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Obama’s problem is not style, but substance

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:17 pm - October 16, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Anticipating that Obama’s “going to come out swinging” tonight, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), contends that the president’s problem is not style:

I think it’s more substance. I think he needs to have new policy proposals that he doesn’t have. I’ve been playing the role…I’ve actually been looking for what those great new ideas are for the next for years, to be able to use them in the debate prep. And I haven’t found them.”

Commenting at Ann Althouse’s blog, Shouting Thomas agrees:

Obama has a substance problem, not an image problem. The fact that we’re wrestling so much with their image problem is the proof that Obama has a substance problem.

Via Glenn Reynolds who calls the above the “blog comment of the day.

Will aggressive tactics tonight limit Obama’s lingering likability?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:03 pm - October 16, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

One of the factors helping Obama overcome the lousy economy“, Jim Geraghty observed last weekend, “is most Americans’ sense that he is a decent, likeable, good-natured man. Obama often wisely let allies and surrogates act as his most relentless attack dogs.”

In recent days, however, he has stepped up his attacks on Romney and has hinted that he plans to do so tonight in the debate.  Should he do so, he risks undermining the perception that many Americans still have of the incumbent.  Many Americans still do like Barack Obama, at least the idea of Barack Obama.  And should they see tonight a character resembling Joe Biden last week, a good number who still have a favorable opinion of Obama will quickly be disabused of their illusion.

And it won’t just hurt Obama’s image.  Attacks on Romney may also give the Republican the chance to show that he does not conform to the Democrat’s image.  Reporting that Obama “is planning an assault on Romney’s Bain background,” law professor  predicts “a backfire”:

Romney will have the chance to explain to the nation without media filter his side of the Bain story.  Romney will frame the issue as one of the private sector versus “trickle down government.”  It puts Solyndra in focus.

Indeed, any attack could backfire, given that Obama is the incumbent.

Undecided voters, particularly those who like Obama personally, but have not been too pleased with his record in office, would rather hear what he has planned for a second term than learn what he thinks about his challenger.  They prefer to evaluate Mr. Romney himself — and not through the filter of his partisan rival. (more…)

On judgmental gay leftists and their truly liberal counterparts

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:25 pm - October 16, 2012.
Filed under: Gay PC Silliness,Liberal Intolerance

“Gay men”, writes a reader from a “blue state”,

. . . are some of the most judgmental closed-minded people you will ever meet. I deal with so much outright intolerance from gay men. Yet if you treat anything they believe in with the same prejudice they’re on the 6:00 news calling for your head on a stick. It’s insane. I realize I’m generalizing which isn’t good, but I can literally count on one hand the gays I have met in my life that were politically tolerant.

Now, although I have encountered the hyper-judgmental gay men (and lesbians), I have met more than a handful of gay lefties who are politically tolerant, indeed, today on Facebook, a left-of-center friend messaged me in response to a quip I had offered to one of his political posts.*  We had a spirited and civil exchange, with him acknowledging he may have to check out Bob Woodward’s book, the Price of Politics.

It is a reminder that there are exceptions to the intolerance we all too often face — and that many gay liberals are indeed liberal in the original sense of the term.

* (more…)

On the humanity of our (political) adversaries

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:04 pm - October 16, 2012.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,New Media

I assiduously avoid posting political items on my Facebook Wall, seeing the forum as a means to connect/communicate with friends across the ideological spectrum.  And I try (not always successfully) to avoid commenting on liberal friends’ political posts.  All too few of them (alas) wish to engage my arguments.  I’d rather focus on what we have in common.

Sunday evening, left-wing blogress Pam Spaulding reminded me yet again that you can share a passion with a political adversary when she posted on about a YouTube gem she found.  When she found the 1965 CBS production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (featuring Lesley Ann Warren in the title role), she recalled watching it “as a child almost every year it aired (when did they stop airing it?).”  I know I’ve seen that one, but do have a preference for the Julie Andrews version (okay it’s black and white, but, it’s Julie).

It was a nice reminder how certain stories we heard or movies and TV shows we watched as children retain a certain sweetness when we encounter them again as an adult.  It’s not just the story they recall, but the impression it made upon us.

This past weekend, a liberal blogress reminded me of that simple truth.  Bear that in mind when you prepare to respond to a critic of one of our posts.  Or, if you disagree with our posts, bear that in mind as you prepare to express your disagreement.

These folks aren’t just their politics.

Will Obama offer plans for second term in second debate?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:54 pm - October 16, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

In the legacy media as well as the blogosphere, there has been much speculation that President Obama will go hard on Mitt Romney in tonight’s debate. The incumbent, as I reported yesterday, has said he failed to aggressively challenge the challenger in the first debate.

Should he attack Romney tonight, Obama would surely rally his somewhat dispirited base, but could risk alienating independents only lightly attached to his campaign or as yet undecided. Not just that. Should he focus his fire on his Republican rival, he may find himself tomorrow exactly where the media put Romney last month, attempting to make the election a referendum on his opponent without offering a plan of his own.

Commenting on the eight tasks Michael Tomasky delineated for Obama in tonight’s debate, Ed Morrissey reminds us that Obama has yet to make clear his second term agenda:

We are three weeks away from Election Day, and even Obama’s supporters (as Tomasky is) don’t have a clear idea of why Obama wants a second term, or what he wants to accomplish. So far, the Obama campaign seems to be taking its messaging from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who famously told Paul Ryan that “we don’t have a plan – all we know is that we don’t like yours.”

Read the whole thing, especially Ed’s doubts that that the debate will be game-changer.

Given that, as per this HotAir Headline, “Romney’s net favorables now higher than Obama’s in poll of polls“, Obama would be wise tonight to focus on promoting his agenda rather than attacking his opponent.

Is Connecticut in play?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - October 16, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Just caught this via Instapundit. In Karl Rove’s weekly analysis of the electoral map, 7 states moved toward Romney:

“Montana moved from ‘lean’ to ‘safe’ Romney; North Carolina moved from ‘toss up to ‘lean’ Romney; Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Nevada moved from ‘lean’ Obama to ‘toss up;’ and Connecticut shifted from ‘safe’ to ‘lean’ Obama.

Connecticut shifted?!?!  Connecticut?!?!   Given the high percentage of suburban voters in the Nutmeg State, it does seem winnable for the GOP.  But, in 2008, Obama won the state by 22 points, just two points behind his margin in California.

If Connecticut is in play, will New Jersey follow?

No, Mrs. Clinton didn’t fall on her sword over Benghazi

If she had fallen on her sword, she would not just have (verbally) taken responsibility for Benghazi, but would also have resigned her post.

Hillary Clinton, headlines Adam Clark Estes’s post on Yahoo! News about the Secretary of State taking responsibility for what happened in Libya on 09/11/12, “Falls on Her Sword“:

To put things quite literally, she told a CNN reporter on Monday, just a few minutes after landing in Peru for a visit, very plainly, “I take responsibility” for what happened in Libya on September 11. CNN makes it clear that she “insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions.” With the election right around the corner and everything, Clinton added, “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Estes (or his editor) has no clue about the meaning of the expression, “to fall on one’s sword.” Nor do the others who used the expression to discuss Mrs. Clinton’s statement yesterday.  Falling on one’s sword does not mean taking responsibility.  “If someone falls on their sword, they resign or accept the consequences of some wrongdoing.“*

Mrs. Clinton has not announced her resignation.  And even if she did, she wouldn’t get Obama off the hook.**

Indeed, her statement may actually hurt Obama.  Given her prominence, by saying she takes responsibility, the Secretary of State elevates the story; it has gotten a lot of coverage already — and will get even more today.  People will wonder why it took thirty-four days for someone in the administration to take responsibility for our failure to secure the consulate in Benghazi.

And we see no indication that the administration intends to shake-up things up at the State Department on in the intelligence community.  Though we would if Mrs. Clinton did indeed fall on her sword — and offer her resignation.

* (more…)

Weren’t gas prices supposed to be declining in California?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:26 am - October 16, 2012.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,LA Stories

Only went down two cents at the pump closest to my place since the last time I checked:

At least I didn’t fill up at the gas station less than a mile away: (more…)