I grew up in a middle of the road Democratic family. Politics were discussed often. My parents cast their first presidential votes for Jack Kennedy. Republicans were never seen or talked about in an ill light. However, events dating back to when George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 changed all that.
It was just not that Bush won, but how. My parents saw through Bush from the beginning of the campaign. Dad, a retired optometrist, called him a cheerleader. When one casts their first vote for JFK it is hard for anyone to measure up, but “W’s” lack of substance truly bothered them.
Not winning the popular vote and using a Republican-leaning Supreme Court to secure the election was unseemly. Politics is not fair, but this seemed like the election was fixed.
How many people know that, John Roberts, the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was one of the first lawyers the Bush campaign sent down to Florida in 2000? During the recount in Florida, George Bush and his team repeated the same words over and over again about the initial voting results, the manual recounts, the need to count absentee ballots, and the need for the Gore campaign to stop all legal action once the vote was certified.
Even my cousin, a Republican business owner in the community, began to have doubts during Clinton’s second term. He just thought it was a waste of time and money to bring up impeachment charges over a blow job. The 2000 election changed his mind for good too.
The lead up to the Iraq war only increased our disillusionment. We all had our doubts as everything felt staged. As we later discovered, it was. My Dad summed it up best: “It’s like Florida all over again. Everyone is repeating the same lines.” Only this time it was about weapons of mass destruction.
It is worth noting that all four of us are highly educated and not prone to knee jerk reactions. Substance ranks above all else. All of us have voted for Republican candidates in the past. It is unlikely we will ever vote for one again, unless someone with the integrity and intelligence of Colin Powell runs for public office.
However, it was more than the 2000 election and the Iraq war that forever changed the minds of four highly educated Ohioans. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, we saw the Republican party go off the deep and into no mans land during the 2012 election. Losing to a black man two times in a row brought out the worst in the Republican party. Anyone who thinks race is not a major factor in Republican opposition to our president is kidding themselves.
My sense is the hate strategy is beginning to back fire. The other night at the dinner table both of my parents remarked how they felt sorry for the president. Republicans block anything he proposes, they said.
Now Republicans who read this article, please know that two nearly 80 year old individuals, with no prompting from their son, made these comments. They are anything but “crazy liberals.” My Dad went on to say that with the country in such great peril, it is sad Republicans will not work with Democrats or the president. Results matter for us.
Our point of view is further reinforced by the false arguments made by Republican leaders. It is one thing to factually and cogently disagree with the president. But to say no plans exist, when in fact they do, or even worse to make up facts, is mind boggling. Blocking independent Congressional reports on the economic effectiveness of tax cuts because they disagree with the conclusions is sad.
Last but hardly least there is the budget. Asserting that the president alone is bankrupting the country is factually incorrect. First, only the Congress alone has the power of the purse. Second, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with Republican tax policies, have drained our nation’s coffers to the tune of trillions of dollars. Trillions more will be spent on war-related expenses in the decade ahead to take care of injured veterans and the wind down of each war. Finally, the Great Recession, which was brought on by a lack of financial regulation that allowed Wall Street to make out like thieves before and during the stock market crash, seriously reduced tax-related revenues for both federal and state governments. But these serious, big picture issues are never discussed by really either party.
Repeating lies over and over again, be it by party leaders or Fox News, until they sound like the truth does not gain favor with us. But that is the current strategy of the Republican party.
Republicans are lucky that the Democratic party does not have its act together either. I know this may seem as a bit of a surprise to my readers, but it is true. The lack of innovative thinking by Democrats on so many issues of importance is appalling.
For example, the Keystone pipeline has been debated on small but critical environmental issues. The real question of how to use technology to substantially reduce our dependency on fossil fuel goes largely unaddressed.
National security is still discussed in obsolete concepts. Why are we continuing to spend a half a trillion dollars a year on national defense when future conflicts will be cyber in nature or totally outside the realm of military conflicts? Super storm Sandy should have scared the hell out of everyone.
Financially, the global economy could be turned upside down by the mine field of complex, and unregulated, derivatives whose value are many times that of global economic output. Housing is far from healthy and yet the administration’s and Democratic party’s response continues to be lame (and that is being generous).
Nothing is said of food security. Infrastructure rebuilding gets some lip service but that’s it. Health issues, not counting Obama Care, are almost totally off the radar scope. Will it take a super flu to get our attention?
Even the so called filibuster reform, the handshake between Reid and McConnell, lasted all of five minutes. Sometimes we wonder if Democrats and Republicans are in cahoots with one another.
Lest we forget, the Democratic party is just as beholden to powerful financial interests as the Republican party. Anyone who thinks that big money does not control both parties, or that only the Republican party is supported by the very rich, is in denial. Goldman Sachs, and their buddies, have their hooks into any president. That’s reality.
My parents, myself, and my cousin have all wondered out loud if the time has finally come for a third, or may be even a fourth, party. May be some kind of competition can help break the cycle of intellectual and political stalemate and unleash the type of innovative thinking that made America great.
The truth is at least two vibrant parties are required to make our government work. Right now elected from both parties are letting us all down. Republicans are just hurting Americans more because of their blind ambition to destroy this president regardless of the consequences.
I think even Nixon would agree that the current Republican party is making Watergate look like child’s play.