Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Obama's Epic Blunder

Some astute observations in this op-ed (and some not so astute...)

I’ve found by observing this president closely for years,” argues Daily Beast contributor Andrew Sullivan, “that what often seem like short-term tactical blunders turn out in the long run to be strategically shrewd. And if this was a trap, the religious right walked right into it.” Religious conservatives are now identified, he says, with “opposition to contraception.” Republicans have achieved “fusion with the Vatican.” Obama is evidently playing the very deep game.

Consider the implications of this praise. It means that Obama assaulted the core beliefs of some of his fellow citizens in order to lure them into politically self-destructive behavior. The president is willing to trifle with the constitutional rights of religious people to get a rise out of them. In this scenario, Obama is a Machiavellian monster, undeserving of high office.

A Machiavellian monster is precisely what he is. He's finally showing his true colors.

First, Obama has made clear who is part of his ideological coalition and who is not. Discussions on the structure and restructuring of the contraceptive policy were conducted between the administration and pro-choice and feminist groups. The institutions targeted by the mandate — particularly those represented by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — were not in the room. The administration engaged in no substantive consultation with Catholic bishops, who were only called to receive pronouncements. Interest-group liberalism is alive and well in the Obama White House...

Second, the administration has consistently adopted and applied a view of religious liberty so narrow it imposes almost no limits on federal action...

Third, Obama has surrendered his main political appeal to religious voters from the last election — his embrace of faith-based social service providers. Any attempt to repeat this outreach will seem absurdly disconnected from reality...

Fourth, with a single miscalculation, Obama has managed to unite economic and social conservatives in outrage against government activism and energize religious conservatives in a way Mitt Romney could never manage. Culture-war debates in America are evenly divided. But the objects of culture-war aggression do not easily forget.

I do wonder if he knows what he's gotten himself into. What the 2000 years of martyrdom means.

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