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I was going to say that

Over the last 24 hours a story about Romney at a fundraiser has exploded. David Brooks, who can be very thoughtful at times, simply roasts Romney.

Steve has beaten me to the punch:

As the political world digests the significance of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” controversy, I’ve seen this comparison come up quite a bit.

It was just four years ago that Obama was recorded at his own closed-door event talking about how people “cling to guns and religion” when things don’t go well in their lives.

The parallels between the two situations are striking; both feature the candidate inartfully characterizing people who support the other team. Of course, Romney’s comments will be much more important to this campaign, given that they aren’t four years old.

Conor Friedersdorf is thinking along the same lines, referencing “Mitt Romney’s ‘Clinging to Guns or Religion’ Moment.”

The superficial similarities are, of course, obvious. Both involve presidential candidates getting caught on secret videos saying something politically embarrassing, while speaking behind closed doors to supporters.

But I think the parallels effectively end there. In fact, on a substantive level, the two secretly-recorded videos are actually opposites.

It’s been four years, but if you go back and look at Obama’s comments, the then-senator was talking about white, working-class voters who feel politically skeptical as the economy has left them behind, but he told his supporters that he intends to fight for these voters’ support anyway. Obama defended these folks, said they have a right to be “bitter,” and explained why he felt like his plan would meet these voters’ needs.

Romney’s comments, meanwhile, offer an entirely different perspective — instead of defending those who may skeptical of him, the Republican is writing them off, chastising them for considering themselves “victims” and failing to “take personal responsibility.” While Obama’s comments show his desire to fight for every last vote, even in communities where he wouldn’t expect to be popular, Romney said, “[M]y job is not to worry about those people.”

They offer fascinating bookends that tell us a great deal about these candidates’ values, but to see them as similar is a mistake.

By |2012-09-18T19:53:28-04:00September 18th, 2012|Elections, Party Politics|1 Comment

Darwin's 200th birthday (Updated)

There is so much to say about Charles Darwin and evolution that I’m going to try to say as much as I can when I get back (like the fact that religion and science aren’t mutually exclusive). For now, I have a meeting to attend.

Enjoy the video:

Rachel Maddow and her guest point out that Americans have been basically split between believing in evolution and creationism for a long long time. This should come as no surprise to most Americans. Let’s just think about this for a second. Most Americans believe that atoms makeup all matter. But almost no one can describe for you how an atom works. How many Americans can describe adequately what a neutron is? A particle that has mass but no charge. How many Americans can describe the orbit of an electron? This is simple high school physics. Yet, I bet that over 70% of Americans would have problems describing the orbit of electron. Then, take it to the next level, pun intended, could Americans describe the phenomenon of all electrons being in discreet orbits around the nucleus but yet cannot exist anywhere between those orbits? What about subatomic particles, how many Americans could describe quarks and leptons and anti-leptons? This is our problem. We, as Americans, our science deficient. Yet, science is all around us. From the electricity that is running my computer to the chemistry that allows sugar to dissolve in my tea, we are a very science deficient society.

The last thing I will say about Darwin and his 200th birthday is as Matt (see his comment) noted, Charles Darwin wanted to be a minister. Therefore, he had problems resolving what he saw with his understanding of religion. Now, for those of you who believe in religion, let me weave a tale for you. One of the tenets of the Judeo-Christian heritage is that God is all-knowing. Therefore, if God created the universe, he created the laws that the universe is run by. We call these laws – science. Therefore, since God is all-knowing, and he set the laws by which our world works, why wouldn’t he know what the end product was going to be? Yes, the theory of natural selection, evolution, is about survival of the fittest. It is about the species that is most adapted to his environment, surviving. Although we live in an incredibly complex system, wouldn’t God no what the final outcome would be? My answer is yes. Therefore, it is possible to believe in religion and God and also try to understand our world through science.

My two cents. More great stuff on Darwin by Richard Dawkins.

By |2009-02-13T06:30:08-04:00February 13th, 2009|Rachel Maddow Show, Religion, Science|Comments Off on Darwin's 200th birthday (Updated)
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