Is Obama throwing progressive politics to the wolves?

Drilling platform in the Thames

Drilling platform in the Thames

Creative Commons License photo credit: Lars Plougmann

StrangeAppar8us at Rumproast thinks the left shouldn’t be going too crazy over the Obama Administration’s off shore drilling permit allotments because there isn’t that much oil down there to make extraction worthwhile at current prices.

… Obama has—at literally no political cost—blunted (if not mooted) the whole Wingnut/Palin “Drill, Baby, Drill!” canard, and effectively called their bluff. Certainly, the Right will be able to attack the plan for being selective in scope and for blocking some planned Alaska drills. But, even if there’s more oil in America’s coastal waters than the relatively paltry amounts that have been estimated in the past, we are many years of costly exploration and qualification away from quantifying—let alone extracting—it. And until the price of a barrel of crude rises above the $90-$100/barrel level again, the sound you hear is unlikely to be the rush of American oil companies anxious to spend billions of dollars to find out what, exactly, is down there.

via Chill, Baby, Chill: Obama Lifts Ceremonial Ban on Hypothetical Oil Reserves | Rumproast.

I don’t even think the political calculation is to blunt or “pre-negotiate” with the right wing. The political calculation is to negotiate in good faith with Blue Dogs and Centrist Dems from Red States so they can continue to help pass legislation heading into the mid term elections of 2010. Yes, this is so McCaskill, Landrieu, Nelson, and even the most despised hippie puncher Blanche Lincoln can turn and say: look at the concessions we got from our party. It allows them to say “We are Democrats, but we hold conservative values.” including no Public Option, Drilling for Oil and of course fighting terrorism there than here.

Obama’s health care plan is what the GOP proposed in the 90’s and Romney implemented in Massachusetts. His energy plan includes allowing oil exploration off shore and nuclear energy development. Financial Regulation comes with political capital built in. Contrast that with Well Point’s rate hike, GOP’s lack of affirmative platform initiatives, Steele’s RNC ballin’ ways and tea baggers gone wild and Obama is effectively taking away the GOP ability to effectively make November a clear referendum on the Democrats. The main miscalculation was the size of the stimulus spending. More needed to be spent and in more directed ways to get unemployment lower.

Obama is not playing 11th dimensional chess, he is quite simply protecting the flanks of his big tent so that the Dems can accomplish something while under it and still compete in state and national elections. After 40 years of Republicans setting our political climate in this country with the strategy of Nixon and the tactics of Reagan, progressives now have our own strategist in Obama who followed after the tactician Bill Clinton. Between the two maybe there will be decades of progressive politics defining the future of America.