Thursday, February 24, 2011

Triangulation Man: the Government Shutdown



President Bill Clinton's showdown with Republicans over the government shutdown is viewed as one of the major political victories of his administration. Clinton directly attacked Republicans as ideologues in an address to the country.


Five months ago I proposed my balanced budget plan. It balances the budget in the right way. It cuts hundreds of wasteful and outdated programs, but it upholds our fundamental values -- to provide opportunity, to respect our obligations to our parents and our children, to strengthen families and to strengthen America -- because it preserves Medicare and Medicaid, it invests in education and technology, it protects the environment, and it gives the tax cuts to working families for child rearing and for education. Unfortunately, Republican leaders in Washington have put ideology ahead of common sense and shared values in their pursuit of a budget plan.

We can balance the budget without doing what they seek to do. We can balance the budget without the deep cuts in education, without the deep cuts in the environment, without letting Medicare wither on the vine, without imposing tax increases on the hardest-pressed working families in America. I am fighting for a balanced budget that is good for America and consistent with our values. If they'll give me the tools, I'll balance the budget.

I vetoed the spending bill sent to me by Congress last night because America can never accept under pressure what it would not accept in free and open debate. I strongly believe their budget plan is bad for America. I believe it will undermine opportunity, make it harder for families to do the work that they have to do, weaken our obligations to our parents and our children, and make our country more divided. So I will continue to fight for the right kind of balanced budget.

Remember, the Republicans are following a very explicit strategy announced last April by Speaker Gingrich, to use the threat of a government shutdown to force America to accept their cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, to accept their cuts in education and technology and the environment.


The Clinton administration charged Republicans with practicing a "form of terrorism", by shutting down the government. The strategy help helped Clinton win a second term.

What is the strategy of our fearless super hero Triangulation Man?


President Obama has been able to keep the partisan battle over a government shutdown at arm’s length, reaping the political benefits of a Senate majority that President Clinton didn’t have in 1995.

With a temporary measure to fund the government through March 4 set to expire, Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have engaged in an intense back-and-forth over spending cuts and which party is trying to pave the way for a shuttered federal government.

All the while, the White House has stayed somewhat above the fray, stressing that it does not believe a shutdown will occur but that contingency plans are in place, if necessary.


Austan Goolsbee has floated the talking point that the Republicans would never shutdown the federal government.


“The reason you haven’t seen the private sector getting worked up about it — I don’t think the evidence is the markets believe there’s going to be a shutdown,” Goolsbee said Thursday at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. “You saw the leaders of both parties in both houses say — all four of them — they’re going to do what it takes, that they don’t think there’s going to be a shutdown.”


Triangulation Man ignores the Republican Party's previous history of shutting down the government.

Triangulation Man ignores the fact that the budget was suppose to be completed last year.

Triangulation Man fails to realize the Tea Party wants a government shutdown.

Triangulation Man could fight to stop a shutdown. That would help Triangulation Man both politically and from a policy perspective. Unfortunately, our less than mighty hero chooses to hide in his secret White House lair.

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