Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Oh, no, I can see it coming ...

Candidate Obama has been saying more things his base can like than he was for most of 2011.

But his dream of post-partisan harmony keeps inducing him to pepper-spray his own best messages. And the Republicans have figured this out.

So now, Rush Limbaugh, the Republican Party's chief ideologist who for two decades has been held in awe and treated to often extreme deference by powerful Republicans, is catching some flak and losing advertisers because he said one two many times how disgusting and contemptible he thinks women are. President Obama even encouraged the condemnation by telephoning Sandra Fluke, the main target of Rush's recent misogynist ranting, and expressing solidarity with her.

So now it's about time for Obama to make some new concession to the Republicans over this. His last compromise on the birth control issue clouded up his own previously clear stance in favor of women's health care vs. genuinely benighted opponents of birth control. So the birth control opponents escalated, demanding that not only religious institutions but every employer have a "conscience exception" in choosing to deny coverage for birth control to female employees.

Now the punditocracy Cult of Broderian Centrism - which always seems to apply more heavily to Democrats than Republicans in our one-percenter world - are joining Republicans in attempting to get Obama and the Democrats to pepper-spray their stand against Limbaughian woman-hating. I know I've been quoting Charlie Pierce a lot lately. That's because he's writing good stuff. And he was listening closely to Obama's press conference Tuesday and noticed that Obama is not Standing Up For Sex Esquire Politics Blog 03/06/2012. Given a reporter's question that offered him the opportunity to highlight the very popular Democratic stand for birth control and against Limbaugh's Republican misogyny, he quickly changed the subject to the economy. Pierce says of Obama's comments in the press conference:

Not a simple, mumbling word about the right to decent health-care, let alone the right to choose. Given a golden opportunity to say flatly that he and his administration were foursquare behind these rights, he gave the whole thing a pass. I'm sure he's got poll numbers that tell him not to say "abortion" in public but, damn, this was disappointing.

This is what I mean when I say that this issue can only be a political winner for the Democrats if they go out and make it one. How hard would it have been for him to say, "Look, it's probably not a good time in history to be using the war metaphor, but there's no question that the Republican party is a vehicle in an organized campaigh [sic] to roll back women's rights in the most personal sphere of their lives, and, as long as I'm president, that won't happen."?

I'm glad he called Sandra Fluke. I just wish he'd show that he appreciates the incredible political gift she gave him.
It's not surprising that the President might decline to address Limbaugh's comments directly out of some judgment it might give the hate-radio junkie bigot extra credibility. But failing to twist the political knife on an issue that is clearly working in his own and the Democrats' favor is bewildering. Though no longer surprising, given Obama's history with his kind of thing.

Pierce also notes that Serious People are now pushing the narrative that both sides do that. (The 'Respectable' Punditocracy Joins The Rush Party 03/07/2012)

Here were Sleepy Mark Shields and David "Bobo" Brooks already last Friday, the Quality TV Liberal and Sensible Conservative, both agreeing that it was obvious that Both Sides were to blame for Rush's woman-hating spewing at Sandra Fluke (Shields, Brooks on Limbaugh's Fluke Comments, 100 point game PBS Newshour Online 03/02/2012):

Evan McMorris-Santoro joins in at TPM with Does Obama Have A Bill Maher Problem? 03/07/2012. Pierce addresses what anyone who's been half paying attention to American politics during the last 20 years or any significant portion of it knows, which is that neither Bill Maher or any other media figure has a status in the Democratic Party even remotely like that Limbaugh has had in the Republican Party for two decades. McMorris-Santoro, on the other hand, writes, "Republicans think they’re really on to something here. And some observers agree." The "some observers" in his reports consists of, uh, one person, Siobhan Bennett of the Women’s Campaign Fund.

If Obama or other elected Democrats start pandering to this nonsense, that will be genuinely sad.

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