Friday, September 24, 2010

A Few Pre-Election Things to Contemplate

Here are just a few things to think about as we approach the mid-term elections (in no particular order):

  • Do Republican and Tea Party candidates believe that global warming is a threat to our planet? If not, how will that viewpoint impact environmental and energy legislation?
  • Several Republican and Tea Party candidates have indicated that they oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest. How does that square with your view? (And just think of a family in which the husband lost his job at an auto company because Republicans didn’t want to give a bailout and that can’t afford health insurance and the wife is raped but who, if Republicans had their way, would nevertheless have to have the child and pay for the cost of health care during the pregnancy.)
  • Many Republican and Tea Party candidates want to repeal “Obamacare” (incidentally, if you hear someone refer to it as Obamacare instead of health care reform, you can be sure where that person likely stands). Which if any elements of the health care reform would they keep? Denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, even for children? Co-pays on preventive screenings? Children being able to remain on their parents’ coverage until 26? Ability to drop coverage when someone actually needs it? Do Republicans represent humans or insurance companies?
  • Republicans and Tea Party candidates opposed the stimulus act. Query what the economy might have looked like if there hadn’t been a stimulus act. How many more jobs would have been lost? Would we be in the midst of a great depression?
  • Republicans also opposed the auto bailout. But ask these questions: How many people would have lost their jobs if GM and/or Chrysler shut down and who would have been hurt by those shutdowns and job losses? Obviously, the workers would have been hurt. But would hedge fund managers and bankers and insurance company executives have been hurt? Would you?
  • Why is it that Republicans oppose additional regulation of the banking industry? And while thinking about that, don’t forget that the Republican led Congress last decade made it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy, and gave additional protections to credit card companies.
  • Why do so many Republican candidates refuse to debate or to even give interviews to media (other than Fox News)? How can voters really learn about a candidate’s views if the candidate will only accept “softball” questions from friendly media?
  • Do you support things like the Civil Rights Act or Americans With Disabilities Act or fair pay provisions? Many Republicans and Tea Party candidates don’t.
  • And what do you think of repealing the 14th or 17th Amendments to the Constitution? Lots of Republicans and Tea Party candidates think that’s a good idea.
  • Do Republican and Tea Party candidates endorse the racist and violent rhetoric so prevalent at tea party rallies? Don’t forget that New York’s gubernatorial candidate was caught sending out incredibly vile racist emails about President Obama and the Republican Senate candidate in Nevada suggested people might resort to 2nd Amendment remedies, talks about the need to “take out” Harry Reid, and argues that there are “domestic enemies” in Congress.
  • Why are Republicans and Tea Party supporters so unwilling to believe that President Obama is a Christian but willing to give Christine O’Donnell a complete pass for her admitted dabbling in witchcraft?
  • For that matter, why are so many Republicans unable or unwilling to believe facts put in front of them (whether it be global warming or President Obama’s birth certificate) and what does that say about the way that they’ll govern?
  • What do you think about stem cell research? Republicans don’t like it very much.
  • Do we want politicians in power who are so afraid of homosexuals that they won’t let them help protect our country and who are willing to amend the Constitution to deprive them of the right to marry?
  • Do we want politicians who essentially refuse to even discuss comprehensive immigration reform and who think that it’s acceptable to engage in racial profiling?
  • If Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives, will Rep. Darrell Issa spend the next two years issuing subpoenas to the Obama administration, trying to find dirt the same way the Republicans did during the Clinton administration? Will they try to impeach President Obama for “being a socialist” or “bowing down to Muslims” or whatever other contrivance they can come up with?
  • Why is that Republicans don’t like limits on campaign spending, especially unlimited spending by corporations? And why is that they don’t think that those spending enormous sums to influence our elections should have to disclose who they are or where their funding comes from?
  • Are we really expected to believe that Republicans will take steps to lower spending and reduce the deficit when they came into office in 2000 with a surplus and blew it? Don’t forget that the estimates are for deficit increases of $700 billion if the tax cuts on those earning more than $250,000 are continued and $100 billion if health care reform is repealed. Oh, and don’t forget this: It was Republicans who wrote the current tax provisions and provided that they would expire this year precisely because of the impact on the deficit!
  • Finally, consider this: Do we really want our legislative leaders to be people who get their information from Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and are afraid to even criticize Rush Limbaugh?

Look, I could go on and on and on. But spend a bit of time thinking about what our country would look like now had Republicans been in power these last 22 months. Would the deficit be smaller? Maybe, because there might not have been a stimulus or auto bailout. But then how many more people would be out of work? How much lower would our tax revenues have been? Would we be in the throws of another great depression? Would our health care insurance premiums continued to rise at unsustainable rates at the same time that millions and millions of Americans were unable to purchase affordable insurance? Would banks be continuing to engage in highly risky transactions that could keep our economy on the brink? Would we still be throwing more and more soldiers into Iraq and Afghanistan?

I understand that some are upset with the Democrats. I am, too. Of course, I’m angry because they haven’t been able to do enough (largely because of the obstacles set up by the “Party of No”). But instead of just saying, “Gee, I’m mad at Democrats, so I’ll vote for Republicans,” think about whether that will serve any good purpose or will just be a case of cutting of your nose to spite your proverbial face.

And for those of you in Indiana, recognize that if we allow Dan Coats to return to the Senate or if we allow wingnuts like Jackie Walorski or Marvin Scott to serve in Congress, we’re handing control to the lunatic fringe. We can’t – neither Indiana nor America – let that happen.

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