redress the extreme reactionary tilt of the court, he opts for another conservative to replace the more moderate conservative retiree, driving the court even further right.
The Obama tackles health care, and the first thing he does is cast aside the single-payer approach favored by his base and an overwhelming majority of the public in favor of an industry-friendly, market-based "reform" bill--actually, just a corporate welfare bill--created by Republicans. He initially includes a "public option" component as at least some figment of a bone to the liberals; when it faces criticism, though, he immediately chucks it. He and the Democrats spend the better part of a year watering down the bill in a vain effort to draw Republican votes, and, in the end, have to pass it along party lines anyway--every Republican opposed.
The Obama has even championed their legislative proposals over and over again. The result: They turn against whatever it is, and denounce him as some sort of anti-American sub-man, and the policy as the work of same. The Obama endorses a Republican-authored spending freeze; the Republicans immediately abandon it. The Obama endorses the Republican-authored pay-as-you-go bill; the Republicans immediately abandon it. The Obama endorses the Republican-authored debt commission bill; the Republicans immediately abandon it.
The Republicans have filibustered nearly every piece of legislation, large and small, the Democrats have introduced into congress.
This is the record of the Obama's first 14 months in office. Fourteen months in which the Obama entirely wasted the most significant public mandates given an elected president in the lifetime of most of those reading these words, because instead of pursuing any significant goals, all he seems to want to do is get along with people who have, as official policy, refusing to get along with him under any circumstances.
So now it's time for an energy policy. We're in the opening stage.
Has the Obama FINALLY learned his lesson? Is he introducing bold new initiatives to aggressively develop alternate energy sources, and move away from the dirty, destructive, wasteful energy of the past?
Not a bit of it.
Instead--incredibly enough--he's decided, yet again, to give away the store in search of that fabled "bipartisanship." He recently announced an expansion of nuclear power, and today, he announced an expansion of oil and natural gas drilling in the U.S. A blatant smack in the face of his base (which he proceeded to marginalize via vile Clintonian "triangulation" remarks today), and a reversal of longstanding (and wise) moratoria. The press quotes multiple industry insiders expressing delight at this development. The early Republican response? Surprise, surprise, they're against it! Because, uh,... it doesn't go far enough. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Couldn't he at least have waited until April Fool's Day to announce it, and make it official?