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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The "Please continue, governor" presidency?
Posted by Jill | 5:53 AM
Perhaps the best moment of the 2012 campaign was this one, when President Obama deftly set a trap into which Willard Rmoney blindly stepped:



We've heard a great deal over the last four years about 11-dimensional chess and how this president plays the long game. Many on the progressive side have despaired as this president folded on issue after issue, while others have clung to the idea that Obama was playing some sort of 11-dimensional chess; that he knew very well what he was doing. You could argue that the fact that he was inaugurated again yesterday, in the middle of an economy that's still struggling, is evidence of that long game. You could also argue that he had the good fortune to run against arguably the most inept Republican nominee in our lifetime. I've long been inclined to regard this president as at best a moderate Republican, even back when most of my friends were insisting that Barack Obama was the "true" progressive candidate in 2008. But now I'm starting to wonder if this 11-dimensional chess might have been the real deal, especially after reading this:
As the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision takes place on Tuesday, a majority of Americans – for the first time – believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

What’s more, seven in 10 respondents oppose Roe v. Wade being overturned, which is the highest percentage on this question since 1989.

[snip]

According to the poll, 54 percent of adults say that abortion should be legal either always or most of the time, while a combined 44 percent said it should be illegal – either with or without exceptions.

That’s the first time since this poll question was first asked in 2003 that a majority maintained that abortion should be legal. Previously (with just one exception in 2008), majorities said abortion should be illegal.

In addition, a whopping 70 percent of Americans oppose the Roe v. Wade decision being overturned, including 57 percent who feel strongly about this.

That’s up from the 58 percent who said the decision shouldn’t be overturned in 1989; the 60 percent who said this in 2002; and the 66 percent who said this in 2005. By comparison, just 24 percent now want the Roe v. Wade decision overturned, including 21 percent who feel strongly about this position.

Much of this change, the NBC/WSJ pollsters say, is coming from African Americans, Latinos and women without college degrees -- all of whom increasingly oppose the Supreme Court decision being overturned.

Now note that this poll doesn't say that the majority who support abortion rights are African Americans, Latinos and women without college degrees, it shows that this is the source of the CHANGE. Think about the right wing over the last few years. Think about the birthers and the "Newtown truthers" and Ted Nugent and Wayne LaPierre and Joe "You Lie!" Wilson and Louie Gohmert. Think about Governor Bob "Vaginal Probe" McDonnell in Virginia. Think about the criminal governor Rick Scott of Florida, and the cold, dead eyes of Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Think about Rush Limbaugh's ranting about sluts and how about women who want abortion should have them done with a gun.

The more outrageous the right's claims get, the more Obama greets them with some equivalent of, "Please continue, governor." And today we find that after decades of erosion of support for abortion (because it's easy to support forcing women to bear children they don't want or can't afford when it's an abstract concept), we now find that a majority support keeping Roe v. Wade as it is. We now find that support for gay marriage, though it has a long way to go, is on the rise. Fewer Americans are knee-jerk supporters of religious doctrine. Now it may very well be that these things are simply organic outgrowth of changing demographics. I'm not counting on it, but it may also be that in not answering the most vile things said by Republicans over the last four years, we may find that Barack Obama's "Eleven-Dimensioners" just may have been right.

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5 Comments:
No question that BHO White House made all sorts of mistakes in the first term, though I would tend to attribute those less to some combination of personal/subjective character traits on his part (pundits love to attribute policy decisions, especially bad ones, to prime actors' childhoods or neuroses) than to the steep learning curve for handling WH and congressional politics.

But I also think that this is the most brilliant presidential campaign team I've seen in m lifetime. I think that BHO's experience as community organizer has been enormously valuable as a way of seeing collaboration (and thus providing a delightful dope-slap to Palin's "only a community organizer" snark). I also think that Obama & Team knew from *before inauguration day 2009* that they were going to be fighting a very difficult, low-odds uphill battle for the second term, and that this awareness definitely impacted what they tried to accomplish and how they went about it--which in turn elicited a whole lot of Chicken-Little progressives' noise.

So it may not have been all *intentional* Eleven-Dimensional chess. But if, as you say, you judge the Obama WH on their *accomplishments*, rather than the optics, they've "lucked into" a remarkable range of successes.

And don't forget what I believe is the key BHO quote:

"I am by nature a counter-puncher." When fighting with diminished physical resources, precisely the same kind of technique worked for Ali.

Blogger IS LED BY NONE said...
I agree that this moment was the greatest. It exposed Mitt Romney for being ignorant of a basic fact--most likely because he relied too much on Fox News [sic] and rechtsdreck radio.

Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...
Jill,

Right-wing loons were up in arms (literally) that Candy Crowley wouldn't let Willard spew the Conservative Benghazi Bullshit lies.

Blogger Peeperino1492 said...
Obama said, "Please proceed, Governor."

not,"Please continue...

It was the single best moment of the whole campaign and worthy of exact quote.

Great article.

Blogger The New York Crank said...
Not to disabuse you of the notion that President Obama is playing eleven dimension chess (he just might be) but all the clip proves is that, on the night of this debate, he was following a tactical rule of Napoleon Bonparte.

Bonparte said: "Never interrupt the enemy when he is making a grave mistake."

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank