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Can government make life fair for gay people? (Should it?)

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 9:09 pm - April 19, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Gay Politics

Twelve days ago, I posted the first, of what I expect to be, a series of pieces on gays, the GOP and the 2012 election (now a new category).  I return to that theme today, asking perhaps the question least considered by gay activists, but perhaps most important to the achievement of their (ostensible) goals:  can government make life fair, or even better, for people like us.

Last month, Glenn Reynolds linked John Stossel’s post on where the latter asked the broader question (about whether government can make life fair):

President Obama says he want to make society more fair. Advocates of big government believe fairness means taking from rich people and giving to others: poor people; or people who do things politicians approve of, like making “green” energy equipment (Solyndra); or old people (even rich ones) through Social Security and Medicare.

The idea that government can “make life fair” is intuitively appealing to people—at least until they think about it.

Once government gets into the business of making life fair, politicians and bureaucrats enter into the business of determining fairness.*  And they do that by taxing and regulation.  To create economic “fairness,” they take from some of the most productive people in society (er, the rich) and give to some of the least productive (er, less fortunate).  Now, to be sure, some of the least fortunate have indeed suffered some bad breaks in life while some of the most fortunate have gained their good fortune through, say, the luck of being in the right place at the right time or circumstance, being born into a productive family.

Sometimes, that is, things in life just aren’t fair, but once government starts adjudicating that it often penalizes the more fortunate members of society (many of whom, aware of their good fortune, have generously supported causes which help the less fortunate).

In the gay context, we ask, is it fair that some companies still discriminate against gay people?  No, it’s not.  But now to their credit, many (if not most) private companies have sought to redress that unfairness by adopting non-discrimination clauses in their employment policies or developing “diversity” policies to recruit gay and lesbian employees. (more…)

To distract us from his failures, Obama struggles to make Mitt unlikable

The media are all abuzz about Mitt Romney’s likability ratings, perhaps because it’s one of the few issues where polls, even those skewed to favor Democrats, show him struggling to hold his own against the president.  As is often the case, Ed Morrissey puts this story in its proper context, finding that in one of the skewed surveys, nearly 40% of the respondents have yet to form an opinion about the former Bay State governor:

More than a third of respondents (37%) don’t know enough about Romney to form an opinion of him, while only 13% say that about Obama. (Really?  After more than three years as President?)  That is why having a dead heat at this stage of the race is such bad news for Team Obama, along with a re-elect number in the mid-40s.  Romney has much more room to improve his standing than Obama does, and that’s why Team Obama has been so desperate to attack Romney on a personal basis.

Emphasis added.  As non-affiliated voters start to focus on the presidential election, the Obama team (along with their allies in the legacy media) are doing their utmost to define Obama’s likely successor.

They’ll be fighting against the tendency of the American people to give a party’s presidential nominee a fair hearing once his party starts to coalesce around his campaign.  Indeed, one poll which weighted Democrats disproportionally to recent voting patterns, released this past Tuesday “indicates that Romney’s popularity is starting to rebound now that the divisiveness of the primaries appears to be all but over“:

Forty-four percent of people questioned in the survey say they have a favorable view of the former Massachusetts governor, up 10 points from February, during some of the most heated moments of the GOP primaries and caucuses. Forty-three percent say they have an unfavorable opinion of Romney, down 11 points from February. Thirteen percent are unsure.

No wonder Joe Biden is trying to “Bork” Mitt Romney; he and his fellow partisans want to prevent those thirteen percent from gaining a favorable opinion of the presumptive Republican nominee while solidifying the unfavorable view of the forty-three percent.

A nonincumbent’s unfavorability ratings are not set in stone.  Indeed, the New York Times‘s Nate Silver reminds us that once past general elections have gotten “under way, such as in 1988 and 1992“, there “have been clear reversals in favorability ratings”. (more…)

Obama’s big-vision rhetoric & his mini-issue presidency

At least since his 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama has frequently spoken in lofty terms, appealing, it would seem, to the better angels of our nature. Yet, in his unscripted moments, he has often clung to bitter phrases of resentment. And since taking on the chief executive’s governing responsibilities, some of that unscripted resentment has become the scripted remarks of the President of the United States.

Yesterday, I quoted this passage from his speech in 2008 accepting the Democratic nomination for president:

. . if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone that people should run from. You make a big election about small things.

Increasingly, we see that he is making his reelection campaign about small things.  Note that Obama’s chief campaign strategist, not just the Romney-obsessed legacy media, has attempted to make an issue of Mitt Romney’s dog.  “In late January, for example,” reports the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York

. . . top Obama campaign aide David Axelrod sent out a tweet that included a photo of Obama with his Portuguese water dog Bo in the back seat of the presidential limousine. “How loving owners transport their dogs,” Axelrod wrote.

It wasn’t a random comment. “They’re obsessed with the dog thing,” liberal journalist Chris Hayes said on his MSNBC program Sunday morning, referring to the Obama campaign. “And the reason is that, I have heard, in focus groups, the dog story totally tanks Mitt Romney’s approval rating.”

This appears to be a pattern for the Obama White House as well as the Obama campaign.  Yesterday, dubbing Obama’s the Mini-Issue Presidency, Jim Geraghty provided examples of how the incumbent embraces the smallest of small-ball, citing some of the little issues on which the president has spent a great deal of time.

Guess, to borrow an expression, this “shiny-object strategy of campaigning” distracts a legacy media favorably disposed to the incumbent from the administration’s various scandals and failed policies.  Not to mention the failure of the incumbent to propose a budget capable of securing a single Democratic vote in the House or of passing the Democratic Senate.

Liberal pundit wonders what Obama has planned for 2nd Term

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:37 am - April 19, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Obama Hopenchange

As the president focuses on his campaign for reelection, he seems less focused on doing his job than he is on attacking his partisan adversaries.  He hasn’t put forward plans to address the nation’s pressing fiscal problems, the burgeoning federal debt and the coming insolvency of entitlements.

And he hasn’t really specified what he plans to do in his second term.  In a post on this topic four months ago, I included a “tidbit Ed Morrissey pulled out of the [then-]recent CBSNews poll“:

Even while Obama keeps fanning the flames of class warfare, no one is sure what Obama intends to do with a second term anyway.  Two-thirds don’t have a clear idea on his second-term goals (32/66) — and that includes a majority of Democrats (46/52) along with more than two-thirds of independents (29/69).

Now, even a liberal pundit is taking notice.  Jeffrey Toobin who, more often than note, repeats the conventional wisdom of Beltway insiders wonders what Obama has planned for his second term:

The President and his campaign have been strikingly quiet about plans for a second term. As a rule, all incumbents, of whatever office, run for reëlection on their records rather than on their future promises, but Obama appears to have taken the strategy to an extreme.

The showpiece (to date) of the Obama campaign is “The Road We’ve Traveled,” a seventeen-minute video directed by Davis Guggenheim. It’s an entirely backward-looking production, featuring the President’s efforts to extricate the country from the financial crash, the bailout of automobile manufacturers, and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Although Toobin once questioned Michael Barone’s sanity, his commentary on the campaign film seems almost a summary of the “review” Barone offered last month, its visuals “oddly antique for a president who promised hope and change.

Toobin does note that the president has offered one “promise for the future [,] his embrace of the “Buffett rule” for tax rates—to ensure that millionaires pay a greater percentage of their income than their secretaries.”

It would be nice if the president could offer more than just a plan to increase taxes.  It would also be nice if more pundits than just Mr. Toobin called the president out for his paucity of ideas.  And perhaps as well for attacking his rivals instead of offering solutions.