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Back during the 2008 election campaign presidential candidate John McCain visited Florida with a five point lead over Barack Obama in the state's election polls. Then inexplicably, McCain went into a room filled with senior citizens and gave a speech about the need to cut their Social Security benefits.
Florida as we know from our recent political experience is a must win state for any candidate serious about moving into the Pennsylvania Avenue address. Why would McCain go into a must win state and cut his own throat with a policy address at a campaign stump event. Did the McCain camp think these senior citizens would perhaps admire his candor?
During the Republican convention McCain could expect to receive a bounce in the polls, historically five to ten percent. All was on track; the conventions as conventions go are tightly scripted and choreographed. McCain went into the convention dead even in the polls with Barack Obama, so if all went well, McCain could expect to emerge from the convention with a comfortable lead.
Instead, McCain does the inexplicable, he chooses as his running mate a complete political unknown. Traditionally, running mates are chosen to bolster the ticket. Kennedy from Massachusetts chose Johnson from Texas to bolster the ticket geographically. In this case, McCain chose a running mate who could bring nothing to the table, neither a must win state nor with any semblance of a political following rather, he chose a political novelty act.
His choice of Sarah Palin created a sensation at the convention. She delivered a well rehearsed speech to media accolades but was quickly tripped up by such "trick questions" as, "What newspapers do you like to read?" The choice of Palin might have energized the base yet anyone serious about winning the election understood that the battle ground was for the undecided voters. McCain's choice of Palin backfired on all levels, the conservatives actually preferred Palin to McCain. The Republican moderates questioned McCain's judgment and feared an aging McCain and an inexperienced Palin in the White House. The undecided voters also feared a person with almost no political experience what so ever inheriting the White House.
It was as if John McCain was trying to lose this election and it is my unshakable belief that he was trying to do just that. On the other side we had no drama Obama, a meteoric political rise on a mediocre political career. He was going to deliver us from out of the political darkness of the Bush regime. He grave warm and fuzzy speeches about how he was going to help union workers and revive the middle class. It was all going to be so wonderful, lofty speeches against scenic backlit stages. A dÃ©j- vu replay of the young and vital John Kennedy with his beautiful wife and adorable children versus the grumpy, Nixon with a heavy five o'clock shadow at ten thirty in the morning.
So this is all ancient history, isn't it? Obama won the election in a cake walk. He then began to keep more of John McCain's campaign promises than his own. McCain advocated for a Federal spending freeze, Candidate Obama said no, President Obama said; let's make it a three year freeze. McCain's most famous tag line from his campaign was "drill baby drill" advocating for increased drilling in the coastal waters and the Arctic. Candidate Obama said no, but after the PB disaster in the Gulf of Mexico President Obama quietly open up more areas of the Gulf and sensitive areas in the Arctic for oil exploration. (Spill baby spill)
It seems that even as the electorate voted for change and they received only more of the same. An administration stridently right wing, advocating tax cuts for industry, loans for big business and budget cuts with a grave concern over the deficit. The Obama administration is the living reincarnation of the Hoover administration right down to the platitudes about the good times a coming.
Today, the current Republican Presidential field looks like Delta House at Clown College. Mitt the Marauder, the most detestable and unlikable candidate since Thomas E. Dewey, Romney is the nominee heir apparent just because as with John McCain he is the most unpopular candidate among conservative voters. Newt the nitwit tries running to the right attacking Romney like a hyena running down a wildebeest. Yet Newt's own nemesis lives closer to home, it gets its mail at the same address as Newt and each day wears the same tie. Newt is afflicted with Pat Robertsonitis. When cornered Newt will most always says something outrageous.
Then you have Ron Paul, the safety valve, the wild card, the Republican Ralph Nader, the iconoclast threatening to split the party vote. Yet there is another wild card in the field, Rick Santorum is the unknown quantity. He's got his Sunday go to meeting smile and his Catholic Christo- Fascist credentials which he plays up at every opportunity. Santorum creates a debate out of thin air calling a health and human services ruling concerning birth control a war on religious freedom.
98 percent of Catholics use contraception as the Catholic Bishops chime in continuing their 1,500 year unbroken streak of being wrong. 59 percent of Catholics agreed with the Obama administration in its ruling and 28 states all ready had this ruling in place. Santorum and the Bishops are creating a firestorm which will hurt Republicans in the fall. Creating a tempest in a teapot which will become a hemorrhage in the ballot box, where is the logic here? Why push an issue in which all but a tiny minority of the electorate disagrees with. If Santorum does eventually win the nomination, which he won't, it will be a pyrrhic victory.
This should be easy peasey for Obama, just sit back and look presidential. Instead, in response to a non-issue the Obama administration manages to make two mistakes in a single move, first they answer a crisis which really isn't there and then propose a cure for the non existent disease. By capitulating, the administration is admitting it made a mistake when it did not. They win no fans and only encourage more of "I told you so" scorn from the Republicans.
The Obama answer is one of the most convoluted rulings in American history. Try to follow this logic, Catholic and other Christo-fascist employers will not be required to provide birth control coverage through their insurers. Instead, the insurance companies themselves issuing policies to Catholic and other Christo-fascists institutions must provide birth control coverage not offered in the policy to the Christo-fascist employees at no charge!
It is a childlike absurdity, grade school behavior, "Johnny would you please ask your mother to pass the salt."
Once again, Obama appears to weave left but has actually moved to the right by admitting that this is somehow an issue of religious freedom. He has effectively opened the floodgates to the sea of religious nonsense. Should churches and church schools be forced to use the same rules as private business? Should they be forced to install fire extinguishers or evacuation plans? Is the American's with disabilities act also an assault on religious liberty?
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