To keep you both funky and festive, here’s an offbeat seasonal collection of songs, mainly folk and rock, created by my brother in law, and designed to get you into the spirit (or the spirits if that’s your thing) while wrapping presents:
If at first you don’t succeed, try, tri, triangulate. That was the lesson learned by President Bill Clinton after his midterm losses in 1994, and it is a concept that President Obama has put to great effect and political advantage in the last few weeks.
So, we come to an end of the 111th Congress in a much different place than might have been expected. Fresh from sweeping victories in the midterms, this was supposed to be the Republicans’ time to show political mastery. Instead, they have been relegated to the party of reluctant yes to policies co-opted but deftly modified by Obama to appeal to all sections of the American electorate.
This is an appeal Bill Clinton successfully made in the runup to his re-election, and while it is certainly too early to tell where the Obama administration will go over the next two years (with major taxation bills and further immigration issues likely to play a prominent – and divisive – role in the next Congress), this session portends well for the president’s re-election chances.
That is no accident. Obama knew that he had to deliver potentially unpopular liberal agendas first, hence healthcare. Now, he knows his job is to tack back to the centre of the political spectrum. These past few weeks show he is more than able to do so. The next two years will be a test of how long and how well he can sustain it.
I was never a fan of triangulation, but if it means making things just a little bit better: if it means just a few more cents for the unemployed, freedom for gays in the military and a proper nuclear arms inspection and reduction treaty, then I’ll have it over the other options – opposition to any compromise from the competing manic purities of the left and right.
Happy festive times to the rest of the Moose Herd. I’ll be London, Brighton, Oxford and then Hampshire over the prolonged European holiday season (we basically shut down for two weeks). Where are the rest of the herd grazing?