In the News
1. ”Christian Coalition Asks Obama to Protect the Poor During Meeting.” There’s a lot to say about this. On the surface it’s a simple matter: of course the budget should not be balanced “on the backs of the poor.” Underneath the surface, it’s not so simple. What if some programs designed to meet the needs of the poor are inefficient or counter-productive? Can we not cut those because it looks bad? Or is it really a “cut” if you’re just marking a smaller increase in spending than what had been planned? Also, what does a meeting like this really accomplish, apart from its obvious PR value for the Obama reelection campaign?
I’m not pretending I know the answers to all of those questions, but those are the questions that run through my mind. Especially when I read things like this, from Galen Carey: “I talked about the importance of fiscal responsibility, which the president articulated very clearly, so we’re with him on that.” Except the budgets the President has put forward have been the exact opposite of fiscal responsibility, and – apart from self-serving leaks – he has not actually put forward a fiscally responsible budget…well, ever. The President has consistently resisted calls for fiscal responsibility, and then swoops in and begins attacking Republicans for being fiscally irresponsible. I fear that folks like Galen Carey just became unwitting props in a campaign event.
2. An explosive new report is released on poverty. “Regrettably, most discussions of poverty in the U.S. rely on sensationalism, exaggeration, and misinformation,” says Robert Rector, author of the report. “But an effective anti-poverty policy must be based on an accurate assessment of actual living conditions and the causes of deprivation.”
3. Public Policy Polling, a Democratic outfit that typically shows the most favorable results for Democrats, now has Obama losing to Romney. Obama’s position, it says, is “perilous.” Most interesting are some of the details:
An extremely wide electability gap has developed between Romney and all the rest of the Republican candidates. Everyone else we tested trails Obama by at least as much as John McCain’s 2008 margin of defeat and in most cases more. Obama’s up 7 on Michele Bachmann at 48-41, 9 against Tim Pawlenty at 48-39, 12 versus Herman Cain at 48-36, and as usual has his largest lead in a match up with Sarah Palin at 53-37.
Here’s an important note on all of this early 2012 polling though: Obama’s numbers are worse than they appear to be on the surface. The vast majority of the undecideds in all of these match ups disapprove of the job Obama’s doing but aren’t committing to a candidate yet while they wait to see how the Republican field shakes out.
In other words, in a head-to-head matchup with a credible Republican candidate, Obama would do even worse than their figures suggest, because undecideds disapprove of Obama 61%/21%. They’re just waiting to see whether the GOP puts forward a credible candidate. Romney continues to fare the best – by far – with independents.
In the Pews
1. Mike Anderson, “Four Things I’ve Learned About God Through My Baby Who Was Born Blind.” Painful and profound stuff. A selection:
As a new father it’s painful to see my beautiful little baby and know that she can’t see me. The depth of the spiritual blindness that God’s creation are born with is even deeper than what I’m feeling. God is not indifferent to our plight. I am relieved that I’m not alone in my care for my baby. The God of the universe grieves.
Read the whole thing.
2. John Fea writes an excellent piece at Patheos on how Christian intellectuals need to step outside of the ivory tower and into the public square.
3. Did you know that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a devoted believer? Neither did I.