I’d seen this idea floated earlier in Twitter comments by Mitt supporters, but for what it’s worth it’s been picked up at a couple of blogs in the past couple of days, so I’ll lay it out here. The idea is that Obama and company decided to push the mandate issue in order to boost the candidacy of Santorum, because they believe that he’s the one whom Obama will have the easiest time defeating in November. In this case, you’d have to believe that the reports that Biden and Daley resisted the idea were either conjured, or that they believed that it was not liable to bring the strategic benefit that Sebelius and others believed it would, or—that Daley at least opposed the idea in principle, which seems unlikely but is within the realm of possibility. The way that this has been expressed before is that Obama would like to make the 2012 election about social issues to distract from those where his performance has been demonstrably weak, notably the economy, and also to deflect attention from the many scandals from Solyndra to Fast and Furious, in which his administration is mired.
The first place I’d like to point out is Ulsterman Report, where the Insider sat down for his first face-to-face interview with Ulsterman in a month. He referred to the issue as an electoral “pump-and-dump” scam.
UM: So you’re sure about this – that the Obama campaign is doing this “pump and dump” as you put it?
Insider: No doubt whatsoever. I know it because I’ve helped to do it myself. Many times. Many campaigns. They slipped up a bit though – they left a clear marker for folks to see if they were actually paying attention. Which of course, most aren’t. Even ones like yourself who think they are…who think they are following all of this…you’re missing it.
UM: What was the mark?
UM: What was the marker?
Insider: There was a debate not so far back – Republican debate. And the moderator kept hammerin’ away on the contraception issue. And there was no contraception issue at that time, right? Contraception? Really? Where the hell did that come from? And why did that moderator keep at it like he did? Repeatedly. It came off like a joke. People were sayin’ how stupid it was. How silly the media looked. You remember that?
UM: I do. Stephanopoulos, right? He was the moderator who kept bringing up the issue?
Insider: That’s right, George was pushing it. F-cking George. He is so transparent. I saw it immediately. Telegraphed it. I knew the second I saw his face as he asked the question – I KNEW they were setting something up. Not then – something for later. And now we see that plan unfolding. This false contraception boogie man issue.
Now that debate was over two months ago. And the issue of contraception, which seemed totally out of left field when it was raised during that debate – totally out of place…what is going on now? What is the media pounding on now?
Insider: That’s right – contraception. It started out with a conflict between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church – but sure as sh-t the Obama team and the media have turned it into an issue over contraception and are painting the Republicans as these out of touch Bible thumpin’ radicals who want to take away women’s birth control. That is how this thing is being framed NOW – and it’s exactly how Stephanopoulos framed the question THEN over two months ago. This issue was being set up the whole time. And did you notice who was involved in the debate question first? What candidate?
UM: Santorum. Damn…it was Santorum.
Insider: Ah – there’s your light bulb moment for the day! Now you’re seein’ it! Back then – at that time two months ago, it seemed like they were going after Romney right? But what candidate – who it would seem is most vulnerable to the contraception issue…what candidate has seen a huge surge in support since that same debate where the seemingly silly and out of place topic of contraception was raised by a former Clinton operative mind you…what candidate is now posing perhaps the strongest challenge yet to Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination?
Insider: And what candidate is most vulnerable to this bullsh-t contraception issue – at least in how the Democrats and the media are now framing it?
Insider: There you go. Classic political pump and dump.
And when you go and regurgitate that RedState story knocking Rick Santorum – you’re making yourself an accomplice to the Obama cause. You’re part of the dump. So do me a favor…shut the f-ck up about Santorum or any of the other Republicans and keep your focus on Barack Obama. I am sick and tired of seeing you Republicans bashing your own. What is the deal with all of that? For f-cks sake now…grow up and support the defeat of Barack Obama, right? Go ahead and support your candidate – yeah, I get that. But stop with the destruction of everyone else in the process. There’s gonna be enough of that during the General…why are you Republicans so willing to help out Barack Obama in that destruction now? It’s godd-mn appalling is what it is. And stupid. Stupid-stupid-stupid.
Keen observers apart from Insider have pointed out that Stephanopoulos telegraphed the issue. Some of Insider’s predictions have transpired, such as Daley’s decision to leave the White House. Others, such as dissenting Democrats finding someone to primary Obama, have not, so take it for what you think it’s worth. My own feeling has been, and I’ve stated it many times, that Daley was systematically marginalized by the Jarrett-wing true-believing socialist faction in the White House, which had a fit when Obama went with Daley and Cass Sunstein won the argument over whether to muzzle the EPA’s carbon power grab, at least for the time being, but subsequently won the Keystone XL Pipeline debate. Whether the HHS mandate was the last straw for Daley, I don’t know, but I think the Keystone debacle was a watershed for him.
Given some of the revelations about Larry Summers’ concerns over the government capitalization of Solyndra, BrightSource and other failed “Green Enterprises,” not to mention liberal billionaire financier Phil Falcone’s LightSquared wireless venture or Jon Corzine and MF Global’s vaporization of $1.2 billion in capital, or the Robo-Signing Settlement debacle, it’s not surprising that he’s gone, too. Both of these advisers know something about business, and contemplation over business-friendly policies are the last thing that the Jarrett wing wants to hear. As Summers stated in one of his emails, government is a crappy venture capitalist, but since the fundamental objective of these initiatives is really to redistribute money to liberal donors by subsidizing the losses to taxpayers and awarding the profits to lib-friendly outfits like the UAW, expectations of growing a green energy economy are a nice theoretical side effect that covers the main thrust of these programs. If Romney were capable of admitting the depth of the failure of RomneyCare in Massachusetts, he could position himself to point out to the President that Massachusett’s health care is being subsidized by the rest of the country, and that that is not scalable to the country at large, Global Minimum Tax or no Global Minimum Tax. But he seems incapable of making that pivot.
The other place I’ve seen the idea laid out in detail is at Flopping Aces, where Brother Bob takes a whack:
The president is very good at getting himself elected to office – whether getting opponents thrown off the ballot, sealed divorce records released, accepting illegal campaign contributions from foreign donors, or having a fawning press ignore his every flaw while shining a glaring light on every weakness of his opponents, no matter how small or petty. When Mitt Romney shaped up as the most obvious opponent for him to face in November, the OWS campaign makes perfect sense to start building resentment and envy toward Americans who are actually competent enough to lead successful careers. But then a funny thing happened.
As the Not-Romneys fell by the wayside one by one, somebody that nobody saw as a viable threat was still standing and going strong. No, I’m not talking about Gingrich. I’m talking about the recent rise of Rick Santorum. Aside from running against Ron Paul (which will never happen), no remaining candidate is as desirable an opponent for Obama as Rick Santorum. He is by far the most social conservative among the candidates, and he has made enough statements regarding women and gays that he would make the perfect target to whip up enthusiasm in a very unenthusiastic left wing base, not to mention the 24/7 news cycle will allow the Palace Guards in the press to ignore real issues and President Obama’s performance while painting Santorum as enough of an extremist to turn off any moderates.
As for abandoning the Catholic vote, Obama has already issued his faux-compromise. My guess is that he’s got enough tricks up his sleeve to throw out between now and November to convince Catholics that he doesn’t really believe that the right to free contraceptives trumps religious freedom. On one of the Sunday new shows George Will chided the Catholic bishops for getting behind Obamacare without thinking through where it would logically progress. I would argue the same about the American people making the decision to elect Obama in 2008. For that matter, I sincerely hope that you are not among the economically illiterate who were led to believe the claims of, “If you like your insurance you can keep it” or that “your premiums will not go up.”
I don’t think that it will be so easy to placate Catholics. The trick, as I’ve argued elsewhere, is to say again and again, it’s not about contraception and it’s not about social conservatism: It’s about the First Amendment. I don’t think that the vitriol of Chris Matthews toward the Catholic Church on homosexuality or the gross insinuations of a Bob Schieffer over Santorum’s dead son’s putative still birth play very well, and I think that the usual suspects will continue to emit vicious statements that can be used against them by a deft campaign. The ‘gaffe-prone’ red herring has already been thrown out there, though the Obama administration has been spectacularly gaffetastic in its own right. Just how desperate Democrats are to make this canard stick is demonstrated by their willingness to compare Biden’s people’s “Road Island” to Santorum’s people’s misspelling of Bemidji as Bimidji.
A lot of how this election plays out may come down to just how effective Issa is in keeping the pressure on over the various administration malfeasance and cover-up investigations before the Oversight Committee. There, he mustn’t brook any extenuation or issue any extensions over matter to be turned over. And as many wise people have said, it’s absolutely essential that we back conservative candidates for the Senate. On the whole, I’m inclined to side with Da Techguy, who has been saying for some time now, “Ride right through them; they’re demoralized!”