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Co-opting Republican issue, Obama experiences slight rebound

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:10 pm - December 21, 2011.
Filed under: 112th Congress,2012 Presidential Election

Even Karl Rove agrees that Republicans blundered on the payroll tax issue.  They may be right “on principle and on policy“, as Charles Krauthammer puts it, but they’ve “lost the optics”, as Rove contends.

This has been a rare victory for the president due in large part to a divided GOP. “Republicans,” write the editors of the Wall Street Journal

have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he’s spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible.

House Republicans yesterday voted down the Senate’s two-month extension of the two-percentage-point payroll tax holiday to 4.2% from 6.2%. They say the short extension makes no economic sense, but then neither does a one-year extension. No employer is going to hire a worker based on such a small and temporary decrease in employment costs, as this year’s tax holiday has demonstrated. The entire exercise is political, but Republicans have thoroughly botched the politics.

Indeed. And as Ed Morrissey has pointed out, the payroll tax issue has helped the incumbent in public opinion polls:

In short, Obama has rebounded slightly in job approval, but has had no real change on the economy and job creation.  His pursuit of the payroll tax cut extension has clearly helped him gain some middle-class credibility in the last six weeks, something Republicans should keep in mind, but we’re not looking at a major rebound as long as Obama remains as underwater on the economy as this poll shows.

Fascinating how Obama has achieved this rebound by co-opting a traditionally Republican issue, lower tax rates. (more…)

Newt Gingrich and Gay Marriage

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:30 pm - December 21, 2011.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Gay Marriage

Just because I criticized various media outlets — and others — who misrepresented Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s exchange with a gay Iowa Democrat (who, by his own logic, should be a big supporter of former Vice President Dick Cheney) does not mean I support the candidate.

Although I have impressed with how the former Speaker has conducted himself in debates and with tendentious reporters, I have a number of concerns about his record and his temperament.  Not just that, he often makes some rather unusual — and unnecessarily polarizing — statements.

For example, in the exchange which excited all the hullabaloo today, he could have told his partisan interlocutor that he should consider all the stands a candidate has taken rather than focusing on just one in making up his mind, that a voter will find that he will disagree with each candidate on at least one issue.

When he recently expressed his opposition to gay marriage, he said:

I believe that marriage is between a man and woman. . . . It has been for all of recorded history and I think this is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. I think that it is just fundamentally goes against everything we know.

He could have simply left off at the word, “history”, but to call a debate that has been going on for at least a decade a “temporary aberration” is simply absurd.  And to contend that the notion “fundamentally goes against everything we know” suggests a lack of imagination on the issue.

Now, to be sure, some radical advocates of gay marriage do want to destroy the institution, but most gay couples who have sought state recognition of their unions as marriages in jurisdictions which allow them to do so share the same values — and aspirations — of straight couples who do the same.  Many elect monogamy.   (more…)

Putting Newt’s response to a gay Iowan in context

A reader alerted me to an article contending that GOP presidential candidate “Newt Gingrich told a gay man and longtime resident of Oskaloosa[, Iowa] here today that he should vote for President Obama.”  According to Memeorandum, the story is generating quite the buzz in the blogosphere.

Only problem is that the spin of the Democrat who posed the question is at odds with the reality of what the former House Speaker actually said.  He left out a lot of context as the actual video of their encounter reveals:

Here’s what Gingrich actually said:

I think for those for whom the only issue that really matters is the definition of marriage, I won’t get their support and I accept that that’s the reality. On the other hand for those for whom it’s not the central issue in their lives, if they care about job creation, if they care about national security, if they care about a better future for the country at large, then I think I’ll get their support.

Emphasis added.  The Republican is not saying to vote for Obama because he’s gay, but to vote for Obama if gay  marriage is the only issue that really matters to him.  As my friend Rick Sincere (who posted the initial article on Facebook) put it:

The man who asked the question spun Gingrich’s response as quite a lot broader than just the marriage issue. Why he would say vote for Obama is a mystery, though, since Obama has said he’s opposed to gay marriage. (Except in 1996, when he was for it.) (more…)

Obama turned away from the economy, stupid

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:18 pm - December 21, 2011.
Filed under: Economy,Obama Arrogance

During his “60 MInutes” interview last week, the most humble new kind of politician to occupy the White House since George W. Bush compared his accomplishments to some of his predecessors:

As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do. And we’re gonna keep on at it.

More work to do on the economy? Why, Mr. President, have you waited so long to address the sluggish economy?  In his insightful piece on the Democrat’s reelection prospects, Jay Cost observes how unlike FDR, the incumbent spent so little time in his first two years in office on the economy:

Obama turned his attention away from the economy far too quickly. This points to another difference between Obama and Roosevelt. FDR essentially threw everything at the Depression, including the kitchen sink; the legislating of 1933 and 1934 was relentlessly focused on the economy, and voters had no choice but to conclude that Roosevelt was, at the very least, doing everything he could think of. Not so with Obama. Having passed their stimulus, this president and his allies in Congress turned their attention to grander social welfare ambitions, something FDR did not begin to do until 1935, when the economy had already started growing at a robust rate.

Via Instapundit.  Emphasis added.  Interesting how quickly Obama, who won election largely because voters trusted him more to face the financial crisis and fix the economy, turned away after his “stimulus” (er, Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed).  It’s as if he believed that his economic team’s forecasts.

Seems Obama is just not interested in matters economic.  His “Jobs Bill” of 2011 shows little imagination, being basically a scaled-back version of the stimulus of 2009.

Grande Conservative Blogress Diva 2012–Nominations Take Two

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:19 am - December 21, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Blogress Divas,Divas

Due to an unusually busy December, I have not yet had the chance to finalize the ballot for the most coveted crown in the blogosphere, the diamond tiara bestowed upon that distinguished blogress who commands the respect of gay conservatives, the Grande Conservative Blogress Diva.

Last year, Robin of Berkeley won the coveted tiara with her American Thinker colleague Clarice Feldman joining Neo-neocon in the high-heeled slippers that mark the Regent.

Nominees in that contest included:

MeredithAncret nominated http://www.dirtysexandpolitics.com/ but methink she might qualify as a diva herself.  Please feel free to second the above nominees or submit your own either in the comments or in an e-mail.