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In the Aftermath of Connecticut, an Opening for Gun Control Debate

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In the aftermath of the shooting in Connecticut that has enveloped the country, many Americans reacted with shock, sympathy, and outrage. But some conservatives that I know also reacted in the following way: oh great, another reason for Obama to take away our ability to buy guns. To repeat, one of their initial reactions to the shootings in Connecticut was to conclude that our president was going to strip them of their right to buy guns.

It is a case study of just how potent perceptions can be in shaping how individuals view public figures. During the 2012 Presidential Election, America witnessed the Obama campaign team systematically turn Mitt Romney into an out-of-touch millionaire who knows more about turning a profit than sympathizing with the hardships of others. It was a masterful political stroke that helped to bury Romney's chances at the presidency (along with his incessant "gaffes" that fed into the perceptions being stoked by the Obama campaign team).

But equally as masterful has been the conservative's ability to turn President Obama into an anti-gun president waiting in the wings, so to speak, for the right opportunity to strip Americans of their right to buy or own them. But even after the July 20 shootings in Colorado that claimed the lives of 12 people, President Obama did not make a strong case for gun control, let along stripping Americans of their right to own guns entirely.

Obamaluck

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It must be driving Republican operatives nuts:

Why does the good Lord keep arranging black swans to swim suddenly into view to lend Barack Obama a helpful nudge? How else to explain the two latest----the arrival of Hurricane Sandy just in the nick of time, enabling him to pose theatrically as a competent, caring President (such an obvious contrast to Republican George W. Bush and Katrina), thus providing an unfair boost before the final poll in November, the only poll that counts? Even worse, the weather then turned out fine all day on November 6th, so all those people-not-like-real-white-Americans got to the polls in time, and had no inclement weather to discourage their standing in line, waiting to vote.... Why couldn't Sandy have arrived a few days later?

And now, the fiscal cliff! No matter how hard Speaker Boehner tries, he cannot seem to convince the country that Obama is not negotiating in good faith, and that Obama is really the one who is forcing America over the cliff and into another recession. Once again, Obamaluck holds. Almost everyone in America has just  seen the movie "Lincoln," which is all about  how President Lincoln managed to push the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution  abolishing slavery through Congress in 1865 near the end of the  Civil War. Almost every viewer has the same take-away; they saw how Lincoln never compromised his principles, never negotiated away any significant morsel, but instead used extreme political jiu jitsu to collect the votes he needed to achieve his greater purpose. So now, the public cannot be spun by Boehner into turning on Obama as he hangs tough on the fiscal cliff---- the voters see Obama as Lincoln, fighting for his principles, forcing Tea-Party-Republicans to agree  (oh, the horror!)  to raise the tax rate on the wealthy, while extending tax cuts for the middle class in order ro achieve his "balanced" attack on the deficit. It's enough to make even the staunchest Republican wonder if God is not on their side after all. No wonder Senator DeMint is bailing out. Oh, the horror!

The Great Conservative Narrative Lie Continues in Earnest Post Obama Re-election

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After President Obama's re-election victory on Tuesday, the great lies that composed the radical conservative narrative came to a head and vividly revealed an 'island of reality' inhabited by these individuals relative to the rest of the country. One radical conservative standard-bearer, Karl Rove, gave 19 reasons why the GOP lost the 2012 Election so badly. But for those of us living on planet Real World, the election results were a predictable consequence of extreme Republican Party policies that played to "angry white men" while leaving aside a broad spectrum of disparate voting groups.

Still, even after the dust had settled on the presidential election and President Obama had won a second term, the great conservative narrative lie appeared to only grow stronger. Or at the very least, there didn't appear to be any public signs of soul-searching on the part of the radical right's most public voices. Sarah Palin opined, "I just cannot believe that the majority of Americans believe that incurring more debt is good for the economy, for our children's future, for job creators. I just cannot believe that the majority of Americans believe that it's OK to ignore the constitution and not have a budget."

In other words, Palin cannot believe that the Republican Party platform is to blame for President Obama's re-election. There MUST be some other reason for Mitt Romney's relatively decisive loss. And indeed, the basic message that came out of Karl Rove's justification of Romney's loss was not that the Republican Party platform was flawed, but that the policy platform for the GOP had not been marketed well to minority and women voters. No one can really be for big government and 'socialism' can they??

We Do Have a Mandate—- So What?

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Congratulations to all the Democratic grassroots, to an outstanding campaign team, and to President Obama and Vice President Biden.  What, exactly did we all win? Democrats still control the executive branch and half of the legislative, and the Republicans still control the other half of the legislative branch (thanks to some exotic redistricting) and the top of the judicial branch, SCOTUS.

You might think Obama's strong win was proof that the voters re-approved his message and his accomplishments in his first term; the election could be regarded as a referendum on Obama and his "liberal" policies. Not so fast. Already, we hear The Establishment pundit class stating in no uncertain terms that we are still a "deeply divided nation," half and half, with the always-to-be-expected insistence that, well, Yes, Obama won, but... but half the country voted for Romney, so, of course Obama must now "move to the middle," and compromise with the losers--- who, remember, lost.  This demand was not, so far as I can remember, imposed upon George W. Bush, who was appointed to his first term not by the voters but by the Supreme Court; he governed as ferociously as if he had received an overwhelming mandate, and charged off down an utterly disastrous road

Could One Word Spell the End for Mitt Romney: “Romnesia’s” Significance

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When President Obama arrived at George Mason University on Friday, he threw a verbal grenade at Mitt Romney that liberal blogs had been entertaining for some time beforehand: "Romnesia."

By now you're probably already familiar with the quote, but for clarities sake, here it is again: "If you come down with a case of Romnesia and you can't seem to remember the policies that are still on your website or the promises that you've made over the six years that you've been running for president, here's the good news: Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions."

Merely two days after President Obama's utterance of this word, its use, and the discussion about its use, has appeared to "go viral." Not only is "Romnesia" a catchy phrase, its one word that summarizes the fractured, round-about, disjointed, and contradictory policy positions of the former governor of Massachusetts.

Because of Romney's contradictory policy positions and his inability to stand up to the most radical elements in his party, at least two major newspapers, one symbolic and one very salient for the upcoming election, have endorsed President Obama for president.

On Friday, the Salt Lake Tribune publicly endorsed President Obama for reelection in an editorial aptly named "Too Many Mitts." As the heartland for Romney's own religion, Mormonism, the Tribune's rebuttal of Romney and ultimate endorsement of President Obama comes as a withering symbolic blow to the formers campaign.

Subliminal Messages in the First Presidential Debate

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Prior to the first debate, many Democrats were metaphorically high-fiving each other, doing a pre-victory dance in the end-zone. After the debate, the revived Republicans powered up their CEO smirk- machine, crowing that their man's aggressive performance buried an obviously weak President, revealing him as an amateur in over his head.  

The next day came one analysis after another from upset liberals, disappointed supporters, and know-it-all pundits, some piling on with criticism of President Obama's "passive" or "listless" performance, some rationalizing that "the President just had a bad day," some pointing out that Obama  plays a masterful "long game," and was giving Romney rope enough to hang himself (witness the new attack ads based on Romney's lie-a-minute self-contradictory statements), and all of them taking note of Romney's rudeness, his bullying behavior, and his refusal to play by the rules. All have agreed that Obama does not debate well, and never has; all have agreed that Romney was hyper-aggressive, domineering, and, some hinted, may have illegally used hidden notes which he smuggled on to his podium (an as-yet-unconfirmed accusation).

Upon reflection, I believe the debate offers two very interesting subliminal narratives, one for each side. They are not mutually exclusive; one, both, or neither may have been deliberately employed, and each delivers a powerful psychological punch, if, as I believe, politics is power, and is a form of warfare.

President Obama: Making the Environmentally Friendly List Less than 4 Years...

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Less than four years into his presidency, 12 "leading environmental groups" were asked to rank the presidents they "felt did the most for the environment," and President Obama ranked fourth[1] behind "Teddy" Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter. Not bad for a first term. But even more impressive is the congressional context within which President Obama progressed environmentally progressive legislation.

Sierra Club's Michael Brune said it best, "If you look at Clinton or Carter or Nixon - every single president was able to sign legislation that Congress passed...Obama doesn't have that. He has to do it in the face of this head wind from Congress." Mighty head winds, indeed!

20 or 30 years down the road, it's quite possible that President Obama could be named the second most environmentally progressive president in our country's history, behind the standard-bearer, Teddy Roosevelt. And President Obama still has one term left!

I could go through the laundry list of environmental policies that President Obama has established[2] and approved, but I'm assuming you already know many of them.

President Obama Signs New Executive Order to Restore Gulf State’s Ecosystems

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Our socialist president did the unthinkable on Monday, he set up a council to restore the devastated ecosystems along the five Gulf States! The world is coming to an end!

On Monday, President Obama put his John Hancock on an executive order creating the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council to "oversee" restoration activities bankrolled by new legislation that designates 80 percent of the 2010 BP oil spill fines to the Gulf States.

As if this incredible act of concern for the environment weren't bad enough, President Obama will also name the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency to act as the appointed federal trustees for a separate council created to evaluate environmental damage from the BP spill and make recommendations for mediation projections. How dare this president assign relevant agencies to undertake important tasks!

Warner Being Warner: Pandering, False Equivalence.

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Please take a look at Mark Warner being Warner in a way that is just so hurtful to Dems this year.  Says he:
I think it's going to  be very close.  I know he's got problems in SW Virginia He's doing better in Eastern and Northern Virginia.

And I'll tell you this much, I'm supporting President Obama, but I also am awful tired of all the negative ads. I wish we wouldn't be spending  2 billion dollars on tv tearing each other down. That money could be used for interstate 81 and scholarships.  Hopefully, we'll get through this election like we've gotten through all the others and get back to solving our country's problems, especially the debt and deficit.

He just cannot seem to help himself.  He can't endorse the president without trying to distance himself at the same time. He can't talk about health care reform without saying there's a lot that needs to be fixed (in the Affordable Care Act).  

His effort to create out of nothing a false equivalence between the two parties regarding negative ads is appalling. The GOP lie machine spins the lies faster than we can rebut them. But Warner pretends both parties are doing it. He also implies that it's "negative" to refute a pile of lies. I call it necessary. And there is nothing wrong with that. Such a false equivalence is cowardly, shameful, and self-serving. Lying down and playing dead will not work. And putting up only "positive" ads won't work either.  

Along the way, Warner panders to Bristol Motor Speedway fans, coal, enemies of "ObamaCare," and Peter Peterson's "deficit" hawkeroos. (Hawkeroos are two-faced show-offs who like to prattle away at how spending conscious they are. But they won't make the rich pay their fair share. No, sir.)

What is really disconcerting is his self-adulating self-absorption. He is posturing every minute. Warner's myth of the "radical center" is really all about such posturing and it's also about trying to reinvent as virtuous all those things he doesn't stand for, but should, like enabling the EPA to keep our air and water clean. Or helping the 99% as opposed to the wealthy who don't need more tax cuts. It is as if he's out there saying, "Look at me.  I'm better than all of you. I am especially better than President Obama." (No, you are not, Mark.)

President Obama’s Recent Visit to Roanoke and the Road We’ve Traveled

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As it became clear that President Obama would visit SW Virginia last week, I thought I might be able to see and hear our President. But it was not to be.  Though we had planned to visit SW Virginia for a wedding this past weekend (some of you will recall that my husband and I  moved to NC this past spring), we would not be there for ticket distribution on Wednesday. Later we learned also that the rally would be during the time we would be at the rehearsal dinner. Even should a ticket become available, my priority was clear.  I was in town for the wedding of my dear friend.

Incidentally, the bride has been very active in Democratic Party politics and previously served as Vice-Chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee. And, so, not surprisingly, a number of fellow Democrats attended the wedding this past Saturday, the day after the President's visit. And a number of them had been to see the President.  

I watched on my iPhone as the photos rolled out. It made me smile to see my friends in the Roanoke Times, on FB and in other friends' photos. At the wedding, you could still see it on their faces.  You could almost tell who gotten to shake the President's hand.  When Elaine's diary appeared on my iPhone I put on my glasses to read the mouse print and delighted in the fact that she was one of them. And I thought, "What a difference four years makes."