Obama Runs on Record, Republicans Run on Theology
|February 21, 2012||Posted by Adam T under News Bump, Political News, Political News - U.S.|
Often I hear from conservatives stuck in their own little world that Obama can’t run on his record. This should be, by this point, obviously false. Not only can Obama run on his record, but he is running on his record, to great effect. The Republican candidates, obviously not happy about this, first started by trying to directly attack his record on things like foreign policy and the economy. When it became obvious that they would not be able to win the foreign policy argument against a sitting President who got Osama bin Laden, and the economic good news continued to roll in, they switch gears on the major message – to that of theology and social issues.
The bigger issues of economy and jobs have now taken a new turn. The right wing propaganda machine is now focusing on gas prices as their economy fear tactic, claiming that it will put the economy back in the dumps and be above $5 per gallon. Some even defend this particular line of attack by taking the side I can only call the “revenge tactic,” in which an attack like this is ok, despite ample evidence the office of the President has little to no control over gas prices, by saying “liberals did it to Bush in 2007 and 2008!” as though repeating a lie is ok if it was done to them first. Personally, I don’t understand why they aren’t happy the media no longer takes up the line that the President can do anything for or against oil prices, but I digress.
Knowing the economic and jobs arguments are now losing arguments, the Republicans have almost stopped talking about them entirely. What do they do instead? Take up social issues! Specifically, faith and religious issues.
The recent contraception “controversy” is supposedly that the government is imposing its will on religious organizations, limiting their freedom. Their response is to take away any and all regulation of what health insurance should cover out of the federal law, saying that anyone who has a moral objection to a coverage can decide not to cover it. So now, instead of the government placing regulations on health insurance so that there is a basic minimum coverage, your religious or ideological employer can decide that prayer solves everything in order to avoid paying for any health care at all. Convenient? Yep. The House Republicans even conducted a hearing with (at first) an all male panel of “experts” on the subject, which to them was “religious freedom” and to everyone else was whether or not contraception should be covered by health insurance plans.
It goes further than that, however. Recently Rick Santorum did a stump speech about what he thinks of the President’s policies, saying the following:
It’s not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.
When asked what he was talking about, he attempted to shift the conversation about what theology means (much as the terms communist, socialist, Marxist, and liberal have been changed to mean whatever conservatives want them to mean) to being about environmentalism. He conveniently thinks he can make theology mean whatever he wants it to mean, which also shows the point of using the word – to get people to fill in the blank of what theology the President must have. His supporters likely split over whether he meant his supposed closet “avowed Muslim” theology, whether he follows a “God damn America” theology of Reverend Wright, or something – anything – else.
He also said in another speech:
[O]ur closest ally Britain was being bombed and leveled, when Japan was spreading its cancer through Southeast Asia, and America sat from 1940 when France fell to December of 1941, and did almost nothing. Why? Because we’re a hopeful people. We think, ‘Well, you know, it’ll get better. Yeah, he’s not, I mean, he’s a nice guy. I mean, it won’t be as near as bad as what we think. I mean, you know, this will be OK. I mean, you know, yeah, maybe he’s not the best guy.’ After a while you found out some things about this guy over in Europe, but he’s not so good of a guy after all. But you know what, why do we need to be involved? We’ll just take care of our own problems. Just get our families off to work and our kids off to school and we’ll be OK. That’s sort of the optimistic spirit of America. But sometimes. Sometimes it’s not OK.
Can there be any wonder who he was talking about? That would be Hitler. But he claims he wasn’t comparing Obama to Hitler.
Let’s assume for a moment that he wasn’t directly comparing Obama to Hitler, and instead making a historical reference that we are just likely to sit out any morally important battle because we don’t want to get involved. He was still referencing Hitler, and that needs to stop. Godwin’s Law notwithstanding, Hitler and Nazis should only ever be compared to people who actually propose genocide and world domination.
Conservatives, particularly in the Tea Party, love to link Obama to terrorism, tyranny, and a number of other over-the-top accusations. They have gone so far as to put his face on signs with a Hitler style mustache to make their point. But this kind of reference is not just in poor taste, it is disrespectful to all those who died for no reason other than that they were different. They were killed as scapegoats for a greater agenda of domination of Germany and the world.
Hitler also killed political opponents as a response to them speaking out, so it’s not simply a matter of “not speaking up” before they come for you next. There are no soldiers in the streets quelling opposition at the point of a gun in our country. The Hitler, terrorism, tyranny, and other nonsense accusations need to stop, because they are disrespectful to people and events that actually went through this, and some events that are going on right now.
Still, when taken together, what you can see is the emergence, again, of crazy rhetoric because no legitimate arguments are left. So we end up with the culture wars instead.
Jen McCreight, of Boobquake fame, recently wrote on the contraception issue specifically, while reconciling the broader social conservative movements against women’s health and rights by putting it simply: It’s about punishing sluts. She is right, of course, highlighting in eloquent and specific language exactly what the social conservatives have against women and women’s rights:
How else can you reconcile the platforms of anti-choicers? If you truly were against abortion, you would be fighting desperately for comprehensive sex education and easy access to contraceptives – things that actually reduce abortions. If you truly thought abortion was murder, you would never make exceptions for cases of rape or incest. If you truly were concerned with women’s health, you wouldn’t use HPV statistics to scaremonger young girls about sex while simultaneously fighting against a vaccine. If you truly were pro-life, you’d want improved child care, education, and family leave instead of losing interest in someone once they pop out of the womb.
It is also possible to take a more broad look at the social conservative movement, and see an even bigger picture. If you look a little further at the social conservatives, their entire platform is about only one thing: Control and Punishment.
The entire focus on women’s rights, the rights of minorities through voter ID laws, the attack on any health insurance coverage they don’t like in contrast to their previous support of an individual mandate, their overall rejection of their own ideas if Obama is behind them… all of it comes down to power. All of it comes down to their deep desire to have control and to be able to punish anyone who isn’t doing things their way. These are not small government people – they are instead people who want government to be as big and as intrusive as it needs to be to control and punish behavior and thoughts they deem wrong, or morally objectionable, or “anti-American.” Anything that is acceptable to them is something the government should stay out of. They want, effectively, a “Daddy State.”
What the people in their own little world don’t seem to realize is that ALL of these issues are losing issues for them. Having Santorum, with those views, as the nominee will hand Obama the election. Independents and moderate Republican registered voters will either stay home, vote third party, or vote for Obama. Since there’s no way of knowing which of those you will get, and the Democrats have much stronger support and enthusiasm among all spectrums except the radical right, Obama would not only win the election, but it would be another landslide.
If conservatives care at all about winning, so they can push their social issues the way they have since the House Republicans and state legislatures turned red, they have to AVOID talking about social issues, not embrace them. The fact that they don’t seem to realize this and are putting their full weight behind pushing the socials issues means they not only deserve to lose, but they deserve to lose BADLY.