The ABCs of the GOP: K is for

Karma

When we take a moment to reflect on the past year in American Politics, it’s mostly been a time of focus on the GOP. After all, Democrats have had our 2012 Presidential candidate since the 2008 election. There’s not much of a need for controversy in that party. But relative quiet on one side of the political aisle does not mean we’ve been short of drama… the GOP has gotten VERY good at it all on it’s own. The drama of the Presidential Primaries was particularly intense. But you have to ask… After so many candidates, did the GOP really have to select Mitt Romney? How did this happen?

Sure most of the field was “weak”, and Mr. Romney was well organized and well funded. The few candidates that showed real promise at the start, like Jon Huntsman or Tim Pawlenty, were not able to get much traction out of the gate. Promising future prospects like Chris Christie decided to sit out the 2012 cycle (perhaps not wanting to be thrown to the wolf pack). But as the Republican Party continues to cleanse itself of moderates in favor of the Far-Right, why would they tolerate a “moderate” flip-flopper like Romney to be the leader of their party? The answer is simple: KARMA.

The GOP used to be a party that emphasized small government and fiscal responsibility. But today’s party doesn’t really have a central philosophy. Instead they are caught in a complex web of lies. How can you be for small government when you continue to overfund the Department of Defense… the world’s largest employer? How can you be for fiscal restraint, when you voted to fight two wars without raising even a penny of revenue to fund them? How can you be for further tax cuts for the wealthy, when their taxes are already at historic lows? This is the web that modern Republicans have woven for themselves. As opinion columnist Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast writes, the GOP now has to lie in order to win a major election. If Republicans told the truth about their real intentions for government, they would be rejected by all for their hypocrisy.

That’s where the karma comes in. Mitt Romney is the closest thing to a sole embodiment of the GOP’s hypocritical history. Romney’s business experience (and his wealth) is basically built from the destruction of thousands of American workers. He became rich because other companies took the advice of Bain Capital, laid off much of their work force, then paid Bain in consulting fees. There’s a big contradiction there considering he’s running for President on his ability to “create American jobs”.

Mr. Romney of course has a public record as well… four years as Governor of Massachusetts. And during that time, his single greatest legislative achievement was the passage of mandatory health care for all Massachusetts residents. Make no mistake, this was Governor Romney’s signature achievement in the Bay State. Listen to him defend his universal health care plan with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. I Had to transcribe my favorite part here…

Cavuto: “Let me step back from this Governor, if you don’t mind. When people are polled on this issue of universal healthcare coverage, a Fox Poll that we did… 2 out of 3 folks say ‘don’t want it, don’t see the need for it.’ What do you say about that?

Romney: “Well what they don’t recognize is they’ve already got it, and that’s the big surprise. Everybody in this country does get free health care. If people get sick… they go to the hospital and they get treated. And everybody else pays the cost of those individuals if they don’t have health insurance… So we have universal health care. For people that can afford to pay, it’s time for them to step up to the plate.”

The eloquence and conviction with which Mr. Romney defends his plan (to the Fox News audience, no less) is simply shocking. No wonder a symbol for health care is painted into Governor Romney’s official Massachusetts portrait.

Then there’s his time with the Salt Lake City Olympics. No one doubts that the games were a success, but Romney continues to forget HOW he funded those games… from over $1 Billion dollars in GOVERNMENT contracts. Yet today, he decries many public projects as “wasteful spending”. So it wasn’t a waste when he oversaw the funds?

Of course many Republicans are caught in this trap… the ones that publicly bashed the Obama Stimulus as wasteful, but then request portions of the funds for their district. Mr. Romney’s newly minted running mate Paul Ryan was caught red-handed lying about stimulus funds, saying that he never requested any of the money for his district, and even going so far to say “I’m not one who votes for something and then writes to the government to ask them to send us money,”. Actually, he did, so if it’s a test of character, Mr. Ryan would fail almost as quickly as Mr. Romney.

So as karma would have it, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have turned out to be quite the fitting match for their party’s national leadership. Romney is the embodiment of hypocrisy and convolution, While Ryan is the party’s ideology gone wrong. Karma is definitely at play in this year’s Republican Party.

Voter Suppression: “It’s really sad”

The Breaking news out of Pennsylvania… judge Robert Simpson has upheld the controversial voter ID law, refusing to halt its implementation. Despite the complete lack of evidence of actual voter fraud, and even the recent public slip-up of a Pennsylvania State GOP Congressman stating that Voter ID will allow Romney to win the state, this law is being allowed to proceed. The voting rights of millions of Pennsylvanians are now in jeopardy.

This battle is of course being waged all over the country… especially in Florida. In case you missed it, the Reverend Al Sharpton broke one of the most important political stories on television last week.

Jim Greer, former chairman of the Florida GOP, spoke with Sharpton about his party’s tactics for new voting laws. He called Voter Fraud a “marketing tool” and directly accused the Republican Party of trying to suppress minority votes. He literally lays it all out there.

Apparently, the GOP has given up on trying to win elections based on facts and their values. Mr. Greer even said about the GOP… “it’s really sad” that their party feels so strongly that they can’t win on the issues, that they must limit the electorate to have a chance at a national election.

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Romney/Ryan “100% on the same page” for Medicare vouchers

Did she really just say this?

Tara Wall, a Senior communications adviser to the the Romney Campaign spoke on CNN this morning, saying “this ticket is unified” and “100% on the same page” for reforming Medicare. The DemRapidResponse team has already taken to YouTube with the video.

How many times does the GOP have to tell us the truth before we start believing them? A vote for Romney/Ryan is a VOTE TO DESTROY MEDICARE! Let’s take them at their word.

Paul Ryan… and what’s next for Democrats

As the aftermath of this weekend’s big political news continues, Democrats may be left to wonder what their next move should be. Some, like Rachel Maddow think it’s obvious… attack the “Ryan Budget” and all of its drastic cuts. This is a great strategy for the Democratic base, but it’s not going to advance the argument to low-information, undecided voters. Instead, here’s what Democrats should do…

Sure, there’s many people out there that are taking a first look at Paul Ryan. He just rose onto the national spotlight in 2010, and given his charm and looks, there’s a bit of a “Sarah Palin effect” going on. But the big difference between Ryan and Palin? He’s not a pure unknown. We’ve got a 14-yr voting record and history in Washington with Paul Ryan.

Lest we forget that Mr. Ryan is an elected official in Congress… the WORST performing Congress in United States history. Every American, no matter how little they have followed the Presidential Campaign, knows that Congress sucks right now. The addition of Ryan to the ticket is already causing issues for other Congressional Republicans in tight races. Remember that the GOP controls the House of Representatives. They promised the American People “jobs, jobs, jobs” in 2010, but instead they deliver a record number of anti-abortion bills, a persecution of the US Attorney General, and 33 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act while wasting the precious time and money of American taxpayers. The President even sent them legislation like the American Jobs Act that wasn’t even brought up for a vote. Paul Ryan owns all of these votes, and that is fact that the American people need to know about. Here’s a link to Paul Ryan’s full voting record.

Finally after promising to run against the “Do-Nothing Congress”, Mr. Obama has actually been given a great gift in Paul Ryan. His campaign team (and non-associated Super PACs) can now attack both the Romney-Ryan ticket and Congress in one fell swoop! It’s time for Democrats to do this. Right now to most Americans, Paul Ryan is an unknown entity. If the Obama campaign can define him as a leader in a terrible Congress, then the advantage will remain with the Democrats.

But Ryan isn’t the main fight… it’s time for Dems to go all-in for exposing Romney’s flip-flops and lies. Our side continues to be very cordial to Mr. Romney by talking about tax returns and secret money. But in this era of big Republican money, that’s simply not going to be enough. Democrats have to show Mitt Romney for the flip-flopper that he is… every lie he’s ever told should be turned into a political ad. Even with the Ryan buzz providing a brief (and much needed) distraction for the Romney campaign, he is the top of the ticket. Romney is who America has to vote for, and ultimately who they have to trust to lead the country. The timidity for the Democrats has got to go. As we all know, if the shoe were on the other foot, the GOP would have already DESTROYED a candidate half as weak as Mitt Romney. If there was ever a time for the Left to grow a spine and FIGHT, this is it.

Romney’s VP pick is…

After weeks of postulating, we finally have a complete GOP Presidential ticket for 2012. Reports indicate that Mitt Romney has selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as the Republican nominee for Vice President.

The choice of Ryan is seen as a big win for the Conservative wing of the GOP, thanks to the aggressive cuts within the “Ryan budget”.

Even with the news of a VP candidate, the Romney campaign is still swirling in a cloud questions. Pressure continues to mount for the secretive candidate to release his tax returns, and to clarify some of his many flip-flops. Mr. Romney has taken so many conflicting political positions, it’s hard to predict how he would govern. Adding to the ticket certainly provides a bit more stability, but for how long?

No Country for Voting Men

When we talk about politics, it often becomes wrapped up in numbers… the number of voters, polling percentages, how many calls you can make per hour to support your candidate. It’s really all about numbers. It’s also really all about the MAJORITY. After all, in an election, that’s what you’re trying to win, right? The majority gets you in office, or it gets your measure passed. Or in the case of today’s political atmosphere… that new law or that candidate can translate to more money lining your pocket.

To contrast, our nation’s courts system is almost, always about the minority. When you’re a defendant against the State of Texas, or the city of Dallas, you are taking on the majority of us in court. You’re DEFINITELY a minority in every sense of the word then… it’s you versus hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. Often times in the case of Civil Rights, those laws and precedents are advanced and protected not by the majority granting them through referendum or legislation, but by the interpolation of court cases. After all, we live in a nation where millions of our citizens used to be “separate, but equal”. The only reason that our school system cannot discriminate on basis of race is because of a court case.

By it’s inherent nature, the idea of “Voter Suppression” is really a tough sell. After all, the majority of us already have a photo ID? We show it to buy alcohol, to get in to government buildings, to go to the club. Honestly, we take it for granted. It’s just a very simple, commonplace and neglected thing in our lives. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask this of someone when the majority of us already lives that way, right?

But all Americans aren’t in this majority. Some live under very different circumstances. Take Sanderson, TX for example… the site where the now infamous movie No Country for Old Men was filmed. The Texas Tribune released an interactive map showing the location of all of the state’s current DPS locations, including ones that are currently closed due to budget constraints or low performance. If you live in Sanderson, you are 84.4 miles away from the nearest DPS office. That means if you happen to not have a voting ID, you have to make a 170 mile round-trip if you want to vote under the new Texas rules. It’s sufficient to say, that trip would be a deterrent to voting on November 6th.

Even in urban communities, the challenges to get something as simple as a photo ID can be almost as great. For citizens that don’t have a car or are home-bound, the bus trip in Houston proper could be well over 2 hours to get to their closest DPS office. The state insists on implementing the new laws, but there is no mention of extended hours for these offices, assistance to help people obtain the proper ID, or an education campaign to let voters know of the changes.

If the intention behind a Voter ID law were true, no one is doing anything at the state level to acutally ENCOURAGE disenfranchised voters to register and vote. We live in the 21st century after all… It’s possible to have a motor-voter ID van. Go to the elderly’s homes and make the photo ID for them on the spot. Take the motor ID vehicle to Sanderson and work with your citizens to comply with the new laws. At the very least extend DPS office hours so that more citizens can actually get to the locations without missing work. But the problem in Texas? No one is talking about these possible solutions. They just want to make sure this law takes effect before November so Barack Obama will be defeated.

Before we know it, Texas truly will be No Country for Voting Men or Women. That’s why in the case of voting rights, I applaud the Obama administration for sticking up for all of those in Sanderson, Houston, and everywhere else that don’t have the money and power to speak for themselves. This is a free country, but it won’t remain free without a fight.

A Voice for the Rest of Texas