No choice

In 2008, Obama was elected president. Ever since, we have seen historic obstructionism in the Republican Congress. We’ve had obstructionism before, but this is a whole new level. The minority leader in the Senate went on record immediately as saying that the Republicans’ #1 goal was to ensure that Obama was a one-term president. He was good to his word.

Never mind that the U.S. was suffering economic collapse. Never mind that Americans were teetering on the edge. The Republicans in Congress were determined to block anything that Obama wanted.

The United States of America no longer has a AAA credit rating. That’s obscene. And we no longer have that rating, because several in Congress had no real idea what “raising the debt ceiling” was about. They decided that this simple procedural vote should be an occasion for brinkmanship – a chance to gain huge concessions from the Democrats (who, by the way, could not believe that anyone would risk putting the United States into default). In so doing, and even though the debt ceiling was ultimately raised, our credit rating suffered.

In 2010, Republicans nationwide ran on “jobs, jobs, jobs.” As always, with politicians you have to ingore what they say, and watch what they do. In one state house after another, “jobs, jobs, jobs” became “abortion, abortion, abortion.” Republicans dropped tax rates for businesses and wealthy donors right off the bat, then cried “budget crisis,” going after public sector workers (hardly “the enemy”) and slashing programs (mostly that benefit the poor, but also education – who needs that?). In part, the budget crises were of their own making. I don’t think that even they knew how bad things were going to get. Once revenues began drying up, they couldn’t very well reverse their own tax cuts or, god forbid, raise taxes or fees in other areas, and so they dealt with rising deficits in the only way they could – by cutting even more government services and personnel.

We now have cities declaring bankruptcy, cities that can’t pay their police, their firefighters, their teachers, their other essential service divisions.

I’m watching the U.S. become a second-class country. This pains me, because I WANT the U.S. to be the greatest country on the planet. And it WAS, not too long ago.

We swore not to raise taxes. A lot of Republicans actually signed a “pledge,” promising that they’d never raise taxes under any circumstances. Ignore the fact that this is insanity as policy, and look where it leads us.

We went to war (twice) without bothering to put the expenses in a budget. Shortly after W. “gave the American people their money back” (“Bush tax cuts”), 9/11 happened. He decided to take us to Afghanistan (good intention) and to Iraq (bad, bad), but forgot that we’d have to pay for it. A logical thing to do would be to say to Americans, “Hey, you know those tax cuts we just gave you? We need them back,” and help pay for the wars. The American people would have understood and been okay with returning to the previous tax levels. But, no. We put a trillion dollars of war effort on the company credit card.

If we don’t raise taxes to pay for a war, when do we raise taxes?

Suddenly, when Obama is elected president, there’s a huge, gaping national debt. I guess it was invisible in previous years, because I don’t remember hearing all that much about it. Once Obama was in office, though, he insisted that all that company credit card debt be put back on the books, signed a HUGE spending bill to save banks and give more tax relief to Americans, and suddenly the national debt was an issue. Nevermind that the country’s economy was in freefall – paying off the debt was paramount.

Problem is, when the economy is in freefall – when companies are not spending money, when consumers are not spending money, the only entity that CAN spend money and thereby create demand IS the government. Don’t tell me that the stimulus package did not work – facts would indicate otherwise. Facts would also seem to indicate that the stimulus package should have been larger! When government spends nothing on infrastructure, when governments slash education funding, when police and teachers are laid off… It’s doubly difficult to come back from that.

Republicans reluctantly agreed to pass an infrastructure spending bill recently (in between legislation on abortion). “Government doesn’t create jobs” is one of those idiotic things I hear Republicans say – there’s no foundation to that statement. This highway spending bill will, in fact, create plenty of jobs (obviously) AND begin to fix the crumbling state of roads and bridges.

I had been a registered Republican all of my life, since first voting in 1972. After the American people bought into the insanity of the 2010 elections, handing one state house after another over to people who LIED to get elected, and then watching what these liars DID, I’d had enough. In 2011, I grudgingly changed my voter registration to Democrat. Not because I am a Democrat, but because the Republican Party has simply gone nuts.

I watched this year’s primary, often pained at what I saw. The candidates truly were a “clown circus,” and I kept wondering if these were¬†really the best we could come up with. It occurred to me that the BEST available talent was sitting this election cycle out, because they knew that Obama would not be defeated… But along the way, these candidates became ever more extreme, to the point that fact (and science) was somehow anti-American. They waved their flags, supported our troops, and tried to top each other in opposition to women’s rights. Basically, the entire primary became a show geared toward the 10% most extreme right-wing elements of the country, ignoring the vast majority of us who are somewhat level-headed. Fine. You want that 10%? They’re all yours.

(Rick Santorum?!? Seriously?)

In any other election cycle (say, 2008), Mitt Romney would be treated by the media as the cartoon politician he is. I can’t honestly say that I know where he stands on any single issue (his fault, not mine), except that he wants to lower tax rates for the well-to-do. After a disgraceful, often comic series of flips on virtually every issue, it’s impossible to tell who the real Romney is. As a campaigner, he’s painful to watch. He talks a lot, says nothing. He embraces Donald Trump for his endorsement (DONALD TRUMP!!!).

(This sums up today’s Republican Party – Donald Trump as “Elder Statesman.”)

He’s running on his vast business experience as the better option to save our nation’s economy, but he has no business experience that’s relevant. And, please, don’t look too closely at that business experience, either! In fact, please ignore that business experience, and let’s talk … uh… “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Ohmigod.

In 2010, I overestimated the intelligence of the American voter. To me, Republicans, led by their new Tea Party affiliates, were simply not an option. They had already spent two years trying to sink the U.S. economy, just to make a president look bad, and I never would have believed that the people would actually reward them for it. But I also underestimated the power of lies. This year, those lies are being broadcast continually, fed by unlimited dollars from god-knows-where (Oh, I think we know where…).

Here’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans:
Democrats will spin, they’ll put on the happy face, they may actually slip out a lie. When called on that lie, however, they pull it back.
Republicans look you in the face and lie, lie, lie. Romney, himself, is a serial liar. When called on those lies, they happily repeat, repeat, repeat those lies, knowing that the public will eventually believe them. Republicans are keeping factcheck.org and Politifact on overtime, but they have (in a Klingon sense) “no honor.” They lie. Don’t believe me – get a second opinion, especially if your only source for news is Fox. Do yourself a favor – Google is your friend. Don’t be afraid to learn.

The Republican goal is to reduce government to its lowest levels (except the military). They DO envision a time when Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, Pell grants, and all other “social safety nets” are no more. They DO intend to privatize every government function that can be privatized, and they DO want to “starve the beast” by cutting revenues and cutting spending. Medicaid (a program for the most hard-pressed among us) was the low-hanging fruit, and the easiest to go after. Medicare – a wildly popular government program – is next (a voucher system for grandma). Social Security – my god, it’s got the word “social” right there in the title! Privatize it. Hand all that money over to Wall Street, where it’ll be nice and safe.

Problem is, there are, in fact, functions of the government that cannot be done better by the private sector. Prisons. Space flight. National highway system. Regulation. Oops, did I say regulation? Yes – because we’ve all seen with our own eyes what happens when the private sector is left unregulated. Think of the worst possible outcome, and they’ll always go beyond even that. Why did we establish a¬†Superfund? Why did our largest, most successful banks need billions and billions of taxpayer dollars? Personally, I have NO desire to return to rampant pollution in air and water. I WANT the EPA. I WANT the FDA. I WANT the FAA. I WANT people checking on our food supply, our transportation, our banking, our corporate environmental waste.

I WANT the U.S. Postal Service. I have no idea why we’re trying to kill off the Post Office, but stop it. There isn’t a company in the world that can do what the Post Office does; at least, not without huge government subsidies. Without Congressional interference, the Post Office could very well be profitable, so keep your damn Government out of my mail delivery! (Yes, a small jab at the Tea Party.)

Once again, the “Bush tax cuts” are about to expire. Let them. Let them ALL expire, and don’t try to bring them back. We have wars to pay for, investments in our nation to pay for, police and teachers to re-hire. Yes, we even have a national debt that needs attention. Now is not the time to think about lowering taxes even more. We’re Americans, goddamnit. We can handle it. Stop trying to buy votes by letting me keep another $5.00 each week. The government has already spent the money, so let the tax rates go up so we can pay it back.

If you “support our troops,” vote Democrat. Republicans SAY they support our troops, but Republicans have a nasty habit of putting them in harm’s way. And Republicans have a nasty record on taking care of those military personnel when they come back. It’s crazy, I know, but the Democrats are actually the party that supports our troops.

If your number one concern is the economy, vote Democrat. Recent history (oh, the last 30 to 35 years, anyway) shows that the economy is in better hands when a Democrat is in the White House. Savings and Loan scandal. Iran-Contra scandal and a sharp little recession under Reagan (who, by the way, dealt with it completely differently than today’s Republicans want to), and the ultimate Recession by the end of W.’s second term. Bill Clinton got a blow job. But at least the country was doing just fine when he did.

If your number one concern is the Supreme Court, vote Democrat. Republican appointees have now told us that “corporations are people, my friend.” That’s nuts. Corporations are MADE UP of people, but corporations, themselves, are not people. They exist only on paper. Democratic appointees, on the other hand, are hardly the drooling liberals that some would think – they’re far more moderate. If you want a Supreme Court that more accurately reflects the People of the United States, vote Democrat.

If your number one concern is keeping government out of your private lives, vote Democrat. Republicans have shown a rather embarrassing overconcern for our sex lives. Aside from their attitude toward the LGBT community, they’ve made it their mission to OUTLAW ABORTION in all cases. These old, white Republican men know far better than any woman what her options should be. In fact, yes, they would outlaw contraception, if they thought they could get away with it (they’ve tried). I keep hearing “family values” thrown around, but still have no clear idea what they’re talking about. Have these interfering idiots actually taken a look at this country? WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANY MORE, TOTO. It’s 20-stinkin’-12, not 1952. And even 1952 wasn’t anything like what they think they’re aiming for. So stay the #*%&@ out of my family, you loons, and focus on your own.

If your number one priority is jobs, jobs, jobs, vote Democrat. There’s only one person who’s pushing for help in this area. The Republicans have nothing. No jobs bill. No plan. No idea. Their candidate is Mitt Romney, for god’s sake. Only President Obama has been leading the way toward economic stimulus and job creation, except that the Republicans in Congress will have nothing to do with it.

All of the good that has come out of the economy since the Fall of 2008 is clearly because of Obama and the Democrats.

All of the negatives in the economy since that time can be laid firmly at the feet of the Republicans in Congress, who have a mission – NOT to help the country, but purely to defeat Obama’s re-election.

To my mind, the Republicans in Congress have committed nothing short of economic treason.

It would pain me to see them rewarded for that.

This election is not about choice. There is none.