Some of those kind enough to comment on my last post talked of “political bias.” Everyone who comments about politics or public policy or legal issues has such bias, and it will come as no surprise when I say that mine is progressive, populist and Democratic. I recognize – and welcome – the fact that a lot of readers don’t share my point of view. Who wants to preach to the converted? Let’s keep mixing it up!
But here is something I think we may all be able to agree on. It looks like President Obama is a virtual shoo-in for re-election this year! Who would have thunk it, not so long ago? Elected with only 53 percent of the popular vote in 2008 when there was obvious reason to change from the disastrous Bush/Cheney stewardship of the country – financial crisis, predicted recession or worse, two miserable and draining wars, enormous tax cuts for the wealthy – one wondered how he could piece together a majority to win again. He had disbanded his political operation– internet and otherwise– to focus on governing the country, naively hoping that his theme of bipartisanship would bring us together, forgetting that it is really hard to make love to someone who wants to kill you, while the filibustering Republicans in the Senate were hell-bent on taking him down, even if they took down the country as well. Once the GOP, led by its Tea Party zealots, took over the House in 2010, it seemed as if Obama was so weak and ineffectual he could hardly govern the country: debt ceiling crisis, grand $4 trillion budget bargain lost, smaller budget deal lost, credit downgrade.
But thanks to the Republicans, the President now seems invincible! It is now clear they are putting up a wooden flip-flopper that few can cotton to. Mitt Romney was always known as a moderate – pro-choice, originator of Romney-care in Massachusetts which got almost everyone in the state covered by means of an individual mandate, willing to raise revenues as well as cut expenses to balance a budget. But he has been forced by his party’s ideologues to run so far to the right that no one could possibly tell what he believes in or would do as President. Etch-A-Sketch? Unbelievable. Running against contraception? No wonder he now has an unsurmountable 18 point gender gap with women in the crucial swing states he would have needed to win. How many women do you know who have never used birth control? As Governor Dean said last night, if you are a woman, how could you possibly forget or forgive that political lapse? And there are a lot of men who have a strong interest in contraception as well.
And then Mitt embraces the Ryan budget! A budget which cuts more than $4 trilllion out of the safety net and other programs for the 99 percent and gives more than 60 percent of it to the 1 percent! Are they tone deaf or what? And finally, the President reared up and gave the winning speech which he will reprise again and again over the next six months, calling out the GOP and Romney for the radicals they are, bent on a course to make the rich richer and rest of us poorer. The Republicans have finally turned moderate, bipartisan, make-nice Barack Obama into a ringing populist progressive. You know the jig is up when Joe Scarborough, the former Republican Congressman from Florida and current well-connected morning talk-show host, says on the air that he does not know any Republican who thinks Romney can win.
So I ask you: isn’t the Presidential race over? Isn’t the critical question now whether the Republicans can retain the House? And if they can’t, does Barack Obama’s ability to govern this country next term depend upon whether Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats have the cajones to abolish or modify the filibuster rule at the start of the next Senate so they and the President can all get something done and dig this country out of the deep ditch in which we are currently mired?