Is it a tax or a fine? You can’t have it both ways, Republicans.

The Republican outrage to the Affordable Care Act prior to the Supreme Court ruling was primarily premised in the idea that it was a fine. That is, Republicans argued that by being fined for not having healthcare, they were being coerced into something. And, of course, that is inherently anti-liberty. That was the issue. Now, however, the Court has called the act a tax. Naturally, Republicans are pounding that phrase into the ground. It makes sense since President Obama hasn’t raised taxes, despite that being all we’ve heard for nearly four years. (In fact, he has lowered them.) They finally have the ammunition they want. (Except that the tax increases primarily go towards insurance companies, the wealthy, and certain other groups. The middle class isn’t terribly affected, and even for those that are, they only face a 1% increase.)

But this raises a serious problem. If this is a tax, then it cannot also be a fine. And if it isn’t a fine, it is not an attack on anyone’s liberty. (Unless someone is ready to argue that all taxes are anti-liberty, I suppose.) The Republicans need to make a choice here: They can call this a tax; They can call it a fine; They cannot call it both. Of course, I know they will not make that choice. They will continue using both lines of rhetoric – because honesty is hard, amirite? – but logically speaking, their hands are tied one way or the other.

5-4

As always, we got rousing coverage from the cable news networks:

The Supreme Court upheld the individual insurance mandate of President Obama’s “Affordable Health Care Act” in a 5-4 decision on Thursday, sending cable news and Twitter into a frenzy.

Moments after the 193-page ruling was released by the court, several media outlets–including CNN and Fox News–erroneously reported on-air that the mandate had been struck down.

“BREAKING NEWS: INDIVIDUAL MANDATE STRUCK DOWN,” CNN’s on-screen scroll blared. “Supreme Court finds measure unconstitutional.”..

CNN, though, was not alone in its rush to report the news.

“Fox News was so eager to see the healthcare mandate fail they forgot to read past the 1st page of the ruling,” Jason Keath wrote, pointing to a screengrab of the network’s breaking news stumble.

President Obama supports gay marriage

This really isn’t news except insofar as he has overtly said it. Everyone has always known that he supports gay marriage. He just hasn’t been able to say so because he has a tough re-election coming up and he doesn’t want to lose votes in some of the more bigoted swing states. Unfortunately, Joe Biden made a “gaff” (that is, he told the truth) by saying he was comfortable with gay marriage. That forced the President’s hand:

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Roberts, in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.

There is a clip of the interview available at the above link. I would embed a YouTube video, but ABC news has disabled embedding and the other clips will probably disappear shortly. Because corporate America is filled with assholes. But I digress.

I’m glad President Obama supports gay marriage, but I think my liberal brethren have made a mistake by pushing the issue. It was always obvious the President supported equal rights but that he was holding back on saying so until after November. His stance is a vote-loser in many of the bigoted southern swing states. The jostling here has only served to put gay marriage in more danger.

Republican complaints aren’t even valid

I could mean all of their complaints, but I have a specific one in mind:

The White House on Thursday dismissed as “kinda ridiculous” complaints that President Barack Obama has been billing taxpayers for criss-crossing the country, giving speeches in states that could be critical to his reelection campaign…

The press secretary also hit out at critics who have noted that Obama’s message at political events is largely indistinguishable from his official events.”The suggestion that there is something wrong with the fact that the president says the same thing about what his vision is, and what his policies are, and what his beliefs are in front of official audiences, non political audiences, as he does in front of audiences who are his supporters, I think is kinda ridiculous,” Carney said.

How dare someone be consistent. This is American politics, god damn it.

Polls: President Obama making gains amongst women

Who can say this was unexpected?

Female voters in battleground states are rallying around President Obama in droves, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday, suggesting a gender gap could pose one of the Republicans’ biggest challenges in this fall’s general election race.

Obama led Mitt Romney by 18 percentage points among female registered voters in the nation’s top 12 swing states. The gender gap between Obama and Rick Santorum was 15 points. USA Today reports that this is the “first significant lead” the president has held in these key voting states.

I think the only surprising thing about this is that it isn’t always like this.

And the Republicans lose the rhetoric battle

I have written in the past about when I know I’ve beat someone in a debate. The best sign comes when that person starts stealing my rhetoric in a way which is not intended to quote or mock:

It’s sort of like when something embarrassing happens to a kid in grade school who in turn tries and do something more embarrassing to someone else. Or, equally, when a kid drops his ice cream on the ground, so he goes and knocks his brothers’ ice cream down too. Something negative happened to a person and that person wants to reflect that negative thing onto someone else in order to make himself feel better.

I had this in mind when I heard that the Republican National Committee released an ad contending that President Obama had a “War on Women”. Take a look:

It’s no secret that the Republicans have been facing a lot of criticism for their actions towards women in recent months. The result has been for people to popularly say the GOP is waging a “war on women”. Now the RNC is responding by simply declaring that Obama is the one who is waging a “war on women”. It’s almost hilarious.

I don’t expect very much from Republicans, but this ad is especially uncreative. It doesn’t say anything new. It isn’t well made. And worst of all, it’s just stealing the rhetoric from the other side. The RNC dropped its ice cream and now it wants to slap everyone else’s cones to the ground too.

The President to Betty White

I often speak of how much I loathe oldness. It’s just awful. So it’s a good thing Betty White has nothing to do with it. She turned 90 yesterday.

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