Category Archive 'Dirty Politics'

21 Nov 2014

Obama Divides Rather Than Leads… Again

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Barack Obama piously quoted Scripture and posed as a great idealist going out on a limb to do the right thing for poor Hispanic immigrants but, in reality, he was playing ruthless partisan politics, setting aside due process and overreaching his own authority in order to set a trap for Republicans and permanently lock in the Hispanic vote for democrats.

Something needs to be done to bring American immigration policy into line with America’s economic needs, and something needs to be done to regularize the status of people living here and doing most of the country’s worst-paying and most disagreeable jobs, but before that can be done, we need to win the national debate and properly form a consensus.

What Barack Obama just did was the precise opposite of building a consensus. He divided the country further and inflamed passions over an issue on which the country is not thinking rationally and in which we were already excessively divided. And he did it cynically for political gain.

Peter Suderman makes the same point at Reason:

[U]nilateral executive action could poison support for broader, more stable reform. There’s no question that the immediate political consequence would be to further outrage Republicans, and turn a party that has long had a mix of views about the virtues of expanding immigration into one dominated by opposition. In fact, this seems to be part of what the administration wants—to provoke Republicans into a frothing rage, in hopes that they will do something politically stupid as a result. (They might oblige.)

But the backlash might not just be the immediate consequence, and it might not just be limited to the congressional GOP and its core supporters; unilateral action might result in a deepened long-term opposition to greater immigration as well.

One only need to look at the political dynamic in the years since the passage of Obamacare, another ambitious policy passed with no opposition party support and a wary public. Democrats hoped it would provide a path to political victory, but the actual result was a deep and enduring public opposition that has cost Democrats in multiple elections.

Similar to Obamacare, about 48 percent of the public disapproves of Obama’s proposed action, while just 38 percent say they support the move. And similar to Obamacare, the president’s actions are making some Democrats nervous too. And just as before, supporters are arguing that opposition will blow over quickly.

I wouldn’t bet on it. Unprecedented, unpopular, large-scale, unilateral policy changes are nearly certain to produce a backlash—against the president, against his party, and against the ideas at the heart of the policy change itself.

To me, this is the most significant risk of Obama’s plan—that it will create a backlash, not only amongst congressional Republicans, but within the public at large, a backlash that makes it more difficult to achieve a stable, legal, and politically viable system of expanded and simplified immigration, one that is not dependent on a sympathetic executive or enforcement discretion, but that is codified in law and agreed upon by enough of the country’s residents and legislators.

This is not to simply condemn Obama’s plan, but instead to warn enthusiastic supporters that the choice to act at this time, in this way, without legislative backing or public support, might be satisfying in the moment, but also stands a real chance of closing off opportunities for a better, more lasting solution at some point in the future. Consensus is hard, and sometimes it seems impossible, but in politics, it’s also important.

02 Sep 2008

Left Tries Exploiting Sarah Palin’s Family

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And it isn’t going to work.

Time Magazine’s Nathan Thornburg finds he likes Sarah Palin’s hometown, and agrees with its residents on the irrelevance of yesterday’s pregnancy story. So will the voters.

I just got off the phone with a longtime Wasilla resident. She had urged me to find time today to go up to Hatcher Pass—”the most beautiful place in the valley!”—when I mentioned that the story on Bristol’s baby is now national news. Her voice slowed. “Oh,” she said. “I’m so sorry. That’s so unfair.”

Wasilla seems at times to be utterly without guile. It’s a large part of the town’s charm, and it’s exactly the quality that could make an unorthodox pick like Palin pay off. Don’t get me wrong — she’s a tough politician with sharp enough elbows on her own. But still, she appears to be more steeped in the values of her hometown than any politician I’ve ever come across.

Maybe that means Palin is a little too much Northern Exposure for America—after all, her father’s good friend Curt Menard happily showed me a picture of the governor as a high schooler in 1981, in a root cellar with family and friends, helping skin and cube and cure a whole moose. It’s enough to make you almost miss fake hunters like John Kerry and Mitt Romney.

People in Wasilla are Alaskan tough, so not only does a thing like teen pregnancy not seem like anyone’s damn business, but it’s also not seen as the calamity so many people in the lower 48 might think it is. This is dangerous country — it’s not just the roughneck jobs on cable reality shows. It’s real life here. I listened to the absolutely heartbreaking story of how the godfather of Track Palin, Sarah’s oldest son, died in small plane crash just minutes after having dropped off four kids. Another family invited me into their home and told their incredible story; with one son in Iraq, their other son was working on a conveyor line in Anchorage, got caught in the belt and had his head partially crushed. He lived to stand across the kitchen table from me and his parents, looking fully healed just three months later, grinning at his dumb luck and wondering what comes next in life. “It makes you realize that a thing like a little teenage pregnancy isn’t such a big deal,” his mom said. “Bristol—and lots of other girl like her out there — are going to be just fine.”

If you haven’t guessed yet, the people here are genuinely friendly. Even those in Palin’s inner sanctum who have been told since Friday not to talk to reporters by McCain’s media team, are almost apologetic that they can’t be neighborly and chat, since you came all this way to little Wasilla. And those who can talk, do. All weekend they had the decency not to pretend that they didn’t know the governor’s eldest daughter was pregnant. But they also expected decency in return, that I wouldn’t be the kind of person to make sport out of a young girl’s slip.

The fact is, regardless of what you will hear over the next few days, Bristol’s pregnancy is not a legitimate political issue. Sarah Palin is a longterm member of a group called Feminists for Life, which is not opposed to birth control. So you probably can’t tag her for consigning young people to unwanted pregnancies.

The attempt by the dirtbags of the left to whip this into a scandal will only backfire on them.

Leftwinger Larry Johnson, a former Hillary supporter, has a few apt comments on when family members are and are not appropriately made into political issues. He’s right about the clowns at Kos and the turncoat poofter Andrew Sullivan, too.

Did you catch Barack Obama threatening to fire “his” people if they are helping fan the flames about the preganancy of the Republican Vice Presidential candidate’s 17 year old daughter? Families, so he says, are not fair game.

So, why do you think Barack came out on this? Because immediate internal polling is running very negative against the Obama campaign, which is perceived as pushing the Bristol pregnancy story. They are being painted as bullies and hypocrites. Most Americans, especially those bitter white folks clinging to God and guns, view this as a private matter and none of the media’s business.

For starters, anyone who is 21 years of age or less should not be a target of any campaign. Attacking a 17 year old girl and spreading vicious lies, as have the clowns at Kos and Andrew Sullivan (just to name two of the more prominent offenders) is beyond the pale. Family members who are over 21 are fair game if they are using the fame of their parent, spouse, or relative to make a buck or get an advantage. I think the views and actions of a spouse also are relevant if the man or woman has engaged in conduct such as hurling racial epithets or promoting policies that most Americans reject.

I think it is noteworthy that Sarah Palin’s husband resigned his job in the Oil and Gas industry in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety while Michelle Obama used her husband’s position to enrich herself. She got a job she would not have if her husband had not been a player in the Chicago political machine. To that extent I think the actions and words of spouses are relevant and potentially important.

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