Point of View Columns

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

The Teapublican presidential free-for-all is starting to get serious as the candidates have finally started to use live rhetorical ammunition. Not content with predicting the fall of Western Civilization if President Obama is reelected, the would-be clowns are now turning on each other which can only bring to mind Punch and Judy meeting the Marx Brothers who meet the Three Stooges.

As I submit to the water torture of the Clown Cavalcade Debates (now missing a few clowns with the departure of Donald Trump, Herman Cain and now Michele Bachmann) I find myself wishing that I could ask just a few questions based on the reality of their stated positions. Here are a few – see if you don’t agree that it would be worth the price of admission to see Newt or Mitt or Rick or Rick or Ron or Jon try to answer truthfully:

1. You have stated your absolute opposition to abortion under any circumstances. Mr. Santorum, you have stated that as president you would also seek to outlaw contraception. Given your position what would you do if your wife or daughter was brutally assaulted and raped? Would you direct the emergency room attendants to forego all contraceptive protocols in caring for your wife/daughter? If, as a result of this awful crime your wife/daughter was pregnant would you want her to go through the ordeal of a truly unwanted pregnancy? And if you do, do you feel justified in imposing a similar decision upon every female in the United States?

2. You have stated that your opposition to abortion is based upon your belief in the sanctity of life. Yet all of you are also on the record as being in favor of capital punishment. Since all of you have stated that life begins at conception do you also believe that the right to live ends upon the commission of a capital crime? And how do you propose that the United States hold the moral high ground when it comes to human rights issues when it is the only industrialized country in the world that still enforces capital punishment?

3. All of you have stated that you are “pro-life” yet all of you are also on record as being in favor of federal and state budgetary policies that will reduce spending on social services (you call them “entitlements”). How do you reconcile being “pro-life” while being against adequate spending so that the boys and girls that are born have an opportunity to have a decent life in this country?

4. Primary and secondary school students in the United States are ranked 26th in the world. Given this dismal figure several of you have proposed dismantling the United States Department of Education and none of you have spoken against this proposal. How do you justify making the United States the only industrialized country without a national ministry/department for education?

5. The recently healthcare legislation (that all of you term “Obamacare”) will provide health insurance for over 35 million American men, women and children who are currently uninsured with no prospects of becoming insured. Since all of you have declared that your first agenda item as president would be to repeal the current healthcare legislation how do you propose to provide healthcare insurance for nearly 1/6th of the American population that is currently uninsured?

6. According to your official biographies all of you are direct descendants of immigrants who came to the United States when immigration laws and procedures were decidedly less stringent than they are today. Given your own family history how do you justify taking the stance that 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, paying taxes and contributing to this country’s economy should be deported? Further, given your own family history and the reality of immigration being one of the defining forces in this country’s development, do you think it makes sense to impose draconian restrictions on immigration in the future?

It is unlikely that these questions will ever be asked. We are guaranteed that they will never be answered. Yet, we should ask how it is that serious presidential contenders could take positions that are so divisive and destructive.

The right wing of the right wing has totally hijacked the Teapublican Party so that the positions in questions 1-6 are now mainstream policies on the Planet Tea Party.

There is, of course, that the A.B.O. (Anybody But Obama) crowd will hold its nose and swallow these rancid policies because of their opposition to anything Obama. The catastrophic outcome is there for all who care to see.

Remember November 6th!

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – January 6, 2012

The first Weekend Edition of the New Year bears witness to the departure of Michele Bachmann from the national stage. She leaves having locked up the Looney Lifetime Achievement Award. In the meantime we are now witness to the rise of Ron and Rick (Santorum not Perry, who has joined the ranks of the walking wounded). And the latest news shows some welcome good news on the national employment front which makes us want to look at Mitt Romney’s claims of job creation.

The Ron Also Rises

Upon the conclusion of the Iowa Caucus Ron Paul found himself in third place. Somehow getting approximately 25,000 nods of approval in Iowa in the middle of the winter is supposed to legitimize a national campaign for President of the United States.

There are two amazing things about the Paul candidacy. The first is that even though almost all Americans are the direct beneficiaries of the services provided by government Ron Paul’s supporters want to dismantle that apparatus. Apparently Ron Paul’s idea of liberty is the freedom to be poor, ignorant and sick.

The second amazing aspect of Congressman Paul’s candidacy is that he still considered a legitimate candidate even after disclosure of nearly two decades of racist rants and screeds in his newsletter. Ron Paul claims that he never reads the newsletter that bears his name and that is even worse.

That a person responsible for spewing racial slurs, myths and insults could be considered presidential material in Iowa or anywhere else is simply shameful – and a sign of the times.

The Rick Also Rises

Rick Santorum came within 8 votes of beating Mitt Romney in the Iowa Caucus. Americans who remember how adept Republicans were in stealing the 2000 presidential election in another close contest should beware.

Mr. Santorum comes to the national stage as a kind of two trick pony. At every possible opportunity he will proclaim his adamant and absolute opposition to abortion and contraception as well as his intent to impose his value system on every female in America.

Santorum’s other trick is to be totally opposed to any legitimization of the lives and lifestyles of gay Americans. He is (in) famous for comparing homosexuality to bestiality and he is very clear that as president his mission would be to allow gender discrimination to be wrapped in the American flag.

That Rick Santorum is rising in the polls demonstrates once again that the A.B.O. (Anybody But Obama) crowd in G.O.Tea Party is not above scraping the bottom of the barrel to find their man (sorry Michele).

The Bane of Bain

Speaking of scraping the bottom of the barrel, it appears that Mitt Romney is the target of the A.B.M. (Anybody But Mitt) movement. At different points in time Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann and the almost departed Rodeo Rick Perry have all been deemed preferable to the founder of Bain Capital.

Mr. Romney has been touting his creation of 100,000 jobs while he was the head of Bain Capital. As the saying goes there are lies, damn lies and statistics. The fact about Mitt Romney’s statistics is that the overwhelming bulk of 100,000 jobs in companies financed by Bain (Staples, Domino’s, and Sports Authority) were created after Bain cashed out. You might also ask how many Americans seriously aspire to having a career selling pizza, golf balls or pencils.

The fact is that during the past 11 months of the Obama Administration more jobs have been created in the United States than in the entire 8 years of the Bush Administration. A fact that Mitt Romney and the G.O.Tea Party will continue to ignore. But this is a fact that we should all remember.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Save the Date!

As the New Year begins all of us note certain dates on the calendar – weddings, graduation dates, that very special vacation that you have been planning for years. There is one more date that we all need to remember – November 6th.

It is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of the upcoming presidential election along with all the Congressional, state and local elections that will be taking place throughout the United States. The roaring surge of nihilism that is the Koch-funded Tea Party movement is poised to turn the United States into another country.

Instead of a country where opportunity is a right, the right wing of the right wing seeks to turn opportunity into a privilege for the very few that can afford it. On the Planet Tea Party quality education, universal healthcare, decent housing and a better way of life belong to the few who have no interest, desire or obligation to help the many.

To those who believe that I am giving voice to overreaction I extend an invitation to consider the facts. The current Republican presidential contest features candidates who have unanimously swallowed Grover Norquist’s poison pill call the no-tax pledge. Any president who begins consideration of this country’s challenges with an absolute commitment not to raise taxes under any circumstances dooms not only the poor, the needy and the helpless.

The presidential implementation of the no-tax pledge will absolutely result in the evisceration of services that benefit more than 99% of the people of this country. From dredging yacht basins to food stamps to farm subsidies to college loans American men, women and children will feel the pain.

The Republican playbook has only two plays. One is that President Obama is a failure and must be replaced at all costs and clearly by anyone who has a pulse. The salvation of the automobile industry, the historic attempt to finally reform the financial services industry, the introduction of universal healthcare, the withdrawal of troops from the Bush-Cheney bloodbath in Iraq and the demolition of the Al Qaeda leadership including the death of Osama bin Laden are all conveniently ignored by the Party of No.

The (only) other play is to demonize “big government” and to portray the federal government as the “enemy”. It is an odd and counterintuitive play since most members of the G.O.Tea Party define themselves as middle class. It is odd and counterintuitive since modern American history is quite clear in crediting the creation of the middle class to major federal programs.

Perhaps someone should tap the fake-historian Newt Gingrich on the shoulder and ask him to remind his fellow political dwarfs that the G.I. Bill, the national high way program, federal student loan programs, the Small Business Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Veterans Housing bill, the Civil Rights bill are all responsible for the existence of a true middle class in this country.

Indeed, if it were not for the Rural Electrification Administration of the 1930’s (another devious scheme of big government) most residents of the so-called red states might still be reading by kerosene lanterns.

It is pretty clear that all of the historic legislation referred to would not, and could not be passed by the current Congress due to the boulder-brained G.O.Tea Party zealots who would have us believe that the government that has provided the platform for such an advanced way of life is somehow wrong. Of course, their dirty little secret is that they simply do not wish to pay the bill for everyone to have access and opportunity and somehow believe that they can live in their gated communities, sending their children to private schools while working on guarded corporate “campuses” while the rest of the country goes to hell in a hand basket.

Aside from the heartlessness that is the touchstone of this philosophy it is also pretty stupid. One would think that if they are not watching CNN the Tea Party zealots might see stories on Fox News that have shown unrest and turmoil in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America – unrest and turmoil that arises when too many people feel that the deck is stacked and that there is no hope of opportunity.

Mitt Romney made his millions buying companies, selling off their assets and laying off their workers. It worked fine for him and his family.

Mitt Romney may not be the G.O.Tea Party nominee, but the Romney story is the narrative that is presented as the template for the new America.

Don’t forget November 6th!