You have probably heard about the dust-up over a comment Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen made about Ann Romney a few days ago. What Rosen actually said was that “you have Mitt Romney running around, saying, ‘Well you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of women in this country are facing.”
Of course the words Rosen chose were not good, but that does not mean the point she was trying to make wasn’t true. The fact is that Ann Romney had the luxury to choose to stay home to raise the family’s children, and she actually has no idea what it is like to struggle to make ends meet in a tough economy. That isn’t an insult; it is just a fact.
Of course it is no surprise that the right-wing media has been doing their best to paint the left (Obama) as hostile to traditional values (They hate motherhood, for goodness sakes!) A regular Fox contributor, Dr. Keith Ablow, provided an illustrative example of the discourse coming from the Right on the subject when he said: “Women who are happy raising families don’t have much ‘cred’ with Rosen or, for that matter, President Obama, because Rosen and Obama resonate only with those who carry the flag of the disenfranchised and abused. Anyone who thrives in an American company or American home, while proud and happy with any element of traditional American values, must be a hopeless automaton or relic of the oppressive past.” Yup, that is exactly what Rosen was saying, I’m sure.
Far from being concerned with women, of course the Right is concerned that Mitt Romney trails Obama by nearly 20 percentage points among likely women voters. And why does Obama have such a big lead among women voters? Well, as a man I don’t know that I am qualified to say, but I have a hunch it may have something to do with how Republicans have behaved with regards to issues that impact women particularly.
I found two (admittedly biased) sources detailing some of the Republican low-lights from the recent past with regards to women’s issues: Media Matters and MoveOn.org. Taking them for what they are worth, they are helpful in giving a broader picture of what types of measures Republican legislators across the country have been pushing for, (and all their sources are linked, so you can check them out for yourself). Here are just a few:
1) More than 150 Republicans signed on to a bill that would have redefined under what circumstances an institution receiving government funds could provide an abortion, replacing “rape” with “forcible rape”. With this language change, statutory rape, say a 13-year old impregnated by a 30-year-old for instance, would not qualify.
2) The Republican spending plan proposed to eliminated entirely Title X, which provides family planning for low-income Americans. And no, “family planning” is not just a code word for “abortions”, as birth control, pre-natal care, teen pregnancy prevention programs and other crucial health services are part of Title X.
3) The House GOP plan would also cut more than $750 million from food programs for low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies and children.
4) Republican lawmakers in Maryland cut Head Start funding, saying that it was not needed since mothers could just choose to stay home with their children instead. And at the federal level, Republicans cut $1 billion from the program, which could kick 200,000 low-income kids off the roles, and see some 55,000 instructors and teachers loose their jobs.
5) The Republican’s 2011 budget proposal cut $2 billion from job training programs, which are designed to help workers in low-wage, low-skill, and low-security jobs – disproportionately women – prepare for employment in growth areas.
6) Because women comprise more than two-thirds of the poor over age 65, Republican-proposed cuts in food, housing and job programs for senior citizens would disproportionately hurt elderly women.
7) The Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, signed a bill (passed along party lines) repealing the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court. "Economic security is a women's health issue," said Sara Finger, executive director of WAWH. "The salary women are paid directly affects the type and frequency of health care services they are able to access. At a time when women's health services are becoming more expensive and harder to obtain, financial stability is essential to maintain steady access."
As I said before, these are just a few examples of what types of actions Republican legislatures are taking all around the country with regards to issues that impact women the most (and I didn’t even mention the proposed laws that would force women seeking an abortion to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound first). So while we can all agree that a mother who has the ability to make a choice to stay home with her children is a good thing, I think the Republicans are going to need a lot more than a poor choice of words from a Democratic strategist to convince women they are actually on their side.
Post by Joseph M-
Santorum made a special announcement, Romney congratulated him on his failed attempt at the nomination, and we (almost officially) got a Mormon running against Obama in the 2012 election. Utah cheered, the South groaned, and people everywhere googled the words, "Romney mom jeans." (Is anyone else sad that David Horsey left for Los Angeles when the Seattle PI shut down?)
So here we go. Orrin (Orwellian) Hatch predicts the destruction of the Mormon church by Obama and the Democrats, but seeing that I am a Democrat and support Obama, I tend to yawn and disagree. Here is a link to a short article discussing Hatch's comments and their absurdity.
But the real big news of the day is this: due to all the requests for "I'm voting for Obama" bumper stickers, we have printed more, and they are on the way. I will get the link put back up, so if you'd like to pre-order that will be possible. A note of caution however: the design is a little different, but the bumper stickers do say the exact same thing. If you would like to wait - I will post the new design on the site as soon as the stickers arrive! And in case you aren't aware of the background behind the stickers- we thought they would be a fun way to express our support for Obama. We loosely based our slogan "I'm voting for Obama, and I'm a Mormon" on Phoenix Academy's new marketing campaign for new students:
So order some stickers for your friends and family to show your support for the president!
What an exciting moment in the history of our country. Look at the reaction moment photo. Obama's face captures it all, with others cheering in the background. It looks like Teddy Roosevelt's horse is also excited.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="531"] Barack Obama reacts to the House agreeing to the Senate's ammendment to the ACA[/caption]
Today the NPR health blog posted a great article about where we are in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Has it met it's goals?
The article simply summarizes in table format each of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 cost and impact, what has been done, and whether or not it is "on track". The table really impressed me as an excellent, well-referenced resource that I wanted to refer our readers to. It divides the provisions into expanding coverage, senior benefits, and consumer protections. Below are some highlights.
EXPANDING COVERAGE - 7 provisions
3/7 - Met goal
3/7 - Has not met goal
1/7 - Too soon to tell
An estimated 54 million people received at least one free preventive health benefit in 2011 (goal was 41 million).
48,879 people covered through 2011; Cost: $618 million through 2011 (goal was 200,000-400,000 covered).
SENIOR BENEFITS - 3 provisions
3/3 - Met goal
Prescription drug benefit included 3.8 million beneficiaries who saved $2.3 billion in 2011. Old people should love Obama.
CONSUMER PROTECTIONS - 5 provisions
2/5 - Met goal
3/5 - Too soon to tell
Insurers can no longer impose lifetime limits.
I'm impressed, are you?
By Doctor LauraClubFancy, your health care correspondent.
The topic of gas prices has taken center stage recently in our political discourse. Gas prices, as we are all painfully aware of, are have been climbing steadily, effecting us not only at the pump, but everywhere else where higher fuel costs are passed down the line to consumers, like at the grocery store.
So why does Obama let this happen? Why does he refuse to lift a finger to bring gas prices down to $2.50 a gallon, as Newt Gingrich promises to do if he is elected? Well, if you read the comments on the FoxNews web site from readers weighing in on the topic, you would learn that it is because: “the only thing he cares about is implementing his socialist/Marxist agenda”; and that “The progressive left have completed their agenda to weaken America so they can now bring in the wolves to finish her off.” I am not making this stuff up. These people really exist.
The insanity isn’t just coming from the right-wing blogosphere, either. Senator John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, said a few weeks ago that Mr. Obama should be held “fully responsible for what the American public is paying for gasoline.” Other politicians with close ties to the oil and gas industries (i.e., mostly Republicans), are also getting into the mix. This has become a huge political issue, but its implications go far beyond just politics.
If the Republicans can convince Americans that today’s high gas prices are a result of Obama’s overregulation and antipathy for the hydrocarbon industry, then they can successfully distract voters from the real issue of what dependence on fossil fuels means for our country and for the world, politically, economically and environmentally, and at the same time score political points in an important election year.
The facts are that under Obama domestic production is way up from what it was at any time under Bush II (see NY Times graph). Is this because of Obama’s supposed onerous regulation, I wonder? It is also a fact that any expansion of drilling permits, or approval of the Keystone XL pipeline (a project originally opposed by Nebraska’s republican governor) would not have an impact on oil prices for years, especially since most of that oil would go to foreign markets anyway.
Oil is a global commodity, and producers will sell to whoever will pay the most. With the continued growth of countries like China, India Brazil and South Africa, global demand is only increasing. This is reflected in the rising gas prices all around the world, not just in the US. The US now exports more oil than it imports, but oil drilled here doesn’t necessarily stay here.
The fact that OPEC controls huge international oil supplies, and has the power to drive up prices through reducing production whenever it wants needs to also be acknowledged by Obama-hating Republicans. Middle East instability, lack of refinery capacity, corporate profits and global commodity speculators (which even the hyper-conservative Lou Dobbs admits is a big reason for current gas prices) all play a role as well. None of this, of course, is immediately under Obama’s control, or acknowledged by Republicans engaged in their anti-Obama rhetoric.
But common sense and facts have never given Republicans pause before, so why start now? That is why their only response to the situation is to “drill baby drill”, and make sure that high-earning oil companies continue to get billions of dollars in tax subsidies each year, while at the same time decrying efforts to subsidize green-energy firms, a move which, apparently, is only appropriate for fossil fuel companies. (These subsidies, curiously enough, don’t seem to be an issue for GOP deficit hawks. I guess deficit concerns just apply to NPR or Health Care.)
And what about reducing demand for fossil fuels through less consumption, increased fuel efficiency and alternative fuels? Poppycock! That is just liberals trying to destroy America through their environmental scare tactics! Somehow Republicans missed that day in econ. class when their professors explained how there are two ways to bring down costs in a market, one being increasing supply and the other being to reduce demand.
At the end of the day oil is a non-renewable resource, and it will only get more expensive as the economies of highly populated countries around the word continue to grow, and as long as western nations continue in their oil addiction. The only way to deal with it is to start figuring out how to use less. Period. But until the Right pulls its head out of the sand (and pulls its hands out of big-oil’s pockets), I’m afraid the prospects for making progress on this front are not promising. And like gas prices, that is also not something Obama has personal control over.
"Not now. I have to be honest with you; it's not about your faith, even if the church itself in its structure is perfect, the people in it are not. That's not to say he's not a good person, don't get me wrong. But I would not vote for him just because he is Mormon. I want to know what he is going to do for the people. I want to see the compassion. I want to talk about something else besides the money. I know how hard it is to send two kids to college when you ain't got nothing. I know people may not think of me in that way, but this business gives you ups and downs. ... I am a Barack Obama fan, from head-to-toe, always have been. He's not perfect; nobody is going to be that way. Until you sit in that office, at that desk, don't tell me what you're going to do because you are going to come in and have some of the same problems as he did."
Thanks to John for posting this on the Mormons for Obama facebook group
Lets us know what you think...
But these two internet entities are in no way collaborating with each other, nor are they communicating! They are completely and totally and 100% free of all and any type of coordination! (To understand why this even matters, please read Jen's post on Super PACs, and watch Steve Colbert's and Jon Stewart's explanation as well.
So please join Mormons for Obama on Facebook to interact with like-minded supporters of the president. You will find updates from this website, plus postings of events, other web links, and civil discussion of the 2012 election! Tom is in charge over there, and I don't even know if that is his real name, that is how uncoordinated we are.
Join Mormons for Obama on Facebook by clicking here!
You have probably heard quite a bit by now about a recent incident in Afghanastan in which several Qurans were burnt by US military personnel at Bagram air base. Apparently the Qurans had notes written in them by prisoners, and upon discovery were confiscated, mistakenly added to other garbage at the base and at least partially incinerated before being noticed by Afghani staff.
In the wake of the incident radical elements of Islamic extremists used the situation to foment anti-American sentiment, which ultimately culminated in riots that killed more than 30 people, several of them American service members.
As the controversy began to heat up President Obama wrote a letter of apology to Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Secretary of State Clinton and the head of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, also issued apologies for the incident.
It was these apologies, and particularly the President’s, that set off its own controversy generated by the Right-wing media machine here in the U.S. Media Matters recently compiled an astounding set of clips from FoxNews on this story. (http://mediamatters.org/research/201202280001).
A few highlights:
- Liz Cheney (daughter of the Dark Lord, and qualified political commentator?) calling Obama “The Apologist”, and stating that his “default position” is to “apologize for America”
- FoxNews contributor Mike Gallagher saying that it was “outrageous” for President Obama “to go crawling to Karzai”
- And of course Carl “ham” Rove (Colbert reference), stating that rather then do any good, President Obama’s apology actually “made [the situation] worse by showing weakness”
[caption id="attachment_618" align="alignright" width="300"] A political cartoon by Gary Varvel criticizing Obama's apology[/caption]
Why should we apologize to terrorists who blow up civilians, throw acid in the face of schoolgirls and kill people over a burned book when they don’t apologize to us? As another Fox contributor, Charles Krauthamer, put it, “when I hear that [apology from their side] I'll expect my president to start issuing an apology.”
So, from what I have gathered, a good portion of the Republican electorate thinks that President Obama’s apology was insulting to America and its troops, pathetic, weak and harmful. Leaving the efficacy of the apology aside for the moment, I’d like to reflect on the substance of the Right’s inane reactions.
The reality is that the war that the United States is fighting in Afghanistan is not a ‘traditional war’, but rather a culture war. There are fundamentally differing views about the world on the two sides, views that cannot be softened with the help of shared history, customs, language or faith. A more amicable America is not Al Qaeda’s goal any more than a more democratic Afghan terror cell network is the goal of the U.S. We will never ‘agree to disagree.'
Because we are engaged in a culture war, the opinion of the vast majority of Muslims across the world whose minds and support are being fought over are very important to our goals. We will never win those minds and support if Muslims believe we don’t respect their beliefs. To ignore public opinion of Afghanis and other Muslims is not only idiotic, but also deadly. It should be noted that there actually are some conservative political minds that understand this, and so support Obama’s decision to apologize, in addition to a number of military minds as well. (See the Media Matters link).
As one observer pointed out, Hamid Karzai is a weak president struggling to maintain his tenuous grip on power. Whether we like him or not, he is our guy right now, and we need him to succeed for stability in Afghanistan to even be a possibility. What Obama did with his written apology was to give Karzai a tool to use as he worked to confront this mini-crisis at home. Karzai actually read the letter to the Afghani Parliament in the aftermath, using what he had to get what he could.
These common sense reasons to apologize were even obvious to George W. Bush, who apologized not once, but twice, to foreign nations for desecration that occurred to the Quran on his watch.
But beyond the common sense reasons to be culturally sensitive to the Muslim faith that is followed by millions across the globe, there is another reason, an even better reason, for being thoughtful. That reason, of course, is because it is the right thing to do. Rather than subscribing to Krauthamer’s ‘only do good unto others when they have done good unto you’ worldview, I am more inclined to go with another philosophy, something more like ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. Now who was it that said that? Maybe the Right believes that this only applies when it’s easy.
Because I am a Mormon, I am sensitive to how the outside world treats my faith. Beyond the history of forced dislocation, assassinations and open hostility that the early Mormons endured, I have personally had to defend my faith in public arenas, classrooms and in conversation. I know this is not unique to me, but is a common experience for many members of our church. As Mormons, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” [*] Of course this does not mean we sit idly by while minority fanatics attack us in the name of their God, but it does mean that we should show Muslims the same degree of respect that we believe our faith deserves.
Leave it to the Right-wing to call Obama’s common sense response to the situation “irresponsible and unnecessary”, an olive branch as “outrageous”, likening it to groveling before a foreign power. And who would you expect but Rove and his ilk to see what others might recognize as self-reflection and honesty as “weakness”. Is theirs a world you want to live in? Me neither.
[*] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ 11th Article of Faith.
Romney won Michigan and Arizona, and Washington's Republican caucuses liked him too; now he has to make it through Super Tuesday - the real test of sorts.
And seriously, I'd be somewhat offended if Mitt Romney lost the Republican Presidential nomination to the likes of Rick Santorum. I realize this is a strange thing to voice on a website entitled "Mormons for Obama," or when I have no plans to vote for Romney, or when I really don't even like that Romney is in the presidential contest altogether. However, as a Latter-day Saint, I can't help but wonder if much of the dislike of Romney can be attributed to his Mormonism more than to his flip-flopping. Clearly all the fervor in the news media over Mormonism this past week (the baptism for the dead letter read in church, racist remarks by my former mission president, Randy Bott,) would be much quieted or even nonexistent if Romney wasn't in the race.
And according to polls, many potential voters reported an unwillingness to vote for a Mormon for president (and this was before all the recent media scrutiny). Admittedly, many of these are liberals, but a large number of these folks are also from the far right. See one poll here. And a more recent article reported much of the same thing:
This is when I get offended, although that might be too strong of a word. As a Mormon Democrat, I consider Rick Santorum to be pretty "out there." His comments on everything from contraceptives to African-Americans does not move us forward, and I am half a key stroke away from calling him crazy, (but that is against our own submission rules for this website.) I am frustrated with "the us vs. them" mentality that exists in Congress currently, and I feel inclined to put a larger portion of the blame on the far right of the Republican Party. So when someone like Santorum starts getting votes, and he appears to be extremely partisan and divisive, I have to sit back and wonder: why isn't Romney good enough for the Republicans? Is he really so bad that they want a Santorum to represent them in the 2012 election?
Republicans have demanded an "anybody-but-Mitt" alternative since the beginning - before the creation of the world. They flirted with everyone from Herman Cain (!?!) to Rick Perry (!?!) to Michelle Bachman (!?!) The list is reminiscent of a casting call for a Christopher Guest film. (Imagine Rick Santorum holding a Shih Tzu, and you'll get the idea.) And so Santorum gets their votes because he is the last man standing, and a Mormon in the White House is not an acceptable proposition. (Click on the picture to the right to purchase Hugh Hewitt's book.)
I guess I'm revealing my victim-mentality here. These potentially imagined slights and the real historical persecutions such as Carthage, Haun's Mill, and the forced exodus west, are indeed "stamped into the Latter-day Saints' collective memory," as Jon Krakauer pointed out in his not-so-unbiased account of Mormonism, Under the Banner of Heaven, A Story of Violent Faith. But for me personally, after living in the South during my formative years, I experienced a certain amount of discrimination from other Christians. (Additionally, a Big Gulp flying at me from a car window while pedaling a missionary bicycle down the streets of Modesto CA also comes to mind.)
Unfortunately, discrimination based on religious affiliation is one of the last acceptable forms of prejudice. I've seen it from both sides in regard to Mormonism, (meaning that conservatives and liberals discriminate against Mormons for very different reasons.) In the end, I am more comfortable with the dislike of my faith that I feel from the Christian Right than what I experience from the Progressive Left.
Let me explain: In the Southern Bible belt, Mormons are perceived as weird, cultish and believing in "another Jesus." While I was in Sunday School learning about the Army of Helaman or watching LDS films like "I'll Build You a Rainbow," the Baptists and Methodists were showing their children "The God Makers," a film that informs young minds that Mormons believe in a very badly animated Jesus. And the following Monday, these same little children would go to school and inform me that I was brainwashed and that I worship Joseph Smith. However, the accusation that Mormons aren't Christian is easy for me to deal with. ("Blessed are they which are persecuted for my righteousness' sake...") In fact, this is what Mormons have experienced all along. But now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I find opposition to my faith based on completely different reasons: the dislike of Mormons is due to the perceived intolerance of blacks, women, and sexual minorities. Ultimately, I find it easier to be portrayed as a religion that believes in another Jesus than a religion that oppresses others.
But back to my point, (because I'm not planning on moving back home just so I can be discriminated against differently): I don't believe that the far right of the Republican party should cast too many stones at us Mormons or our faith; one or two small pebbles might suffice. For indeed, we do proselytize to other Christian denominations, and we do believe that God has a body. But in the end, we are believers. And for every God Makers movie about us, there is a Jesus Camp about you. So give us Romney this time, and maybe next time you can have your Michelle Bachman.
But just so I'm perfectly clear: in the end it really doesn't matter. I am voting for Obama, and you might consider doing the same.