12 April 2012
I’m still on the Obama email list from 2008, and I got this email this morning. It encouraged everyone to copy it, so I think I can post it here with impunity:
1. Romney’s positions are the most radically anti-women of any candidate in a generation: He supports banning all abortions, backed a so-called “personhood” amendment that could make certain forms of birth control illegal, and says he would “get rid of” federal funding for Planned Parenthood that provides preventive services like cancer screenings for millions of women.
2. Romney would repeal Obamacare. Insurance companies would once again be allowed to run up premiums, unjustifiably deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, drop patients when they get sick, discriminate against women by charging them more for coverage than men, and spend more of your premium dollars on CEO profits and bonuses instead of your actual health care.
3. Romney is a risk when it comes to foreign policy and national security. On many of these questions, he has shifted his position for political reasons, even within the same campaign. His only clear commitment is to endless wars: He has no plan to end the war in Afghanistan and would leave our troops there indefinitely. He called the President’s decision to bring our troops home from Iraq by last Christmas “tragic.”
4. Despite the lessons of recent history, Romney would double down on the disastrous tax policies that handed windfalls to the wealthy, but stacked the deck against the middle class. Under Romney, millionaires and billionaires would get a $250,000 tax cut, while families with kids making less than $40,000 a year would, on average, actually see their taxes go up. To the surprise of no one, Romney also opposes the Buffett Rule. He would allow millionaires to continue to take advantage of loopholes and special deals that often allow them to pay a lower tax rate than the middle class. And he supports tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
5. Romney would end Medicare as we know it — replacing it with a voucher scheme that would drive profits for insurance companies by forcing seniors to purchase private insurance, paying whatever costs a voucher wouldn’t cover out of their own limited budgets.
Romney and his special-interest allies are going to spend the next seven months trying to deny, downplay, or hide these facts from voters. It’s on us to speak the truth.
So print these out, post them on your fridge, and share them on Facebook. Send this list around to friends who are on the fence.
When and if your mother-in-law, or cousin, or best friend claims that Romney is “moderate,” you need to know what to say.
You are the President’s voice out there, and I can’t stress enough how you will be the difference between voters hearing our message or not. The more Americans learn about Mitt Romney, the less they like him, and the less they trust him.
I think this is a pretty telling indication of where the Obama campaign sees the 2012 fight. The fact the gender gap appears so prominently reinforces the idea that a lot of this campaign will be about women’s issues — and thank goodness for that, because usually they’re not even mentioned. I’m still not entirely convinced that the whole contraception debate wasn’t an incredibly clever ploy on the Obama administration’s behalf to bait Republicans. It’s cynical, sure, but also damn smart.
I’m also wondering if maybe the Obama campaign thinks Paul Ryan is going to be the VP — or that he’s a likely choice and they’re getting in a preemptive strike. Points 2, 4 and 5 link pretty closely to the Ryan budget.
Also, I think it’s great that Obama is running on Obamacare. It’s good that it’s stopped being the electoral poison it was in 2010. It’s about time they said “dammit, this is a good thing, and we’re going to stop defending it and start celebrating it.”
12 March 2012
Because an enthusiastic young volunteer collared me on my way into Barack Obama's campaign rally at the University of Washington back in October of 2010, I'm now the lucky recipient of regular emails from Washington Senator Patty Murray. Usually these provide an excellent opportunity for me to make use of Gmail's "mark as read" button, but I clicked through on one I received yesterday:
What I find remarkable about this is how closely the language echoes the framing of this issue I see in the left wing and feminist blogospheres. The "women are people" opening echoes, for instance, a widely shared Time piece, snarkily titled "Subject for Debate: Are women people?" Along similar lines, Melissa McEwan has started a petition urging the Senate to adopt a "personhood amendment" for women.
True, Murray's missive is one sent to people who have shown enough interest in her political activities for them to have surrendered an email address. But, nonetheless, that there's so little space between left wing activists and Democratic politicians on this issue is evidence of how confident Democrats are that the contraception fight is playing out in their favour. Andrew Sullivan may well be correct when he says this is a social wedge issue that favours Democrats.
5 March 2012
My award for prescient observation of the moment goes to Peter Laarman, who, at the end of last year, wrote a list of the top ten under-reported religious stories of 2010. At number six:
6. Upside-Down Ideas about Religious Liberty
The dramatic new push for religious liberty exemptions for faith-connected providers of taxpayer-supported health services underscores the radical way in which understandings of religious liberty have changed in recent years. It’s not that the push for exemptions hasn’t made the news; it’s that no one is writing (at least in the MSM) about the radical nature of the shift. In the past, the social service arms of religious bodies understood that if they wanted public money they would need to honor public law regarding the disposition of the money: i.e., provide the full range of mandated services on a universal basis. We used to say to objectors, “If you don’t like the mandate, don’t take the money.”
Apparently such a commonsensical response is now insufficiently deferential to religion. More and more people seem willing to say that if a Catholic health care provider doesn’t “believe” in providing reproductive health care to women, that private belief can trump public law. This is a particularly thorny problem because of the many regional health care system mergers involving Catholic partners: there are now many places in the country where, if a dominant provider that toes the bishops’ line won’t provide the service, area women will be out of luck and deprived of benefits they are entitled to receive by law. Does anyone defer to them? Afraid not.
Since then, this new idea of what constitutes religious liberty has reared its head in a new realm: contraception. The federal government is requiring employers to offer their employees health care plans that cover the cost of contraception, a mandate that some conservatives and religious groups believe violates the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. (Mitt Romney said in reference to the mandate, “I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama.”)
Meanwhile, here's Ross Douthat on the subject:
[The New Yorker's George] Packer believes that forcing Catholic colleges and hospitals to buy health insurance plans that pay for sterilization and morning-after pills does not impinge upon religious liberty in any way, but allowing Catholic colleges and hospitals to decline to cover drugs and procedures that their faith considers gravely immoral is analogous to an official establishment of religion.
This really gets to the crux of the matter, but not in the way Douthat intends. Let's be clear: Hospitals aren't Catholic. Universities aren't Catholic. People are Catholic. And if Catholic people — or any kind of people — want to run a hospital or a university, they must do so according to the laws laid out by the federal government. Expecting religious people to conform to labour or health care regulations doesn't prevent them from practising their religion. No one is forcing Catholics to run hospitals or universities. The government is just saying they shouldn't expect special treatment because they're religious.
23 February 2012
I watched today's Arizona Republican presidential debate with Dr. David Smith, the Centre's Lecturer in American Politics and Foreign Policy. He had some interesting things to say about the proceedings, so after it was all finished, I grabbed him and asked him a few questions about what we'd just seen. Here are his thoughts on the accusations against President Barack Obama of curtailing religious liberty, Mitt Romney's Mormonism, and the state of the race as it heads into the Arizona and Michigan primaries:
Jonathan Bradley: When Mitt Romney said “I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama” you commented “for a Mormon to say that is extraordinary.” Could you explain why?
David Smith: The Mormons have suffered far worse assaults on their freedom of conscience and freedom of religion than the contraception mandate entails. Their founder, Joseph Smith, was murdered by a mob assisted by an Illinois state militia in 1844. Prior to that, they had been driven out of New York, Ohio and Missouri at gunpoint; in the case of Missouri there was a full-blown war between Mormons and their anti-Mormon neighbours in the west of the state, culminating in an extraordinary, quasi-genocidal extermination order from Governor Lilburn Boggs. In Utah (where they fled under Brigham Young to escape further persecution), the Federal Government mounted a series of increasingly draconian legislative attempts to stamp out polygamy among the Mormons, which they had been practising openly since the late 1840s. In 1883 the Edmunds Act denied polygamists (which was widely interpreted to mean any Mormon, since they all believed in it though only a few of them practised it) the right to vote, hold office, or serve on juries. The Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 allowed the Federal government to seize Mormon Church property. In response to threats to seize temples in Utah, the Mormons officially abandoned the practice of plural marriage in 1890, though they were (in some cases correctly) suspected of continuing to practice it until about 1904. The first Mormon Senator, Reed Smoot, was denied his senate seat for seven years on suspicion that he was a polygamist (he was not).
You also said that the audience was favourably disposed toward Romney. What about this audience made them Mitt-friendly?
A few things contribute to Romney’s relatively high standing in Arizona. Arizona has a large Mormon population — especially in Mesa, where the debate was held (thirty years ago Mesa was 50 per cent Mormon, though that proportion is much lower now due to an overall population explosion which has seen Mesa become the largest suburb in the United States). Also, Romney has for years been positioning himself as tough on illegal immigration, which is the non-economic issue Arizona Republicans care about most. And in general, Romney’s economic message seems to have been playing well in the states hardest hit by foreclosure crises, such as Florida and Nevada, and which also includes Arizona (house prices in Phoenix dropped by around 30 per cent between 2008 and 2009).
Will Republicans outside Arizona react as well to Romney as those inside the hall did? Do you think anything you saw today shifted the dynamics of the race?
Santorum’s accusation that Romney supported the Wall Street bailout but not the Detroit bailout was quite clever and may pick up a few more votes in Michigan. We didn’t see much shift today other than that Romney does seem to have found Santorum’s weak point on earmark spending. The crowd was not buying Santorum’s defense of “good” earmarks, which Ron Paul was able to make a lot more eloquently. We also saw that all candidates are now digging right into each other’s pasts—Romney even indirectly blamed Santorum for Obamacare, because he had supported Arlen Specter, who voted for it! Santorum was visibly shocked that Romney, who implemented the system on which Obamacare was based, had the effrontery to make such an attack.
Did anything else you thought was notable occur?
Nothing else was very notable. Gingrich showed he can still play the demagogue (again accusing the “elite media” of protecting Obama) but he is getting fewer opportunities to do this. The frontrunners are committing deeply to this idea that Obama is attacking religious freedom. So far, this issue has not actually registered much in the polls (even among Catholics), regardless of what the candidates and conservative media are claiming. We will see whether this becomes the major issue they desperately want it to be.
- Student roundtable with Ambassador Dennise Mathieu
- Placemaking in Woollahra and Waverley
- Placemaking workshop
- Placemaking as a social movement: What if we built our cities around places?
- Launch of the Future Cities Collaborative
- Book launch: In the Interest of Others
- Developments in Global Oceans Governance and Conservation
- Public Knowledge Forum
- Women in Leadership project launch
- Advanced Biofuels Industry Day at PACIFIC 2013
- Delivering a Sustainable Future City – Part 2
- Minimal. Conceptual. Pop: A symposium on American Art from 1960-80
- The green visitor economy: Sustainability through innovation and strategic partnerships
- Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan
- Farewell reception for US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich
- What MOOCs mean for universities — revolution or evolution?
- The technology enabled higher education revolution
- Agriculture, Soil Health and Climate Change Forum
- Evidence based policy-making: Meeting the challenges
- Food and nutrition labelling: Can information promote healthier choices among consumers?
- Trans-Pacific Partnership and Beyond: Obama's Trade Policy
- US-China relations: Student roundtable with Bonnie Glaser
- US-China relations: Implications for US partners in Asia
- Todd Malan: The impact of US elections on business priorities
- Delivering a Sustainable Future City: Roundtable lunch
- The US Electoral College: An 18th Century Relic in the 21st Century
- Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Edgard Kagan meets US Studies Centre students
- William H. Janeway student roundtable
- Book Launch: Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy
- Investing to promote innovation and sustainability
- Delivering a Sustainable Future City
- Reinventing Fire: Changing the energy rules for a growing economy
- Andrew Hoffman meets with Centre students
- The climate challenge: New business opportunities
- Student roundtable with US Senior Official for APEC Atul Keshap
- Roundtable lunch with US Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Kerri-Ann Jones
- The US, Australia and China with Kurt M Campbell
- Alliance 21 Education & Innovation: Australia-US Policy Exchange
- G'Day USA 2013: Defence and Security Workshop
- Reception for G'Day USA 2013
- Low carbon jet fuel: The industry flight path
- AIRSHOW 2013 - Reception at Government House
- New South Wales Advanced Biofuels Industry Roundtable
- Evidence-Based Policymaking
- Australia/US Dialogue on Energy Security
- Dynamics of 21st Century Trade and Investment in the Asia-Pacific: An Australia-US Perspective
- Perth USAsia Centre launch
- Election Day Spectacular
- US Election: America at a crossroad
- Dow Sustainability Program presentation
- The Impact of the US Presidential Election on Australia & the Asia-Pacific
- Green Growth/Advanced Manufacturing
- The Problem with America's Job Market
- Intelligent Strategy
- Republican National Convention speeches live!
- Debate the future of America 2012
- Dr Esther Brimmer: The future of multilateralism
- Prospects for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region
- International Innovation in Higher Education Workshop
- City Revitalisation: Lessons for Sydney and its suburbs
- UPE10 Symposium - Dinner
- 2012 Agriculture and Environment Research Symposium: Soil Security
- Why aren't we talking about soil?
- The role of the media in US Presidential Elections
- Paul Keating: Reflections on the Shift of Economic Gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific United States Studies Centre
- UN Rio+20 Side Event - Responding to the Global Soil Crisis
- NASA: A Presentation
- Entrepreneurship and human rights: Knights Apparel’s ethical business model
- Roundtable Lunch with Kurt Campbell
- Super Tuesday Live!
- Pacific 2012 International Maritime Conference
- Karl and Ching Eikenberry
- US in the World Lecture - with guest Shanto Iyengar
- Bob Carr: Postgraduate Information Evening
- US In the World Lecture with guest Peter Hartcher
- Roundtable Event - Two Perspectives of Sustainable City Development
- Bill Chafe and Ray Nagin: Global America Lecture
- Washington Soil Security meeting
- John Howard: US in the World Lecture
- James Fallows in the US World lecture theatre
- Roundtable with U.S Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides
- Graduation Ceremony America: Rebels, Heroes & Renegades
- Jeffrey Bleich: US in the World Lecture
- 2011 United States Studies Debates
- Fault-lines in Immigration Policy: The Harvard-Sydney Immigration Summit 2011
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - The Decade Ahead
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Keynote Address by Robert McClelland
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Breakout Sessions Day 2
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - 9/11 at Home
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - The US and Asia-Pacific Century
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Roundtable on the 9/11 Decade
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - The Freedom Agenda and the Arab Spring
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Breakout Sessions Day 1
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Keynote Address by Allan Gyngell
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Rethinking American Power
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - The War(s) on Terrorism
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Australian and American Perspectives
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Welcome
- 2011 National Summit: The 9/11 Decade - Cocktail Reception
- Bob Hawke: Reflections on the Australia-United States Alliance
- Washington DC Internship Program
- American Grace: How religion divides and unites America
- John Howard: Reflections on the Australia-United States Alliance
- Soil Carbon Stakeholder Workshop
- Reception for US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
- City of the Future
- The Midterm Referendum on Obama
- Welcome reception for United States Consul General
- Jack Miles at the Centre for Independent Studies
- Waiting for the Preacher: Obama’s America in World Religious Context
- The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris
- Intelligence reform in the United States
- Book Launch: Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri's Civil War, 1861-1865
- Ethical supply chains: An executive roundtable
- Jeffrey Schott: Trade policy in the Obama administration and the outlook for Asia- Pacific economic integration
- Race in America, race in Australia: A public forum featuring Glenn Loury, Waleed Aly and Bob Carr
- Workshop on Inequality
- China-US relations: Partners or rivals
- Mark Tushnet: Current issues and controversies in the US
- Gail Fosler: What the financial crisis tells us about ourselves - A US perspective on economic and governance challenges
- Jonathan Greenblatt delivers lecture to undergraduate students
- Peter Katzenstein: Why the clash of civilizations is wrong
- Henry Cisneros on housing and sustainability
- James Hansen: What Australia should do about climate change
- War correspondent Mark Danner in conversation with Geoffrey Garrett
- Launch of the Dow Sustainability Program
- Sustainable supply chains
- David Brady: The Obama Presidency and the outlook for the coming year
- US Ambassador meets students at the US Studies Centre
- US Business Leadership Forum with Rupert Murdoch
- Celebrating the launch of American Review
- One year of Obama: A discussion with James Fallows, Paul Kelly, Robert Hill and Geoffrey Garrett
- James Fallows: One year of Obama
- Obama: One year in the making
- Meeting of the US Studies Centre Council of Advisors
- Costello discusses post-GFC financial reform
- Jim Johnson: How is Obama responding to the financial crisis?
- Jim Johnson seminar with US Studies students
- US Politics in the Pub: The rebirth of the Republican right?
- Dennis Richardson discusses the state of Australia-US relations
- "US in the World" High school lecture
- 2009 National Summit: Dinner
- 2009 National Summit: John Micklethwait Keynote Speech
- 2009 National Summit: Human health and sustainability - What are the challenges for globalisation?
- 2009 National Summit: Expert Sessions 2
- 2009 National Summit: Business solves poverty - The new approach to corporate social responsibility
- 2009 National Summit: Corporate social responsibility - How should business behave in the GFC?
- 2009 National Summit: Climate change and energy security - Looking towards the Copenhagen Conference
- 2009 National Summit: Breakfast
- 2009 National Summit: Public Forum
- 2009 National Summit: Expert Sessions 1
- 2009 National Summit: Labour and human rights - Can we afford them in a global financial crisis?
- 2009 National Summit: Malcolm Turnbull Keynote Speech
- 2009 National Summit: Governing the global economy - Economic nationalism vs. Bretton Woods 2.0
- 2009 National Summit: Obama's America - Globalisation headaches and protectionist impulses
- 2009 National Summit: Peter Garrett Opening Address
- 2009 National Summit: Welcome Address
- 2009 National Summit: Welcome Reception
- 2009 National Summit: Masterclass
- Thomas Mann: The Obama Administration and its Outlook on the Asia Pacific
- Thomas Mann: The First 100 Days of the Obama Administration
- Robert Burgelman: Leading Strategically in a Turbulent Environment
- Robert Thomson: The Obama Administration and the Actions Shaping the Global Financial Crisis
- Barry Jackson: Evaluating the Obama Stimulus Package
- The Great American Recession: What Does It Mean For You?
- Edward Leamer: The Financial Crisis and the Outlook for the US
- Inauguration Watch: Manning Bar
- Inauguration Watch: Breakfast
- Harry Harding: China in the 21st Century and Policy Implications for Australia, the US and the World
- Christmas Function
- fdgdfsg sdf sdfg
- The President-Elect: What Can We Expect?
- David Brady: The US Under the New President
- Election Day Spectacular
- Michael Parks and Simon Jackman: America at the Crossroads
- 'US in the World' High School Lecture
- Foreign Policy of Obama and McCain: Which is Australia's Gain?
- Mike Chinoy: Global Crisis Points - The War on Terror, Loose Nukes and American Foreign Policy
- James Gibbons: Replicating Silicon Valley - Lessons for Australia
- Vice Presidential Debate Screening
- Visit by the Australian Political Exchange Council’s 25th US Delegation
- Derek Shearer: Obama v McCain - Who Will Win, Does it Matter?
- John Howard Dinner
- McCain's Acceptance Speech: Republican National Convention
- New Horizons: Breaking into the US market
- Sydney Uni Live!
- Obama's Acceptance Speech: Democratic National Convention
- Hedley Bull Book Launch: Address by Bob Hawke
- Great White Fleet Centenary Ball
- Dick McCormack: Global Financial Risk and the Role of Central Banks and Regulators
- Jonathan Pollack: US-North Asia Relations
- Jeffrey Sachs Dinner
- ANZASA Conference
- Peter Scher: Will US Trade Policy Change After the 2008 Elections?
- Peter Scher: The Next President's Challenge - Global Trade and the 2008 Elections
- Matt Bai: US Political Journalism - The Next Generation
- Bob Pisano: Positioning Australian Screen Content in the US Marketplace
- Marvin Goodfriend: The Outlook for the US Economy and the State of the Financial Institutions
- American Foreign Policy After Bush: Frank Fukuyama in Conversation with Geoffrey Garrett
- Frank Fukuyama Meets US Studies Students
- Frank Fukuyama: Contemporary Issues Facing America
- Super Tuesday screening at the Manning Bar
- 2007 National Summit: Public Forum
- 2007 National Summit: Networking and Research Forum
- 2007 National Summit: America Then, America Now
- 2007 National Summit: Climate Change or Islamofascism
- 2007 National Summit: Dinner
- 2007 National Summit: How Countries Compete
- 2007 National Summit: Will the Next US Foreign Policy Look Surprisingly Like the Current One?
- 2007 National Opinion Survey: Australian Attitudes Towards the US (Part 2)
- 2007 National Summit: Opening
- 2007 National Summit: Welcome Reception
- Role of Arts and Humanities in Building International Understanding: Harriet Mayor Fulbright
- 2007 National Opinion Survey: Australian Attitudes Towards the US (Part 1)
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- January 2012
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- February 2011
- November 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- March 2008
- December 2007
- October 2007