Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

No Mitch Henck, Obama and Santorum don’t hate gays equally

January 8, 2012

Throughout American history, civil rights for various groups, from women to blacks to gays, have come slowly and painfully. Typically, the movement begins with a small group in favor of expanding rights, a small group that is hostile to that expansion, and a small group that is ambivalent. In time, the last group gradually shifts to support the newer vision of social justice. That is what we see in President Obama’s support of gay rights. Barney Frank explains:

“My own view is that I look at President Obama’s record, he was probably inclined to think that same-sex marriage was legitimate, but as a candidate for president in 2008 that would have been an unwise thing to say,” Mr. Frank said. “And I don’t mean that he’s being hypocritical. I mean that if you live in a democratic society, it is a mix of what you think the voters want and what you think is doable.”

Liberals and conservatives alike enjoy pointing out that the president’s position on gay marriage is no different than Rick Santorum’s. Conservative(ish) Madison radio host Mitch Henck made this point over and over again the other day, feigning puzzlement at the gay community’s hostility to Santorum’s candidacy. Even if we disregarded the major gay rights initiatives Obama has championed, including domestic partnerships for federal employees, repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and a proactive campaign for gay rights abroad, there’s a major difference between Santorum and Obama on gay marriage.

Essentially, Obama is to gays what JFK and LBJ were to blacks in the early 60’s. He is trying to find a why to support the progressive definition of gay rights without losing an election. Santorum, very simply, is to gays what Strom Thurmond was to blacks. Not only is he viciously opposed to any recognition of gay partnerships, but he believes the law should reflect the view that homosexuality is immoral, just as Thurmond believed integration to be immoral.

Barrett taking a cue from Massachusetts?

January 21, 2010

In wake of the Democrats’ recent loss in Massachusetts, the most popular criticism of the party and its president is that they have focused too much on long-term issues such as health care and climate change and have neglected the issue practically every American is worried about: the economy.

What could Obama have done differently on the economy? That’s a discussion that economists will continue to have well after he leaves office (whenever that takes place). Different interpretations of economic history yield wildly different heros and culprits. Just look at the diverging views on FDR. To liberals, he is a savior. To supply-siders, he was a hindrance.

Any ideas? What would you have liked to see Obama do? I would have liked to see much more money towards long-term goals, including revolutionary transportation and visionary research. A lot of the stimulus money went into sure bets: potholes and bridges.

Either way, Tom Barrett is trying to distance himself from the loftier ideas of the Obama administration.

Tom Barrett toured Orion Energy Systems on Wednesday morning and said the focus of his bid to become governor is “jobs, jobs and jobs.”

Barrett said citizens want their elected officials to focus on strengthening the economy and that trumps health-care reform.

The irony is that as a national health care policy becomes more tenuous, Democrats at the state level also become less enthusiastic about creating state policies. Doyle, who yesterday introduced Badger Care Plus Basic, which will offer adults with no dependent children a basic health care policy for $130 a month, is likely an exception to the rule because he is not running for re-election. Politics is perverse.

Healthcare votes to begin

December 21, 2009

It looks as if the Senate Democrats in Washington are about to do what people who want health care reform have been wishing they would do since Barack Obama’s election: Treat the Republican Party like the minority party it is. Democrats have already surrendered so much since 2008; the least they can do is try to push forward the issue that defined their campaign rhetoric and is supposed to be one of the distinguishing points between them and Republicans.

The Republicans have defined this debate with nonsense for too long. Politicians, if given time, can characterize the most trivial and innocent aspects of any legislation as a communist-takeover scheme devised by group of abortion doctors in Kenya. Sometimes there’s just no way to negotiate with the absurd.


December 2, 2009

Don’t forget it.

How will we look back at Afghanistan in 20 years?

Gunning up for Socialism

November 23, 2009

Every red-blooded American knows why handguns are practically illegal in Europe. Unlike America, which is governed by the sweat, blood and tears of its own people, European nations are controlled by a tyrannical socialist (masonic) elite who stays in power only because its oppressed citizens are prohibited from bearing arms. It’s good to know this will never be the case in the USA:

Meanwhile, in Madison background checks for handguns are running nearly 36 percent above last year, suggesting a big increase in gun sales.

People on both sides of the gun control debate agree on this: People have been stocking up on guns and ammunition since President Barack Obama took office early this year.

“This is definitely a nationwide trend,” said Alexa Fritts, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association. “We believe the increase in gun sales and the ammunition shortage is a direct result of our current administration.”

Will this war define our generation?

November 11, 2009

Breaking from the New York Times:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are coalescing around a proposal to send 30,000 or more additional American troops to Afghanistan, but President Obama remains unsatisfied with answers he has gotten about how vigorously the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistanwould help execute a new strategy, administration officials said Tuesday.

Somewhere in the New York Times archives is a lead that is almost identical, with “McNamara” in place of “Mullen” and “Johnson” in place of “Obama.”

However, the “casualty aversion” that military strategists had to confront in Vietnam is even more pronounced today. If this surge doesn’t product results, I sincerely believe it is unlikely that another one will follow.

Community colleges get support from UW profs

July 20, 2009

A good article in the Cap Times by Todd Finkelmeyer (he usually does good ones) details the work done by two UW professors, Sara Goldrick-Rab and Douglas Harris, to support a massive national investment in community colleges.

“Over the last two centuries, the United States created an advantage over other countries by helping our citizens attain formal education, generating an able workforce and technological advancement,” states the report, which was also co-written by Christopher Mazzeo of the Consortium on Chicago School Research and Gregory Kienzl of the Institute for Higher Education Policy. “Yet U.S. higher educational attainment, long considered a ladder to economic and social success, has stalled and now reinforces inequalities between rich and poor America.”

Although the economic crisis certainly hasn’t deterred increased spending in D.C., it has distracted the country from its already-pressing education crisis. The price of college has risen so drastically in recent years that people seem to have given up trying to explain the increasing costs. As more families are unwilling or unable to invest in a four year education for their children, attention is turning to community and technical colleges. Nevertheless, students at those institutions are similarly burdened by debt and many are forced to drop out because of unacceptably high costs. This is why community colleges should be central to any big education policy.

Barack Obama showed a willingness to engage the issue on the campaign trail with his “American Opportunity Tax Credit,” which would grant families $4000 a year for tuition. That would make many community colleges virtually free, as they should be. It would also make in-state tuition at UW-Madison significantly more affordable.

Now his plan has changed – it targets community colleges even more aggressively.

On July 14, Obama unveiled the American Graduation Initiative, a 10-year, $12 billion plan that mirrors much of the Brookings report in calling for a significant increase in investment in community colleges.

Interesting point here that could signal closer relations between UW and MATC: 

Radomski, who is also a member of Madison Area Technical College’s District Board, said “community colleges don’t have the infrastructure to prove effectiveness. So what this means, and I’m being self-interested a little bit, is that research universities have a prime opportunity to collaborate with the community colleges. This is very exciting.
Good to see that education hasn’t been forgotten. I prioritize health care above higher education because I see it as a fundamental human right. However, education is a much more exciting issue. Imagine the education investment that could have been used from the money that went into the Iraq War. Yes, it is a cliché, but I would like to remind you that people in Europe go to college for free. We don’t have to adopt their system – there are still plenty of people who can afford to cough up some bucks for college courses. However, talking to Jason Joyce (UW ’92) the other day, he commented that when he was editing the Badger Herald, it was still possible to work your way through college.
Hold a job, go to classes, graduate, and not have to work for the devil to pay off loans. We can go back to those days. Hopefully our kids will experience it. Because I’m sure as hell not going to make enough money to pay for their tuition.

Obama might have been aborted, says Republican

July 17, 2009

Distracting attention from common sense policies by bringing up wedge social issues has been the strategy of the Republican Party for nearly a generation, so it’s not exactly surprising that Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), would imply that “great minds” who came from low-income families, including Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, would have been aborted if their mothers had had the chance to get free or low-cost abortions. The bill he was arguing against does not provide federal dollars for abortions – it simply lifts restrictions on Washington D.C. that prevented the city from using its own money for family planning.

Feingold reps Janesville to Obama

June 20, 2009

It looks like Mr. Ethics found the time to talk to the president of the United States about something that the founders probably didn’t envision the commander in chief dealing with when they wrote the constitution. And not just because the internal combustion engine had yet to be invented.

“Although the president was clear, as he has been in the past, that he does not intend to ‘meddle’ in specific decisions of this kind, he listened closely and indicated he understood how important auto industry jobs are to Wisconsin,” Feingold said in a statement.

So what was ol’ Russ’ case? What can Obama do to make sure Wisconsin gets an especially good deal? Is Feingold merely another voice in favor of aid for GM, with the hopes that some of it comes back to the state?

What would be more effective?

“Yo Barry, if you can do something to give Janesville a hand, I promise to shut up about whatever the hell you’re planning to do with those Gitmo bastards. And I’m tellin’ you, if I don’t make a fuss about it, nobody will.”

Not that that’s a likely scenario. I always tell people that Russ Feingold is the only member of the U.S. Congress in whom I’ve vested an enormous amount of trust. No other politician would disappoint me more if discovered to be corrupt than Feingold. That’s why I would really, really like an explanation for why he voted against funding for shutting down Guantanamo Bay. If, truth be told, the lone senator against the Patriot Act has been corrupted by party, propaganda and careerism, then dammit, there’s no hope in D.C.