It’s been an eventful year in politics, one that will go down in history for several different reasons. Here’s NewsOne‘s list for the top 10 political moments of 2012. Some will make you smile, others will make you wince, and a few bear a nice sigh of relief because you’re unlikely to see similar events at any other time in history. Enjoy!
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1. The War on Women
A federal mandate requiring religious institutions to offer contraception insurance coverage to employees sparked an intense battle between the Obama administration and Republicans over women’s reproductive reports. Republican congressional candidates and the conservative talk show hosts who embolden them made several callous statements about rape and abortion – creating a division between the GOP and women (particularly single ones) in the electorate so intense that it may take several years to undo the damage.
2. Supreme Court Upholds Mandate In Obamacare
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, which provided President Barack Obama and Democrats a key victory in the historic health care reform legislation. Republicans continue to pledge full repeal of the law, though their inability to recapture the Senate makes such a goal difficult especially with increasing popularity of the law.
3. Mitt Romney and the 47 Percent
When video of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney condemning 47 percent of Americans as lazy government leeches who behave like victims with false senses of entitlement surfaced, it all but confirmed suspicions that Romney was nothing more than a classist plutocrat with contempt for an American public he couldn’t be bothered to ever understand.
Listen to Romney’s comments here:
4. Mitt Romney refuses to release his income taxes
One of the most-ironic aspects of Romney’s “47 percent” commentary was the statement that, “These are people who pay no income tax.” It was an interesting comment given that he’s long been rumored to pay very little if no taxes in the last several years and has repeatedly refused to release several years of tax returns to settle the speculation. He did ultimately release one year’s worth, but the issue was always for him to release more in the spirit of transparency.
Romney set an awful precedent, which President Obama explained to an ABC affiliate reporter: “What’s important is if you are running for president is that the American people know who you are and what you’ve done and that you’re an open book. And that’s been true of every presidential candidate dating all the way back to Mitt Romney’s father.”
5. Clint Eastwood’s Speech at the Republican National Convention
Hey, GOP, the next time you want to compete with the more celebrity-favorite political party, call someone who can deliver a more coherent message that won’t upstage your presidential nominee.
6. Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention
As long-winded as his speech may have seemed, former President Bill Clinton offered arguably the most-substantive argument for President Obama’s reelection – even better than the one Obama made for himself. It was detailed yet plainspoken, lengthy but enjoyable, or in other words, vintage Clinton.
Honorable mention: First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech.
As gifted an orator as President Obama is, his wife is just as — if not occasionally more impressive — than her husband. She’ll never pull a Hillary Clinton and run for office, but if she did, she’d be quite formidable.
7. First Presidential Debate
After a disappointing convention and the devastating 47 percent video, Romney’s chances at becoming the 45th president seemed bleak. Then came the first presidential debate, in which a fired-up and ready-to-antagonize Romney bypassed the truth and dominated the debate with a seemingly bored and uninterested President Obama. Despite Obama’s campaign largely remaining ahead of Romney in several polls in key battleground states, the narrative had been set so we were forced to put up with chatter that “now anything could happen on November 6th” — until it didn’t for Romney.
Oh, and a big shout-out to Big Bird, who lived in fear for a while following Romney’s promise to pull PBS funding.
8. Vice Presidential Debate
There’s a reason Vice President Joe Biden constantly smirked during his debate with Republican VP nominee, Paul Ryan: He knew he was dealing with Sarah Palin with a penis. For all that hype around Paul Ryan being an intellectual leader of the party, the Congressman was far outmatched by the VP whose own intelligence is often berated by his political opponents. Biden is a far more skilled thinker and politician than some Republicans give him credit for and his debate performance proved it.
9. Marriage Equality Makes Inroads
Earlier this year, President Obama became the first sitting president to personally endorse same-sex marriage. Moreover, Obama backed several state ballots seeking to legalize gay marriage. The key endorsement is one of several factors that led to Maine, Maryland, and Washington State becoming the first states to approve marriage equality measures via public vote. Not to be outdone, Minnesota voters struck down a ballot initiative hoping to define marriage as a union between a man and woman in the state constitution. How the Supreme Court will rule on the matter remains to be seen, but as time passes on, it’s clear that marriage equality will be on the winning side of history.
10. President Obama’s Re-Election
As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow so eloquently stated, Obama’s re-election win proved that the electorate soundly defeated the intellectually insulting style of politics launched by Republicans in recent years. Maybe they’ll learn not to treat facts like syphilis…and minorities, as icky, icky people who deserve constant ignoring. Any day now?
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