Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Republicans, just help me understand...
And that's crazy?
I just don't understand why, when all the average conservative voters I know constantly tell me that it's all about "jobs, the economy and taxes", why is it that Bachmann and Perry are still getting the lion's share of the attention and popular support? Not only that, but Mitt Romney is still in it too. Why are the Republicans saying one thing and doing another, both the politicians and the voters?
The Republicans in Washington say that they're against "anything that remotely resembles a tax increase", yet they're pushing to repeal Obama's payroll tax holiday - a move that will raise taxes directly on the middle class, by increasing taxes only for people making less than $250,000 a year by anywhere from around $50 to $200+ per month. Not only is that exactly a tax increase, it's a tax increase aimed specifically at the middle-class! Yet, these guys are still the anti-tax heroes of the very middle-class conservatives who are going to be negatively impacted by this tax hike. Help me understand this...
Likewise, the conservative voters say that their agenda is "creating jobs, fixing the economy and lowering taxes", yet the front runners are evangelical social conservatives who either don't know the first thing about economics and job creation (Bachmann), or only know how to create shitty minimum wage jobs and take bailout money to balance the state budget and then pretend they did it on their own (Perry).
Also, they're both wishy-washy, flip-flopping bitches. Bachmann let her husband tell her what to do with her education and career and then, apparently, let "God" tell her what to do with her political ambitions. Perry let GW Bush and Karl Rove talk him into switching from Democrat to a Republican and then also let "God" tell him where to take his political aspirations. They've both made dozens of statements that they later had to back-track on and try to spin their way out of, only to look even more foolish in the process, and yet their numbers continue to rise.
Perry called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme", even though it's completely self-sustaining and would remain so in perpetuity if only our politicians would keep their hands out of the damn cookie jar and stop "re-allocating" the funds to their pork-filled pet projects. He talked about Texas seceding from the union. He called Fed chairman Ben Bernanke "treasonous" and made a thinly-veiled threat about what "we would do to a guy like that down in Texas". Oh, but all that secession and unconstitutional Ponzi scheme talk, that was all back in his book! Those views aren't the views he has now! Oh, but the book was published 9 months ago and written less than a year before Perry began testing the waters for a presidential run. Is that the kind of flip-flopping "leadership" the Republican party wants? A guy who will completely change his entire platform and ideology from one year to the next? I mean, this is a minimum 4-year gig, so we can expect 4 different, completely revised political ideologies from Rick Perry as president? That's ok with you, Republicans?
Now look, I'm not exactly pleased with the job Obama is doing right now. I'm not a mindless sycophant who blows sunshine and smoke up the president's ass and deludes myself into thinking that everything Obama and the Democrats do is wonderful. In fact, I'm fairly disgusted with both Obama and the Democrats in congress right now. I think they've been incredibly weak on policy, they've backed down over and over to the sheer ridiculousness coming from the Tea Party fringe that's hijacked the GOP, they've squandered just about every last ounce of goodwill that they had following the last presidential election, even to the point that finally killing Bin Laden had only a slight and short-lived impact on Obama's approval ratings and they consistently fail to capitalize on the fact that, right now, in this economy, they are holding the position that's actually most popular with moderate, independent and undecided voters. It pains me to still support Obama as if I'm genuinely happy with his performance over the last 3 years, because I'm not. However, what are my alternatives?
That's why I don't understand the hypocrisy of ideology coming from the conservative right.
It's already been statistically proven that the majority of Tea Party Republicans have swung from their supposed "fiscally conservative independent" identification back in the early inception of the party to now being a movement with strong, socially conservative, evangelical dominionist views over government. What that means, basically, is that while the Tea Party might have started out claiming to be a movement-turned-party that was focused almost entirely on the tenets of fiscal conservatism - keeping taxes low, cutting spending, reducing the size of government, etc. - they have, over the course of just a couple short years, swung wildly to the far-right and become a movement of socially conservative, religious ideologues who want Christian theology to play a bigger role in government and policy making. Fiscal conservatism has fallen by the wayside in favor of installing a Christian version of Sharia law to the majority of the most fervent Tea Partiers, but yet they still pretend that it's about taxes and spending. Like I said, if that's the case, then why aren't Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman killing the competition in the polls? Why are Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney leading?
I understand that part of winning the nomination of either party is pandering to the base. I get that the reason for all this far-right, extremist rhetoric is because that's what the hardcore Republicans apparently want to hear.
What I don't understand is two things, however.
One, how can you be a struggling, middle-class Republican right now and care more about who "God" picked as his favorite candidate than you do about whether or not you will have a job next year, or how are you going to pay all the bills as prices keep going up while your wages stay stagnant? How can you support a candidate who says that the mild earthquake and category 1 hurricane on the east coast were signs from God about our lack of spending cuts in Washington? How can you support a candidate who says that the BP oil spill was an "Act of God"? How can you support candidates who invoke God as a band aid to cover their own ignorance? How can you support candidates who either don't even know the fundamentals of economics and business, or who only know how to create conditions that exploit the middle-class for the benefit of the ultra-rich and mega-corporations? How can you support these candidates over guys who actually have some semblance of knowledge about economics and fiscal policy, who have actually shown some common sense and demonstrated a reasonable grasp of how to seriously address the recession we're in and it's far-reaching impact on working Americans? I'm talking about guys like Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. While I may not agree with them, at least they're actually talking about fixing what's really wrong with this country, rather than spewing a bunch of religious nonsense when they're not busy backpedaling from some gaff or comment from their not-so-distant past that's haunting them. I mean, Rick Perry's solution to the drought in Texas was to pray for rain, that hasn't exactly worked out so well. Is that the kind of leadership the majority of Republican voters want? Would you rather have a guy who's going to "pray" that the economy gets better, or one who's got a plan to actually try and make the economy better? Because the guys with plans are sucking hind tit in the primaries, but the guys with a bag full of prayers and empty promises are leading the pack.
The other thing I don't understand about this trend towards extremist rhetoric among the Republican front runners is, how do these candidates expect to move towards the middle from these extreme positions and statements to give themselves mass-appeal to the undecideds, the swing voters and the moderates? How do you go from blaming natural disasters on God's wrath, from blaming our failing economy on God's wrath, from demonstrating a fundamental lack of basic business and economic knowledge and failing to produce any real plan to address the problems facing our country right now with any degree of effectiveness over the sitting president, to somehow reaching across the aisle and bridging the ideological gap between your hardcore, far-right extremism and the moderate, centrist views of the average voter? How do you run a primary campaign on a barely-veiled dominionist, theocratic agenda, with almost no mention at all of any real economic plan of action and then expect to somehow win over the hearts and minds of moderate voters who are out of work, underemployed, struggling to make ends meet and so on? These people honestly could give a shit about what "God's" plan for you is, they want to see a light at the end of the tunnel. How do you convince them that you're a better choice than Obama when you don't even have as much of a plan of action as he does to address our current fiscal quagmire, and so far he's only got a mediocre plan at best?
When did it stop being about "jobs, taxes and the economy" and start being about "God, Jesus and upper-class tax breaks"? Or, should I say, at what point did the average "Tea Party" Republicans stop becoming the self-proclaimed voices of rationality and fiscal responsibility and allow themselves to become the far-right, extremist "brown shirt" wing of the "business as usual" Grand Ol' Party?
Help me understand that, Republicans. Help me understand how social conservatism is going to create jobs, rebuild the economy and grow businesses in America again?