My Mistake: Commentary on Douthat’s latest article

Everyone makes mistakes. I made one today, I read the Ross Douthat column. My husband saw my hand making a increasingly taunt fist on the table, and immediately forwarded me a funny online comic.

I really shouldn’t read them. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the other view, I do when it’s well thought out and does not simply ignore reality. He claims Obama has ignored discussing unemployment rates and the economy in favor of discussing social issues. True, the past few weeks have been flooded with social debates, rather than commentary on the economy. Why though? Because the social issues have been forced to the forefront by the GOP, and what else is the President to do other than to respond? It is a campaign year, and it is a bit ridiculous to fault him for commenting on the numerous GOP foot-in-mouth moments (re: Rush Limbaugh calling a law student a slut).

Yes, social issues have taken over the news coverage greatly for the past few months. Many Republican pundits have lamented that we are talking about these “inferior” issues rather than the main issue facing America–the economy. I could not disagree more. While we are most certainly grappling with global economic crisis, we must never forget that it is more than the economy that affects citizen’s lives–the social issues affect us everyday: access to health care, women’s health, the ability to have your relationship federally recognized, freedom of speech no matter how repulsive, education allowing for social mobility, etc. These issues cannot be ignored, they are truly the foundation of our country and what makes us still the country where many people would (and do) walk through fire to live in.

Will the President address his economic policy and the unemployment rate in this country? Most certainly, after all, he will be forced to on the campaign trail. Do I think most Americans can understand that this is a global crisis, and it will take time, more than 4 years to pull us fully into the black again? Yes. Do I think most Americans will think we are better off now than in 2008, and realize that going back to Bush-era economic policies would be devastating? I sure hope so. But to endeavor to fault the President for responding to social issues that are critically important, well that is simply foolish and narrow-minded Mr. Douthat.


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