New Republican Strategy: Shoot Selves in Foot

Nov 06 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Planned High Speed Rail Station in Wisconsin

It’s no secret that the Republicans hated the economic stimulus. They voiced opposition in all sorts of ways (mostly hysterical) to all sorts of projects (mostly beneficial) that would have brought money and employment to their states. They especially voiced opposition to high speed rail, while in February 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Democratically-controlled Congress allocated $8 billion to be granted to states for intercity rail projects, with “priority to projects that support the development of intercity high speed rail service.”.

Plan for High Speed Rail in U.S.

This isn’t a bad plan. I’ve driven from New York to Minneapolis before and it’s a long drive (some 20 hours from the vicinity of Binghamton Upstate). But ideologically, the Republicans couldn’t buy into it. Now they will reap what they sowed. Money that could have stimulated local economies will go elsewhere – where it’s wanted.

  • In Wisconsin, incoming Republican Governor Scott Walker vowed on Wednesday to fulfill a pledge he made during his campaign to kill a high-speed rail project that would have linked Milwaukee and Madison, which itself was to be part of a larger project which would have created a high-speed rail corridor across the upper Midwest, spanning the scenic but rather long (about 6 hour) drive between Minneapolis and Chicago (see map above). The clincher: the project was going to cost Wisconsin NOTHING. The entire $810 million price tag was being covered by federal stimulus funds. Wisconsin could only profit from the plan, putting thousands to work, not to mention helping the environment. But Walker is a Republican. He doesn’t care about the environment. He doesn’t care about putting Wisconsinites back to work. He says he wants to spend the money on roads instead, but there’s a catch: he can’t, because alternate use of the funds is prohibited. Ironically, the line was a proposal from the former Republican governor, Tommy Thompson, who for his temerity is now former-Wisconsin governor.
  • In Ohio, another new Republican governor, John Kasich, pledged to kill a $400 million stimulus-funded rail project. “Passenger rail is not in Ohio’s future.” Yes, because it’s so much fun to drive across Ohio. It’s marginally less exciting than Wisconsin. “That train is dead,” he announced.  He said it was the “dumbest idea” he had ever heard and that his state could not afford to operate it. He wanted to spend it on roads too. Guess what? That money goes back into federal coffers too, and Wisconsin and Ohio pay the price for electing Republicans to be governor.  If Ted Strickland, the Democrat, had been re-elected, we can imagine Ohio would have its high speed rail and an economic boost and the flowers and trees would have smiled.

These ideologically-motivated refusals are perhaps not such a bright idea when you stop to think about it. The problem being of course, that not many people stopped to do much thinking leading up to these midterms and Republicans seem to be doing less thinking than most. It all became about rage and ideology. Nobody was thinking in practical terms. So they all decided to have a group foot shoot instead.

Republicans say they are against earmarks but it is earmarks that have until now functioned as infrastructure funding. Obama tried to change that by allocating federal funds to various projects. It is difficult to imagine how Republicans plan to manage our infrastructure if they a) don’t want government spending and, b) don’t want earmarks.

Now this is just a symptom of course, but it’s one that is likely to be played out across America in areas where Republicans remain or are newly dominant.  Fortunately, the governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, was wise enough not to turn down stimulus money for wind-farms. This might be why some people are talking about Daniels as possible presidential material. He may not be the best and brightest, but it isn’t difficult to look like Einstein next to the average Republican rocket scientist.

So in all likelihood, their loss will be our gain – sometimes our loss. Think about it. The New York Times reports that “Representative John Mica of Florida, the senior Republican in line to take the reins of the House Transportation Committee in January, is unhappy with the way the Obama administration awarded $10 billion in federal stimulus funds for high-speed rail projects.”

Mr. Mica figured these were trains to “nowhere,” a sentiment that will no doubt do much to endear him to the citizens of places like Milwaukee and Chicago, not to mention the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul).

Guess where Mr. Mica wants to spend the money? Yeah, not in your neighborhood. No, he wants to spend it in the Northeast corridor, “which he described as possibly the only place in the country with enough population density to financially support high-speed train service.”

Europe has lots of high speed rail:

High Speed Rail in Europe

The USA? Not so much:

High-speed rail in the United States currently consists of one rail line described by the US Department of Transportation as a high-speed line: Amtrak’s Acela Express service, which runs the Northeast Corridor—from Boston via New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, to Washington, D.C.—at speeds averaging 68 mph (109 km/h) for the entire distance but briefly reaching 150 mph (240 km/h) at times.

So yeah, the Northeast corridor is the only place in the U.S. with high speed rail, and now it’s going to get some more while others go without. No money and no jobs and no environmental boost for Wisconsin and Ohio, but the people in the Northeast corridor will benefit. This is the sort of short-sightedness we can expect for the next two years.

Folks will be able, in that time, to reflect on what this all means for them. One hopes that in those states which elected Republicans as governor the voters will come to the conclusion by 2012 that perhaps the Party of Raging No’s might not be the best choice. They will have to live with their mistake for awhile though since governors in all states save Vermont and New Hampshire serve four year terms. Meanwhile, the governors can enjoy their annual state of the state addresses explaining to those voters why they screwed them over.

My guess is that by 2012, not many voters will be reminiscing along the lines of “Yeah…good times…”

12 responses so far

Democrats Arrogantly Overestimated the Intelligence of the American Voter

Nov 04 2010 Published by under Featured News

This was the typical 2010 American voter

The loss of the House of Representatives by Democrats this election will be analyzed to death, and there is certainly enough blame to go around regardless which group is critiqued. A great portion of the blame can be attributed to corporate infusion of cash to Republican and Tea Party candidates. However, Democrats and President Obama must accept that they too, own their fair share of blame for overestimating the intelligence of the American voter.

One thing is clear; the Obama Administration and Democrats passed laws and programs that are beneficial for all Americans. It doesn’t matter which political philosophy one may espouse; lower taxes, health-care, banking reforms, and consumer protections benefit individuals and the country in general. But by not explicitly telling Americans what, why, and how the laws are beneficial, conservatives were able to control the narrative and define Democrat’s programs as abhorrent and hazardous to America.

The health care debate is an example of voters not understanding simple concepts like a public option or end of life counseling. Conservatives defined end of life counseling as “death panels,” and if Democrats had simply called it a living will, there would not have been such a negative connotation. President Obama should have addressed the nation and explained all of those concepts, and if he had done so early, Fox News and Tea Party leaders would not have defined those terms.

It is the same with banking reforms and credit card legislation that protect consumers from predatory lenders and unfair charges. By waiting for conservatives to label and define the issues, the conservatives’ lies misinformed gullible voters. There is no doubt that conservatives lie and use fear to promote skepticism for laws that help individuals, but Democrats assumed (wrongly) that voters were inquisitive enough to discern the value of legislation for themselves.

Tea Party groups railed on Obama and Democrats for raising taxes, regardless that 95% of Americans got a tax cut in 2009.  Many people who depend on Social Security and Medicare voted for candidates who want to privatize or eliminate those important social programs. The reason is that Americans don’t understand what privatize means, and don’t comprehend that those are social programs or they would not protest that Obama is pushing Socialism on America.

Giving tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of Americans should only have support from the wealthiest Americans, but conservatives redefined those cuts as increases and voters reacted accordingly. The Democrats and Obama should realize that many Americans are like children. Just telling them something is good doesn’t work without telling what and why it’s good. There are unemployed Americans who support outsourcing jobs because Fox News and conservatives fooled them into thinking that if outsourcing is good for corporations, it’s good for America.

Hopefully this midterm election has taught Democrats that Americans, although basically good people, are naïve and gullible. How many protests does one have to observe to see poor people protesting against unemployment benefits and social programs before realizing that like children, they need to be educated?

Democrats must do a better job at educating the public, and stop being arrogant. They presume that if they say something is good for America, voters will go along with their plans. Even though the legislation is good, Democrats have to start early education and not assume that just because they say something is good, voters will understand the particulars.

Republicans taking the House is demoralizing, but it is worse that good Americans believe Republican’s lies because Democrats did not explain the bills early and often. Hopefully Democrats learned their lesson and will assume that many voters are what they are; little children who are lazy and will not think for themselves without a little prodding and information. Democrats are intelligent, but assuming that all voters are capable of thinking for themselves is a serious error in judgment.

Democrats have 2 years to educate voters, and if they don’t, they can expect the same results in 2012 that they experienced this week. They can be sure that conservatives are prepared with more lies and misinformation to feed the American people, and they started yesterday.

Democrats are already at a disadvantage if they continue overestimating the intelligence of voters because stupid people like Sarah Palin do understand the American people and are spreading lies that Democrats can mitigate if they drop the arrogant assumption that just because they say something is good for Americans, voters will believe them. In a perfect world they wouldn’t have to go to such lengths for votes, but America is anything but perfect these days.

21 responses so far

Analyzing What November 2nd Means

We’ve all seen the graphs, the raw voter data. But what does it all mean beyond Republicans up and Democrats down? I have been wondering about this myself, and on the advice of a Canadian friend, I turned to the conservative (by Canadian standards) National Post. In a wonderfully titled article, “What the #!%*?: The U.S. mid-term elections?” the National Post’s Peter Goodspeed asks and answers some very important questions about the midterms.

It is a useful and interesting analysis of the disastrous turnaround in the American political landscape and helpful for being a view from the outside looking in.

Mr. Goodspeed makes some interesting points (my comments in italics):

  • “Democrats have been driven from office in…every one of the 11 states of the old Confederacy.” We knew there was something to the waving of Confederate flags at those Tea Party rallies.
  • “This is the third election in a row in which U.S. voters kicked out the party in power.” (the others being 2006 and 2008). This was not unexpected. Voters have short memories. As Paul Krugman has predicted, the Republicans will probably be out on their backsides in 2012.
  • “Exit polls show the Democrats lost the votes of women, middle-income workers, whites, seniors and independent voters.” Most important was the loss of the independent voters who put Obama in office in the first place. This is ironic as most of these people voted against their own interests the other day. They will likely regret it before too long. Evan Bayh has some ideas about what the Democrats can do to recover in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
  • “Voters are disenchanted with both parties… When Marco Rubio, Florida’s Republican senator-elect, took his victory bow, he made a point of warning his party to be cautious. “We make a great mistake, if we believe that tonight, these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party,” he said. “What they are is a second chance — a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be, not so long ago.” Rubio is right. This is neither a sweeping indictment of the Democratic Party nor a sweeping embrace of the Republican. The voters blamed the most handy target – the party currently in power. For an analysis of Rubio, see the New York Times bio.
  • “Democrats lost a generation of powerful centrist leaders.” I find this interesting given that Obama governed as a centrist. Is this yet another slap against centrist politics, diktat vs. compromise?
  • The Tea Party shouldn’t celebrate. Not only are they not popular with “Wall Street Republicans” but “According to the CBS television network’s exit polls, 58% of Tea Party supporters identify themselves as Republican, 33%  as independent, and 9% as Democrats. However, 80% are white, 55% are male and 56% are aged 50 and older. Not exactly a growing demographic.” No, indeed. The Tea Party is neither a grass-roots nor a populist movement. It has a very narrow focus and a very narrow support base and it really offers nothing new or dramatic outside of new levels of hate and bigotry. And “Tea Party candidates” have already demonstrated a willingness to compromise their principles to get elected. The lesson of Scott Brown should not be lost on anyone.
  • “Obama still has a veto and can scrap any Republican legislation.” So true. No doubt he will have cause to use it. We might note the importance too of continued Democratic control of the Senate.
  • “It’s unlikely [Obama will] have a chance to advance his domestic agenda. “ This does seem unlikely. He will be struggling to maintain the changes he brought about from 2006-08.
  • Obama may be vulnerable in 2012, particularly if he “concedes too much to the Republicans.” This will clearly be a problem as many of us felt Obama has already done this, catering too much to Republican concerns despite ongoing evidence that the Republicans had no interest in joining the Democrats in governing the nation.
  • The events of 1952 (and its aftermath) provide precedent for what took place on November 2 and this suggests that Republican gains will be ephemeral, at least in the short term.

I think many of these points are valid and bear further investigation and discussion. Clearly the next two years will be rocky not only for the administration and for Democrats, but for the country as a whole. The Republicans are far from united. The Tea Party is a divisive force and who knows, we may see some of those Old School “Wall Street” Republicans reaching across the aisle in exasperation. Two years of gridlock is unconscionable and it is difficult to see how, if Obama could be hurt in 2012, the Republicans could not also be if they spend the next two years bringing government to a complete halt.

Of course, there is more to it than this. We are mired in a war seemingly without end. The Republicans have attempted to assign blame for Bush’s Afghanistan War to Obama, and they have even tried to present 9/11 as somehow being Obama’s fault; the same goes for the economic crash of ’08, which took place while Bush was in the White House. Other important issues are corporate money and foreign money and the ways in which these impact American democracy. Republicans, who despise the already existing Constitutional amendments, are unlikely to support an amendment to correct the Supreme Court’s heinous betrayal. And the war on the First Amendment will no doubt gain strength.

There will no doubt be collateral damage from this election. If the election was about the economy, there will also be attacks, as I noted above on the First Amendment, but also on women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights and environmental regulation, to name just a few. What is essential is somehow keeping our government and our country going for two years until we can correct the mistakes of November 2nd, when it is to be hoped voters will wake up to what they wrought.

11 responses so far

Betrayal from Within: A Tale of Democratic Disintegration

Nov 03 2010 Published by under Featured News

It was surprising to read the despair and shock from the left this morning. We knew this was going to happen. Not only is it historically predictable, but given the economy, the Democrats are fortunate that they hung on to the Senate.

The Republicans ran on repealing ObamaCares, but they cannot accomplish this without a 60 vote majority in the Senate, or a 67 vote super majority to override a Presidential veto. The Senate is the higher of the two legislative bodies, the one Americans didn’t entrust to Republicans/ GOP rebranded as Tea Partiers.

No, the Senate is not a place for crazies because the Senate matters. The House crazies will be up for reelection again in two years, right after they start investigating the “Anti-Americans” in Congress and of course, cherry on top, accuse them of getting a blow job. Will they waste our tax dollars pursuing this so Eric, Jimmy and Johnny can make tee-vee appearances every day? You betcha.

Sen. Jim DeMint told Good Morning America repealing ObamaCares is his number one priority. When asked if he would move toward scrapping the plan he said, “Oh, yeah.”

Jim knows he can’t accomplish this. He’s just saying it to pander to the morons who voted Republican last night but are anti-big banks. My god, it hurts.

But what hurts more than all of this, my liberal friends, is how the liberal base stabbed themselves in the back while complaining about how the Democrats never handle power well. I think it’s time for us all to reassess our comfort level with power, our understanding of how government works, and the importance of unified front of support for our President and elected officials, especially when they are passing something historic and difficult like healthcare.

Of course I am not suggesting that we don’t hold the Democratic leadership accountable, but are we really children where we can only see those two extremes? Liberals fault the Democratic officials for the exact same flaws they evince as the base. Liberals spent the last two years screaming bloody murder about President Obama and the Democrats letting them down.

They don’t have to worry about that so much anymore.

No more concerns about whether a bill is good enough, or whether so and so should have rights. Those options are not even on the table anymore.

Now we have to go back to fighting to keep Obama’s administration from being Clintonized. We have to fight to hang on to ObamaCares. So our petty infighting is over.

And we can once again settle in to the comforting position of being attacked daily.

I, for one, would have rather supported the Democrats and the President with all of their faults, thereby not killing voter enthusiasm months before the election, and worked toward holding them accountable to us with great investigative work like we see certain liberals engaging in—but not the endless moaning about the public option.

The public option was never going to happen. If you think it was, you don’t understand Washington. It COULD have evolved into the public option with a Democratic majority, and one day it might. But for now, we’ll be lucky if we get to keep ObamaCares.

I’ve written about this before and been besieged with angry liberals who explain to me that I am nothing but a cheerleader, because they are mature enough to criticize and they have that right. Sure, they do. But they also have a responsibility to do so responsibly and accurately or else, do not complain today when the inevitable result of the blood you took daily from the Democratic Party turns on you.

Now we have a House of Representatives who first and foremost will want to waste our tax dollars campaigning for 2012 by investigating every Democrat and President Obama and his administration. Nothing will get done.

This is the result of a bad economy and predictable midterm electoral struggles, but also a failure on our part to support our party and our President. We allowed the Right to inaccurately attack them daily. Soon after the GOP hissed their talking points in the morning, liberals would be screaming the same exact complaints in the afternoon, all the while claiming to be independent and thinking for themselves. And then they are shocked when the blood bath comes.

This blood bath could not have happened without two years of bitter, it’s not good enough tantrum throwing from the left. This has been said before, but no one wanted to hear it. We would rather parrot the Right by playing outraged and offended, but it’s the truth.

We chose not to grow up and so we lost power, as we should. Until we can govern like we mean it and until our base has the stomach and the fortitude to be loyal supporters while being fierce critics – the sort who would encircle our own when they are under attack instead of stepping aside and letting the right wing kill them – we won’t have power for long.

And so it is that we held our breath during those two years, knowing it was all we were going to get and pushing through as many paradigm shifting changes as we could before the Republicans got a bigger bull horn from which to say no.

I am a fierce liberal, in that I am bonded to the principles of equality, egalitarianism and opportunity for all but the last two years have been sobering. I see that the far Left is no less demanding in their call for purity. It’s as if these folks have never been in a relationship before, because there is no perfection of purity awaiting us.

This failure, this loss, is our own. We earned it by not growing up. Perhaps instead of grousing about how stupid Americans are for voting the same clowns who got us into this mess back into office, we can take this moment to reflect upon how we got here and what we can learn for 2012, when I do anticipate a sweeping win for Obama and a Democratic majority restored to the House.

After all, the Republicans will be reminding America of what they are all about for the next two years, and Americans will not be pleased by the gridlock, the investigations, the failure to address the People’s concerns, and the gloating frat boy atmosphere, made all the more poisonous by the freshman Tea Partiers who haven’t a clue how to govern and will soon find themselves unable to do anything they promised except glorify themselves on tee-vee as the anti-Obama hero to the far Right.

For the next two years, we will probably have a more unified Left, one that rallies to their side when under attack, because Liberals know how to be the underdog. What we need to be thinking about is how we can be leaders who hold power responsibly and effectively, starting with the base.

27 responses so far

How Sarah Palin Lost the Senate for the Republicans

Nov 03 2010 Published by under Featured News

The finger pointing has already begun in the Republican Party due to their failure to win the US Senate last night. Republicans had a golden opportunity to take control of Congress, but they failed, and the blame for this failure should fall squarely on the shoulders of one person. Sarah Palin’s meddling in the races in Nevada, Delaware, West Virginia, and Alaska likely cost the GOP the United States Senate.

Palin’s grand plan was to use 2010 to flex her political muscle, not to help the GOP take back Congress but to position herself as her party’s front runner for 2012. Palin wanted to show that she is the only person who can unite the Tea Party and GOP, but while pursuing her selfish goals, she all but destroyed her party’s chances of retaking the Senate.

She began her quest to undermine her own party, with a Tea Party Express rally where she campaigned against Harry Reid in his hometown of Searchlight, NV. In August, Palin endorsed Sharron Angle, but the Republican took Palin’s strategy of running from the media a bit too literally and was doomed from the start. Palin’s high profile meddling in the race did help Angle or the GOP in their attempt to unseat Reid.

Here is Palin campaigning against Reid in Searchlight:

Palin played a more direct role in Delaware. Christine O’Donnell herself credited Sarah Palin with her primary victory over Rep. Mike Castle. O’Donnell said, “You betcha! There’s another woman I’ve gotta thank, you betcha! Thank you governor Palin for your endorsement. Because she got behind us war-weary folks, and gave us a boost of encouragement when we needed it. And she was a vote against the politics of personal destruction.” Without Palin sticking her nose in the primary, Mike Castle wins, and according to polling would have gone on to an easy double digit victory over Chris Coons. Instead, Republicans were treated to the race being called for Coons within minutes of the state’s polls closing.

The most personal case of Palin interference came in Alaska, where she looked to settle an old feud with Sen. Lisa Murkowski with a last second blitzkrieg of Tea Party cash and support for her primary opponent Joe Miller. Palin support powered Miller to victory in the primary, but Murkowski roared back with what looks to have been a successful Independent write in campaign to defeat Palin’s proxy Joe Miller. It goes without saying that Lisa Murkowski would still be a Republican today, if Sarah Palin hadn’t tried her power play.

Those three Senate seats would have moved the Republican Party into no worse than a tie in the US Senate. Carly Fiorina used Palin’s endorsement to win her primary, and distancing herself from Palin in the general election felt compelled to make Palin an issue again by going on CNN and letting the world know that she thought Palin was qualified to be president. This did not help her Senate campaign.

Then there is the case of John Raese in West Virginia. Palin campaign for Raese, along with Ted Nugent, just days before the election, and Raese went on to get crushed by Joe Manchin. These were critical Senate races that the GOP in some cases should have won, and in others might have won, if not for Sarah Palin.

Of course, Palin dodged any responsibility for the mess she created,”There’s that premise, that argument that’s made, well, geez a Tea Party, real conservative candidate, kind of blew it for Republican chances in either of those states [Nevada or Delaware]. But I argue against that. I would argue the premise that it was going to be safer with any other GOP primary winner other than Sharron Angle in there that the seat would have gone to a Republican, specifically with that argument we can apply that to Christine O’Donnell.”

What we learned on Election Night 2010 is that GOP’s Palin problem continues to haunt them. She single handedly ensured that they would not win the Senate, and even worse for them, she probably feels emboldened by the overall Republican victory last night, and is ready to go full steam ahead towards 2012. Sarah Palin cost her party the Senate in 2010, and she is going to continue to lead them down the path to an embarrassing defeat to Obama in 2012. Sarah Palin isn’t a power player or a king maker. She is a reality television star with delusions of the presidency, and her delusions may very well spell the end for Grand Old Party.

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14 responses so far

Study: Men Are More Likely to Vote for a Hot Female Candidate

Nov 02 2010 Published by under Featured News

A recently published study of male and female voters done by the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University revealed that while both men and women are likely to vote for the most competent candidate, men are more likely to vote for attractive female candidates, and women are likely to support the more approachable candidate.

In the study voters judged a series of male and female candidates in a hypothetical presidential election on how competent, approachable, dominant, and attractive they seemed based on their facial appearances. The voters were shown a pair of presidential candidates and asked to choose which candidate they would support.

The results indicated that the gender of both the candidate and the voter impacted the kind of facial expressions that predicted voter behavior. The study found that, “All voters are likely to vote for candidates who appear more competent. However, male candidates that appear more approachable and female candidates who appear more attractive are more likely to win votes. In particular, men are more likely to vote for attractive female candidates whereas women are more likely to vote for approachable male candidates.”

The point is that gender and physical appearance can matter more than positions on the issues. Men are especially prone to supporting an attractive female candidate. Research has long shown that the rational voter does not exist. All voters, whether they are conscious of it or not, use personal cues when deciding whether or not to support a candidate, this is why it is so important for candidates to connect with voters. Candidates that appear cold and impersonal are much less likely to win an election.

It may be discouraging to some that the American people don’t sit around intellectually discussing the issues and making an informed decision, but in an era where most people get their information about an election from 30-60 second television ads, this isn’t all that surprising. The willingness of men to support an attractive female candidate explains the Republican strategy of running attractive female candidates for office. These candidates may not be the most qualified, but they are the most likely to get the support of the white men who make up the base of support for the GOP.

It is not a big shock that women are more likely to vote for an approachable candidate, and men are most likely to vote for a physically attractive female candidate. No matter how good looking or approachable a candidate is, if they aren’t viewed as competent, they won’t win, but if the competency issue is off the table, gender biases can play a sizable role in determining the outcome of an election.

John McCain, John Kerry, and Al Gore all struggled with warmth and approachability, and they all lost. The new development is the Republican strategy to seize on this gender bias. It didn’t work in 2008 with Sarah Palin. We will see what it yields for Republicans tonight, and it will definitely be put to the test in 2012.

10 responses so far

When Did the Mainstream Media Start Working for the Conservatives?

Nov 02 2010 Published by under Featured News

Americans go to the polls today in spite of main stream media reports that Republicans and Tea Party candidates swept every race.  Usually it is only Fox News that tells their audience what the results of elections will be in advance of an election, but in this election cycle, real journalists are jumping on the Republican bandwagon in a big way.

There is also a disturbing trend of pundits parroting Republican talking points critical of the Obama Administration as if the RNC is reporting the news. The problem is that the pundits are not Fox News employees or commentators, and it is not just television and radio that are reporting winners in advance of the election. Print media are reporting that Tea Party candidates are in the main-stream and that they express the mood of most Americans.

In Time magazine’s 8 November issue, the cover story’s headline reads, “Party Crashers – How a new breed of Republicans tapped into voter rage and upset the Establishment – but can they govern?” The “Special Election Preview” hit newsstands on Thursday, and the cover implied that Meg Whitman, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Christine O’Donnell had already won their respective races. The only question, according to Time was, “can they govern.”

A McClatchy newspaper in California endorsed Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman by listing the candidates’ campaign talking points as if they were facts. They also echoed teabagger sentiments about Democrats, and Obama in particular; without any references or factual information. The newspaper in question serves a very conservative area, but their objectivity has disappeared in a climate where advertisers and corporate interests have taken charge of the narrative as far as politics is concerned.

The latest outrage involves ABC’s hiring of Andrew Breitbart as an analyst on election night, and it typifies the favorable media bias that George W. Bush enjoyed for most of his presidency. It is a dangerous path when the media refuses to report the news. Pundits and commentators editorialize and it is accepted that opinion is part of commentary, but it is unacceptable when the news reports are campaign slogans and policy positions of one political party.

The media is supposed to be the one part of society that tells unbiased truth so voters can make informed decisions, but during this cycle, the media has aligned with conservatives. Is MSM reflecting the mood of the country, or following directives from the Republican Party like Fox News? There has been very little reporting on campaign financing by foreign entities, or correction and clarification when a candidate deceives the public.

Most Americans are not political junkies, and the only news they see is on television, newspapers, or magazine covers. American people are not that sharp at discerning a candidate’s qualification for themselves, so when the media reports the winners, repeats campaign slogans as endorsements, and unfairly criticizes any candidate during a campaign, something is wrong.

There are reports that many Democrats will not vote in this election for personal reasons, and one hopes that liberals are smart enough to sift through the media bias and realize that the election was not last month. In states like California, there are 2.5 million more Democrats than Republicans, but the news has already given victory to Republicans.

Americans who do vote today have been told who won the elections, so it’s no wonder there will be a small turnout. It makes sense that internet news is displacing print journalism, and it is too bad, because without real investigative reporting, bloggers and internet news outlets would not have stories.

It is a bad time in America, and the media that are so crucial to a free society are not doing their jobs. When you vote today, ignore media reports that so-and-so has already won, because the elections are today; in spite of media reports to the contrary.

50 responses so far

Ten Things You’ll Be Voting Against if You Vote Republican

Nov 02 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Today is the day we go to vote in the 2010 midterm elections. The results of this election will reverberate far beyond our localities; they will affect the entire country and indeed, the entire world.  We are half-way through the term of a Democratic administration that if it is not as far left as some would wish, is still what this country needs to free itself from the lawlessness and mal-administration of the previous Republican administration. It is important to remember when you vote what you are casting your vote for (and against). If you vote Republican, these are the things you are voting against:

Women – It’s strange when you think about it: the party that claims to be against government interference in our lives wanting to give the government control and authority over women’s bodies. But that’s what they want. They want government out of THEIR business – quite liberally, out of corporations business – but they want government in YOURS. They want the government to regulate morality AS THEY SEE IT.  Government interference is just fine and dandy if it’s the kind they approve of. Meanwhile, corporations can pollute all they want, treat works as shabbily as they want, offer you no benefits of any kind, including health insurance and retirement, and pay no taxes while reaping huge profits and benefit packages for the CEOs and Boards of Directors who are robbing you blind.

Free Speech – this is another one Republicans pay lipservice to but which they’re not really interested in. Their operative definition of free speech is their right to say anything they want. The other side has absolutely no right to be heard in response, either to question or to challenge, or to make their opinion known. President Bush liked to stack the deck by speaking only to friendly audiences; he refused to answer questions. John McCain and Sarah Palin upped the ante by refusing to allow questions to even be asked. Joe Miller and Rand Paul have questioners beat up or arrested. Most Republican candidates decline to appear on networks that will actually ask them questions and some refuse even to engage in debate with their opponents.

Education – Republicans hate education and the Department of Education has become a focus of that hate. During the Bush administration, the Republicans declared war on science and on environmental science specifically. Republicans want everyone to be educated either via a church-sponsored Faith-Based program or at home via a Christian homeschooling program. They do not want you educated; they want you indoctrinated.  They do not like science and a modern country that cuts science out of the equation is sentencing itself to third-world status and increased fatality levels from pollution.

Environment – Republicans hate the environment. Those who do not hate it on the grounds that it threatens corporate profits oppose it on religious grounds, in the bizarre and mistaken belief that God will fix the environment, or that the Parousia (End Time) is arriving, making the environment irrelevant. The recent Gulf Oil spill is an example of what will happen if we continue to have a largely unregulated oil industry. The Bush era EPA even claimed it did not have the right to protect the environment, which, of course, is its mandate. How far we’ve come since the days of Nixon, who established the EPA.

Law & Order – The Republicans don’t like the Constitution and they don’t seem to like any law. We have seen how a Republican administration tramples rights and tortures and deprives people of their supposedly inalienable rights under the Bush administration. It won’t get any better, only worse, if they start calling the shots again. The Republicans plundered our government and they plundered the American people to line their pockets, and when anyone speaks up, they get their head stomped on or they get handcuffed by Party thugs right out of the 30s.

Workers Rights – The GOP – what MoveOn.org calls Republicorp – doesn’t want workers to have any rights. The only rights belong to America’s corporate masters. The average citizen will have to subsist on the scraps tossed their way.  Workers are not entitled to a living wage let alone benefits of any kind. FOX News calls this “The War on Business” – that is, anything to do with making corporations pay taxes, obey regulations which protect the environment and not only the consumer but international economic stability, provide benefits and a fair working wage.

Democracy – Republicans aren’t interested in democracy. They are interested in privileging one particular ideology – their own – and outlawing all others. Remember how when they lost in 2008 they claimed to be a “government in exile” and claimed that the lawfully elected Democratic administration was an illegal usurper government. Republicans favor corporate owned government, and even foreign owned government; in short, any government that can be bought and owned and which is not answerable to the public.

Social Security and Medicare – The Republican party wants to do away with these things, eliminating any realistic chance that workers will be able to retire and survive while rich corporations and their wealthy Robber Baron CEOs live in the lap of luxury with Golden Parachutes waiting for them, and Republican office holders raise their salaries  and enjoy socialized medicine.

Freedom of Religion – The Republican Party has become the party of one narrow-minded sect of conservative Christians and they want everyone to have to believe as they believe and live by their laws – their religious laws. A Republican government believes that the First Amendment says the opposite of what it actually says, and that the Founding Fathers somehow intended to establish the United States as a Christian theocracy.

The Constitution – We’ve mentioned Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion above, but we might as well throw in the rest of the Constitution as well. Republicans hate the Constitution. The only parts they show any liking for are the Second (right to bear arms) and Tenth (states’ rights) amendments, and some of them have suggested doing away with ALL the amendments. They claim to be fighting for it but they offer no evidence at all. Nearly everything they want out of this election is in some way unconstitutional.  None of this is surprising when it is considered how little Republicans know about the Constitution.

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Dear America, Why Are We Voting Against Our Own Self Interests?

Nov 01 2010 Published by under Featured News

While Republicans plan to shut down the government, block or repeal existing laws, and deregulate the oil industry, it is curious what they plan to do for the American people. Everyone knows what they’ve done for the past 21 months, and it’s a great big zero.

So, knowing Republicans have done nothing, and campaign on doing nothing for the next two years; why are people willing to vote for them? Republicans promise to help corporations by getting rid of regulations, but that only helps the wealthy.

Republicans will do nothing for working-class Americans, and in fact, they will undo laws Democrats passed to protect Americans who are not in the 2% wealthiest category. John Boehner said, “WE are not going to be any different than what we’ve been.” Boehner will most likely be Speaker of the House if Republicans win big on Tuesday, and intends to continue helping his corporate financiers instead of working Americans.

Financial reform was enacted to stop banks from overcharging customers, but Republicans want to change that so there are no consumer protections. Republican candidates are very open about helping financial institutions take advantage of working people so the banking industry will contribute more to the GOP.

Insurance companies cannot cancel sick policy-holders any longer, and parents can keep their kids on their health insurance policies till they are 26, but Republicans will change that for the insurance industry. Health care reform is meant to help working Americans, but Republicans will continue helping the insurance industry so they will contribute more to the GOP.

Republicans talk about privatizing Social Security and Medicare so the money can go to Wall Street for the next financial collapse. The Republican plan is to transfer Social Security money to investors so they can make money off the backs of hard working Americans. There is no protection for money lost in the stock market, but in exchange for the Social Security accounts Wall Street will contribute more to the GOP .

This list is never-ending, and there doesn’t seem to be any sense for working people to vote for Republican/teabagger candidates. Voting for Republicans who promise not to help the American people is a mind-boggling mystery, and it makes no sense.

Are Americans masochists? It appears that’s the case for a large segment of the population. Is it that nervous Americans are voting against their own self-interest as a plea for more punishment from conservatives? People who support Republican candidates must know by now that the GOP’s interest is only in corporate America and the wealthy. Every Republican supports extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the very wealthiest 2% of Americans, and still, they get support from poor, retired, and working-class Americans regardless that Republican policies only benefit the rich.

Republicans say they will do everything to block the Obama Administration and they promise more of the same. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said that Republicans’ job for the next two years is to block Obama so he could only serve one term. Americans know Republicans have done nothing except say no over the past year-and-a-half, and many are happy with GOP obstructionism. They will vote to give them more power to say no for the next two years to see Obama serve one term.

Some Republicans advocate shutting down the government to get their way, and that will benefit corporations because regulators will be out of business. A shutdown will also cease all social programs and hurt everyone except the wealthiest Americans. Still, there are poor and retired people who depend on social programs who will vote for Republicans; contrary to their  own self-interests.

Voting against your own self-interest doesn’t display intelligence and the  GOP is counting on voter’s ignorance. For example, Republicans claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility, but they give free money to corporations at the expense of the working class; voters hear the words “fiscal responsibility” and vote for conservatives.

Voters should reject Republicans for doing nothing for working Americans. It is astounding that voters support obstructionist Republicans for giving breaks to rich people and big business.

Americans know what Republicans have done since January 2009, and they promise more of the same for the next 2 years to help corporations, damage the Obama Administration, and cause more harm to the American people than George W. Bush. It is too bad anyone has to suffer from Republican corporate governance, and the blame will lie solely with uninformed, gullible, and racist voters who hate a black president and vote against their own interests. It is shameful that the rest of us will also suffer.

112 responses so far

Conservative Christian Nuttiness Increases as Election Day Nears

Nov 01 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

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James Dobson

Election Day is upon us and Right Wing Watch is reported that James Dobson is freaking out about yet another election:

Shirley and I were married on August 27, 1960 and two months later we voted for the first time in a national election. And I’ll tell you, from that time to this – and we’ve been through a lot of elections – I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that was more significant than the one we’re about to experience, even though it’s not focused on a presidential election.

Horrendous decisions have been made during these past two years and that nation is at a crossroads right now that could bring further ruin … I don’t know how to say it differently. If I could get down on my hands and knees and beg people, if that would help I would do it because this time it’s now or never. If we take the wrong path with the issues that are on the table today, I don’t think we will ever recover as a nation.

Conservative Christians fear for this country and its future (that should be read as their privileged position in this country). They seem uncertain as to what the answer is. Do they vote? Do they pray? Do they just scream a lot and stomp their little feet?

Glenn Beck favorite David Barton has reached back into Old Testament times in his own approach, producing a 9-minute-long video to explain to Christian voters that if we want God’s blessings we better be righteous. Now will God judge our righteousness? Through our public policies, of course.

We’re to seek righteousness first, and dozens of Bible passages affirm that a nation’s righteousness is determined by its public policies, by how well those policies conform to God’s standards. We love to sing “God Bless America,” but if we really want God to bless America, we’ve got to give him something to work with.

For Christians, voting is not a right, it’s a duty. It’s a stewardship that we owe to God and it’s a stewardship for which we’ll answer directly to him. One day we’ll stand before him and he’ll say “what did you do with that vote I gave you?” And we’ll have to answer.

Righteousness must be the issue. It must be the measure to define what we’re for politically and what we’re against. And each of us will answer to God not only for whether we voted, but for how we voted, for what issues drove our vote.

If we stand before God and He says “why did you vote for a leader who’s attempting to redefine my institution of marriage and who wills the unborn children that I knew before they were in the womb?” If He asks us that and our answer is “Because that leader was good on jobs and the economy,” He’s not going to accept that.

So to votes and prayers we can add threats of hellfire and damnation. Don’t vote because you love God but because you’re afraid of him.

It’s safe to say conservative Christian figures are pulling out all the stops. But will their efforts bear any fruit?

It is hard to see how they can tip the election. There aren’t enough of them. The closer we’ve come to the election the more strident and exclusive they’ve gotten. Their hateful, bigoted attitudes shrink the GOP tent; they don’t grow it.

Chuck Colson is thinking about a new third party, for social conservatives. I think this is a good idea, a little tent for a small group that thinks the future of America revolves around a few carefully cherry-picked socially conservative positions. You will notice that while the Book of Leviticus condemns homosexuality it also condemns the eating of pork. When the Religious Right begins to make eating a BLT one of its social issues they will at least finally be displaying some honesty. Until then, it will remain the party of social hypocrisy. In either case, they will still be wrong because the Constitution says you can’t legislate religion.

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