Should a politician have to answer for what his/her surrogates say? That’s the question Politico’s Arena asked yesterday.
The Secret Service has taken an interest in comments by rocker Ted Nugent about President Obama. At an NRA convention in St. Louis on Saturday, Nugent, a Mitt Romney supporter, said, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
The Romney campaign has disavowed Nugent‘s remarks. And last week President Obama’s team denounced comments by supporter Hilary Rosen critical of Ann Romney’s role as a stay-at-home mother.
Should Romney be tied to Nugent’s tirade, as the president got linked to Rosen’s remarks? Or should candidates be absolved of responsibility for what supporters say about the campaign?
All leaders get tarred or starred by the people they bring with them. It’s how leaders react that counts.Read More
Waaay to soon to rule Rick Perry out, folks, as all of us who grew up tough in West Texas know.
What do you think will be Perry’s next “distractive” comment, by the way? And what are your thoughts about Obama’s best strategy to fight or flank?
Here’s the link to my original post on Politico…
The Arena Asks: Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s new proposal would let Americans choose between their existing income tax rate or a new flat tax of 20 percent. Will Perry’s flat tax plan restore him to the GOP presidential primary lead? Will his new campaign team help? And what do you make of Perry’s recent birther-curious comments?
Rick Perry might not know how to govern the country but he knows how to win a race by adapting and persisting. The unifying thread connecting these three changes in Perry’s campaign is this: the man is a learner with an almost feral competitiveness that turns obstacles into fuel to propel him to his goal…Read More
Do you think it’s too late for Obama to redeem himself, as this question seems to imply? If you were advising him, what would you say? And do you think insurgent movements like Occupy Wall Street can help re-inspire the progressive base?
Even President Obama seems to acknowledge the shift in power. Will these outside groups give Republicans a big advantage in 2012? And is Obama right to consider himself an “underdog?”
My Answer:Unfortunately for Democrats, the only antidote to democracy is more and better participation in democracy…Read More
I didn’t get around to answering Politico’s question “Will ‘Buffett tax’ fly?” In time for them to publish it. But after a day of hearing the President argue his case, I’m sharing my thoughts with you. Let me know what you think.
Arena Asks: President Barack Obama will release a plan today to cut the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade, drawing half the savings from new tax revenue and sparing Medicare recipients from having to wait longer to collect benefits. Invoking calls by investor Warren Buffett, Obama’s plan would also would prohibit millionaires from paying a lower tax rate than middle-class Americans. Will this populist-sounding proposal win broad backing? Or is it repackaged class warfare that won’t play well in an aspirational society?
My Answer: If Obama had launched this bold Buffet Rule initiative in January 2009, it would have been a slam dunk…Read More
Watching the historic June 24 vote that sealed the deal for New York to become the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage was goose-bumpy exciting. In this guest post, journalist Tracy Baim speculates on whether New York represents a tipping point, as some have speculated.
While opposite-gender marriage slips into a minority percentage of the population, the movement for gay marriage equality shows no signs of slowing down.Read More
There’s a wonderful exhibit of surrealist Salvador Dali paintings and sculptures in New York’s Time Warner Center. They’re so alluring, they’re even upstaging the huge Botero Adam and Eve sculptures that attract much photo-snapping of people grinning slyly at Adam’s eye-level penis.
I am mesmerized by Dali’s clock sculptures. They drip time, melt time, warp time. Juxtapose fast and slow passage of time, or rather tease us for thinking such mundane distinctions exist. Apparently Dali agreed with Albert Einstein that time exists only so that everything doesn’t happen at once.Read More
I can’t think of a better example of controversy well-taken than then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s thoughtful speech exploring the role of race in American history, delivered in Philadelphia in the spring of 2008. In response to exploding controversy around his relationship with his pastor and mentor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who had made inflammatory (and frankly racist) remarks in his sermons, Obama rode directly into the wave of controversy. He didn’t deflect or minimize it, but took the festering issue of race in America head-on, thus defusing criticism, positioning himself as a courageous truth-teller, and building respect and enthusiasm for his candidacy among voters hungry for change. He turned a powder keg of a controversy that could have exploded his presidential campaign into a brilliant platform to teach about a subject so sensitive that it is often avoided in public discourse.
I sincerely doubt Obama or his campaign advisers would have sought out this controversy, but when it came up, they realized they had been handed a priceless moment to demonstrate genuine leadership. I believe this was the turning point that led him to victory, and that if Clinton had treated the equally vicious sexism thrown at her with the same directness and candor that Obama confronted race, the outcome might well have been different.
Sometimes we embrace controversies that have turned up on their own. And at other times, we need to create our own controversies in order to get things moving. In other words, there are controversies we make and controversies we take.
What are your own examples of embracing controversy? Did you make the controversy or did you take a controversy that came to you? What did you learn from your experiences?Read More
As About.com‘s Linda Lowen reports, President Obama has now basically implemented the Stupak amendment banning the new insurance exchanges from covering abortion even if the premium is privately paid. I’m a little out of joint by the outraged protestations of pro-choice organizations. Because here’s the reality:
Outraged about Obama’s de facto implementation of the Stupak amendment? Well get this: They have also excluded birth control from the first iteration of the new health plan rules! It is incredibly naive to assume, as Dana Goldstein suggests in the Daily Beast, that these new rules will be amended to include birth control. That is unless very big and very smart campaign is mounted.
Women are 52% of the voters and up to 60% of voters who support Democrats. We have the power to rise up and hold Obama to his campaign promises. And now is the time to do it. No excuses and no fair complaining about the result if we fail to do so.Read More
Had I been a member of Congress, I would have pressed the “yes” lever for the health-reform bill when it came down to the vote for final passage. It was incredibly important that we start somewhere to make health care accessible and affordable to all Americans. And we can celebrate, as Ms. magazine recounts in “What the Health Care Bill Means for Women,” that contraceptives will be covered, gender rating that discriminates against women has been eliminated, and preventive services such as pap smears will be covered without co-pay under the new plan.Read More
They always disappoint you, these politicians. I tend to be a bit of a Pollyanna or at least a cockeyed optimist even after all these years of political involvement. And though Obama’s appointments have sometimes been thrilling, sometimes worrying; I figured we needed to cut the guy some slack; he’s got a mighty hard job in front of him after all, and it is critically important that he be successful.
But today, he went too far when he gave Rev. Rick Warren the enormous honor of delivering the invocation at his inauguration. I mean, please. Sarah Posner at The Nation writes:
There was no doubt that Obama, like every president before him, would pick a Christian minister to perform this sacred duty. But Obama had thousands of clergy to choose from, and the choice of Warren is not only a slap in the face to progressive ministers toiling on the front lines of advocacy and service, but a bow to the continuing influence of the religious right in American politics. Warren vocally opposes gay marriage, does not believe in evolution, has compared abortion to the Holocaust and backed the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Excuse me, but what about the basic human rights of women and gays? Is Obama buying into the absurd notion that such disrespect for our fundamental humanity is just a matter of opinion rather than a violation of simple justice?Read More