Yesterday, several news outlets reported that White House aides had scrapped a planned presidential tour of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the spiritual center of the Sikh religion. The reason for avoiding the temple, according to unnamed sources: Head covering. As the New York Times explained, “[T]he plan appears to have foundered on the thorny question of how Mr. Obama would cover his head, as Sikh tradition requires, while visiting the temple.” (It was previously reported, in India, that Obama would likely visit the shrine.)
Obama, according to unnamed sources, did not want to stoke the false impression among many of his constituents that he is a Muslim, even though the Sikh religion is distinct from Islam. I was skeptical of the reports when I read them, given the scant sourcing, so I emailed two officials at the White House. I did not hear back.
So, of course, Michael Scherer of Time contacted White House spokesman Robert Gibbs and claimed that – aha! – I got a “non-denial denial,” so there must be something to Obama not wanting to wear a head covering.
Of course, some presidents can visit places of religious worship and wear such ornamentation with no problem and some can’t (because, you know, no one will ever associate Dubya with rumors that he’s really a closet Kenyan Marxist who won’t show us his Hawaiian birth certificate).
The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll came out this morning, and there’s no sugar-coating it: The poll has some very grim results for Democrats. In the 92 most competitive House districts, the GOP’s lead among registered voters is 14 points.
But what may be even worse are the numbers that show how bad the “enthusiasm gap” remains, with less than two weeks until election day.
I would only say in response that the issue isn’t really one of Dem non-enthusiasm, but one in which there is typical Dem enthusiasm for a mid-term election – however, Repug enthusiasm is off the charts because, now as ever, they never had a desire from Day One to work with Obama and the Democrats and now see their chance to hurl us back into the ‘90s, with Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, and more investigations than you can imagine (oh, and by the way, defunding government and rolling back all the good that has been accomplished over the last two years in particular…also, what else would you expect from a poll involving the Murdoch Street Journal?)
(Also, I don’t mean to imply that Democrats don’t have to continue trying to counter the Repugs on this up until the moment the polls close on November 2nd, because we do.)
Now, I give you J. Goldberg…
First, I’ve never had a problem with using fear in elections, if it’s rational and accurate. But I’m not the one who elevated “playing on our fears” to some sort of cardinal sin.
In response, I give you the following here (and from a conservative blogger, by the way)…
The emotional state of conservatism now coupled with the hyper partisan atmosphere in the country (and the already excessive ideological nature of the opposition to Obama) is a combination that afflicts the reason centers of the mind and is proving to be a block to thinking logically. What is there to “fear” about Obama and the Democrats? They are proposing the same liberal crap that the left has been promoting for more than 30 years. We have fought them before using reason and logic. What is so different now?
And when it comes to an absence of reason and logic (to say nothing of not being “rational or accurate”), I give you Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” noted here, in which he argues basically that Hitler was a “man of the Left,” even though “there exist about a million nearly epileptic quotes from Hitler and [Josef] Goebbels and other Nazis expressing their luminous hatreds of liberalism and of communism.”
I respect Greg Sargent, but I wish he would bother to “look inside the numbers” a little more on this.
The bottom line – it all comes down to GOTV, as noted here.
The Senate’s top Republican says President Barack Obama and a more-Republican Congress could join to pass laws on trade and spending policy and make changes to the health care overhaul if the administration listens to voters on Election Day.
“I can’t believe he’s going to continue to ignore the wishes of the American people if his party has a very bad day Nov. 2,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “If he pivots and wants to work with us, obviously I’d be happy to talk to him.”
Too funny; as noted here from January 2009…
“As Republicans look for common ground,” McConnell says. “Some will no doubt accuse us of compromise. But those who do so will be confusing compromise with cooperation. And anyone who belittles cooperation resigns him or herself to a state of permanent legislative gridlock. And that is simply no longer acceptable to the American people.”
So what did McConnell produce from then until now? As noted here from last March…
We are now in the 111th session of Congress, and it appears that a new record will be set once again. To date, there have been 76 motions filed to end filibusters, resulting in 40 votes on cloture, and 40 instances of it being invoked. If we project these numbers to the end of the 111th session of the US Senate, that would result in a record number of cloture invocations, and near record levels of motions along with actual votes.
There is more. Wes Rackley documents that while only 3 Bush nominees have been held up more than 3 months during his first year, 63 Obama nominees have been subjected to delay tactics, leaving important posts left unfilled.
So, whenever I hear about McConnell pledging “cooperation” with Obama or any other Democrat…well, I think the following pic is a sufficient response:
Update 1 10/22/10: And this makes McConnell an even bigger liar than he is already.
Update 2 10/22/10: My bad for not realizing that the true leader of the GOP was calling the shots on this all along (here – h/t Atrios).
Update 3 10/25/10: The truth at last (here)…