The Trouble with Hillary’s ‘New Triangulation’

New Republic‘s Brian Beutler praises Hillary Clinton for taking clear, aggressive, “progressive issue positions” that make voters wonder why Republicans take only  halfway positions. On immigration — one of his two examples — Hillary has embraced both forms of amnesty, legislative and executive. Republicans, meanwhile, muddle it up.  Beutler’s description:

Generally speaking, it’s not the liberalization of immigration law they oppose, but the unilateral nature of Obama’s actions. They oppose amnesty, but keep the door to a nebulous “legal status” ajar.

Aha! And why do they stop at nebulous “legal status”?

“When [Republicans] talk about legal status,” [Hillary] said, ‘that is code for second-class status.”

A forceful shot. But note that it only works against Republicans who take mealy-mouthed halfway positions (whether in an attempt to please donors or voters). It doesn’t really work against Republicans who say that in order to protect American workers they don’t want any legal status at all right now.

P.S.: I’m not sure it even works against Jeb Bush, Bush has comically prevaricated on the citizenship/”legal status” issue. But the semi-erotic fever of his passion for amnesty makes it obvious he’ll go for full citizenship as soon as he has the chance.

P.P.S.: Beutler contrasts Hillary’s new approach with traditional Clintonian triangulation, which in its classic form meant taking a middle stance and pushing off against both extremes. Hillary’s anti-triangulation is, instead, a way for the extremes to mow down whoever has wandered into the middle. But surely it also matters, once the No Man’s Land is denuded of life, whether Hillary’s polar position is more popular than the opposite polar position. On immigration, I doubt it  …

P.P.P.S: And how will Hillary extend her new approach to  “social insurance reforms,” as Beutler hopefully predicts? She will say she wants to make Social Security more generous. Republicans will say they don’t want it to go broke. Is that standoff such an obvious loser for the GOPs? Hillary may well have traction against Ryan-like voucherization plans — but that’s against the polar GOP postion, not the middle position. Good for Beutler that he wrote this piece now. …