Robert Shrum: Obama’s gay-marriage endorsement is a moral and political win – Pundits are eager to pontificate on how supporting same-sex marriage will cost Obama in November. They couldn’t be more wrong
Forty-nine years ago this spring, as he proposed the landmark civil rights reforms of the 1960s, John F. Kennedy became the first president to declare that ending racial discrimination was a moral issue …. Now Barack Obama has taken the next step in the unfinished journey toward that ideal: He cut through a cacophony of political advice, the calculus of pre-election caution, to become the first president to endorse marriage equality – and thus to affirm that gay rights are fundamental human rights.
It was fitting that this historic moment came, as JFK’s did, from a president who himself had to overcome generations of prejudice to be in the White House in the first place.
…..this president, who has repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, pushed through a hate crimes law, and refused to defend the shameful Defense of Marriage Act has now sealed his legacy as the champion of a 21st century birth of freedom in America.
That should be rewarded, not punished, in November – and I think it will be. Americans are a decent people; sometimes it just takes time.
Robert Shrum: As he finally claims the nomination that was his all along, but which was so reluctantly yielded to him, Mitt Romney enters his Etch A Sketch period. He may twist the knobs to try and shift his professed beliefs as easily as the aluminum granules on the screen of one of the last century’s most famous toys. But it’s hard for the epic flip-flopper to reframe himself again – or it should be.
Romney is only doing what comes naturally to a man who once said he was “better” on gay rights than Ted Kennedy, but then later donated $25,000 to the homophobic National Organization For Marriage – through a conduit that was designed to hide his contribution. Romney’s public life across two decades has been a ceaselessly revised Etch A Sketch.
Quarterback Phillip Sims takes a picture of President Barack Obama as he poses for a photo with members of the BCS National Champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team following a ceremony to honor their 14th national championship and their 2011-2012 season, on the South Lawn of the White House, April 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Washington Post: LORAIN, Ohio — Just a day after President Obama visited this crucial swing state, Mitt Romney spoke at a shuttered drywall company visited four years ago by then-candidate Obama to make the argument that Obama’s record has yet to live up to his lofty rhetoric.
On an empty warehouse floor, Romney laid the blame for the company’s fate squarely on Obama.
…. The company actually shut down in June 2008, months before Obama took office and his economic policies took effect.
…. Romney campaign aides said that Obama hasn’t delivered on the promise to jump-start the economy.
… But in Ohio, the economy is improving.
With an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent in February, Ohio’s jobless stats are lower than the national average of 8.2 percent. The unemployment rate, which peaked at 10.6 percent in December 2009, has steadily fallen since then — it was at 8.6 percent when Obama took office in January 2009.
ThinkProgress: If It’s Sunday, It’s Meet The Republican White Men
ThinkProgress: Yum! Brands, the owner of fast food brands KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut told Color of Change that they will no longer support the American Legislative Exchange Council, the right-wing front group that, until recently, was a driving force behind state voter suppression and “stand your ground” gun laws. Yum!’s decision means a dozen corporations (plus the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) have now dropped the conservative group.
Robert Shrum: Will a Tea Party Supreme Court guarantee Obama a second term? The court’s conservative wing appears ready to engage in some despicable judicial activism on ObamaCare….
Recall the scorn toward health reform dripping from the lips of Injustice Antonin Scalia. Or think of the tight-lipped Clarence Thomas, who could send a mannequin to sit in his place at the court’s oral arguments for all the difference his brooding presence makes… Some observers, and administration officials, hold out hope that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy will decide to save health reform from the revanchist claims of right-wing constitutionalism. I’m pessimistic because I lived through Bush v. Gore, when the court acted like a political ward committee…
…. Largely missing from the coverage of the health reform case are the most important consequences of nullifying the law: The tragedy of tens of millions who would again be left without insurance… It took a hundred years to remedy all of this by passing health reform; it could take decades to pass it again….
…. The president certainly doesn’t want to see his landmark achievement, unequaled since the New Deal and the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, left in the judicial dust. But ironically, such a result could rebound to his benefit…. So far, Republicans have been able to demagogue health reform without providing any real plan of their own …. Romney and his party would have to say something more, but they have nothing coherent to offer….
…. I hope my pessimism about a right-wing revolution dressed in judicial robes will be proved wrong …I hope that John Roberts, who at President Obama’s swearing-in couldn’t remember the Oath of Office, at least remembers his own….. I hope for this, but I fear the alternative, a decision that would live in infamy….
…. Perhaps the GOP presidential candidates are right about the boilerplate echoing off the walls at their rallies — that this is “the most important election of our lifetime.” And unless they draw back from the brink, a slim Republican majority on a debased Supreme Court will help Obama win it.
The Hill: President Obama will embark on a four-state tour next week to highlight his energy plan amid intensifying GOP attacks on the White House over soaring gas prices.
…. Obama will travel to Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio on Wednesday and Thursday, and will deliver remarks in all four states. On Wednesday, the president will visit a solar facility in Boulder City, Nev. …. later Wednesday, he will tout the administration’s efforts to expand domestic oil-and-gas production at oil fields in Carlsbad, N.M.
Obama will travel to Cushing, Okla., Wednesday, where he will underscore the administration’s support for a major portion of the Keystone XL pipeline …. Lastly, Obama will speak about energy research at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today: St. Patrick’s Day is coming late to Washington this year. The actual “holiday” is Saturday but the White House announced today that President Obama will host Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Tuesday.
“The president looks forward to commemorating his fourth St. Patrick’s Day in the White House with the Taoiseach and Mrs. Kenny, and to reciprocating the warm hospitality the Irish people extended to the president and Mrs. Obama during their visit to the Emerald Isle in May 2011,” the White House announcement said.
Also Tuesday, Obama will meet with First Minister Peter Robinson of Northern Ireland. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced he will host Obama, Kenny and other officials at the speaker’s annual Friends of Ireland luncheon, also Tuesday.
Robert Shrum: Republican voters are now the political equivalent of Mitt Romney’s famously abused dog Seamus. Mitt has put voters on the roof of his car, and he’s driving for the nomination whether they like it or not. More accurately, he’s sputtering toward the nomination as the roof-bound electorate periodically poops on his parade…..
Robert Shrum: ….. unrequited love has transformed Romney’s progress toward the Tampa convention into a rough and rutted road, steadily weakening him for the contest with President Obama, and almost certainly strengthening Democratic chances not just in 2012, but in 2016.
….. Romney is a recurringly hard sell in a political party that has morphed, as one GOP strategist privately puts it, into a sectarian religious party….. The long contest, the constant pandering, and his own tendency to sound like a political incarnation of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous have taken their toll on Romney as a general election candidate … As the economy improves, Romney’s rationale wanes: Why do we need an out-of-touch, unlikeable, asset-stripping ex-CEO to secure a recovery that’s already underway?
TampaBay.com: Vice President Joe Biden slipped into the bay area for a fundraiser Wednesday, where he cheered for the spirited Republican presidential primary to continue for as long as possible. “God love them, as my mother would say. I hope they have another 20 debates,” Biden told more than 200 people gathered at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in downtown St. Petersburg.
“…. I have never seen a time in my lifetime when Republicans haven’t tried to hide the ball, to use a sports metaphor – when they said they were ‘compassionate conservatives. We care about health care. We must preserve Medicare,’ etc. They’re not hiding the ball any more at all, guys. God bless them, they’re saying exactly what they believe. This is going to be the starkest choice the American public is going to make in a long, long time.”
….. It may be one of the few times where a candidate walked into a fundraiser wearing one tie and left wearing another. In the $1,000 photo line, one man admired Biden’s red tie. The VP returned the compliment about the man’s purple tie and suggested they trade. They did.
….. Democrats have long complained they can’t distill their campaign theme to a simple bumper sticker phrase. Biden offered one for 2012: “Osama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”