Skip to content

Courting the GOP

© Matt Davies

Are the Democrats spineless, or is Ralph Nader correct when he claims that they are just as beholden to corporations and the rich? Or is Obama triangulating like Clinton used to do?



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    explain “triangulating”. Thanks, Eva

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:


    Triangulation works when you can adopt positions of your opposition, picking up moderate and independent voters, while not losing members of your base. You may piss off your base, but they will still support you because the alternatives to them are even worse.

    The widespread use of triangulation is often attributed to Clinton, but it was common before that. For example, Nixon visited China, despite his former anti-communist positions. If a Democratic president had visited China he would have been attacked viciously by the right, but Nixon got away with it because of his communist-hating credentials.

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink
  3. il-08 wrote:

    Hence the phrase ‘Only Nixon could go to China’. Taking it a step further, fill in the blank,

    Only Obama could ………

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink
  4. il-08 wrote:

    Kill single payer…..

    Give the wealthy tax breaks……

    Start a third war…..

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 9:27 am | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    IL-08, I love your idea (“Only Obama could ____”) but disagree with your examples. Bush and his Republican predecessors started plenty of wars and handed out tax breaks like candy. And the Republicans have been killing single payer for a long time, and even want to kill our existing single payer health system, Medicare.

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink
  6. Dan wrote:

    Austerity measures… hmmm, wonder how that will turn out. Too bad Hoover isn’t around, we could ask him how going down that road worked for him.
    Only Obama could: be an African American racist, socialist, fascist, and all the those other propaganda labels at the same time.
    Today’s date is Dec 4, 1983.

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  7. il-08 wrote:

    I’ll give you the tax breaks, perhaps rephrased as extended the bush tax cuts to the wealthy would be more accurate, but I’ll stand by the others, with two unpopular wars going and people finally wising up to the futility of war in the middle east, I don’t think even bush/cheney could have started a third one, and with an overwhelming majority in both the house and senate and in popular opinion, Obama is really the only one who could have killed single payer this time. I still love the guy, but I wish we could find a democrat who could lead like a republican…..

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  8. Michael wrote:

    Only Obama could kill Social Security. OK, it hasn’t happened yet, but it’s been mentioned as part of some “grand deal.”

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink
  9. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    In answer to your first question in the original post, my response is “a little of this, a little of that!”

    More importantly, I think negotiating with them is proving useless due to a fundamental shift in the party platform.

    I’m not sure I’m even old enough to know when it started, only that recently they took the amateur game and went pro. The platform has become infected with religiosity. I don’t mean that in the sense that religious folks have infiltrated the party, though I believe that as well.

    I mean it in two aspects. One is that the party has adopted beliefs they will adhere to as ‘known truths’ beyond all evidence to the contrary. The other and more insidious part of this is that these beliefs have taken on a moral shading where there was not before.

    Tax rates are not a moral issue. However, the idea of raising taxes now belongs not just to liberals or Democrats. It belongs to the unjust. It belongs to the treacherous, the treasonous. It belongs to a group of people who are actively seeking the downfall of America.

    Other issues are being tossed in here as well. Debt ceiling, dealings with unions and pensions, immigration.

    Republicans have long since held a monopoly on social issues and that is nothing new. But the new thing now is that economic policy and foreign policy are now social issues as well.

    Because of this fundamental shift, the game has changed. Agreeing to tax increases is no longer a compromise, it is selling out to evil. It is on the same level as cooperating with terrorists to attack our country.

    The Republican politicians certainly started down this path on purpose, but I’m not sure they were aware of how effective it would be in igniting the base (or at least adding more and more extremists to it). I believe this will wind up being a deal with the devil for them because it no longer allows them to govern in any real sense of the word. It only allows them to wage war and damn the casualties.

    But, back to the original point, this makes negotiation impossible. Quite simply, they won’t negotiate with terrorists, and that is anyone who they are having to negotiate with.

    I suggest this piece by David Brooks:

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Permalink
  10. Arthanyel wrote:


    Obama didn’t extend the Bush tax breaks on the wealthy. He accepted the Republican demands for those breaks as part of the package that insured middle class voters didn’t get a tax increase. If you want to blame Obama for extending tax cuts on the middle class, that’s a fair characterization. But the tax breaks on the rich are 100% Republican.

    Obama didn’t start a third war. Obama didn’t start the action in Libya and based on what is happening there I don’t know that “war” is the appropriate description.

    And Obama didn’t kill the single payer option. He favored it. It was clear, however, that thee was no way to pass health care reform if it included a single payer option because the Republicans and their allies (that means you, Joe Lieberman) prevented it.

    So I don’t think any of these examples is accurate.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    Actually, even though I’m an Obama supporter, I’m willing to blame killing single-payer on Obama. He never put it on the table. Depending on who you believe, it was part of a backroom deal with the pharma and health insurance industry (in exchange for support of reform) — a deal that they didn’t even keep (the bastards). So even if he killed it in order to get the bill passed, I still think it is fair to blame him for killing it. Would single payer have ever gotten through Congress? Probably not. Clinton tried and failed. But Obama didn’t even try.

    One can argue that at least Obama got some reform, and that is a good point.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  12. Arthanyel wrote:

    IK – you can not kill something that is already dead. When Obama agreed to take it out it was already clear it could never pass.

    But I will agree he did give a few whacks at the dead horse on its way to the glue factory.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink