Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Festive Cheer: Christmas Open Thread

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:

In more good news, The Guardian ends the year by praising the jujitsu moves of the Obama administration after the nightmare of the midterms.

Some key quotations after the jump…

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?


  1. virginislandsguy

    I have a different interpretation of the lame duck session. Start by assuming that the Republican ‘Party of No‘ Senators didn’t go all Tea-baggy and instead were instead following a rational plan which was solely to get the tax cuts for the rich extended, no more, no less. Once they got that, everything else paled in importance.

    After the wind-down of the Iraq occupation and Afghanistan war, there will be tremendous domestic pressure for major cutbacks in the MIC. DADT was an issue that doesn’t resonate with the Plutocracy and can make the military look bad when they’ll need all the public support they can get, including gays.

    The START Treaty was all political theater, it was only a question of how the Senate Republicans could burnish their Cold Warrior credentials while still letting it pass. There’s too much money to be made trading with the Russians and no longer enough for the Lockheeds and Boeings to seriously rattle the saber.

    On the whole, this was not a case of the Republicans rolling over but an overall deal (brokered by Biden?) that hinged on the tax cuts. That the Obama Administration came out looking good is to their credit but I think the Guardian article is stretching when they invoke triangulation.

  2. fogiv

    The lyrics:

    All of the drunks

    Dressed up like Santa Claus

    Ring Salvation Army bells

    But the town square is quiet

    The juke joints are empty

    Everyone’s buying

    What no one can sell

    And the girl I loved once

    Came to me last night

    In a dream with a secret to tell

    She whispered close

    Can’t you hear the ocean?

    As she leaned her ear

    Against a shotgun shell


    Dark was the night

    Cold was the ground

    I could barely make out the song

    Of the Ghost Repeaters

    Singing ‘Hallelujah

    His truth is marching on’

    Willie Mae’s crying

    At the toll booth to heaven

    With a bottle of gin

    And a gold-toothed smile

    Where the dreams pile up

    All washed out and broken

    As thick as the stars

    On the Miracle Mile

    But the movie is over

    The theater is empty

    The credits are starting to roll

    The wages of sin

    Don’t adjust for inflation

    It’s a buyer’s market

    When you sell your soul


    The plaza is dark

    The picadors are dreaming

    Of blood in the alleys

    And rust on the vines

    They sandbag the bulls

    And prop up the matadors

    It’s a sweetheart contract

    They’re taking their time

    And all the ghost prisoners

    Who aren’t in the ghost prisons

    Don’t weep at the sound

    Of your name

    They just stare up at the clouds

    Of passenger pigeons

    Winging back home

    To the cities of the plain


    The star up above

    The 5th Avenue Christmas tree

    Is shining tonight

    Through the cold and the rain

    To light all the faces

    In the live nativity

    Down on the floor

    Of the stock exchange

    Dark is the night

    Cold is the ground

    The armies march out to defend

    And the Ghost Repeaters

    Of the revelators

    Are singing “Peace on Earth

    And Good Will to all Men”

  3. IL JimP

    of the debt commission report.  Is that something you all would like posted on The Big Moose?

    Let me know.  I’m hoping it to be done early next week.

  4. IL JimP

    on the GOS by Kos himself:

    If Senate Dems had been this productive before lame duck session…

    That’s the kind of crap that pushed me away from there.  It’s coming from Kos himself, so it’s not a product of the current platform.  People there are taking cues from the leader of the pack.

  5. fogiv

    I wanted create my own arrangement of Amazing Grace for slide guitar.  sadly, I never had enough time to get it all together.  figuring out the melody was about as far as I got.  pathetic, but here it is:

    Sorry to have subjected y’all.  The guitar I’m using here is my lastest addition to the collection.  It’s a National Estralita Deluxe (in koa) resonator.  and I freakin’ love it.

  6. DTOzone

    my mother is wearing a shirt that reads “What happens under the mistletoe, stays under the mistletoe” designed like the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada sign, and my little sister, who is getting married in six months when her fiancee’s brother returns from Afghanistan, spiked the egg nog with hilarious consequences.

    Merry Christmas!  

  7. Shaun Appleby

    Sorry I haven’t been very active lately but just wanted to thanks all of you for your collective good will and constant insightful effort to make compassionate social sense of the crazy world of American politics and the global economy.  It is a lot easier to observe in the company of such good citizens.

    Happy holidays to one and all.  Wishing you all well for the New Year.

  8. I don’t have to worry about making a meal, but I’m making a pot of chili tonight in case someone gets hungry later in the day. Any leftovers will feed me for a few days. Presents from me are all going to be cash. Everyone’s strapped this year, so I figured that would be the most appreciated present. I’m not really happy about giving money. I normally pride myself on my card and gift selection ability. Still, it’s shaping up to be a better Christmas than some I’ve experienced. In fact, I hope my worst ones are behind me.  

  9. HappyinVT

    I’m semi-bored at work waiting for the printer to finish printing so I wandered over to DKos and what is at the top of the rec list?  It is a diary titled “In 2011, these people will launch holy war against the health insurance industry.”

    Really?  Am I being too sensitive?  Is “holy war” different than “Holy War?”  Am I the only to whom this strikes as gross bad timing?  Maybe even a bit hyperbolic?  Of course, the author once wrote that Rahm was going to “terrorize” the progressive caucus on HRC so nothing should surprise me anymore but my mouth dropped open on this one.  Maybe I’m wrong and misunderstanding her point and/or word usage.  I’d like to think so.

  10. Rashaverak

    Steeleye Span’s version of Gaudete

    or Mike Oldfield’s version of the Michael Praetorius gem, In Dulce Jubilo.

  11. Dorothy Rissman

    Thank you so much for the Christmas Music.  It was nice to be able to move away from the computer and work while listening to the music.  

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