You have to dance with the one that brung you, and I'm dancing with the Democratic Party and Obama as fast as I can. That's basically it. There are no better options out there. But that doesn't mean that I don't still have some very strong opinions about the way Obama's natural long term vision, and his amiability, and his arrogance, are undercutting Democratic policies and positions at the same time that reality and reason are on the verge of making a handshake. Take Obama's move to the right on drilling. It was a typical Obama move--to the right, generous, open handed, without strings that was also less of a concession than it appeared. Perhaps it would even turn out to be nothing but lip service to drilling. I didn't oppose it because I believed it to be a deliberate policy of cutting the legs out from under the oil companies and the tea partiers that was essentially meaningless. I assumed--perhaps wrongly--that in the end the costs of the drilling, the costs of regulation, and a lot of other things would intervene before new wells were ever opened. In fact, I assumed that there would be a major oil spill somewhere in the world that might give our "drill baby drillers" themselves pause.
This new spill is just such fist on kidneys moment, isn't it? I mean, its not that we haven't seen spills and ecological damage before but they were always happening out there, in Africa or Saudi or anywhere but in our backyard so perhaps our countrymen and women didn't notice how grave such events are. But now even Bobby Jindal gets it. So, whither regulation? Or, wither regulation? Obama, as usual, is both lucky and unlucky in his enemies. Lucky if he chooses to seize the moment and really bring the hammer down on large industries. Unlucky if his move to the center on drilling enables the press and the public to see the this oil spill and its clean up as his fault. This is a well established pattern, at this point. From the get go Obama has had to take on the job of chief cleaner-upper of Bush and Cheney's mess. That's why we elected him. You don't hire a dog and bark yourself and if he wanted to try to do his job by moving to the center right rhetorically while still getting progressive things done on the DL that was his call. But when are he and his team going to grasp that you can't do that all the time--or you end up giving up too much territory? And when are he and his team going to grasp that although he's the greatest salesman we've ever seen in public office he simply can't do it alone. A great speech in Michigan about the goodness of good government, backed up by a full frontal push on regulation of banks and oil companies is one thing. A standalone speech by one guy in Michigan is another. The Democrats have to unite around this common theme: Good Government is all that stands between the little guy and total destruction. Or else. Or else what? Or else regardless of all the great speeches we will find ourselves living not just with Cheney's Chernobyle but with Obama's.