Patterico's Pontifications

9/1/2012

This Seat’s Taken

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Obama — Patterico @ 10:03 am

In the wake of Clint Eastwood’s discussion with an empty chair (representing Barack Obama) at the GOP convention, Barack Obama tweeted this:

Oh, man, the fun we’re having with this.

This seat’s taken:

And this seat’s taken:

And this seat’s also taken:

And, while this Photoshop was not done with Obama’s tweet in mind, it seems appropriate to note that this seat’s taken too:

Don’t get too comfortable, Mr. President.

P.S. Amid the blame game over Eastwood’s appearance, let me just note that I kinda liked it. Sure, they might have done better to show the material humanizing Romney instead. But Eastwood was hardly the disaster that the liberal media proclaims.

8/26/2012

How the 1983 Race for Chicago Mayor — And the Coverage of That Racially Charged Campaign — Relates to the 2012 Presidential Race, and Next Week’s GOP Convention

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Obama,Race — Patterico @ 11:20 am

Is it racist to run against or oppose a black candidate for office? To rational people, posing the question answers itself: of course not. But the candidacy of Barack Obama reminds us that there are people out there ready to portray as “racist” any spirited opposition to Obama and his policies. This cynical mode of attack will absolutely be used in the coverage of the upcoming GOP convention. We all know this, and we know it doesn’t matter what happens at the convention — the charge of racism will be made regardless.

I was reminded of this on my morning walk as I listened to a podcast episode of one of my favorite radio programs: “This American Life.” It’s a great show with insight into innumerable facets of human existence. But it sometimes goes wrong when it strays into politics, or covers an issue that is a liberal hobby horse. (The program suffered a famous embarrassment earlier this year when it had to essentially retract an entire episode about treatment of workers at Chinese Apple manufacturing plants; the conditions described were mostly accurate, but parts of the narrator’s account had been fictionalized without the program’s knowledge. As I wrote here, the retraction was honest and well done. But one wonders if the oversight of the program’s contents was more lax because the slant of the program related to the liberal hobby horse of exploitation of overseas workers in sweatshops.)

The segment I listened to this morning, an old segment from March 2009, gave me the sense that the producers had been scammed again. Although the segment is old, it has a direct relevance to today’s presidential politics, because it portrayed a white politician (Bernard Epton) running for office (mayor of Chicago) against the first black candidate for that office (Harold Washington).

If the parallel to Barack Obama is not clear from that description, the segment made it explicit. The segment was first aired two months after Obama’s inauguration, and the narrator drew repeated parallels to the McCain/Obama race. (You can read the transcript here.)

Epton, a Republican, was described in the segment as a decent man who rejected racism — at least, before he ran against his black Democrat opponent. For example, Epton had stayed put in a residence located in an area that was experiencing “white flight,” because he believed that it was wrong for whites to leave an area simply because its demographics were turning black. Near the beginning of the segment, Epton is heard explicitly rejecting the notion that anyone should vote for him because he was white:

Female Reporter
So many people are saying if Harold Washington wins, the white people will be afraid and they will then vote for you and that improves your chances.

Bernie Epton
Well, I resent that very much. I think that Harold Washington and I, if he is a winner, I am positive that we will come out with a joint statement, perhaps speak together to repudiate it. I don’t want to be elected because I’m white and Harold doesn’t want to be elected because he’s black. I want to be elected because I’m the best qualified.

But the segment then portrays Epton as changing his tune, and tolerating racism in his campaign once he thought he might win. The narrator explains that, because Chicago is heavily Democratic, it is generally expected that a Republican candidate like Epton is going to lose. But when Harold Washington, the black candidate, won the Democratic primary, all of a sudden Republicans thought that Epton had a chance. Outside national consultants came in to help. And, the segment claims, Epton began behaving differently.

I listened to the episode for evidence that Epton was tolerating racism. One of the pieces of evidence was the slogan (submitted by national political consultants) that Epton adopted: “Epton for mayor before it’s too late.” Epton insisted that the slogan referred to Chicago’s financial problems, but I guess the left saw it as a dog whistle.

Then Epton was blamed for racist appeals made by his supporters that his campaign did not countenance:

The slogan set a tone for the campaign– the very tone Epton said he didn’t want. Now, it was going to be whites versus blacks, with Epton as the white savior. And soon, anonymous leaflets popped up in white neighborhoods all over the city. One of them read, “Your vote for Mr. Epton will stop contamination of the city hall by a Mr. Baboon.” Around town, Epton supporters donned various buttons. One depicted a watermelon with a slash through it. Another button had nothing on it at all. It was just white. None of these were being distributed by Upton’s campaign, but it was all being done in his name.

If it was being done in his name, I guess it was his fault? That’s certainly the impression you get.

When a racial incident made national news — someone scrawled “nigger die” on a church that Washington was slated to visit, Epton condemned it in no uncertain terms:

I am appalled that any people in any community would interfere with the worship by any religious denomination. And like you, I reject any of that antagonism or racism or bias or call it what you will.

But the big “gotcha” moment that is supposed to show Epton’s complicity in racism came when one of his confidantes became angry at a William Safire op-ed that the campaign was distributing. The op-ed is portrayed in the segment as arguing that if blacks can vote for Washington because he’s black, whites can vote for Epton because he’s white — and Epton is portrayed as supporting the argument:

[O]ne of Epton’s campaign workers– his policy director, Haskel Levy, began having qualms. He’d already confronted Epton over the slogan and Epton, even while defending the slogan, told him, “Haskel, stay with me. If we win this election, I’ll get rid of all these Republican operatives and opportunistic Democrats and we’ll do good work once we get in.” And so Haskel stayed. But then, one afternoon at campaign headquarters, Haskel noticed a pile of papers by the front door. They were hundreds of copies of an op-ed piece written by William Safire, conservative columnist for the New York Times.

Haskel Levy
It basically claimed the following– if blacks can vote for blacks because they’re blacks, whites can vote for whites because they’re whites. And I looked at it and I just hit the roof. And I took the whole pile and threw it into the garbage can. It’s a shallow– it’s a stupid way of looking at the world. It’s just false.

Alex Kotlowitz
Right, but also, it was in the context of what had been going on in that campaign. In some ways, the campaign was using it to justify–

Haskel Levy
[UNINTELLIGIBLE] incendiary– an incendiary thing. It was being passed out– people were coming in to collect them to give out in the neighborhoods. When blacks get screwed because they’re blacks, they’re a legitimate interest group. What is the white interest group? I can understand a Pole voting for a Pole, a Czech voting for a Czech, but why would a white vote for another white? The only thing, in this particular circumstance, they have in common is that they don’t like blacks.

Alex Kotlowitz
And so it was after that that you went and talked to Bernie Epton the second time.

Haskel Levy
This was the second time and I said that I’d had it. I said, do you realize what’s happening? I said, you have to repudiate the racist campaign. You’ve got to repudiate any people that are supporting out of racist reasons. And if you don’t, I’m gone. And if you don’t, I’m voting for Harold Washington. And Bernie said his argument is correct– Safire’s argument is correct. And I said, that’s it Bernie. And that’s when he got pissed off. And he picked up my coat and jacket and briefcase and he ostentatiously threw it out of his office. And he literally said, get that [BLEEP] out. And he threw me out of the office. And I left. That was the end of it.

(All emphasis in this post is mine.)

Here’s the problem: I found Safire’s piece, and it makes precisely the opposite argument of what the story claims. Safire called it “racist” to vote for whites because they are white, and noted that Epton agreed. In other words, there was nothing racist about Epton saying that Safire’s argument was correct.

You can read Safire’s piece in its entirety here. Safire begins the piece by noting some of Washington’s less attractive qualities as a candidate:

  • Washington failed to file income tax returns for 19 years. He was convicted of tax law violations and jailed for a month.
  • The State Bar suspended Washington from practice for 5 1/2 years for converting client funds to his own use.
  • Washington made false claims in his application for reinstatement to the Bar, falsely denying that he had faced any civil actions during the years he was suspended from his law practice. In fact, he had faced five civil actions.

None of these aspects of Washington’s past make in into the “This American Life” segment, by the way. We are told only how the black man in Chicago stopped getting screwed after Washington was elected.

Safire rhetorically asks whether it is “racism” to bring up such issues about a candidate’s past. He notes that it would not be considered racism to bring up similar foibles by a white politician — showing a double standard. True enough, no?

Then Safire addresses the argument referenced in the “This American Life” segment about the desirability of races voting as a racial bloc:

The double standard comes in when a possibility arises that whites may do the same thing [as blacks did in voting for Washington as a group]. If it is laudatory for black voters to vote as a bloc for the black candidate, then logic dictates it should bother nobody that white voters are likely to vote as a block [sic — sorry, Mr. Grammar! — ed] for the white candidate.

But it bothers everybody, including the white candidate, who insists he wants no votes from racists. And racist is what such a voting pattern would be, of course: If words have meaning, voting on the basis of race is racist.

Accordingly, we should either stop praising the black community of Chicago for uniting behind the black candidate or stop complaining when whites show inclinations to do the same. Both actions are racist: Praise both or condemn both.

If Safire is calling voting as a racial bloc “racist,” it’s kind of hard to portray that as praise.

Ultimately, having read Safire’s piece and listened carefully to the segment, I can’t find any evidence Epton was a racist. I think Epton’s legacy is being smeared because he happened to run a spirited campaign against a black politician.

The “This American Life” program is ironically called “The Wrong Side of History” — and indeed, liberals are certainly going to work to portray any white Republican as being on the “wrong side of history” when they run against a historic black candidate.

But it ought to matter whether the candidate is worthy. Based on what I know of Washington, it’s a joke that he was a viable candidate. With his background, he should have been laughed off the podium. It’s only because Chicago is such a corrupt and highly partisan town that a guy like that has a chance.

Which brings us to Barack Obama. It is perhaps no accident that he made his political bones in Chicago — the same town where a black politician with a history of criminality, dishonesty, tax evasion, and cheating people was portrayed as a hero. Perhaps Obama noted how Washington was feted and thought: hey, this is the town for me!

After all: it’s the Chicago way.

I took the time to write this post about a three-year-old radio segment about a 29-year-old political race because I think it’s important that history be written properly. Make no mistake: Big Media and liberals (but I repeat myself) will strain to rewrite the history of the GOP convention next week to make it seem like a cornucopia of racism.

We can’t let them do it. We have to make sure history is written properly, the first time around.

8/1/2012

Obama: Deport the Criminals Last

Filed under: 2012 Election,Immigration,Obama — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Failing to deport illegal criminals costs lives. Again:

The Obama administration released illegal immigrants who went on to commit more crimes, including charges of 19 murders, 3 attempted murders and 142 sex crimes, the House Judiciary Committee said in a report Tuesday.

All told, 16 percent of the nearly 47,000 illegal immigrants the administration was notified of but declined to deport between 2008 and 2011 under its Secure Communities program have gone on to be charged with other crimes, the committee said.

. . . .

While hundreds of thousands of aliens have been sent back home under the program, 159,286 were not put in deportation proceedings during the period under review, CRS said.

About three-quarters of those weren’t eligible for deportation because they were legal immigrants and their criminal records didn’t rise to the level of deportation.

But nearly a quarter could have been deported and weren’t, CRS said. They went on to commit the 19 murders, 3 attempted murders and 142 sex crimes, the Judiciary Committee said.

So, 19 people dead because of lax immigration policy. But what is that as compared to all the votes Obama will get?

Thanks to Robert C.J. Parry.

7/27/2012

Breaking: Obama’s Economy Still Sucks

Filed under: 2012 Election,Economics,Obama — Patterico @ 7:31 am

When the L.A. Times can’t spin it for you, man, it’s time to hang it up:

U.S. economic growth slowed further in the second quarter as consumers cut back on spending and businesses curbed their investments, the government reported Friday.

The economy expanded at a sluggish annual rate of 1.5% in the April-June quarter, down from an upwardly revised 2% growth pace in the first quarter and a 4.1% increase in the final quarter of 2011.

The latest reading of the nation’s gross domestic product — the total value of goods and services produced — was slightly better than analysts’ expectations of a 1.3% gain.

Still, the deceleration confirmed that the economy has slipped into another spring stall. The loss of momentum raises the risks of more trouble ahead as Europe’s economic problems hurt American exports and manufacturing, and growing angst about the so-called fiscal cliff — looming tax increases and government spending cuts — threatens to further weaken consumption and hiring by businesses.

An economy growing at a 1.5% pace is consistent with a monthly growth of less than 100,000 new jobs, said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Cal State Channel Islands. “That’s not enough to take care of new workers coming into the labor force, let alone rescue the unemployed,” he said.

Better than expected; worse than it’s been.

I can’t figure out why massive government spending hasn’t done the trick!

7/26/2012

Obama Deports the Criminals First — Unless the Illegal Says He Went to High School

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Immigration,Obama — Patterico @ 6:39 pm

Because if he went to high school, Obama says let him go:

In a startling allegation, the president of the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers claimed illegal immigrants are “taking advantage” of a new directive allowing some undocumented residents who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the country. Union boss Chris Crane said the policy ends up allowing illegal immigrants to avoid detention without any proof — particularly so-called “dreamers,” or those illegal immigrants who would benefit under the “DREAM Act” proposal, which Congress has not passed but the administration has partially implemented.

“Prosecutorial discretion for dreamers is solely based on the individual’s claims. Our orders are if an alien says they went to high school, then let them go,” he said at a press conference with GOP senators. “Officers have been told that there is no burden for the alien to prove anything. … At this point we don’t even know why DHS has criteria at all, as there is no requirement or burden to prove anything on the part of the alien.

“We believe that significant numbers of people who are not dreamers are taking advantage of this practice to avoid arrest,” he said.

Crane cited one case in which, he said, an immigrant facing criminal charges was let go under the policy. Further, he complained that officers are “under threat of losing their jobs” if they defy the policy.

Illegals: don’t forget to vote for Obama! And remember: you don’t need ID!

Obama Proposes No New Gun Control, But Pretends To

Filed under: 2012 Election,Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 7:48 am

Having just pointed out that Obama didn’t seem to propose new gun control legislation after Aurora, it’s incumbent on me to point that, well, he’s still not. But he’s trying to sound like he is:

Acknowledging sensitivity of the issue, he said Wednesday he believed that even gun owners would agree “that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of children.”

Very clever, Mr. President. You just made it sound like a situation that a) isn’t happening and b) will never happen is somehow a live issue. That’s like the NRA saying: “even gun control advocates would agree that guns should not be confiscated wholesale from every U.S. citizen, including members of the police and military.” Uh, yeah, we’d agree with that — but so what? Do we have laws allowing children to walk around with AK-47s that I’m unaware of somehow?

Maybe he’s talking about 24-year-old adults with AR-15s, like James Holmes. If so, that’s what he should say.

So what is Obama proposing, specifically?

He offered no specific proposals but referred to background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, fugitives and the mentally unbalanced. . Previous efforts to do the same have been thwarted by political opposition and the reluctance of elected officials who endorse the idea to take on the National Rifle Assn., among the nation’s most potent lobbying forces.

(That’s their extra period, by the way.)

So if I understand the L.A. Times, there are currently no “background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, fugitives and the mentally unbalanced” because “efforts to do the same have been thwarted” by the NRA and other gun nuts. I could have sworn we had such background checks already (18 U.S.C. 922(g)) but I’m not an expert on the matter and welcome comment from such experts. Is Obama talking about “gun show loopholes” even though Holmes didn’t buy his guns at a gun show?

How about a little clarity on this, L.A. Times? Maybe Obama isn’t specific because there is no law he could propose that would both a) prevent shootings like this and b) be popular and constitutional.

A country where adults can order AR-15s and there are background checks is different from a country with no background checks where children have “AK-47s.” Obama seems to be implying that we live in the latter country, and the L.A. Times is letting him get away with it.

7/18/2012

Exclusive: L.A. Times Turns Editorial Control of Its News Pages Over to Obama Campaign Staffers

Filed under: 2012 Election,Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 12:47 am

It can be revealed this morning that, in a startling experiment that will be debated for years to come, the editors of the Los Angeles Times have temporarily ceded control of their web site and front page to staffers working directly for the re-election campaign of Barack Obama. According to insiders with knowledge of the plan, the pilot program, initially slated to last 24 hours, may be significantly expanded as the 2012 Presidential election approaches.

The staffers’ initial gambit is to take a standard pro-entrepreneurial speech by Mitt Romney and portray it as xenophobic and frightening. The Obama campaign intends to use the pages of the L.A. Times to suggest that Romney is invoking debunked “birther” claims, despite the complete lack of any reference to birthers in the actual words of Romney or anyone linked to him. The staffers’ article is a bold and daring move that is certain to grab attention due to its sheer audacity and shameless dishonesty. Whether readers will buy the hoax is another story.

This all-important first article is designed to defuse Obama’s recent gaffe in which he claimed “if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.” Mitt Romney took full advantage of Obama’s goof in a speech today that lauded the American entrepreneurial spirit:

Here’s how the Obama campaign staffers chose to portray Romney’s speech in their new position at the L.A. Times:

By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
July 17, 2012, 8:06 p.m.

IRWIN, Pa. — In remarks that played on debunked assertions about President Obama’s birthplace, Mitt Romney on Tuesday said that the current administration resembled foreign governments and one of his chief surrogates said the president needed to “learn how to be an American.”

OK, Patterico here, to say: I’m just kidding. My post so far is a goof. Of course it’s not really true that actual Obama campaign officials have been entrusted with the news pages of the L.A. Times. It’s even worse than that! In a terrifying development, the paper remains under the control of the same cabal of leftist lunatics who have published this rag since before I first started lining bird cages with it in 1993.

To see just how far divorced from reality these nutcases are, let’s take a look at the proof of their frankly insane claim that Romney is appealing to birthers. This claim is based primarily on an assertion that Romney claimed yesterday that “the current administration resembled foreign governments.”

Well, the entire transcript of the speech is available in this post at Hot Air. First let’s get a flavor of what the speech sounded like in general. Again, it is a clear response to Obama’s “successful people didn’t get there on their own” remarks. Here is Mitt Romney:

The idea to say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motor, that Papa John didn’t build Papa John Pizza, that Ray Kroc didn’t build McDonald’s, that Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft, you go on the list, that Joe and his colleagues didn’t build this enterprise, to say something like that is not just foolishness, it is insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America and it’s wrong. [Applause]

. . . .

I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think anyone could have said what he said who had actually started a business or been in a business. And my own view is that what the President said was both startling and revealing. I find it extraordinary that a philosophy of that nature would be spoken by a President of the United States. It goes to something that I have spoken about from the beginning of the campaign. That this election is, to a great degree, about the soul of America.

OK, but didn’t he compare the Obama administration to “foreign” governments? Well, I searched for the word “foreign” in his remarks, and came up with these two passages, which I will place in their proper context:

You understand, of course, what’s going on. What he is saying is his justification for raising taxes higher and higher, because government needs more. What he is saying is his justification for Obamacare, which says that we need 2,300 pages of legislation to have government more intrusive in your life. What he is saying is his justification for a larger and larger government. This is very different, by the way, than the Democratic Party of Bill Clinton that said that the era of big-government was over, that reformed welfare. You heard that story by the way, he is trying to take work out of welfare requirement. It is changing the nature of America, changing the nature of what the Democrats have fought for, and Republicans have fought for. In the past, people of both parties understood that encouraging achievement, encouraging success, encouraging people to lift themselves as high as they can, encouraging entrepreneurs, celebrating success instead of attacking it and denigrating, makes America strong. That’s the right course for this country. His course is extraordinarily foreign. [Applause]

Now, Joe, Joe got it right. Where did Joe go? He, there he is right here. Joe got it right. He said somethingabout what would happen if President Obama were reelected. And I don’t think that’s going to happen. But if he were reelected, I want you to know that what you’ve see for the last three and a half years, you’d be seeing for the next four and a half years. And what that means is: chronic high levels of unemployment, it means low wage growth to negative wage growth, declining median incomes in this country, and it means putting America on the door to fiscal calamity.

BIRTHERISM!!!!!

Not seeing it yet? Well, just wait until you see the next passage!!

And so I see that entrepreneurial spirit and that innovativeness of the American people and our willingness to work hard in whatever role we have and to lift and to improve our lot and to improve the lot of the enterprises we work in—I see that as driving this economy to be the most powerful in the history of the Earth. It has already; it will again. The course we’re on right now is foreign to us. It changes America. This is a vote for what kind of America we’re going to have, and for me I vote for freedom and free people. [Applause]

Let me just end with this thought: this is an important choice. This is a defining choice. This is a choice about what America’s going to be. Not just for the next few years but for a century. This is a choice which will determine what kind of future our kids are going to have. And, in fact, it also determines what kind of future the world’s going to have. America plays an unusual role in the world—I think we understand that. Some in some circles tend to brush that aside. But those that have fought in world wars and other conflicts recognize the greatness of America and our unique role in the history of the earth. [Applause]

BIRTHERISM!!!!!

But but but . . . John Sununu said Obama needed to learn to be an American! Well, let’s look deeeeeep in the article to see what he actually said:

In a conference call arranged by the Romney campaign, Sununu assailed Obama’s roots in the “political-slash-felon environment” of Chicago and attacked the president’s recent statement that business leaders who had succeeded had help from government, in the form of teachers or road construction workers, among others.

Those business leaders, Sununu said, “are the people who are the backbone of our economy, and the president clearly demonstrated that he has absolutely no idea how the American economy functions. The men and women all over America who have worked hard to build these businesses — their businesses, from the ground up — is how our economy became the envy of the world.”

He added: “It is the American way, and I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

Asked later whether he could clarify that remark, Sununu said Obama “has to learn the American formula for creating business.”

BIRTHERISM!!!!! He said Obama was born in Kenya!!! You heard him! Right? That was what he said, kinda . . . sorta . . . OK, not really. But . . .

Look. It has to be obvious to anyone reading these passages that Mitt Romney is not being a race-baiting racist obsessed with race who is a racist birther preying on xenophobic racist tropes of Obama being a black black foreign non-American guy. Romney is praising the entrepreneurial spirit. He is decrying the erosion of traditional values of American rugged independence by a nanny-state government that seeks to replicate the failed policies of Social Democrats in the crumbling empire of Europe.

Ah, who am I kidding? He’s just being a racist. The hell with capitalism, free markets, and the American way.

Honestly, the actual situation is worse than if Obama’s people had written this as a press release themselves. At least if it really were Obama staffers in there, there would legally have to be some kind of “I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message” disclaimer on the bottom of this blatant advertisement for Obama’s candidacy.

As it stands, it’s just more claptrap from the L.A. Times. And some idiots fall for it. They really do.

I use plastic bags to pick up my dog’s poop and I have no bird cage to line. This paper serves no purpose any more.

Die, L.A. Times. Just die already.

7/16/2012

Obama Panicking?

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Obama — Patterico @ 5:18 pm

So says Romney partisan Jennifer Rubin:

Why has the Obama team been publicly wailing about losing out to Mitt Romney in the money race? Why would the president accuse his opponent of not merely being wrong or unqualified but criminal? After all, the polls are tied, so why so much worry in Obamaland?

Like a mystery novel, the answer is in front of our noses: The candidates are still tied in the polls.

Luckily, even a panicking President can still find time for golf.

5/13/2012

Dogs Panic at Obama Speech

Filed under: Humor,Obama — Patterico @ 3:14 pm

President Obama yesterday gave a speech in Nevada that drew dozens.

A reader obtained this exclusive photo:

Apparently the canine world has gotten the word about the President’s culinary habits.

5/11/2012

L.A. Times Swoons Over Obama “Evolution” Without Mentioning Prior “Devolution”

Filed under: 2012 Election,Dog Trainer,Obama — Patterico @ 7:43 am

There is a puff piece in today’s L.A. Times titled: President Obama’s influence on gay marriage will be tested. His change, we are told, is historic and valuable:

David Mixner, a longtime Democratic and gay rights activist, noted wryly that Obama’s endorsement was “no more symbolic than President Johnson endorsing the Voting Rights bills…. It’s going to give momentum. It’s going to give real legitimacy. It’s going to impact those who are sitting on the fence. Anytime the president takes a major stance on any civil rights issues, whether it’s Harry Truman or John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson, it lends the power of the presidency to that issue.”

. . . .

Obama’s most valuable contribution may have been the way he described his evolution on the issue. In the ABC interview, he related dinner-table discussions about his daughters’ friends whose parents are same-sex couples.

“That’s the same kind of conversation that’s taking place at kitchen tables around America,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, a pro-gay-marriage group. He said Obama’s explanation about “how he had opened his heart and changed his mind” was the most important part of the president’s statement.

Obama also placed his personal opinion in the context of his values as a “practicing Christian,” in line with efforts by gay marriage proponents to sway conservative voters. Obama said that, contrary to those who believe same-sex marriage is at odds with Christian teachings, it “is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf — but it’s also the golden rule, you know? Treat others the way you’d want to be treated.”

If we’re going to talk about Obama’s “evolution” on this issue, let’s talk about Obama’s evolution on this issue.

In 1996, when Obama was running for the state senate in Illinois, he signed a questionnaire in which he supported the right of gays to marry:

Then, when he was running for federal office, his position changed. He has allowed a spokeshole to claim that the above questionnaire was filled out by someone else — a claim later retracted by another spokeshole when nobody bought it.

And he cited religion as the reason for opposing same sex marriage.

Now, having flip-flopped, he has flop-flipped back. And he is trying to make it sound principled.

And the L.A. Times is letting him. Because somehow, none of this makes it into today’s misty-eyed description of Obama’s “evolution.” The “devolution” preceding the “evolution” never comes up.

Odd, that.

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