I don’t usually opine on politics (as opposed to policy) but this episode looks to me like one of the deepest moves I’ve seen since I paid tuition playing high-low seven-card stud, to a guy who called a stone low hand for three rounds and maxed it into my 8-high face cards when he was hit by a king. Of course it could be a big mistake, escaped with dumb luck; Mark has noted both Obama’s incredible streak of luck as a politician, and Napoleon’s observation that an officer’s reputation for luck is a good reason for rapid promotion.
What it looked like to me was, step one: laying out a red carpet for Republican base trolls to line up on, singing in unison about the war on religion. After they got lined up and vocal about it, step two, he genially and calmly revised the policy to meet church hierarchy conditions, otherwise known as picking up a corner of the rug to allow a nice firm grip and handing it to the bishops. Step three, the bishops [so far appear to have] accepted their victory, yanking the rug out from under the tinpot theologians yakketing about the original policy, all of whom are now sitting on their rear ends or piled in a heap, trying to figure out why they are looking like clowns again.
The guy who cleaned my clock with his bike had an inept, vaguely clueless manner at the card table. Perhaps he just got lucky; he did have a very good evening, as I recall. Three or four really good hands he happened to manage in a way that paid off big time.