Just a Little Irony

The pre-abortion vaginal probes being pushed by rogue Republicans are by all medical definitions an unnecessary procedure. Unnecessary procedures drive up medical costs. So Republicans who railed against health care reform are making the problem of health care costs worse.

It is peculiar that they don't want to force women to have free mammograms. As a matter of fact, they fight against free mammograms by lobbying for the destruction of Planned Parenthood. They should go ahead and make it part of their platform.

GOP:Let's wipe out breast cancer screening by 2015!

Romney and the Republicans

IS IT NOVEMBER YET?  I'm getting embarrassed watching Mitt Romney go through this process like a cinder block that thinks it can swim. I can't write fast enough to keep up with his fuckups. I'm just getting around to his version of auto bailout which he says was his idea. This claim is holding its own as news on the day following the revelation that Barack Obama supports gay marriage. It is a big deal because Romney is acting as if there is no video of him taking potshots at Obama for his decision to write a check to the auto companies. No one is going out on a limb to say that this is the beginning of the end of the Romney campaign, but I will. While taking credit for the success of the auto bailout might have been a choreographed move on Romney's part, it is turning into a gaffe. This is the kind of stuff the press loves. They aren't going to let up on this and it is an easy tool for the Obama camp to use to portray Romney as coreless and unprincipled. This will become late night monologue fodder. It's going to be what solidifies Romney as a joke. And then he will go away.

INDIANA REPUBLICAN RICHARD LUGAR JUST GOT TEA PARTIED OUT OF OFFICE by a resentfully partisan control-freak. In his concession speech, Lugar lashed out at his opponent, and that's right, legislators on "both sides" for their unprecedented partisanship. This is deja vu all over again. It was no different from when Maine Senator Olympia Snowe in announcing her retirement blamed "both sides" for the unprecedented partisanship in the Senate (I wrote about that here). Including Democrats as part of the problem is either a cynical attempt at bipartisanship or a way to mitigate the blame the Republicans rightfully receive for their filibuster abuse over the past three years. The so-called liberal media is finally setting the record straight. Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein laid it out unapologetically in an article entitled "Let's Face It: Republicans Are The Problem." In their criticism, the two suggest the lazy media (my words) should stop following the lazy, uninformed assumption that "both sides are equally guilty" (my words again). Things have not changed since the coverage of the run up to the Iraq War where the overwhelming evidence against the Bush Administration's claims was relegated to page 27. Newsfolk should have a bias - a bias for truth. And if their guiding principle is not to hurt the feelings of conservatives, maybe they should become publicists for Ted Nugent. 

AOTL Begins Torpedoboating

Gay Marriage No Brainer

Barack Obama has just come out, so to speak, in favor of gay marriage to correct of the awkward balancing act he has been trying to perform over the past few days. Not exactly leading on an issue that a plurality of Americans are in favor of, but good for him. Like having children, there was no perfect time to make the announcement, but he should have known two things. First, there was no blowback in his repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Second, if the Republicans wanted to make his support of gay marriage an issue, they would have done it by now. Republicans have no problem lying (death panels, abortion is 90% of what Planned Parenthood does etc.) As soon as Obama instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, Republicans would have hammered him with the label of "pro-gay marriage" but they have not, and in all fairness, they would not have been lying. It was Obama that was lying all along. Who really believed that Obama was not secretly in favor of gay marriage?

Leadership is never a bad gamble and it's not a bad gamble in this case. After Californians voted for the California Marriage Protection Act in 2008, there seemed to be some voter's remorse. Just yesterday, North Carolina voted to pass a constitutional amendment restricting marriage. The conventional wisdom was that Obama has spent all his time hedging on gay marriage as not to defend states that he carried in 2008 like North Carolina. But coinciding with the vote in North Carolina, Joe Biden and education secretary Arne Duncan publicly admitted being in favor of gay marriage this week forcing the prez's hand. Being the mature statesman, Obama had no choice but to make what was clear clear. By November, there will surely be North Carolina voters that will feel left behind on the issue of marriage equality. In other words, just like in California, there will be voter's remorse in North Carolina. That will help Obama.

Is there a chance he will be hurt by it? Only if the economy gets better. As long as the money sector seems stalled, the Republican establishment is determined to focus on that and not social issues, which is what cleared the field of the Bachmanns and Santorums this primary season (not to mention their insanity). But if people feel the economy is on the rebound, they tend to feel more generous, socially. The only giddy Republicans are the ones on the far right who are clearly on the loosing side as polls have consistently showed over the past twelve or so years.

The Inevitable Free Fall of Mitt Romney

The conventional wisdom was that beating Obama in this election would be child's play. A bad economy is always seen as the biggest threat to an incumbent, and as a wealthy Republican, Mitt Romney was arguably the Republican's best weapon against Barack Obama. But one week after clinching his right to be called the nominee, Romney is knocked back on his heels. Out of the gate, the worst fears that Republicans had of Mitt Romney are being realized. Romney is finding himself being controlled, not only by the Obama campaign, but by his own words. He has been welcomed to the general election on the anniversary of the killing of Osama Bin Laden. As it is, there is no way to attack Obama on that, so having the upper hand, the Obama campaign has been using it to smash Romney in his face.

Obama has not had resort to using hyperbole or extrapolation to contrast himself with Romney on Bin Laden policy. He has used Romney's own words from 2007 when Mitt asserted that it was not worth "moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."Unable to backpedal on that one, Mitt has been charging that it is unfair for Obama the Osama killer to run on his record. This tact won't find any traction. After spending the primary season insisting the economy is worse than it was in 2008 and that Obama has been a weak leader, Romney finds himself on the ropes. He has got to be wondering how that happened so fast.

This week is being used by the Obama campaign, not only to commemorate its greatest success, but to profile their opponent. They love this Mitt. This Mitt has very little to say and what he does say is plaintive. Instead of proposing bold new ideas, Romney is complaining how Obama is running his campaign. That is not the definition of getting off to a good start.

That begs the question: what is stopping Romney from proposing bold new ideas? That question, in turn begs the following explanation: as the leader of the party that is trying to legitimize the punitive pre-abortion ultrasound and discriminatory voter ID laws, Romney is afraid he's not crazy enough for his own party. Sure, we are expecting Romney to make his well-anticipated pivot to the political center for November, but even that has become troublesome for Romney. While it's something every Republican must do, Romney is making his pivot with some trepidation. He is worried that as soon as he does it, he will be pounded from both sides as a predictable flip-flopper, which will once again put him on the ropes. So Romney can't say anything Santorum-crazy because it puts him on the fringe. He can't say anything normal because everyone will call it a flip-flop. The Republican nominee is stuck in a self-imposed paralysis. The inventor of Obamacare is no longer in the business of "European Socialism." Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will spend the rest of the campaign trying to be as generic as possible. If he hands out free ice cream while stumping it will be unflavored. It's as if he is positioning himself to lose.

Most establishment Republicans are on the verge of giving up if they haven't given up already. In spite of their rhetoric about Obama, they know that he is an astute political choreographer. He is keenly aware. He is an ace political campaigner. He is well-liked even if the public's approval of his performance is tepid. And on that last point, just because Obama is not hitting a homer on the public approval front does not at all mean that people approve of Romney more. While we don't know how things are going to fluctuate, the good money should be on Obama who has demonstrated an even-keeled style since he emerged on the national scene. Romney, on the other hand can seem desperate at times, perhaps capable of something reminiscent of John McCain's curious declaration that he was suspending his campaign at the outset of the financial collapse of 2008.

As of this writing, a floundering Mitt Romney is stumping in Virginia criticizing the Obama Administration's handling of Chinese dissident Chen Guangchen. He has declared today "a day of shame for the Obama Administration." The problem with making such a statement is that there will be nothing else outside of FOX News to back up that narrative. In the end, it just conveys that Romney is filled with hot air, a quality people already suspect in him.

Mitt Romney is running on his success as a businessman. He achieved his wealth being the guy he is which has ingrained in himself a sense of self-satisfaction. To his detriment, he can't change. He can put on a pair of jeans, but it's still Mitt Romney in a pair of jeans. Mitt will not become more in touch between now and November. He may give us an attempt at some kind of "Checkers Speech" where he insists that we shouldn't hate him for being rich, but it won't do any good. First of all, no one hates Romney because he is rich. They just don't feel any connection to him. The question for Romney is, how bad does the economy have to be for that not to matter.