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Barone: GOP candidates must remind young voters that ours is the party of options

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:18 pm - February 7, 2012.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

Back in the 2008 campaign (and its immediate aftermath), I talked to a lot of young voters enthusiastic about Barack Obama.  When I asked many why they supported the Chicago politician, they repeated the usual bromides about how their guy was a different kind of politician who would change the way things were done in Washington.

When I asked them to specify the kinds of changes he would implement, they replied that he would be different from George W. Bush.  Obama’s appeal was based on his image, not his ideas.  In a similar vein, Michael Barone writes that he has “long thought that there was a tension between Millennials’ former enthusiasm for Obama and the thrust of the Obama Democrats’ policies” and sees in that tension an opportunity for Republicans:

This is an iPod/Facebook 21st century generation. Young Americans want to customize their own world. They want to shape their own destinies, not be part of a herd that is shepherded from one pasture to another. They like the advice of Obama appointee Anne-Marie Slaughter: Design your own profession.

The Obama policies are redolent of mid-20th century welfare state planning. From Obamacare’s unaccountable boards determining the care patients get to his affection for high-speed rail that will forever run on the same tracks, choice is limited or eliminated. Central planners determine your future.

It’s as if every iPod had an identical play list and every Facebook page were the same.

Romney and the other Republicans can claim that their policies, by providing choices and opening markets to spur innovation that no central authority can plan, will enable young people to choose their futures.

Obama likes to emphasize the Obamacare provision that lets “children” up to age 26 stay on their parents’ health insurance. Apparently that polls well with Millennials.

Republicans should counter that they want young people to choose their own health plan, from firms competing for their business. An economy liberated from Obamas’ tax and regulations can provide more choices and opportunities.

It’s Barone.  Read the whole thing.

Personal Note #1–Those days when Sisyphus can’t push the rock

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:54 pm - February 7, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Mythology and the real world

I have been sketching out this post at least since November when I finally got around to finishing up –and sending in–the first round of proofreading of my dissertation (needed so Pacifica has a clean copy for its library).

A lot has been on my mind, only a limited amount related to politics.  I have (until the second half of January) been devoting a great amount of time to outlining curricula for the various courses I want to teach so I can been better prepared when I interview for jobs (and to show I am ready to teach courses they already offer).

At times, I just don’t think I’ll be able to blog for a few days, only to find, like yesterday, the words just flowing from my fingers as they did for three posts last night  — and a fourth that I would have completed had I not learned of the immanence of the Prop 8 ruling.

It seems those sudden bursts of “creativity” spare me the need of writing this post.

This morning, after finishing up the Tennessee post, I hit a wall again and felt as I often have like Sisyphus, only unable to push the rock up the hill, no matter how hard I tried.

I offer this not as a complaint, but as an explanation.  Some days, it seems I’m just going through the motions of blogging, cutting and pasting (and commenting on) the posts of others rather than putting forward original ones of my own.

I feel a lot like I did in the Fall of 2009 — right after I broke through the block in writing my dissertation.  In August and September, I had realized what was missing from my paper and had (finally!) started writing in October, only sensing in November that I needed to step back a bit before setting off  again at full speed (as would happen in January of 2010).  And that’s what it seems like now — that I need to step back a bit. (more…)

9th Circuit declares Prop 8 Unconstitutional

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:08 pm - February 7, 2012.
Filed under: Constitutional Issues,Gay Marriage

Here’s the decision.

Decision is by Judge Stephen Reinhardt who is “one of the most-reversed judges before the Supreme Court“.

He just handed the Republicans a campaign issue.  They can make the case that unelected judges should not be resolving issues which the constitution entrusted to legislators — and the people themselves.

UPDATE:  I apologize for this sparse post on a very important topic.  A lot of things on my plate this week.  Let me just summarize my basic views which should be clear from my posts on gay marriage: I’m happy for the couples who can now seek the benefits of state sanction of their unions, but am concerned that we’re now turning to courts to resolve all manner of social issues.

This is not an issue of couples being able to live openly and call themselves married, but of the state recognizing their unions.

I would have different views on the constitutionality issue if states, like Virginia prior to Loving, were preventing gay couples from living openly within their jurisdiction.   Recall that the the loving couple in that case had three choices (1) leave Virginia; (2) get a divorce or (3) go to jail.  The couples in the current case could all still live openly in California — and even seek state recognition of their unions as domestic partnerships.

Tennessee Restauraunter Evicts Legislator Who Made Anti-Gay Remarks

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - February 7, 2012.
Filed under: Freedom

Reader MV alerted me to this story about how “Martha Boggs, the owner of Knoxville’s The Bistro at the Bijou, asked [Tennessee Senator Stacey] Campfield to leave after he tried to dine at her establishment.”  The Senator had introduced a “prohibit teachers from discussing homosexuality in the classroom before the ninth grade“.

According to Metropulse blog, Boggs said that she “didn’t want his hate in my restaurant“; she told the Senator “he wasn’t welcome[:] . . . I feel like he’s gone from being stupid to being dangerous, and I wanted to stand up to him.'”  She should be free to decided who’s welcome (and who’s not), particularly on her property.

A restauranter should have the right to refuse service to everyone.  Kudos, Ms. Boggs for so bolding exercising your freedom!

She didn’t ask for any special privilege from the state — or seek to deprive anyone of his rights, but exercised her own.  This was on her property; an individual should be free to associate with whomever he chooses on his (or her) own land.

Contrast this with a story Glenn linked in May 2010 where the ACLU successfully sued a Long Beach, California restaurant for refusing service to Nazis supporting lapel pins.  Nice to see that some states still allow businesses to refuse service to those whose views she finds offensive.

Prop 8 Decision Expected Today

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:57 am - February 7, 2012.
Filed under: Constitutional Issues,Gay Marriage

Just caught this on Memeorandum:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s public information office expects a ruling on Tuesday, Feb. 7 by 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern Time in the Perry v. Brown case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

Regardless of how the 9th Circuit rules,” writes Howard Mintz in the San Jose Mercury News, “Tuesday’s ruling is expected to be only a prelude to further legal skirmishing that ultimately is likely to wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

If the Ninth Circuit overturns Prop 8, it will be interesting to watch President Obama’s reaction.

The Republican candidates will make political hay from this, by faulting liberal judges for overstepping their mandates.  And they’ll have a point.  This is an issue for state legislatures not federal courts.  And as we saw last year in New York State — and this year in Washington, elected legislators are moving forward on state recognition of same-sex marriage.

And one more thing.  This is not about the right to marry, to live openly with the spouse of your choice, but about state recognition of such unions.  It would be nice if the rhetoric in this debate reflected that reality.

Americans frustrated that Obama can’t force Congress to do his will?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:00 am - February 7, 2012.
Filed under: Constitutional Issues,Media Bias,Obama Arrogance

Wonder how Matt Lauer and his colleagues in the legacy media would have reacted had George W. Bush expressed a similar frustration:

I think this is the nature of being President. What’s frustrated people is that I have not been able to force Congress to implement every aspect of what I said in 2008.

Well, it turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change that I would like sometimes. But what I have been able to do is move in the right direction. And what I’m going to keep on doing is plot away, very persistent. You know what? One of the things about being President is you get better as time goes on.

Emphasis.  What arrogance.  Assuming people are frustrated because he can’t force Congress to implement his promises?   (Maybe they’d have been frustrated if he tried (and failed) to “force” Congress to act on something he’d been proposing throughout the campaign, you know that “net spending cut“.)

In reality, his party controlled Congress for the first two years of his term.  He was able to “force” the legislature to implement a good chunk of his agenda.  And people were frustrated, frustrated that the Democratic Congress implemented many of his proposals.

Doesn’t he understand that the people elected a Republican Congress in response to such implementation?

Many of us like the system our Founders designed — and they designed it deliberately to make it difficult to bring about the types of changes men like Obama would propose, changes which usurp the liberties of the people and centralize power in a in a far-distant capital. (more…)

Is abortion the defining issue of the American left?

Particularly since I moved to Los Angeles, I’ve observed that for many on the left cultural issues account for their political leanings.  So focused are they on such issues as abortion and gay marriage that they assume these are the defining issues for the two major political parties in the United States.  In reality, they are the defining issues only for them.

Even as they express frustration at the burdens of federal regulation (see, e.g., this example of the regulatory state run amok*) and appreciation for the merits of the free market system, they refuse to back a political party that supports restrictions on abortion, even if they recognize the merits of its economic policies.  And as they fault their party for being beholden to such special interests as public employee unions and environmental extremists.

Many of us saw this last week on Facebook when some of our liberal friends went apoplectic when the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a breast cancer charity, announced it was temporarily suspending its funding of Planned Parenthood.  And although the foundation may have been trying, as James Taranto put it, “to extricate itself from the divisive national battle over abortion by severing its connection with a leading combatant,” some saw the action to kowtowing to pro-lifers.

Before the foundation backed down, its leaders weren’t taking sides, merely attempting to “back out of” the battle.

“The implication here,” writes Timothy P. Carney in the Washington Examiner, “is that giving money to the abortion lobby has nothing to do with the culture wars, but not giving them money somehow does.

*Via Instapundit

UPDATE:  Apparently, George Will believes abortion is the defining issue of the American left: (more…)