Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Who's In Charge Here?

Who are the most influential spokespeople within the Democratic Party? I can only think of one, Barack Obama. We are a relatively diverse bunch that only knows what we hear or read, so we aren’t privy to much of what happens behind closed doors. But as microphones go the president has a loud one.

It’s much easier with Republicans where three names leap out, Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and Rupert Murdoch. The Fat Man is listened to by so many of the faithful for three hours a day that no Republican with serious ambitions dares criticize his most atrocious statements. Norquist demands a “no new tax” pledge from candidates that has been taken by all but a handful of current party members in both Houses of Congress. He considers elimination of deductions and subsidies as tax increases, although I doubt that he thinks of Medicaid as such. Murdoch, through Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and other sources of “information” specializes in turning fiction into fact beneficial to the right wing in general.

One thing these three men have in common is that none has served elective office nor, as far as I know ever tried. Yet here they are telling people who have been elected how to vote, indirectly in Murdoch’s case.  

What this says about the nation has provided material for many books. What it says about the Republican Party leads to the inescapable conclusion that many of its members if challenged would respond with old GOP warhorse, “They all do it.”

No Virginia they don’t. To my knowledge it’s now unacceptable for lobbyists to sit next to Congressmen while in session and examine the text of proposed legislation before a vote is cast. In any case the pioneers of this practice were Republicans in the wake of the Gingrich Revolution.

The words spoken by Lincoln at Gettysburg, ”government of the people, by the people, for the people” may apply in some manner today, but differently to our two major political parties. If voter suppression efforts by Republicans say anything they are thinking of fewer people. By allowing private citizens to publicly give marching orders to their elected officials they are clearly thinking of the wrong people.



Friday, June 21, 2013

Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

It warmed the cockles of my heart to hear Bill Maher take Ronald Reagan apart in the finale of his June 7 show. He opened by taking issue with Bob Dole’s saying that Ronald Reagan himself couldn’t make it today as a Republican. Hogwash! In Maher’s words “He wrote the Tea Party playbook on every issue of consequence.” “Ronald Reagan was anti-government, union busting, race baiting, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-intellectual, who cut rich people’s taxes in half, had an incurable case of military industrial complex and said Medicare was socialism that would destroy our freedom.”
This is Tea Party “logic” almost verbatim. But its current adherents are speaking it in anger and often fury, occasionally brandishing weapons to show they mean business. Reagan on the other hand knew that many voters saw him as the radical right winger he was, so he put his Hollywood experience to use by gently crooning lyrics that would have been X rated if sung by Barry Goldwater 16 years earlier.
Of course Reagan wasn’t elected on charm alone. He was lucky in having an unpopular incumbent as his first opponent. It’s should be mentioned that possibly the biggest of Jimmy Carter’s problems was, in my opinion, exacerbated by private citizens comprising Reagan’s campaign making foreign policy with another nation, Iran during the hostage crisis. This is commonly known as treason.
The world of politics is directly affected by and can’t be fully judged without considering the time in which events take place. Nixon is lauded by many of his fans as some sort of enlightened bi-partisan for having signed clean water legislation, an idea that would be out of the question for a Republican with presidential ambitions today. Even George Bush never suggested some of the things that this crop of Congressional Republicans has. Does that qualify him as a moderate?
As to “Ronrico,” as I used to refer to our 40th president, I disagree with my friends on the left who criticize Barack Obama for calling him a transformative president. He was certainly that and in a big way. So was a World War 1 German corporal named Schicklgruber.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

History Lesson

Republicans, who have been aiming their guns at Barack Obama for the past four plus years are now aiming them at Hillary Clinton, his heir apparent. They must be finding it harder to beat up on a white woman that a man of color, judging by a recent right wing electronic missive I received through a third party.

It cites six presumably damaging quotations from her that are by themselves rather innocuous, except by Tea Party standards. These patriots might find the first, “we’re going to take things away from you for the common good” more than a little dicey, not knowing that this is precisely what happens every time a tax is raised or a benefit reduced. Whatever the context in which she spoke rather bluntly, it had to be in support of a larger point or I’m overestimating her acumen.

From this point on their case against her falls apart. “It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few and for the few……and replace it with shared responsibility.” Isn’t shared responsibility pretty much what is expected of a democracy? I’m curious as to how or if Republicans would argue otherwise publicly.

“We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own in order to create this common ground.” This sounds mighty like JFK’s “Ask not” words spoken at his inauguration, not during his campaign.

“I think it’s time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in the economy that they are being watched.” The only people that would disagree are those who are, or are deserving of, being watched.

Whatever the effect of this piece comes from the format, a multiple choice quiz to “see how much history you know.” The choices for answers to the first question are Karl Marx, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin and “None of the above.” Naturally “None of the above” is always the correct answer and always happens to be Madame Clinton. If she says anything that Joseph Stalin or Karl Marx might have said, that makes them all fellow travelers. How about “it’s a nice day”

The others with whom she must keep company on this “history” quiz are (2) Lenin, Mussolini and Idi Amin, (3) Nikita “Khrushev,” (if the writer won’t look up the correct spelling why should I?) Joseph Goebbels and Boris Yeltzen, (4) Mao Tse Dung, Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong Il, (5) Karl Marx, (what again?) Lenin and Molotov and (6) Pinochet, Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. I’m terribly disappointed that the writer omitted two of my favorites in this hall of fame, George Steinbrenner and Donald Trump.