Thursday, June 13, 2013

The moral arc of the universe bends it like Beckham

I was very much struck by this, earlier in the week, from Booman, with reference to the administration's dropping its insistence on age restrictions for Plan B contraception:
People make fun of the theory that President Obama engages in 11-dimensional chess. It's hard to adequately explain what the term means because it probably means different things to different people. However, it basically means that sometimes the president uses deception. He may pretend to support something that he actually opposes, or to oppose something that he actually supports.
Thus, when Obama and Sebelius came out to contravene the FDA's ruling against the age restrictions, this was not because he in fact favored them, but because it was an opportunity for hippy punching, or pretend hippy punching, which would endear him to the Village by getting us all riled up, but would not in reality affect the outcome of the case in the direction that the hippies, and implicitly Obama too, wanted in the first place. [jump]
Takoma Soccer, Maryland.

I've made the same kind of argument quite a lot myself, especially in regard to the first-term Big Things, the Affordable Care Act and the 2011 budget, and the avoidance of war with Iran, and with reference to Obama's "evolving" style, where his institutional opinion sort of hovers round nervously, left to right and back again, awaiting the moment of calm when it can descend and rejoin his personal view.

Only stated this baldly—"the president uses deception"—it sounds sort of unsettling. I mean, how do we know what he really wants, in that case? If whatever he articulates on a particular issue is just a political move advancing the situation.

Up till now I've been thinking that it must be something a little more like what I want than otherwise, because that's the way it tends to turn out on this whole package of issues, always not quite good enough but at the same time much better than expected. And with the understanding that with the congress and the courts and the TV news all the way they are it must take all the cunning and energy anybody can muster just to stay in the same place.

The president loves basketball, but there's something soccer-like about his politics, with the endless feinting and spells of apparent aimlessness and the spectacular rare goals where the whole team seems suddenly to have been planning this exact sequence of moves from the very beginning.
OV United Youth Soccer. Muskegon.

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