The whole time we've been hearing that the Republicans were going to go after Obama on the bad economy.
Only a few problems with that. One is they have no ideas that will do any more than possibly making things even worse-austerity or the Hermain Cain 9-9-9 tax plan.
In any case the economy is getting better. No matter how many times they say the clever phrase "Obama Recession" the reality is that even if you cheat-by charging the steep job losses of the first few months after Obama got to office-January and February of 2009-the fact is that the unemployment rate is lower today than when he reached office.
Again, the better gauge is to start in March, 2009, or since the official end of the recession in June, 2009. But even by starting in January it makes little difference-Limbaugh started speaking of the Obama Recession two days after he won the election in November, 2008.
Today, Limbaugh was on the radio declaring that when Obama uses the word "banker" it's a "racial code word." As mentioned on The Ed show tonight this was just a sad attempt to bring attention to the President's race-this is really all they have left.
Indeed, you would-almost-have to feel sorry for the GOP, they are just so very bankrupt at this point. They are bankrupt morally, they are bankrupt intellectually. All they can do is lash out about "cultural values" now.
Running against the recession hasn't been working. Just like 2004, they are now focusing on God, guns, and gays. Now they are trying to make a mountain out of another mole hill-the requirement that Catholic organizations must offer contraception like any other institution.
We keep hearing this hokum about "religious freedom." What they want is not religious freedom but special preferences for religion. As that sharp lawyer on Laurence O'Donnell said the other night, obviously you can't construe religious freedom to mean that your religion can ignore any law it wants to.
What if I start a cult that believes in killing animals? Or sacrificing the first born of all members like Abraham? Where does it end? Church institutions can't just pick and choose what laws they feel like obeying. If your religion says you can marry a nine year old girl and the government prevents you from doing so does this mean that your liberty has been crushed?
O'Donnell seemed to be saying tonight that the politics of this are a bit tricky for Obama, that it could hurt him and that what he is talking about goes considerably further in narrowing the religious exemption than any of the 28 states with some sort of contraception requirement in health care do.
I know that Obama is right on the facts and despair of having to argue about how many of the American people can still be duped by such tactics. The whole thing seems to come down to this: on the one hand 98% of Catholics use contraception-the 2% is Santorum and his wife.
In addition most Catholics approve of health care plans providing health care. However they are conflicted about Catholic institutions being required to do so. In Zizekan terms, Cahtolics use birth control and see nothing wrong with this, however, they still need the Big Other who sees something wrong with it-in this case the Catholic church. The church believes for them that is to say.
The story then seems to suggest that Obama may have to backtrack some on the plan. If so I think it's unfortunate. It gets tiring to not only think about the issue but how large parts of the electorate may mis-perceive it. Fact is that employees at Catholic institutions should not have do without basic health services. Again, the Zizekan dimension of this is shown by the fact that many Catholic hospitals, schools, and charities already offers contraception.
So today Boehner and McConnell were grandstanding about this issue today. That's actually a good sign in a way. The GOP is being forced to hide behind the cultural values crutch because they truly are running on empty. So now they have a major candidate Santorum who thinks that birth control is "wrong."
Again, this is a party that is morally and intellectually bankrupt.