Sunday, April 29, 2012

Facts or Dog Whistle?

Let's look with an open mind at the President. I will say that Obama could have done more with the economy if a Republican blocked Senate and (now) Republican controlled House had helped him out. In areas where Obama does have control (and I am not talking about this silly "Fast and Furious" thing) Glenn Greenwald claims Obama is behaving immorally and frequently illegally (you can read the variety yourself at Greenwald's columns). Yet the majority of Republican attacks on Obama do not use anything Greenwald says. Jack Kelly did write "Obama can kill you", but even then Kelly contradicted his own past statements and claimed no liberals were covering this issue (thus losing credibility with anyone who has read Greenwald).

I didn't write a post last week, in part because I noticed Jack Kelly is writing more than I thought, and I started to think I should go back and write about these mid week efforts. I might still do that (I guess it started in the last month).

Even though I missed last week, looking back at last week's column "Obama the loser: His arrogance, ignorance and laziness have led to failed policies" and this week's column "Romney might win big: He's talking issues while Democrats attack", there is a certain irony in Kelly first attacking (and also insulting) Obama, then turning around and claiming that Democrats are the ones making personal attacks.

So Kelly claims that while Democrats are only attacking Romney, Romney is raising real issues. Yet Kelly fails to mention any specific policy issues, and at best raises a sort of non-policy issue of competency. Competency is a complicated issue (how does one look at Massachusetts, and "Romneycare"?), but let's face it, Kelly's column is essentially a series of dog whistles, not specifics. Right off the bat, he mentions Hillary Rosen and Obama eating (being fed) dog as a child in quick succession. (By the way, do you think there is a difference between an adult deciding to place his dog on the roof of his car for a multi-hour highway trip and a child living with a stepfather and his mom after his biological dad abandoned them?).

To his credit, Kelly does note that others say that a second term election is a referendum on the current President's performance, yet refuses to connect the dots and admit that said referendum essentially means attacks on (not issue discussions with) the President. Although maybe he tacitly admits that, since he gives us personal attacks on Obama before and after the referendum remark, and also last week.

Why doesn't Jack Kelly give us any issues that Romney is (supposedly) talking about? Maybe because the policies Romney advocates are things like the Ryan budget, eliminating the department of Housing and Urban Development and the state and local tax deduction for itemization. Romney says he doesn't worry about the very poor because they have a safety net, yet he promises wealthy donors to gut that safety net (partly through eliminating HUD) when he (Romney) thinks the general public can't hear.

In any event, Jack Kelly's attacks on Democrats and Obama certainly seem like dog whistle type attacks, and (perhaps you'll agree) distortions of reality. For example, Kelly says "this time Democrats are emphasizing abortion and gay rights". Well, whatever you think of how the Affordable Care Act controversy concerning paying for contraception played out, everyone should agree it was about contraception, not abortion. And as fas as I know, it has been Rick Santorum talking about gay rights, not Democrats (except perhaps in response to Santorum) and certainly not Obama.

As I mentioned at the topic of this post, there are reasons to attack Obama. But unfortunately in our current system there end up only two candidates to choose from, so we have to choose from that tiny pool. Between the two, I think there is a possibility that Obama could be persuaded to change his ways. I think that people like Jack Kelly push Mitt Romnney so far to the right that he will sign into law the gutting of government aid to the poor. (Which of course raises the question of why the PG allows Jack Kelly to continue to write columns, let alone expanding his platform)

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