Democrats & Liberals Archives

Obama Springs the Trap

The recent issue of whether a church should be required to provide birth control in the world of business was a political trap, and it worked. The issue brought out the furthest, most extreme fringes of the GOP, and energized the followers of Republican candidate for president, Rick Santorum. Blunt, from MO, wants to give an exemption to anyone- church or corporation- who does not want to pay for health care based on religious or moral reasons. Yes, you read that correctly. Senator Mitch McConnell has supported Blunt. And yes, you read that correctly too. GOP Senators Collins and Snowe- both females- have already defected on this issue. In the broadest terms, the GOP has come out against birth control for women as a matter of religious freedom.

Now, thanks almost entirely to Evangelical support, Santorum leads Romney by 15 points in MI.

The Obama administration always figured Romney to be the eventual nominee, and despite Santorum's surge, he still lacks the money and the organization to challenge Romney. Nevertheless, the political trap served its purpose: Santorum has received a boost among the radical fringe, and Romney has taken further damage among those farthest of the far right. It may take months of bitter infighting with other Republicans before Romney wraps up the GOP nomination. Without saying a word, Obama can stand back and watch them attack each other.

I've said before that Obama must be the luckiest politician alive. In election after election, opponents self-destruct or prove utterly feckless. But sometimes, you can make your own luck. In this case, Obama pulled the pin and handed conservatives a hand grenade in the form of an issue tailor made for their self-destruction, and the conservatives have tightly embraced the grenade. It seems too good to be true from a progressive point of view, yet there it is: the GOP is coming out against women's health issues, even birth control, in a loud and vitriolic manner. Incredible. I must be dreaming.

And if anyone is curious about the law behind this issue, it seems to firmly support Obama. A 6-1 ruling by a CA court, and written statements by Supreme Court Antonin Scalia in the case Employment Decision v Smith, make it appear Republicans would decisively lose on this in court.

Posted by phx8 at February 13, 2012 3:35 PM
Comments
Comment #336576

Oh, the Humanity!

Yes indeed, McConnell has just stated that he’s in full agreement with the Blunt amendment. Here’s the full run-down of what that entails Takes Away Access to Critical Health Insurance Coverage for Millions of Americans

The above link can be cross filed under:
Republicans Completely Out Of Touch With The American People. Religious Conservatism Makes The GOP Do Politically Stupid Things. Corporations Are People, My Friend — That Means They Can Kick Your Ass, And Bury You, Too!

Posted by: Adrienne at February 13, 2012 4:02 PM
Comment #336577

If this election is anything like previous ones, once the GOP decides upon its nominee, the party will unite behind it, and the polls will tighten up. They always have in the past. But then, has there ever been a primary like this one? Has there ever been a slate of candidates this weak? The only one that comes to mind is when Ted Kennedy ran primaried Carter in 1980. That was a disaster. I never did like Ted Kennedy. But that was a case where two strong opponents faced off: an incumbent president v the Kennedy name. This GOP primary is just wild. Gingrich destroyed Romney with the issue of Bain Capital, and while both Gingrich & Santorum have stopped those attacks, you can bet the Obama campaign team was taking notes.

Romney’s only weapon is huge amounts of money provided by his fellow equity investment fund managers, or as Tea Party favorite and Governor of Texas, Rick Perry called them, “Vulture Capitalists.” Romney has used that Vulture Capitalist money to bludgeon his opposition with negative advertising. But Romney has no chance of winning MI after his notorious “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” article in the NYT during the economic crash appeared. The Crazy will come back to haunt him.

How I wish the GOP would nominate Santorum! The guy is a total nitwit. The GOP establishment not only does not respect him, they do not even bother to disrespect him. At the beginning of January, Romney had raised $20 million, while Santorum had raised $270,000. Santorum appeals to the absolute worst in the GOP, and he would be certain to lose by one of the largest margins in history in a general election.

Nah. It’ll never happen. The GOP will broker a convention and choose someone else before they ever let Santorum destroy the party.

Posted by: phx8 at February 13, 2012 5:01 PM
Comment #336578

phx8,
If the GOP race does go to a brokered convention, I’m really starting to wonder if they’ll just decide to ditch Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich altogether and choose a brand new candidate?

Latest wrinkle for the GOP: Female Republican Senators go rogue, back Obama on contraceptives

LOL! You go girls!!!

Posted by: Adrienne at February 13, 2012 5:20 PM
Comment #336579

Adrienne,
Snow & Collings back Obama on this issue. That didn’t take long! There are three other female Senators in the GOP: Hutchison from TX, Ayotte from NH, and Murkowski from AK. Hutchison is retiring. I don’t know where she stands on this. Don’t know with Murkowski, either. Ayotte has sided with the Evangelicals against providing birth control. That should be an easy seat to recapture in 2016.

I’ve wondered about a brokered convention too. If the establishment faction of the GOP senses a 20 point landslide in the making, they will not sit idly by while Romney or Santorum or Gingrich destroy the brand. I’ve thought before that someone new and untainted by the failures of the Bush years, such as General Petraeus, would be a viable candidate. But there are a lot of things wrong with trying to bring in a candidate only a few months prior to the election. Petraeus has the advantage of being vetted and recognized for his competence. He currently is the Director of the CIA for the Obama administration. He’s free of the culture war damage we see being done right now, and he would appeal to indpendents.

From a purely political point of view, if I a mover & shaker in the GOP, I would not stand for a loss in a landslide, and primary results be damned.

Posted by: phx8 at February 13, 2012 5:41 PM
Comment #336580

Ruh Roh!

Most of Romney’s top fundraisers remain anonymous — but he has taken $280,000 from a Fannie Mae lobbyist, and other lobbyists who are up to their necks in the foreclosure racket

Meanwhile, Romney’s super PAC, ‘Restore Our Future’, shamelessly ran ads against Newt Gingrich attacking him for “cashing in” on the foreclosure crisis!

Posted by: Adrienne at February 13, 2012 5:48 PM
Comment #336581

phx8:

I’ve wondered about a brokered convention too. If the establishment faction of the GOP senses a 20 point landslide in the making, they will not sit idly by while Romney or Santorum or Gingrich destroy the brand. I’ve thought before that someone new and untainted by the failures of the Bush years, such as General Petraeus, would be a viable candidate.

Yeah. I agree that Petraeus would be a logical choice in that scenario. Other high-profile GOPer’s who might possibly get the nod: Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, or Mitch Daniels…?

I don’t think they’d ever go for Jeb Bush though — because the Bush brand is just too tainted at this point.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 13, 2012 6:01 PM
Comment #336583

Well, it’s a shallow bench. Chris Christie isn’t ready yet, and he knows it. His polling numbers in NJ were pretty poor. I saw Mitch Daniels give the response to the SOTU address, and Daniels seemed very mechanical. He looked unhealthy. Anyway, he was the Director for the Budget under Bush, and he bears a direct responsibility for being handed a surplus, and turning it into terrible deficits. Daniels had his chance on the national stage, and he blew it, and we’re all worse off for it.

Ryan would be poisonous, but it wasn’t that long ago the GOP voted to support his budget that essentially destroyed Medicare. For some reason the GOP thinks that is a good idea…

Posted by: phx8 at February 13, 2012 6:22 PM
Comment #336586

I doubt if Christie would do it. He’s not an idiot - 2016 is his shot and unless Hillary runs it’s likely he could win. He’s gonna be way behind in two critical areas, fundraising and organization. Not that I want him to win …

Posted by: tcsned at February 13, 2012 7:57 PM
Comment #336598

What does it mean when the state of Michigan, where Romney is from has Santorum with a big lead in the polls and in Pennsylvania where Santorum is from, Romney has a considerable lead?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 13, 2012 8:56 PM
Comment #336599

What is this column, fantasy land?

Posted by: Frank at February 13, 2012 9:00 PM
Comment #336600

BTW it is not to late for Palin to step up and save the party is it?

Myself I am glad to see Santorum stepping up to challenge Romney. I would like to see Santorum as the repub nomination for president. He is distinctly different from Obama, the winner will have a mandate. With Romney it is a lesser of two evils vote.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 13, 2012 9:01 PM
Comment #336601

tcsned,
Probably right about some of the more viable candidates, such as Christie, staying out of the race with an eye to 2016. In this election, an incumbent president is running with the following wind of an improving economy at his back. That’s tough for any opponent. The odds were always against the GOP.

Frank,
Fantasy? It does almost seem like a dream. I can’t believe how badly conservatives are messing this up.

It’s not good for the country when one party is so unhinged by the president that they reflexively oppose everything he favors. The GOP has made a GROSS MISCALCULATION. They believe opposing birth control as a matter of religious freedom is a winning issue.

Look at who is siding with the GOP: Catholic bishops and a few older white guys like Blunt, McConnell, and DeMint. I don’t know about your part of the country, but after all the pedophilia scandals, a Catholic bishop couldn’t win dogcatcher here. But that’s not the GROSS MISCALCULATION.

98% of Catholic women use birth control.

Unhinged by hatred of Obama and a bizarre conviction that Christians are being persecuted, Republican males seem to think that women will favor businesses not offering birth control as a reasonable exercise in religious freedom. That is insanely foolish.

Never mind the matter of law, which was settle some time ago.

Do Republican men really have such a profound misunderstanding of women? When Republican men hear that Catholic businesses will cover Viagra but not birth control, they shrug. They do not seem to understand how much the injustice of that health care issue infuriates women. I’ve never seen a political party so oblivious.

But that’s what happens when you have a lack of diversity within a political party. Having alienated women, blacks, latinos, gays, the poor, and the middle class, there’s no one left to give conservatives a clue.

Posted by: phx8 at February 13, 2012 9:43 PM
Comment #336602


phx8, add the socialist Democratic party, atheists, and social justice Christians and conservatives would say the list is proof that the right wing has done a good job of naming the internal enemies of America.

The war against religion is actually the exact opposite.

Many right wingers have said that while they don’t like Romney they will vote for him if he gets the nomination. Are they sure that Romney supporters will reciprocate if Santorum is the nominee.

The big question ask of Kennedy was, will the Pope be pulling his strings.

We don’t have to wonder about that with Santorum because he has already answered the question in the affirmative.

Posted by: jlw at February 13, 2012 11:27 PM
Comment #336604

jlw,
“Many right wingers have said that while they don’t like Romney they will vote for him if he gets the nomination. Are they sure that Romney supporters will reciprocate if Santorum is the nominee?”

That’s an interesting question. It’s never really been put to the test. In the past several decades, the GOP always nominated the corporatist establishment candidate. Big Money ruled, and the rest of the party, namely evangelicals, did as they were told, and supported the Big Money with votes.

Romney now represents the Big Money to such a degree, he dwarfs previous representatives such as Reagan, Bush 41, Dole, Bush, and McCain. But he’s Mormon and he’s an obvious political opportunist, so no one in the GOP likes or trusts him. I think many will rally behind him if Romney wins the nomination, but I also think more than enough will choose not to support him, thereby ensuring a Democratic victory.

The one thing Romney controls that will make him the GOP nominee is money. He has enough money to saturate the country with negative attack ads aimed at Obama. People may not like it, but those negative attack ads work. Just ask Newt. That kind of campaign by Romney might be enough to prevent a landslide, which is important if the GOP wants to win a majority of the Senate and maybe even hold the House.

In terms of political strategy, the GOP is in a difficult position, and the more agitated the far right becomes, the further right Romney moves, thus making his chances of winning the general election slim indeed.

Posted by: phx8 at February 14, 2012 1:45 AM
Comment #336607

Let’s think House and firmer Senate!We also had better be very cautious re: Mitt. With all his money and an apparent willingness to steal elections he could and probably will try a 2000Florida in a close contest.

Posted by: bills at February 14, 2012 5:34 AM
Comment #336609

“Fantasy? It does almost seem like a dream. I can’t believe how badly conservatives are messing this up”

So was it a Democrat “mess up” when the democrats were split between Obama and Clinton, which did not end until June 2008? Or was the vote for Obama, the lessor of two evils?

“Unhinged by hatred of Obama”, phx8

Is the liberal Media Matters hiring of detectives in order to find dirt on Fox News employees also considered hatred?

Posted by: Frank at February 14, 2012 9:24 AM
Comment #336611

Frank-
The way I would put it is that Republicans don’t have a problem with lacking charismatic candidates, lacking folks who appeal to the ideological side of the party, or lacking appeal to the center.

What they lack is a person who can serve all three function. We don’t lack that. Obama can appeal to the left, to the center, and he can sell the party with his media appeal, his public speaking abilities, and his positive, optimistic manner.

Romney? Romney’s not free to appeal to the center, and he’s got all the charisma of a cut of lumber. Santorum and Newt can appeal to the ideologues, but their appeal to the center is limited and they lack what folks where I live call “the social graces” Ron Paul is obviously charismatic, obviously appeals to the base, and obviously couldn’t reach the center with a ten foot pole.

But what do you expect? You’re not aiming to concede anything to the mainstream. You want everybody to flock to you. Unfortunately what you want, and what you can get are two different things.

Speaking of that, the leaked memo articles concerning Media Matters reference contains suggestions that PIs should be hired. That I’ll concede as fact. Unfortunately for you, at this point, two things happen to be true:

First, that NewsCorp is in the middle of a huge police bribery, evidence tampering and illegal spying scandal that’s already lead to many arrests. At best, then, you have a pox on both houses effect.

Second, there’s no evidence Media Matters followed through on this. There are plenty of things that are considered, but if you’re going to claim that Media Matters actually hired people, you better have evidence they hired people, or else you could be caught with your pants down on this one.

As for hatred? It’s interesting that they talk about hatred, based on leaked e-mails, what with all the juicy stuff they leaked about FOXNews’ slanting of their stories.

Could it be revenge?

Show me the private detectives, then I’ll tell you whether an organization built on the idea of debunking conservative media figures crossed the line. Then we can talk about how many times FOXNews has been caught by the same organization crossing the lines itself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2012 2:35 PM
Comment #336616


Stephen, I doubt that very many Fox viewers need any evidence to believe the worst possible scenario involving Media Matters.

Likewise, it would take an on air confession by Fox executives to convince their viewers that Fox is probably engaged in similar activities.

Frank, Obama not only caught Hillary off guard, he caught the Republicans off guard as well. The Republican media focused more on Hillary’s comments, in the debates, than Obama because they hoped to run against him rather than her.

At CPAC, Sarah Palin said that the Republicans can’t keep letting the Democrats get away with attacking their candidates, but the reality is that Democrats are, for the most part, using the attack materials provided by the Republican candidates as they attack eachother.

Posted by: jlw at February 14, 2012 6:01 PM
Comment #336620

Stephen Daugherty said, “Obama can appeal to the left, to the center, and he can sell the party with his media appeal, his public speaking abilities, and his positive, optimistic manner.”

Hahahahahah…”Speaking Abilities”, hahahahahahahaha…He can’t speak…he uses a teleprompter. Hhahahahahahaha…”Positive, Optimistic Manner”…Hahahahahaha…he is the most negative person to ever sit in the Oval office. Are you kidding, hahahahahahaha…he blames everything on someone else. How can he be positive and optimistic when his whole platform is built on division; he pits all Americans against each other.

“Speaking of that, the leaked memo articles concerning Media Matters reference contains suggestions that PIs should be hired. That I’ll concede as fact. Unfortunately for you, at this point, two things happen to be true:
First, that NewsCorp is in the middle of a huge police bribery, evidence tampering and illegal spying scandal that’s already lead to many arrests. At best, then, you have a pox on both houses effect.
Second, there’s no evidence Media Matters followed through on this. There are plenty of things that are considered, but if you’re going to claim that Media Matters actually hired people, you better have evidence they hired people, or else you could be caught with your pants down on this one.”

Nice try SD, but think this one will see more light of day:

“A little after 1 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2009, Karl Frisch emailed a memo to his bosses, Media Matters for America founder David Brock and president Eric Burns. In the first few lines, Frisch explained why Media Matters should launch a “Fox Fund” whose mission would be to attack the Fox News Channel.

“Simply put,” Frisch wrote, “the progressive movement is in need of an enemy. George W. Bush is gone. We really don’t have John McCain to kick around any more. Filling the lack of leadership on the right, Fox News has emerged as the central enemy and antagonist of the Obama administration, our Congressional majorities and the progressive movement as a whole.”

“We must take Fox News head-on in a well funded, presidential-style campaign to discredit and embarrass the network, making it illegitimate in the eyes of news consumers.”

http://patterico.com/2012/02/14/media-matters-hey-lets-investigate-the-private-lives-of-fox-news-reporters/comment-page-3/

Posted by: Frank at February 14, 2012 8:28 PM
Comment #336623

Frank-
Let me take on the substance first. I’m not going to dispute that a memo exists where the man in question makes that suggestion. But can you provide me with evidence that the suggestion was actually followed up on?

In that, you actually have less evidence than those who detail the abuses of Newscorp reporters overseas, where folks have actually been arrested, and reports of hacking and evidence tampering have been confirmed.

See the difference? You can say, somebody thought about this. I can say, somebody did this. Actions speak louder than words. Media Matters can also point out that Fox Memos were followed up on with reporters taking the recommended slants on reporting. See how that works?

Now, I agree that hiring PIs is excessive. Some people get excessive when they get partisan.

What you think will see the light of day is unimportant. There are many times I know when my own people have gone about with the belief that something will see the light of day, and it doesn’t happen. Hoping something comes out doesn’t mean it will come out

I’ll concede the point when you deliver the evidence the suggestion was followed through. Then we can examine Fox’s background, and the background of right-wing reporters, to see whether they did excessive things.

In fact, an actual example comes to mind. I’d love to get your response on an incident where not only was something borderline unethical was suggestion, but something actually illegal was carried out.

That is, the recent case where James O’Keefe literally went and committed voter fraud. This, after he actually was convicted of phone tampering, for trying to bug the phone of Sen. Mary Landrieu.

I’ll give you your chance to respond to these illegal acts. I’ve said that there is obviously something excessive and wrong about sending private eyes after reporters, so will you say that there is unequivocally something wrong with O’Keefe committing voter-fraud and phone tampering in the course of taking it to liberals?

I really hope so. I’m not holding my breath, but if your principles about how reporters should behave are in any way consistent, committing a crime to spy on a member of the Senate should in no way be consider any less abhorrent than Media Matters hiring private eyes to follow reporters, especially since we can unequivocally say that what O’Keefe did was a crime, since he was convicted of that crime.

I don’t know of a law against reporters employing private eyes to spy on other reporters. It might be against some professional code, or it might be considered unethical, but that’s mere guesswork on my part, so I won’t conceded to any argument from ignorance there.

So, tell me how you think about James O’Keefe’s illegal behavior.

As for your first point?

Man, you guys are just jealous. People like you bash his speaking skills because you were foolish enough to elect somebody who couldn’t put two words together with a map and a flashlight. Like every other pretended weakness of this president, you seem to be trying to exorcise the demons of Bush’s incompetence by transfering everything onto Obama.

You talk about Obama as negative, yet people can’t help but comment on how nasty the current campaign on the right is. I can’t help but hear your people tear down the left all the time, call us socialists and fascists and everything. To be fair, nobody’s entirely positive nowadays, but to be fair to my side, we at least have a constructive policy agenda, not just a pathological need to filibuster, put holds on, and shoot down everything that isn’t ours.

Obama’s advantage is that he can finish his critique of your people, and start telling people what he would do, and it can sound like a change from the status quo. If your folks do the same, you know what? It’s going to sound an awful lot like the status quo.

That’s why your party is going to lose this year. It’s left itself with nowhere to go other than off the edge.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2012 9:29 PM
Post a comment