Monday, February 27, 2012

Week of 02/27/2012

Failing For Politics
– by David Matthews 2

I probably should preface this article by saying that I am neither a supporter nor a hater of President Barack Obama. I am neither a Democrat nor (currently) a member of the GOP. (Full disclosure: I was a card-carrying GOP member in the late 80’s.) I have, since 1993, afforded every incoming president the opportunity to do what is right, regardless of party or political influence, before writing them off as being miserable failures. This is something that the conservatives have failed to do, which further serves to reflect my disgust of them.

I personally believe that every president should have the opportunity to prove their critics wrong and to do what is right by the American people. They should be able to set aside political favoritism, stand above the corruption of cronyism and nepotism, and to do what is needed and what is right. That is how you respect the office of the President. You give the President the opportunity to do what is right first before you start condemning that person and conspiring to sabotage his (or her) efforts.

Unfortunately, I have discovered that this is a pretty high bar for presidents of both parties to meet. Yes, they will seemingly do right at first. Bush Junior initially did that with Afghanistan after 9/11. Obama tried to do it in his first month with the economy. But then the cronies come in, the status quo takes over, and what we are left with is nothing but spin and cheap politics.

I wish that I did not have to lead off with that disclosure, but given the caustic political environment we currently live in, I have no alternative but to provide it so people will not mistake my criticism as being part of either a liberal or conservative agenda.

Thus we come to the latest in the ongoing failure that is the Obama White House. The decision that has religious leaders and GOP Presidential contenders throwing temper tantrums.

Obama’s people have decided that religious organizations such as schools and hospitals and charity services should be forced to cover the cost of birth control for their employees as part of their healthcare programs. This is being touted as the latest in healthcare changes from the ill-named “Obamacare” program, which is about as popular as being fitted for a catheter.

I have to seriously question their judgment on this decision.

First, there is a good chance that these reforms could be undone either through Congress or by the courts. That’s good. This idea that people should be forced to pay for insurance whether they can afford to or not simply because of their existence is tantamount to slavery and it needs to be aborted as such. The liberals didn’t care for this reform when it was being signed, the conservatives certainly didn’t care for it from day one, and having Obama’s people bring this up now clearly shows that they are dangerously disconnected from the American people.

But then I started taking a look at what else is going on in the political arena, and suddenly the motive behind this decision became obvious.

This is the 2012 Presidential Election season, and unfortunately for America, the “Final Four” GOP contenders for their party’s nomination includes two well-known busybodies; a walking hypocrite named Newt Gingrich, and an infamous moralist named Rick Santorum. “How infamous,” you ask? Google his last name and see what you find. I hope you have a strong stomach.

Yes, the self-titled “culture warriors” are back, and they’re back with a vengeance. Their disdain for Obama was made crystal clear back when they were accusing him of being a Kenyan-born “sleeper agent” Muslim trained in Indonesia and getting his “marching orders” from beyond the grave. Their ammunition, though, came up blanks (no big surprise) when Obama’s “long form” birth certificate was made public and the courts realized that these Cuckoos were more than a few Cocoa-Puffs short of a balanced breakfast.

What is worse is that they are actually making political progress in subjects that were long considered done and over with. Oklahoma moralists are railroading through a “personhood” amendment as a way to outlaw abortions. And since corporations have already made “personhood” status more important than actual living human individuals, Oklahoma will not only turn mothers into indentured servants for nine months, but birth will now mark a new automatic transformation of people into third-class citizens. Corporations first, pre-natal second, post-natal third.

Abe Lincoln would be “so proud” of his party if he knew this was going on.

It’s like someone pulled up a time machine, dialed in “1984”, and started pulling in the worst of the throwbacks from the Reagan years. They don’t believe in global warming or evolution – even though they are proving that we can devolve – and once again they are screaming about the “ever-encroaching Red Threat”. But… not too loudly when it comes to China. Gotta keep Wal-Mart stocked.

So what does this have to do with Obama’s birth-control mandate? Everything.

You’ve seen how the so-called “culture warriors” react when it comes to anything coming out of Obama’s mouth. He could sing arias straight out of their favorite passages from the Bible and the best he could hear from them would be a grumbling about how “the devil could also quote scripture”. They are losing the struggle over same-sex marriages one state at a time. They lost “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. They are losing “The Defense of Marriage Act”. They’re running out of token Muslim enemies because they keep on getting killed. They are so narcissistically hypersensitive now that they make hypochondriacs look like stand-up comedians in comparison.

Is it any wonder why they would respond to this government-imposed mandate as though it was the end of the world? Is it any wonder why they would go completely batty over this and treat this as though Obama personally used their baptism pool as a toilet?

And that’s the point. That is precisely what Obama’s campaign people want the fundies to do. They want the fundies to flip out over this.

Let’s get brutally honest here… when you put some serious thought into the timing of Obama’s birth-control mandate, then you cannot help but come to the realization that this was done less for healthcare reform and more for psychological warfare against the conservatives, neo-conservatives and especially the theo-conservatives.

Obama’s campaign people want this to happen! They want the theocrats and theo-cons and moralists to go Shiite over this. They want the fundies pissed off and disturbed, because then the great unwashed could see them as being no different than their Islamic counterparts.

The problem is that the theo-cons have been doing a heck of a job all by themselves on this. Santorum has had to keep his campaign on economic issues instead of social ones, and Gingrich’s moral hypocrisy gets exposed when his marital past comes up. Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman openly played up to the fundamentalists in their respective campaigns, only to fall by the wayside early. These folks have a history of self-destructing without any help whatsoever from the Democrats. They don’t need to be coaxed into implosion.

And doing that cheapens the subject itself. In recent years, the conservatives and neo-conservatives have been guilty of trying to impose sadistic conditions on those who need social assistance, such as requiring drug tests on those who get welfare and disability. But now that the tables are being turned on them, it’s apparently being done not for some perceived social good - the same excuse being used to justify degrading those who need help - but simply as a campaign tactic.

Of course the subject of birth control coverage could have been easily resolved if Obama’s people worked to being real health care reform instead of substituting a bureaucratic abomination designed to give the insurance industry perverse power over us. A default coverage, dubbed by some as “Medicare for all”, would have allowed insurance providers to be as stingy or as generous as their corporate consciences would permit. Then those religious groups, hospitals, and schools could continue to impose whatever healthcare restrictions they wanted for their employees, as long as they knew that those same employees could “opt out” and either get their own coverage or stand by the default one.

But I suppose that makes far too much sense, doesn’t it? Plus it only reminds us that what we have now in terms of “reform” is far from what was either intended or needed. It is yet another reminder of how Obama’s people have failed the American people.

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