Thursday, April 01, 2010

Offshore drilling decision: a sad pattern

Joe Conason explain in Offshore drilling: Did Rahm Emanuel sell out too soon? Salon 04/01/10:

With President Obama's announcement that he will reopen offshore drilling, in the absence of any reciprocal commitment from Republicans to support carbon caps and alternative energy development, there is now an unmistakable pattern of White House strategy. The drilling decision recapitulates the administration's botched approach to healthcare reform, a tactical style that could most accurately be described as "surrender, then negotiate." [my emphasis]
He gives Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel particular credit for this dubious approach which, as he notes, helped make a mess on the health care reform battle.

Conason describes some of the seemingly painfully obvious drawbacks of that negotiating strategy:

But whatever Emanuel's personal opinions, his irrepressible habit of cultivating Republicans while insulting Democrats is not only bad strategy but bad politics. It is a misguided way to negotiate, as the health reform fiasco demonstrated, because forcing the other side to earn concessions is obviously smarter than giving them away at the outset. It is no way to maintain political support (and win elections), because this kind of behavior demoralizes the party base and makes the leader seem weak and unprincipled. [my emphasis]
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