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Is The Right Letting Obama Win By Falling For His Distractions?

Earlier this week, Philip Klein argued that the Obama campaign is currently winning the opening rounds of the General Election fight by distracting the media and the right with dumb distractions:

Since that time, three stories have dominated the political news cycle. The first came when Hilary Rosen, a Democratic operative, said Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life.” The next came when the Romney campaign promoted a Daily Caller story recounting that Obama had eaten dog as a child in Indonesia. The most recent came as Obama decided to spike the football before the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s killing, releasing an ad suggesting Romney wouldn’t have made the same call.

In all of these cases, the Romney campaign has taken the bait, reacting to whatever Team Obama has decided to make an issue.

The hoopla surrounding Rosen came as a response to the Democrats’ “War on Women” campaign, begun when conservatives opposed the administration’s policy of forcing religious institutions to purchase drugs to which they had moral objections. The Romney campaign is still on the defensive about the gender issue, having releasing a statement on Wednesday blasting Obama’s economic record on working women.

Conservatives have had a lot of fun with the story about Obama having eaten dog, but it only comes in response to a story about Romney having put his dog on the roof for a family road trip, which the Obama campaign highlighted to make Romney seem callous.

As for the bin Laden killing, when Romney said “even Jimmy Carter” would have ordered the raid, it made him seem very petty. It made it much easier for the Obama campaign to continue to exploit it as a political issue.

(…)

If the campaign is about bin Laden, identity politics and silly controversies about dogs, an Obama victory is a lot more likely. To seize control of the campaign, instead of merely being reactive, Romney has to put Obama on the defensive about his own record.

Klein hits on a point that I’ve made in regard to the Hilary Rosen controversy, the “Obama eats dogs” meme, and the bin Laden anniversary and I tend to agree with him that the Romney campaign and its surrogates make a serious mistake when they allow themselves to be fall into what seem like rather obvious traps. It’s one thing when the Twitterati and the blogosphere waste their time on such matters, a point that Jennifer Rubin makes in a post yesterday, but when the campaign itself starts getting involved in silly season then they’ve gone off-message, which is exactly what the Obama campaign wants them to do.

Allahpundit and Ace Of Spades both argue that these distractions don’t really matter right now because voters aren’t really paying attention to the election right now. This is a point that I’ve made myself several times, and it is true that those of us who follow politics closely tend to forget that not everyone pays as much attention to these things as we do. At the same time, though, incidents like this are like the opening skirmishes in a football game when both teams are testing each other for weaknesses. If an offense realize that it can easily fake out the defense early in the game, then that’s clearly something they’re going to try later in the game. The fact that the Romney campaign specifically, and Republicans in general, fell so easily for these distractions makes them seem desperate and suggests that they might not be able to respond to the fast-moving pace of a September-November General Election campaign. As I’ve already noted, Romney’s path to victory is incredibly narrow right now and unless that changes there’s very little margin for error. Letting yourself get distracted by things like the Rosen flap, the dog thing, or by making inappropriately dumb comments about the President’s role in the death of Osama bin Laden is the kind of mistake you might be able to afford to make in May, but it’s not the kind of mistake you can afford to make once the eyes of the nation are really on the campaign.

As for the conservative “new media,” Jennifer Rubin is correct when she points out that they are just as bad about getting distracted by irrelevancies as the old media is:

Despite the proliferation of news and analysis on the Web, and the absences of length restrictions (other than readers’ patience) that stymie print reporters, the New Media are as obsessed as the Old Media with the trivial and the irrelevant, whether it is the wives’ wardrobe (I’ll fume in silence about the nerve of the media to critique their appearance and then slam them for glamming up) or Mormonism or polls months and months in advance of the election that have zero meaning.

There isn’t a lack of space for energetic reporting on the president’s record. There’s a lack of will and incentive to look at hard questions like: Why is the Obama “recovery” so weak? Or: What is the goal of the Obama energy policy? Or: What do the defense sequestration cuts entail?

In their frivolousness the media aid and abet Obama’s desire to make the election about anything other than his record. It is noteworthy that the same crowd that is always complaining about politicians’ lack of seriousness is, so far, covering practically nothing serious.

Part of this, I think, is because much of the blogosphere on both the left and the right has become something of an echo chamber where people of similar ideologies seem to spend most of their time talking about how great their ideas how are and how evil the opposition is. There are exceptions, of course, but it does seem as though more time is spent coming up with reasons that Barack Obama is the worst President ever than covering any actual details. Instead of wasting time on irrelevant stories about dogs, where are the stories about the topics Rubin lists? Or the extent to which the Obama Administration has even further expanded the powers of the Presidency, with the acquiescence of Congress of course, in the name of the “War On Terror”? If you’re going to complain about how little the old media covers these topics, then it strikes me that the answer is to do less complaining and more reporting. But hey, what do I know?

So basically what we have here is the Obama campaign distracting both the Romney campaign and its allies in the conservative new media. If they manage to keep that up, then both parties could find themselves very surprised come November

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Shiny objects are the speciality of right wing media — Limbaugh, Fox, Beck et al. They’ve built their media culture on phony issues, and now it’s biting Mr. Romney in the ass. They’re wasting time trying to define Mr. Obama –a fool’s errand as we reach the end of his term of office. But Fox is the GOP and their motives conflict with Mr. Romney’s.

    Does it matter this early? Not all that much, but some. Mr. Romney can be defined, and he is being defined, and once a definition is established it’s damned hard to change. There are I believe 23 weeks until the election, and Romney’s people can only lose so many of those weeks.

    Romney’s big opportunities are the GOP convention and the debates. If we wins those four weeks he may win the election. But with a definition of Romney established all he needs to do is blow a debate or mishandle a crisis to send people back to their pre-established view of him as defined by Mr. Obama’s campaign.

    It’s an interesting weakness of the conservative mind, derived from their religiosity, that they want and need a sort of endless loop repeating the articles of faith. They take pleasure in hearing the same things repeated over and over and over again. They need to hear that Mr. Obama is not a real American, that he’s horrible, that RomneyCare, er, ObamaCare is tantamount to communism, etc… I think they get more pleasure from having their catechism repeated so they can sit there and “Amen!” than they do from actually winning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  2. Tano says:

    I don’t see how these things qualify as “traps” that the wily Dems have sprung on the Republicans.

    Lets consider the three main examples.

    Hillary Rosen made an incredibly dumb statement for a political operative. It was very obviously a mistake. I think we can be certain that no one in the Obama campaign or the Democratic party put her up to it. It was a gift to the Republicans because they were able to use it to rally one of their stronger demographics – married women, by making them all feel victims of Democratic arrogance. How can this be considered a trap set for Repubs?

    The “Obama ate dog” meme was entirely a Republican effort. Obama had nothing whatsoever to do with it other than admitting to eating dog in his book, 16 years ago Once again, how can this be considered a Democratic trap set for the opposition?

    The third case is the only one in which Obama actually did something – he claimed Romney would not have gone after ObL. To me that sounds like a preemptive strike on Obama’s part against the expected theme that the GOP candidate must always be considered more of the hawk. I don’t see how it is a “trap” or a “dumb distraction” since it refers to an issue that most people consider to be quite relevant, and it opened the door to the Romney campaign engaging the issue, making their case, and maybe turning the tables on Obama. It seems they were not able to do so, but thats not a reason to blame Obama for raising distractions.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In their frivolousness the media aid and abet Obama’s desire to make the election about anything other than his record.

    Uhhhh, Jennifer? In their frivolousness the Republicans want to make the election about anything other than their record, which as we all know (because they told us so) was to make Obama a one term president. So when they get “distracted”, maybe, just maybe, it is because they want us distracted? So distracted that we forget exactly what they’ve been doing the past 3+ years?

    You know: Nothing. And trying to stop Obama from doing anything that might actually make a difference. You know… Like improve the economy?

    I know, I am giving the Republicans way too much credit here, but let me give you credit where credit is due, Jennifer:

    In their frivolousness the media aid and abet Obama’s desire to make the election about anything other than his record.

    In case you haven’t noticed, his record is what he has to run on and he is. You are just to blindingly stupid to notice that more than a few people think his record is OK. Not perfect by any means but far better than anything the Republicans have to offer.

    But then, you are a colossal idiot.

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  4. anjin-san says:

    In case you haven’t noticed, his record is what he has to run on and he is.

    Indeed. A lot of the nonsense we hear is a reflection of the fact that Republicans have tried to attack Obama on his record, and have for the most part, failed. Not surprising. His record is pretty good, especially when you consider he inherited a train wreck of historic proportions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  5. rudderpedals says:

    Klein and Rubin come off as Keystone Cops blaming the brilliant criminal gang for their own bumbles.

    If the big issue facts were helpful to Romney ISTM we’d be hearing a lot more about them from the reactionary outlets cited in Doug’s post

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Gustopher says:

    These aren’t traps, the Republicans just jump at anything to oppose Obama, and look foolish and petty.

    Forward!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    When he was elected Mr. Obama inherited a D- and turned it into a C+. The criticism centers on the fact that he failed to turn that D- into an A. Unfortunately the only idea the Republicans seem to have is to go straight back to the theories that gave us the D- to begin with. That’s going to be a hard sell.

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  8. anjin-san says:

    Speaking of Romney, has he declared any more “Days of Shame”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. sam says:

    “So basically what we have here is the Obama campaign distracting both the Romney campaign and its allies in the conservative new media. ”

    Can’t imagine what will happen when the Obama campaign gets around to retailing Mittens’s lies/ignorance/stupidity. E.g, via Steve Benen on Mitt’s Mendacity, some lowlights:

    The Romney campaign argued this week that the former governor’s position on the auto-industry rescue “was exactly what President Obama followed,” adding, “The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.”

    Romney condemned Obama’s efforts on the industry rescue repeatedly, including throughout the GOP primaries. He can’t oppose the policy and take credit for the policy at the same time, at least not if he’s being honest.

    In a speech in Virginia yesterday, Romney blamed “card check” for making things “tougher” on businesses.

    Card check didn’t pass, so it’s impossible for Romney’s argument to be true.

    Romney went on to condemn Obama for “shutting down” a “wonderful” school voucher program in the District of Columbia.

    Obama didn’t shut down the school voucher program in the District of Columbia. It still exists.

    Etc, etc, etc.

    With doofusness of this magnitude, distraction may be a boon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. Ron Beasley says:

    Limbaugh and FOX News set the agenda and their agenda is to throw red meat to the Neanderthal viewers and listeners not to get Republicans elected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. Tillman says:

    To seize control of the campaign, instead of merely being reactive, Romney has to put Obama on the defensive about his own record.

    He’d have to start telling the truth about that record then, to speak with any eloquence.

    The problem, as I see it, for Romney (and us!) is that any position where Obama is genuinely vulnerable, such as expanded drone warfare and its malcontents, is not something a Republican president would be against. Can you imagine Romney delivering a speech on the horrors of drone warfare? The needless deaths of innocents in the War on Terror?

    Glenn Greenwald put it best: Obama is a moderate Republican. Romney can’t run against that without going off the deep end in his rhetoric. The distractions aren’t distractions, the Romney campaign is buying time until they can figure out what will work given this conundrum.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Romney runs as a civil libertarian. Governs as one? Nah, that’s not happening. But running as one could be an interesting strategy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  12. michael reynolds says:

    Speaking of fun non-issues, this is too bizarre not to pass along:

    Bill Johnson, a former Republican official who nearly became Alabama’s governor in 2010, has fled the country to focus on his “obsession” with sperm donation, his wife told a New Zealand newspaper on Saturday.

    “He wants me to move over there,” she reportedly said. “He’s not coming back.”

    “I will not chase him to the other side of the world so he can be a part-time father to children he created with other women,” she added.

    Confronted in a diner by a Herald reporter, Johnson said that his wife was unable to get pregnant and that being a father is “a need that I have.” The newspaper said three New Zealand women were pregnant with Johnson’s children, and at least nine received sperm donations from him.

    Oh, those wacky Republicans. He should have just gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: Shiny objects are the speciality of right wing media — Limbaugh, Fox, Beck et al.

    I’m sorry, I was reading about Mitt Romney’s dog on a road trip a couple of decades ago and Romney’s polygamist great-grandfather (or was it great-great-grandfather?). Could you repeat that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: When he was elected Mr. Obama inherited a D- and turned it into a C+.

    Even granting, for the sake of argument, things are actually up to a C+, perhaps it would be convenient for Mr. Obama if we all pretended to forget that he promised us at least a solid B — or we should fire him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I have to mention Doug, that every time you link to a hack like Jennifer Rubin (who is so easily taken down by a drunk like me) (I likes my whiskey)(preferably Scotch) you lose a little more credibility with each link.

    Let go of the stupid. There are sane conservative voices out there. Don’t ask me, other than James, I have not heard one in a decade at least. (and he sounds less and less “Conservative” every day)(mind you, he sounds more and more sane every day) I will know he has reached equilibrium when he finally says,” I can no longer vote GOP”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idiotian:

    Even granting, for the sake of argument, things are actually up to a C+, perhaps it would be convenient for Mr. Obama if we all pretended to forget that he promised us at least a solid B — or we should fire him.

    I said there were sane conservative voices out there… I did not mean you.

    No, no, no. That is a cheap shot that even you deserve better than… Would you like to make an actual argument? You know, using facts and logic?

    I await. (not really, it is 7:02 pm and perilously close to my bedtime, I trust that others will stand good stead and rebut whatever stupidity issues forth)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. dennis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    When he was elected Mr. Obama inherited a D- and turned it into a C+. The criticism centers on the fact that he failed to turn that D- into an A.

    You just reminded me, michael, of something I read in Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in which he analogizes that evangelicals, regarding evolutionary gaps, seek to jump straight up to the top of a sheer cliff, rather than taking the gradual, slow ascent up the backside of it. You have excellently pointed out that this either-or thinking is prevalent in other (and most likely all) aspects of their thinking. If you’d call that thinking, that is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. dennis says:

    @sam:

    Mendacious, thy name is W. Mitt Romney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Tillman says:

    @dennis: Honestly sounds more like the product of a culture obsessed with instant gratification than any sort of religious thinking.

    @Jenos Idanian: Do you have anything nice to say about Romney?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. dennis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    When he was elected Mr. Obama inherited a D- and turned it into a C+. The criticism centers on the fact that he failed to turn that D- into an A.

    Oh, please. You have long passed the point of tiresome. You are in denial about the inadequacy of your candidate. I wouldn’t have minded Romney, once upon a time; but, I just can’t stomach the bald-faced lying. It’s too much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. Jenos Idanian says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Jerfaced jerk…

    How about this: pretty much every positive about the economy has a big honking asterisk on it. For example, the unemployment numbers look good because the reported work force is shrinking.

    The statistics don’t reflect reality. Not fully.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  22. dennis says:

    @Tillman:

    Completely understood, Tillman. And if it were simply that, then at least there’d be some rationality to it. But the obstinate refusal to see the GOP obstruction for three years and the Obama administration’s successes; the fervent attempts to roll back women’s hard-fought rights to control over their own bodies and destinies; the irrational, whiplash reaction to homosexuality and their taking pleasure in denying civil rights to that segment of our citizenry.

    We can go on and on but I think it’s sufficient to the point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. dennis says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I have to mention Doug, that every time you link to a hack like Jennifer Rubin (who is so easily taken down by a drunk like me)

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. Jenos Chinos says:

    To sum it up, I would not trust Obama to wash and wax my classic ’72 Vega.

    The reported work force IS shrinking. I deal with shrinkage issues on an ongoing basis, it’s a subject I know something about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @dennis: But the obstinate refusal to see the GOP obstruction for three years and the Obama administration’s successes; the fervent attempts to roll back women’s hard-fought rights to control over their own bodies and destinies; the irrational, whiplash reaction to homosexuality and their taking pleasure in denying civil rights to that segment of our citizenry.

    We can go on and on but I think it’s sufficient to the point.

    Sufficient to the point that you revel in parroting left-wing talking points? More than adequate.

    1) Obama and the Democrats had absolute control of both Houses of Congress for his first year, then it slipped to “merely” 59 of 60 in the Senate. And they had 59 seats until January 2011. Plus, they held both Houses for the two years before Obama was elected.

    2) The main “attack on women’s rights” has been to say “you don’t have the right to make others pay for your birth control, especially when they have profound religious objections to doing so.” If the saying that “a right you can’t afford is no right at all,” then I want the government to buy me a gun so I can exercise my 2nd Amendment rights.

    3) Considering all the progress gay rights have made in the past 30-odd years (I can remember when being called gay was a good way to start a fight, and being gay was grounds for getting beaten up — and thank God those days are long gone), “they won’t let me get married!” is an incredibly trivial issue. Plus, in case you haven’t noticed, the gays are winning that fight, too. And they should. I remember how Paul Lynde and Jm J. Bullock weren’t allowed to actually say they were gay — now almost every TV show, it seems, has gay characters. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more accurate observation than “the love that dared not speak its name now won’t shut up.”

    Please. I understand there are some commenters here who smoke. Stop tossing around so many straw men.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  26. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    1) Obama and the Democrats had absolute control of both Houses of Congress for his first year

    Not true. Perhaps you were unaware Al Franken was not seated until July? Or that Arlen Specter began the year as a Republican and did not become the 59th Democratic Senator until April? Or than Ted Kennedy missed quite a few votes while he was ill, and there was a month in between when he died and his replacement was sworn in?

    2) The main “attack on women’s rights” has been to say “you don’t have the right to make others pay for your birth control, especially when they have profound religious objections to doing so.”

    Not true, and no explanation needed or deserved.

    3) Shorter Jenos: Please ignore the Republican’s homophobia and attacks on gay civil rights because shut up that’s why

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  27. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    The problem with firing Mr. Obama is that we don’t have anyone to replace him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. Jenos Chinos says:

    Gay Marriage – please. Wanting to be married to the person you love seems like incredibly trivial issue. These guys are probably more worried about being properly accessorized. You would think they expect equal rights or something. The nerve.

    We all have burdens we must carry. I have never known the touch of a beautiful woman. I probably never will. You know what I do Jackwagon? I deal with it, mostly by way of massive overcompensation for my deep seated inferiority complex.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  29. An Interested Party says:

    …then it slipped to “merely” 59 of 60 in the Senate. And they had 59 seats until January 2011

    Anything less than 60 is almost completely irrelevant with the filibuster…

    “they won’t let me get married!” is an incredibly trivial issue.

    Writes the heterosexual who can go anywhere in this country and get legally married with no trouble at all…yes, how “trivial” an issue this is…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. al-Ameda says:

    Let’s not forget that The Right creates many of these “distractions” – such as the insistence that Obama is attacking Freedom of Religion with his insurance mandate, and they turn that into a loss with women by showing just how hostile they appear to be with respect to women’s reproductive health care.

    Obama is doing well enough in parrying the attacks on his own, but much of the Obama’s success is a result of self-inflicted wounds on the part of The Right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. dennis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Heh, heh, heh, heh, I love this. Especially since, Like Ozark, I got my buzz on!

    Sufficient to the point that you revel in parroting left-wing talking points? More than adequate.

    Yeah…no. There’s nothing left-wing about me, bub. And I do my own studying, thank you. I don’t need to parrot anybody’s anything.

    1) Obama and the Democrats had absolute control of both Houses of Congress for his first year, then it slipped to “merely” 59 of 60 in the Senate. And they had 59 seats until January 2011. Plus, they held both Houses for the two years before Obama was elected.

    Yes, you’re correct. Your epic fail is that you don’t acknowledge that Obama was being the adult trying to change the entrenched status quo and reach out to Republicans, even alienating his allies, to have a bilateral coalition to tackle serious problems. They weren’t having any. Fail.

    2) The main “attack on women’s rights” has been to say “you don’t have the right to make others pay for your birth control, especially when they have profound religious objections to doing so.” If the saying that “a right you can’t afford is no right at all,” then I want the government to buy me a gun so I can exercise my 2nd Amendment rights.

    Oh, c’mon now, Jenos; that’s a bullshit argument. First, there’s nothing hindering anyone from practicing his religion (notice the ‘his’.). Second, the notion that you can cherry-pick where each nickle and dime of your tax burden goes is asinine and juvenile. If I have to explain why, then I’m already wasting my time. Last, these were settled issues ’til dumb-assed Republicans took the bait and railed like banshees against Obama’s proposals. Then, of course, Obama smoothly stepped to the reasonable center and Republicans continued to look like idiots. Fail.

    3) Considering all the progress gay rights have made in the past 30-odd years (I can remember when being called gay was a good way to start a fight, and being gay was grounds for getting beaten up — and thank God those days are long gone), “they won’t let me get married!” is an incredibly trivial issue. Plus, in case you haven’t noticed, the gays are winning that fight, too. And they should. I remember how Paul Lynde and Jm J. Bullock weren’t allowed to actually say they were gay — now almost every TV show, it seems, has gay characters. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more accurate observation than “the love that dared not speak its name now won’t shut up.”

    So? What’s your point?

    Please. I understand there are some commenters here who smoke. Stop tossing around so many straw men.

    Now, I may be buzzed from this rot-gut Michelob Ultra; but I can’t be smoking weed! There you go again, climbing the sheer wall of the cliff. Why don’t you try walking up the gradual slope on the backside and pickin’ up some smarts on the way, hm?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @dennis:
    You’re relatively new here, so on behalf of myself (and I’m not the official welcoming committee) glad you’re hanging out. Anyone who will actually take the time to deal with Jenos in such detail is doing a mitzvah.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. dennis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Thanks, michael. Without blowing smoke up anyone’s ass, the discourse helps sharpen me up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. Jenos Idanian says:

    @dennis: Huh. Funny, I remember things a wee bit differently.

    Yes, you’re correct. Your epic fail is that you don’t acknowledge that Obama was being the adult trying to change the entrenched status quo and reach out to Republicans, even alienating his allies, to have a bilateral coalition to tackle serious problems. They weren’t having any. Fail.

    As I recall it, Obama’s opening position was “I won.” He wasn’t interested in getting GOP buy-in on his plans, he was willing to allow them to ride along — as long as they remembered their place. He told them he didn’t need them, but would tolerate them. Funny how some actually remembered that after Scott Brown won his seat.

    Second, the notion that you can cherry-pick where each nickle and dime of your tax burden goes is asinine and juvenile. If I have to explain why, then I’m already wasting my time.

    The “epic fail” here is that the issue wasn’t tax burdens, it was insurance premiums. To once again remind you of reality, it was religious employers who said that they were prohibited by their faith to support in any way contraception — and the feds said “tough shit, fork it over.” The argument seems you can believe whatever you like; just don’t ever expect to practice it if others don’t approve.

    Finally, on gay rights…

    What’s your point?

    The point is, the gay rights cause is winning, and has been winning for years. This move to spread panic about how there’s a “war on gays” and there’s some kind of great threat to gay’s rights — which have been expanding for decades now — is ludicrous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. dennis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Huh. Funny, I remember things a wee bit differently

    Well, of course you do; otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    As I recall it, Obama’s opening position was “I won.” He wasn’t interested in getting GOP buy-in on his plans, he was willing to allow them to ride along — as long as they remembered their place. He told them he didn’t need them, but would tolerate them.

    Untrue. Republicans, after trashing the economy, were then complaining about the amount of stimulus spending. Some economists clamored for less/no stimulus spending; others clamored for more. Obama chose to go for, what he saw, was an adequate amount (which, of course, turned out not to be enough). They bickered and, at the end, like a strong leader does, Obama said, ok, we won, here’s how we’re going to approach it.

    That’s different from your “remembered their place” meme. And why do you right-wing authoritarian types always trot out that “stay in your place, boy” way of thinking?

    The “epic fail” here is that the issue wasn’t tax burdens, it was insurance premiums. To once again remind you of reality, it was religious employers who said that they were prohibited by their faith to support in any way contraception — and the feds said “tough shit, fork it over.” The argument seems you can believe whatever you like; just don’t ever expect to practice it if others don’t approve.

    Yes, you’re right, Jenos. Silly me for posting drunk.

    Pardon me for having this opinion, but if you allow “religious” employers to discriminate against a group of people, then anyone can come up with a plausible or cockamamie reason to refuse service and benefits to anyone they don’t like. As a uniform standard, insurance providers should provide a full range of coverage without regard to the receiver’s usage. Personal religious beliefs do not — or, at least, should not — trump the good of the whole citizenry.

    The argument seems you can believe whatever you like; just don’t ever expect to practice it if others don’t approve.

    Well, it may seem that way to you,; but, I guess that explains James’ latest post this morning. And the argument, once again, is asinine and juvenile.

    The point is, the gay rights cause is winning, and has been winning for years. This move to spread panic about how there’s a “war on gays” and there’s some kind of great threat to gay’s rights — which have been expanding for decades now — is ludicrous.

    Yeah, that’s what Southern segregationists were saying about Black civil rights not too long ago. Look, dude, if you can’t see and acknowledge that a class of citizens is systematically, systemically and legally discriminated against in direct contradiction to the Constitution, then I have nothing else for you.

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  36. Jess Born says:

    @Jenos Idanian: There’s a fairly solid argument that if activist governors hadn’t shot themselves in the foot by refusing infrastructure dollars (thus, jobs) in the form of the federal rail subsidies, if the ACA had made it through unadultered and actually able to lift healthcare expenses off the backs of the middle class, and the oppositionist congress would have acted to stop the fraudulent foreclosure of tens of thousand (maybe hundreds of thousands) of homeowners, we’d probably be closer to a B+. Looking at the big picture, Obama had a pretty good solution; stop the bleeding (bailout), infrastructure and jobs (rail subsidies) and reduction of household expenses and personal bankruptcies (ACA), and the tea party and the blue dog dems fought him every single step of the way. I wonder what the economy might look like if Obama had accomplished everything he could have without traitorous (for voting with ALEC instead of the people) dems and ideologically bankrupt teahadists.

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  37. anjin-san says:

    @ Dennis

    Come on dude, the gays should be grateful for any rights we decide to let them have. You don’t buy into that silly “equal protection under the law” thing, do you?

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  38. dennis says:

    @anjin-san:

    Nah. I say that stuff just to pick at Jenos.

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  39. Jenos Idanian says:

    @dennis: Pardon me for having this opinion, but if you allow “religious” employers to discriminate against a group of people, then anyone can come up with a plausible or cockamamie reason to refuse service and benefits to anyone they don’t like. As a uniform standard, insurance providers should provide a full range of coverage without regard to the receiver’s usage. Personal religious beliefs do not — or, at least, should not — trump the good of the whole citizenry.

    Again, you’re changing the point. Your citation of “insurance providers” is as much of a red herring as your “tax revenues” line — are you drunk again?

    The Catholic Church has made itself clear: if its institutions are ordered to do things that violate Catholic doctrine, they will shut them down entirely. Look at what happened to Catholic adoption agencies in states where they were ordered to accept gay parents — instead of complying, they closed their doors.

    Now remember that in the United States, 12.6% of the hospitals are Catholic, and 14.9% of the hospital beds are in those hospitals. Are you willing to bet the Church is bluffing and won’t choose to deprive the general public of 1 in 8 hospitals, and 1 in 7 beds?

    Based on the adoption precedent, I don’t think the Church is bluffing.

    I agree that the Church’s position is wrong on contraception. But I believe that, under the Constitution, they have every right to be wrong. And I believe that under the Constitution, they should not be compelled to violate their beliefs. And for them to be ordered to provide coverage for contraception for people who have chosen to work for a Catholic organization, that makes no secret of its beliefs and policies and doctrines, is just wrong.

    Note that the Church doesn’t ban its employees from using contraception — that would be too far. But that’s not what they’re doing. Their position is actually fully in accord with what a lot of people — including a lot of people on the left — say: “the matter is none of our business.” And they want to keep it that way.

    On the gay rights one… the progress over the past few decades has been phenomenal. And very, very few setbacks. The backlash has been minimal — and overhyped. The advances made aren’t going back, with the possible exception of marriage in states where they didn’t win it through some public acceptance, but a court decision.

    Gays are winning… and will keep winning. They should keep on fighting, and winning. But through public acceptance, not forcing their way. No minority has ever won a struggle for acceptance without the support of the majority.

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  40. Moosebreath says:

    Jenos,

    “He wasn’t interested in getting GOP buy-in on his plans, he was willing to allow them to ride along — as long as they remembered their place.”

    Even by your standards, that’s remarkably wrong. On the Earth the rest of us live on, Obama spent months trying to get Republican buy-in for everything. He gave the Republicans 1/3 of the stimulus as tax cuts, even though the left had reams of economic data showing that tax cuts were less effective than spending at stimulating the economy, and got the vote of only 1 Republican in the Senate, who was then drummed out of the party for doing so. He let the Republicans dither for months with the Gang of Six trying to negotiate a compromise for health care, only to have Sen. Snowe vote against on the floor what she voted in favor of in Committee.

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  41. dennis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Again, you’re changing the point. Your citation of “insurance providers” is as much of a red herring as your “tax revenues” line — are you drunk again?

    The Catholic Church has made itself clear: if its institutions are ordered to do things that violate Catholic doctrine, they will shut them down entirely. Look at what happened to Catholic adoption agencies in states where they were ordered to accept gay parents — instead of complying, they closed their doors.

    No, I wasn’t drunk, but you’re daft. I include insurance providers as those employers that provide an insurance benefits program to its employees. If we’re going to quibble about definitions, then accept the clarification, please.

    Now, if the Catholic Church wants to cut off its nose to spite our faces, they can have at it. Close those hospitals: just one cog on the wheel that will move us closer to a public option healthcare.

    On the gay rights one… the progress over the past few decades has been phenomenal.

    So has progress been phenomenal in race relations. But we’re still getting young Black men singled out and killed for walking down the street eating Skittles and drinking iced tea.

    But through public acceptance, not forcing their way.

    I’m incredulous that you even wrote that.

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  42. grumpy realist says:

    @dennis: Yah. I have no doubt but that Jenos is a white male who can’t see why women, minorities, and gays shouldn’t just remain happy with the crumbs that drop from the table rather than speaking up and demanding a seat at the meal.

    May he come back as a minority in the South during the period of Jim Crow. We tried that “wait until massah gets around to giving us rights” and it didn’t work out.

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  43. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: Wrap your “realism” around this, chump: in the states where gay marriage was recognized by legislative action, it’s relatively secure. In states where it was recognized by other means, it’s being fought hard.

    In other words, where the people can plausibly say they had some kind of say in the matter, it’s cool. In states where they can plausibly say it was imposed on them, there’s pushback.

    So, tell me — are you more interested in actually achieving the goal, or more interested in saying you won the fight?

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  44. dennis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So, tell me — are you more interested in actually achieving the goal, or more interested in saying you won the fight?

    Umm, in rational people’s minds, there’s no difference: you achieve the goal by winning the fight.

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  45. dennis says:

    Anyway, Jenos, YOU WIN!

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