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Right Turn
Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 04/02/2012

Friday question answered

Last week was definitely a newsworthy one, thanks to three days of Supreme Court argument, the president’s open mike gaffe, the passage of the House Republicans’ budget and the consolidation of GOP support behind Mitt Romney. Some readers marveled, as Tuscany1 did, at the “historic nature” of the Supreme Courts arguments. Marylandmama put it this way: “Whatever they decide will have major implications for health care in the future and for the Presidential race in the fall.” Jafco wrote of the Supreme Court hearings: “The Court arguments, wherever they lead, exposed our exalted Constitutional Instructor as knowing about as much about the Constitution as he does about ‘shovel ready jobs.’ He’s further exposed as incompetent.”

But Jafco ( “The open mic incident suggests he’s completely untrustworthy”)and many more readers considered the hot mike incident as the one with long-term political ramifications. Timmy84 writes:

The “hot mic” was the most important development because it gives substance to the conservative fear that the President does have a more unpopular agenda in mind for his second term (else why be concerned about electoral repercussions?). Now when the GOP nominee stumps with the claim that Obama needs to be stopped from another term of failed and unpopular policies, there is an actual event of the President’s own making to hold up as a glimpse into the future.
It should be kept in mind, though, that the “flexibility” is exactly what Obama’s base has been clamoring for, which might actually increase their “hope” for a realization of Obama’s “hope and change” which has eluded them for the duration of his first term, and might actually increase their enthusiasm in November. . .

Likewise, DMTyler argues:

The hot mic moment was the most important development and here’s why.
First, the incident betrays the President’s weakness, program of capitulation and betrayal of the American people.
Second, it gives Mitt Romney a cudgel with which to bludgeon Obama’s failure of leadership, policies domestic and foreign, and dismal record based on political expediency and Alinsky style opportunism.
And third, the oral arguments on PPACA were forthcoming as were the big name conservative endorsements. Ultimately, PPACA, if it passes Supreme Court scrutiny, could be repealed by Congress. The hot mic incident, however, is a game changer of presidential proportions.

I must admit that while I considered the president’s “flexibility” gaffe important at the time, it’s only with the passage of some time (and the relish with which the GOP is wielding it as a club with which to bash the president) that the full impact is becoming more vivid. Like his comments to French president Nicholas Sarkozy about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the “flexibility” remark was unscripted and plays into pre-existing concerns (e.g. Obama doesn’t like Israel’s leader, Obama will go further left if he can). It therefore will be hard to live down. Whether it will be as influential as other issues, say the economy, is open to doubt. But it is by far the most revealing and damaging utterance of the just-commencing general election.

By  |  08:30 AM ET, 04/02/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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