If you ever wondered what the 1% really thinks of the 99%, now Mitt Romney has provided an answer—at least of what many of well-healed 1% think about about a good half of the country. Joe Klein compares Romney’s candid camera moment with the much repeated Obama gaffe about crackers clinging to their guns and religion:
In context, Obama was talking about small-town America, a place where the jobs“have been gone for 25 years now” and “nothing has replaced them.” Both Republican and Democratic administrations have failed to address this central economic problem, he said, and so the residents grow “bitter” and start to cling to their guns and Bibles. But Obama, the Whole Foods arugula shopper, ignored the fact that a great many gun owners are not bitter but joyful in the hunt — indeed, that they derive as much pleasure from their sport as Obama does from basketball or golf. Nor did he understand that in many small towns religion is a source of service and good deeds and community, of drug treatment and food banks, as well as the pure peace of prayerful meditation. But Obama was right about the larger picture: there was a fear and bitterness in white small-town America that had its roots in the changing economy and expressed itself in anger that some people — immigrants, welfare recipients (and especially, now, those on Social Security Disability) and those lazy folks at the Department of Motor Vehicles — were getting over. Those sentiments, obviously, gave rise to the Tea Party. They are undiminished today. And clearly, Obama was saying something he really believed, although — to borrow a Romney locution — inelegantly.
I’m not so sure about Romney. I’m pretty sure he’s smart enough to know that the 47% he summoned was in the category of “damned lie” statistics. I’m pretty sure he knows that the vast majority of those people work their butts off, pay federal payroll taxes (and a raft of state and local levies) or are senior citizens receiving Social Security and Medicare. I’m not sure that he has put two and two together: that a great many of the 47% — the white working-class voters and senior citizens — are Romney voters. Or that they don’t pay income taxes because of Republican tax cuts and Republican child and earned-income tax credits. But I am absolutely convinced that Mitt Romney has been inured to Republican fat-cat audiences complaining about how much they have to pay to keep the American enterprise afloat, and that he was well aware of the Fox-Rush echo-chamber formulations about food-stamp growth and dependency and people not paying federal taxes, and he was playing to those prejudices. The exigencies of fundraising have forced him to spend more time with plutocrats than average citizens this year. It’s not surprising that he’s lost track of the world as most people see it. Hell, he’s spending today — the day after this momentous gaffe — fundraising rather than trying to change the topic.
The Republican Convention was at a definite disadvantage. They went first. Never ideal. They lost a day, thanks to Isaac. And they built their entire convention on a lie. They are running against a figment of their collective imaginations. The Obama who hates success, hates America and hates taking responsibility for the economy. It is an Obama as nonexistent as the straw man floating above Clint Eastwood’s empty chair.
The Democrats, by contrast, are building their convention on Obama’s record and agenda: expanding opportunity. Equal pay for equal work, equal access to healthcare, Pell grants for greater college opportunity, the rescue of jobs tied to the US auto industry and the overturning of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell so homosexuals can openly fight for the country they love. These are accomplishments that move the country forward. And accomplishments tend to make for better speeches than trumped up fear mongering. But what was striking about the first night of the Democratic convention was the unbridled patriotism of it all. The Democrats’ love of country is positively passionate! Just as the Republicans tried to build an entire convention around a gaffe in an Obama speech, this convention is taking Romney’s premise that the best we have felt about Obama was the day we cast our vote for him and deftly turned it on its head. The Democrats feel just fine about Obama. And some seem as smitten with him as the First Lady, who, as it turns out, may be the best orator in the Obama household.
There is certainly a lot of talk about the American Constitution these days. Obama, of course, has throw it out the window, according to the Tea Party. The illegal aliens are abusing it according to conservative Republicans. And California’s Proposition 8 tramples it, according to the district judge who just overruled this democratically established law. Of course, these same constitutional villians have the temerity to appeal to this very Constitution for their side’s views, as well. The rightwing has the tendency to argue that because of our “representative” form of government that governance should match the weekly Gallup pole rather than the results of the last election. If the majority of the country, according to polling data, oppose Obamacare, then no Obamacare. It is so obvious! The Religious Right agree (depending on the issue) but add that this is a “Christian nation” and therefore biblical standards are implied in our founding documents. There’s a lot of wishful thinking in this argument, to be sure. So, they argue, if homosexuality is an sin according to the Good Book, then no marriage for gays. Black and white. Right? Of course, I don’t hear a lot of support for stoning heterosexuals who commit adultery, a much more clear biblical mandate. The Religious Left have their “constitutional” arguments as well. While they are very happy to marry two men in a Christian ceremony, this is not the issue, they insist. The issue is civil marriage, they point out. Separation of church and state and all that. Why, it’s the very governing principle that our Protestant founders hard-wired into the Constitution. Shouldn’t gays and lesbians have the same right to the pursuit of happiness as the straight community? And isn’t it the role of government to protect the liberties of the minorities against the prejudices of the majority? It’s stage two of the civils rights movement! It is all so self-evident––to quote one of these devout founding fathers. So this constitution of ours must be a pretty broad document for it to be interpreted in so differently, huh? And that’s the thing about our beloved constitution that some of us love. And the rest of us, cannot stand.
Surveys show that most people are dead set against health care reform until it is broken down for them. Ignorance, once again, is the greatest tool of the G.O.P. This from Newsweek:
In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, the majority of Americans are opposed to President Obama’s health-care reform plan—until they learn the details…Seventy-six percent thought health insurers should be required to cover anyone who applies, including those with preexisting conditions; and 75 percent agreed with requiring most businesses to offer health insurance to their employees, with incentives for small-business owners to do so.
The Daily Beast outlines how pro-life Democrats and a fairly moderate President Obama have been promising a Health Care Reform that would avoid using public money to fund abortions all along. So why are pro-choice Democrats so shocked? Maybe they were listening to the distortions of Glenn Beck and the Tea Party crowd.
In a July interview with Katie Couric and on the floor of Congress in September, President Obama promised there would be no public financing of abortion in health reform, meaning the procedure would not be available to women who opt in to any potential new public insurance plan. That pushed the goalposts closer to the pro-life position.
Others are pointing at the pro-choice groups themselves. Jane Hamsher, who runs the Netroots blog Firedoglake, says the organizations have gotten too cozy with the Democratic Party establishment, which often seeks to avoid public discussion of abortion. In the health-reform fight, NARAL and Planned Parenthood were less effective in advocating for their agenda than were proponents of the public insurance option, Hamsher said. “We went out and got commitments from members of the House to vote against any bill that doesn’t have a public option,” Hamsher told The Daily Beast. “They weren’t doing the same thing.”
Richards, of Planned Parenthood, said she wasn’t aware of any efforts, before Saturday’s vote, to extract promises from legislators to vote against a health bill that restricts abortion access. “Frankly, this issue came out Friday night,” she said. Yet Stupak has been on the warpath since July, when he released a letter signed by 19 Democrats demanding a ban on abortion coverage in the exchanges.
Republican congressman Joe Wilson said a mouthful. And as somebody who routinely says things I regret, I appreciate that he manned up and apologized. But, then again, he didn’t. He said he was sorry for blurting out his statement. However, he stands by the statement’s utter accuracy. It’s a bit like saying “I’m sorry I called your mother ugly, but, oh course, she is.” Not a world-class apology. But, hey, after a summer of town hall meetings that would make one admire a Klan rally for its sense of dignity and decorum, what do you expect? And what is the proper decorum for faux state-of-the union-like addresses? Does Obama call these meetings because our nation totters on the brink of destruction? Or is it just a great way to make the Republicans look like a bunch of dicks as they sit down on every applause line? The real question is, since when does anybody have to point out when a politician is lying? After all, most of us can usually tell. Their lips are moving.
Liberty University is doing the Lord’s work––denying the existence of the Democratic Party. After all, clean-cut kids have no business getting caught up in all that “hope” nonsense. The next thing you know, they’ll want frisbees and keggers.
Seriously. Will somebody explain John Edwards to me? Still not getting it. This from Truthdig:
Now we learn that Edwards is under investigation for possibly funneling campaign funds to the mistress, and he has released a perfectly parsed statement that says “no funds from my campaign” were used improperly. That pointedly leaves out money that could flow from the labyrinth of his other political organizations. I am sure federal prosecutors can sort all this out.
Still we should not be so concerned with Edwards as another self-absorbed politician who engages in self-destructive behavior. I worry more that Edwards became a two-time presidential contender and the 2004 vice presidential nominee based on little but his own preening.
Vouchers are working for poor black families in Washington DC. It’s ashame that the black family who lives in the White House doesn’t support this program. Mr. President, explain to these families why “yes we can” has turned into “no you can’t.”
Okay, Arlen Specter was never one of those Republicans. He always looked like a politician who was accidentally mislabled at the factory. But his switching of parties sort of makes the argument that the the GOP is a big tent party lose even more of its credibility. Of course, every time a Republican opens his mouth these days it seems like he/she is channeling Glenn Beck. So, I suppose the only reason the Republicans would even need a big tent is if Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich needed to do a costume change at the same time.
Thumbs up from The National Review. Michael Ledeen writes:
In the very early days of the Bush administration, Karl Rove asked a Washington policy wonk what personnel changes he’d recommend to newly arrived George W. The wonk said “there is one matter of life and death: he must replace Tenet at CIA and put in one of his own people, someone he absolutely trusts.” Rove said “well, good luck with that one.” Obama knows better, and he’s putting Leon Panetta in Langley.
I always liked Panetta. He served in the Army and is openly proud of it. He seems to be a good lawyer (oxymoronic though it may seem). He’s a good manager. And he’s going to watch Obama’s back at a place that’s full of stilettos and a track record for attempted presidential assassination second to none. But Italians know all about political assassination; you may remember Julius Caesar. Or Aldo Moro. The self-proclaimed cognoscenti will deride his lack of “spycraft,” and he’s never worked in the intel bureaucracy or, for that matter, in foreign policy or national security. But he’s been chief of staff, which involved all that stuff.
I think it’s a smart move.
I was reading some Jack Chick end times tracts recently, and they got me thinking. You know how all the major airlines make sure that there are never two born-again Christians in the cockpit? You know, in case of rapture? So tell me, how come the GOP ticket have two Bible-believing, born agains on the same ticket? That’s just reckless! And maybe feckless. Who will be left behind to be President when the rapture happens? Seriously! That is why every patriotic evangelical Christian (and there are quite a few) should vote for Obama-Biden. It is the only rapture-ready ticket. Obama has a personal relationship with Jesus and Joe Biden is a devout Catholic. So as Jack Chick will gladly tell you, Joe Biden won’t be making the trip.
The Bible is full of good advice on how to measure character. For instance, the writer of Proverbs gives us a heads up on how to measure leadership: “He who winks the eye causes trouble, And a babbling fool will be ruined.” (Proverbs 10:10). CNN measured the reactions of the undecided to last Thursday’s Vice Presidential debate. You saw it. Little squiggly lines going up and down. Interestingly, Sarah Palin’s persistent winking was a turn off to undecided women. Undecided men sort of liked it; they thought Sarah was coming on to them. But there was a moment that took the undecided voters off the charts. It was the brief moment when Joe Biden’s eyes welled up with tears and he choked back a sob. The little squiggly lines went wild. Thursday night we saw two things in Senator Biden’s eyes: steely resolve and tender compassion. These are two qualities the book of Proverbs rate pretty high.
Sarah Palin has been a gift from above. Her sassy ineptitude, her filibustering facility with the English language and her moose-in-the-headlights refusal to blink has drawn fire away from Joe Biden. Biden, a non-stop gaffe machine, has come off as Winston Churchill by comparison. And I’m sure he will trounce her in the debate. So Democrats, send this pitbull-hockey-mom-baracuda a bouquet ( and a subscription to the Washington Post). Then Republicans, yank her from the ticket. Put Romney in. It is the sort of October surprise that could pull it out for McCain. It’s easy: Romney’s a billionaire captain of industry with a “secret plan for the economy” (it needs work, but I’m sure Rove can finese what you call it). And, best of all, he is the former Governor on a state that shares an ocean with Spain.