Category Archives: Politics

Third Party Blues

I saw a funny tweet the other day. At least, it was funny to me.

“The two-party system is broken. The two no longer truly represent the people. It’s time for a third party.”

We always want to break large groups of humans into different camps, usually two:
Male v. Female
White v. Black
Obama was a great president v. Obama was the greatest president*
Ford v. Chevy
Pro-choice v. Anti-choice
Nike v. Reebok
Canon v. Nikon
Beer v. Wine
Eagles v. Cowboys
Christian v. anyone else
Whatever the topic, all of humanity can be neatly sliced into two sides. This simplifies conversation, simplifies thinking, draws nice, clear lines. It’s bullshit, we all know it’s bullshit, but we do it so we don’t have to think too much.

In the case of my Twitter (unintended) comedian, he was proposing a party to represent fiscally conservative and socially liberal people. That’s all well and good, but now we need a fourth party for fiscally liberal and socially conservative. But what about fiscal conservatives who are socially liberal, but draw the line on readily available marijuana? Fiscal socialists who are opposed to gay marriage?

Taken to its logical conclusion, every single person would be a unique political party. Otherwise, god forbid, we would all have to choose the party that MOST CLOSELY RESEMBLES our own thinking and beliefs.

And that’s what we have now. Two parties, diametrically opposed. We choose Republican or Democrat, whichever is closer to us, knowing that a “protest vote” for any third party is tantamount to not voting. Only the two parties have any real chance of winning any elections.

Is it perfect? Of course not. Each of the two parties is nothing more than a huge collection of individuals who, all together, hold their noses and vote one way or the other. I don’t imagine that any of us fully agree with what our party stands for or what our elected officials have done, but we vote one party because we know that the other party is absolutely wrong.

What’s the saying? “The perfect is the enemy of the good”?

Let’s go back to splitting things up even finer.

Any third party would, by definition, weaken either the Republicans or Democrats. In 2016, a split between the Hillary camp and the Bernie camp may well have cost the Democrats the White House (and Senate). The Republicans, despite a year-long civil war among a dozen different camps, voted as a homogenous block in the election. Little things like policy and platform didn’t get in the way of party loyalty and the Republicans won.

If a third party rises to take votes away from the Democratic party, then neither will win anything ever again. On the other hand, the Tea Party came up in the 2010 elections but DID NOT split the Republican Party. Whatever took place in the primaries, Republicans and Tea Party presented a unified front in the general elections, and managed to win handily.

But let’s work forward. Let’s introduce a fourth party. A fifth. Let’s ultimately have 50 different political parties. What then?

In the end, these 50 political parties will argue and negotiate and form alliances to consolidate power. They will bring together as many factions as possible, because the largest “single group” will have the most power, the best shot at winning elections. No one little party can possibly win, but a large enough affiliation will definitely win.

You know what we call those large affiliations? The Republican and Democratic Parties.

And that’s the joke.

* nod to Stephen Colbert

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Thank you, Hillary

When did I become radicalized?

I registered in 1972 as a Republican. I cannot remember how that happened; it may be because my own parents were Republicans, I don’t know. Certainly, my namesake was what would now be described as a “liberal Republican,” and so was I. In 1972 and in every presidential election since, I have never voted for a Republican candidate for president, but either a) it never occurred to me to change registration or b) I was too lazy to fill out the forms. So I remained a Republican.

If anyone wants to call me a RINO (Republican In Name Only), that’s fine. I was.

In the 1990s, I was a big fan of the Clintons. The president seemed to have it all – a brilliant mind, an attractive set of policies, and a speaking style that I could listen to for hours. But for one weakness, I believe he would have been considered one of the greatest presidents of the century (at least). But it was Hillary that really impressed me.

First LadyUnderstand – the traditional First Lady was Mamie Eisenhower, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan. All of these women were first and foremost the First Housewives, responsible for keeping the White House a model showcase, from draperies to dishware. We obsessed over their gowns, their hats, their movements. If they had adopted a cause, it was “cute,” but hardly earthmoving. Until Hillary.

Hillary Clinton took the role of First Lady, crumpled it up, and threw it out the window. She was very much her own person – Wellesley, Yale Law School, a law degree, a law career, an activist role as First Lady of Arkansas, etc. She wasn’t just a liberal, she was, at the time, The Most Radical Liberal Ever on the Face of the Earth. Republicans already didn’t like her, but what turned them forever against her?

Cookies.

An offhand remark in which Hillary said she could have chosen to stay at home, baking cookies and having teas, but she had decided instead to pursue her career and her god-given potential (something she would later insist on for all women and children of the world). This caused Republican heads to explode all across the country. Nothing more than this. And this would lead to a 30-year obsession with bringing down the evil Hillary Clinton.

I thought it was amazing. Here was a strong, smart, independent woman who showed that being married didn’t just mean that “the two shall become one,” but that – even better – the two shall become a stronger two! A strong, smart woman with upside potential to do anything, be anything she wanted. I would have happily voted for her to be president in 2000.

Hillary would eventually run and win a seat in the Senate from New York, and I didn’t pay close attention to those years. I do know that (despite a national obsession with proving guilt – any guilt) she was able to work well with opposition Senators, some who would later praise her work in that body. I also know that she would cast a vote that I myself would have cast, because of false information (lies) fed to her and to us. This vote would be used to later cast her as a “warmonger,” even though 99.9% of all Americans would have cast the very same vote.

When she ran in 2008, I smiled as I voted for her in the Pennsylvania primary, and was saddened when a young Barack Obama denied her the nomination. But, just as Hillary timely turned her full attention and support to electing Obama, I did, too. When Obama tapped her to be Secretary of State, it was surprising but not – who better to fill that role? And Hillary did a masterful job, enjoying an impressive job approval rating across party lines. Even while Congressional Republicans were trying to vilify, investigate, and interrogate, the American public thought she was an excellent Secretary of State.

And this high approval rating remained until Hillary declared her intention to run again in 2015.

There is no question that Hillary Clinton was a lightning rod. Men who were somehow threatened by a strong, independent woman HATED her. She was held to a standard that no human being in history has had to match, but she not only matched it, she beat it. Every time.

Benghazi committeeFour men died in Benghazi. Republicans spent millions in taxpayer money and nine (?) Congressional hearings trying to prove Hillary was guilty of … something. But there was never anything. Many, many more people died during the Bush administration without a single word from Congress.

Hillary testifying Benghazi committee

Hillary sent emails. Again, millions in taxpayer dollars were spent in multiple investigations to find … nothing. In the end, FBI Director Comey would admit that there was no cause to pursue criminal charges against Clinton. Even so, Republicans and even Trump would repeat the refrain “33,000 emails deleted,” as if this meant anything. The Bush admnistration deleted MILLIONS of emails, but I don’t recall a single inquiry.

The Clinton Foundation, from which Hillary had removed herself during her stint as Secretary of State, was accused of taking money from despots in exchange for attention from the Secretary – pay for play. Again, an investigation revealed… nothing. There was no indication of anything improper in this Foundation, which was doing global good, particularly in fighting AIDS in Africa. There was no quid pro quo, there was no huge stream of funds leaving the Foundation for the Clintons’ personal checking account. Nothing. Meanwhile, the Trump Foundation was an absolute fraud, found to be illegally soliciting funds in New York, its funds used for questionable purposes by Trump, himself, but all of the news coverage was of the Clintons.

When Hillary began her campaign in 2015, she WAS the presumptive nominee. There was some talk of Joe Biden getting into the race, but that (under very unfortunate circumstances) would not happen. There were a couple of small players who committed to the race, but they would soon drop out. No, this was Hillary’s nomination until…

Bernie Jumps In

Bernie Sanders entered the race. Bernie Sanders took great pride in being an Independent. but when he wanted to launch a campaign, he admittedly switched party affiliation to Democrat in order to make use of the party’s capabilities. He had no problem USING the Democratic Party to sustain his campaign against Hillary Clinton, later to condemn that same party for showing favoritism for Hillary. The Party made no moves against Sanders, did nothing to overtly hurt his campaign, but his charges against the Party stuck with his faithful, who still to this day believe that the nomination was somehow stolen from him. (Stolen by millions and millions of voters, who were all in on the conspiracy.)

The other failing of Bernie Sanders was in not turning to support Clinton when it was obvious that his campaign would fall short. The entire world was aghast as Sanders continued his campaign right up to the convention, creating a divided party at just the time a nominee should be enjoying a public bump and a united launch into the general election.

Bernie Sanders hurt Hillary’s campaign as much as any other force against her. Without his interference, or even without his unusually long campaign into the convention, I contend that Hillary Clinton would have been the 45th President of the United States.

In the general election, Donald Trump tried his best to give the media things to focus on, but Wikileaks (that alleged rapist of Swedish women) was given some EMAILS from the DNC, which they made public little by little, so as to keep the media engaged over time. They would later also acquire emails from Hillary’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, to ensure that no one in the media would pay any attention to Trump’s ongoing list of fails.

The fact that these leaks (stolen emails, actually) would come from Russian sources, and that the Russians hacked the DNC, and that the Russians were in communication with the Trump campaign, would normally be a case-closer. But in 2016, this was treated as just another day in TrumpWorld. The staunchly anti-Putin GOP suddenly had no problems at all with any of this.

Through three debates, Hillary Clinton proved herself to be unquestionably more ready to be Commander in Chief. In fact, once the infamous Access Hollywood tape of Trump (the pussy grabber) on the bus hit the streets, it appeared Trump had finally reached the low bar that could not be crossed, and Hillary was on her way to the White House.

But…

Director Comey said he found some more emails.

Comey finds more emailsA week before the election, in violation of EVERYTHING WE HOLD SACRED, Comey dropped a letter claiming to have found more emails that “might” have something to do with the earlier investigation. Or not. We don’t know.

So. Despite Trump’s mob ties, his shady dealings and subsequent bankruptcy in Atlantic City, his use of imported Chinese steel, having his clothing and branded items manufactured overseas, his serial cheating on multiple wives, his ranking as The Biggest Liar of all 20 candidates in the 2016 campaign, his bragging about grabbing women’s pussies… Despite all of that AND the Trump campaign being in league with Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence, Hillary lost the election because she might have sent an email.

This would happen to NO ONE ELSE.

A strong, smart, independent woman ran for President of the United States of America and a unique set of forces rose to deny her that office.

Donald Trump, an obvious racist, took much of the white vote. Whites were driven by fear and hate to vote for Trump, who painted a picture of the future that was their worst nightmare – minority status (laughingly a.k.a. “white genocide”). Mexicans were streaming across the border to take their jobs and rape their wives. Muslims were streaming into the country to explode into random killing sprees. “The Blacks,” as always, were a threat because… uh… because they were black. (?) So whites cowered in the voting booths and voted Trump, even those who would never, ever have admitted that they would vote for Trump.

61,000,000 Americans voted for a racist or, at the very least, for racism. I won’t say that all 61,000,000 ARE racists, but I’d say that at least half of those basket cases are deplorable.

So. Hillary had to go up against:
Congress, Benghazi committees
State Department investigation of emails
Bernie and the BernieBros
FBI investigations of emails
Wikileaks
The Russians
and a whole, hell of a lot of racists. And still she ended up with almost 3,000,000 more votes than Trump, but a second place finish.

Thank you, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for all that you’ve done throughout a lifetime, on behalf of the people of the United States. I am sorry that we have treated you so poorly. You never deserved this. It saddens me greatly that I will not have the opportunity to see what you could do as President.

And America… Sometimes you really, really piss me off.

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It Seems to Me… (1)

People like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, now Alex Jones… All worked very hard to bring about the environment in which a Donald Trump presidency is possible. All have done serious damage to our country. All see themselves as patriots. One is currently on a Rehabilitation Tour, almost asking for America’s forgiveness.

They embraced the conservative movement.
When it was clear that the Tea Party had taken control, they embraced the Tea Party and fanned the flames.
In 2012, they hated the moderate Mitt Romney until it became clear that Romney would win the nomination.
Of the 16 (or more?) candidates who declared on the Republican side in 2015, only the most extreme earned their attention. The ones who were “mainstream” or “establishment” were reviled. No, the more insane the better.

They appealed not to the best in us, but to the worst.
They appealed to the christians who were fueled by hate by threatening them with Muslims and blacks (always the blacks).
They appealed to the whites who feared being marginalized by threatening them with Mexicans.
They appealed to the working class by threatening them with the poor or the “urban.”

This is not America.

Yet all of these privileged white men are becoming fantastically wealthy by mining the “gold in them thar hills.” They are getting rich by accurately gauging the gullibility of the American electorate.

The poor white working stiff who was fooled into voting for Donald Trump will never be allowed into Glenn Beck’s gated community. The armed-to-the-teeth racist who is foaming at the mouth about the Jews will never be allowed anywhere near Bill O’Reilly’s home (even if he could find it).

All of these privileged white men are laughing at the rubes and yahoos who buy into their schtick, while cashing their checks and enjoying the Good Life.

That is not to say that the Left doesn’t also have their rabble-rousers. When the Sanders campaign began to take off, it was embraced by the most “progressive” voices, oddly also somewhat racist and misogynist.

It is said (by me) that when the Left becomes extreme enough, it eventually meets the extreme Right coming around from the other side.

The vast bulk of America, I believe, is still left-of-center and right-of-center. In presidential politics, it is the extremes that get all of the attention.

People like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and now Alex Jones make a very good living by shouting to the extremes.

That’s how it seems to me.

Gaffe? Hardly

Basket of Deplorables

Is Hillary’s basket a gaffe? Is it on par with Romney’s 47% or Trump’s own 50% of America who just don’t want to work? I say no. It is well known that Trump’s campaign clarion call has brought forth all of the worst of America, emboldening them to storm social media in search of Others and Disagreers.

For the record, this is what Hillary said:

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

“But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.

(Emphasis mine)

Trump’s supporters are (judging by primary voting, and I’m being generous) 40% of the Republican voters. Republican voters are (I’m being generous) 40% of the adult U.S. population. The adult U.S. population is 75% of the whole. Ipso facto and ergo, the “basket of deplorables” would contain about 20 million Americans. Anyone who wants to debate that the racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, and islamophobes do NOT amount to 20 million Americans, have at it.

Judging by what I see on Twitter alone, the 20 million figure is WAY low. And Hillary was being kind.

This is classic Hillary. Just as with her oft-misquoted statement about Sanders supporters as “basement dwellers,” she starts off with harsh reality (truth) and then moves to a kinder, gentler, inclusive appeal to our better natures. Classic GOP reaction is to quote out of context and say, “See – she’s every bit as evil as we’ve been trying to convince you over the past 25 years.”

The Deplorables will never, ever see Hillary as she really is. And in the words of the great Donald Trump, “Sad.”

The 2016 Campaign

It’s been a very long campaign period.

I’m one of those politics junkies. I pay attention all the time, but every four years I enjoy the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Championships of politics, the race for President of the United States. With one month remaining, a look back is warranted.

NOTE: On an individual level, the most important elections are local, then state. Our priorities are upside down – local elections draw the worst turnout, state election vote totals are so-so, and the Presidential elections draw over 50% of eligible voters. While the President may be the “face of the nation,” it is our state and local officials who directly impact our lives.

For Democrats, especially, it is vital that we vote twice each year, every year.

The Democrats

Hillary Rodham Clinton filed to launch her campaign on April 13, 2015. At that moment, my mind was made up – she had my vote. I’ve been an admirer of Secretary Clinton since she broke the mold of the First Lady, drawing eternal hatred from the Republican Party. (google: clinton chocolate chip cookies)

Her term as Senator from the State of New York was marked by consistent bipartisan efforts. Even Republicans who had excoriated her found her easy to work with. Her stint as Secretary of State was rewarded with amazingly high approval ratings. It was only especially when she ran for President in 2008 and now 2016 that she was thoroughly vilified by the right, and then only because she was a WOMAN who had a clear shot at winning the Oval Office. In fact, it is my opinion that Hillary’s being a WOMAN clearly qualified for the office helped Barack Obama become the first African American president. Misogyny trumped racism. This is not to say that Obama was not deserving of the office; quite the contrary. I’m just making up the fact that more voters were opposed to electing a woman than were opposed to electing a black man. Remember, Obama was “cool” and Hillary was “bitchy.” Coulda smiled more, too…

Misogyny –
dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women

There is no debate that Hillary Clinton was the ordained 2016 Democratic Nominee for President before the race even began. With Obama nearing the end of his second term, the Democrats looked around for viable candidates and the single biggest name on the list was Hillary Clinton’s. There was talk of perhaps Joe Biden getting in, and he did toy with the idea, but that didn’t happen. Martin O’Malley declared, but it is typical that people with no real shot would play at running for president. The little-known Lawrence Lessig, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb would pretend to run for about four months, but all three exited before the primaries began. No, in the beginning, the nomination was Hillary’s.

We all knew that. This was the presumption, and the Democratic Party people no doubt thought they’d have an easy time of it, while the Republicans battled it out. They would only have to become involved when the Republican candidate was named and the general election period began.

Out of nowhere, Bernie Sanders – seizing upon the historic wealth inequality and hatred of all things Wall Street – switched his party affiliation from Independent to Democrat and announced his intention to run. Not only did he launch a serious campaign that damaged the presumptive nominee, but he stayed in the race far longer than he should have, damaging our candidate even more. Sanders did no favors for the Democratic Party, but then Sanders was no Democrat. He was simply (admittedly) using the party as a basis for his campaign and the reach it afforded him.

In the end, millions more Democrats came down on the side of Hillary Clinton and the primary season ended with a groan. The Democratic Convention at which Clinton accepted the nomination was far more divided than it should have been.

Books will be written about the Clinton v. Sanders primaries, coming down on both sides, I’m sure.

The Republicans

Wow. What a shit-show.

The 2012 primaries were memorable and remarkable for the incredible (and incredibly incompetent) slate of candidates (“Oops”) that produced a nominee no one really wanted, Mitt Romney. Not so much a winner as “last man standing,” Romney was no one’s prediction as the winner and he stood as the absolute opposite of the incumbent president. The choice of Romney made no sense whatsoever, and was taken as a full repudiation of the “Republican establishment.” No lesson learned in 2012, we’d do it all again in 2016. (Remember the Republican “autopsy,” Jindal’s warning about “The Party of Stupid.” All for naught.)

The first announced candidate for the 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination was Mark Everson, former commissioner of the IRS, in March 2015. (For 6 months in 2007, Everson was President/CEO of the American Red Cross, but was asked to resign after he had a “personal relationship with a subordinate employee.” Otherwise, he bopped around in various capacities during the Reagan and Bush 43 administrations.)

Shortly after Everson’s declaration, Ted (The Evil One) Cruz threw his hat in the ring, and the race was on.

Eventually, we would have (16) Republican candidates and debates would be split into two groups: the main stage debates and the little kids’ table. While the undercard (why are they even hanging around?) drew little attention and wasn’t even a warm-up for the “grown-ups,” the main events were an entertaining show of candidates either attacking each other or begging for attention. Very little of substance or policy, but lots of great zingers. Ironically, the man with the worst zingers – real grade-school playground insults – would best them all! Gutless cowards, from “little” Marco to “low energy” Jeb! to “lyin'” Ted Cruz (let us not forget Carly Fiorina with “that face”) had no clue how to fend off the brilliant logistical strategery that was Trump’s ambush style of name-calling.

Looking at this list of all-stars and judging them on their policy positions, here is my ranking of the Republican candidates in order of acceptability. If I had to, I could have held my nose and voted for Pataki, perhaps even Jeb! After that, almost all of the rest are unacceptable, from the incompetent to the dangerous. It is not a mistake that the eventual nominee is the least acceptable of all of these candidates.

George Pataki (Gov. NY)
Jeb Bush (Gov. FL)
Jim Gilmore (Gov. VA)
John Kasich (Gov. OH)
Rand Paul (Sen. KY)
Carly Fiorina (CEO HP)
Lindsey Graham (Sen. SC)
Marco Rubio (Sen. FL)
Ben Carson (Dr. Brains)
Mike Huckabee (Gov. AR)
Rick Perry (Gov. TX)
Rick Santorum (Sen. PA)
Bobby Jindal (Gov. LA)
Scott Walker (Gov. WI)
Chris “Reek” Christie (Gov. NJ)
Ted Cruz (Sen. TX)
Donald Trump (CEO Trump)

Donald Trump ran the anti-campaign. Many of us were convinced that he was in it just for the publicity, that he never seriously wanted the job. He ran a campaign that seemed designed to fail – a series of gaffes, misstatements, and outright outrages which would have ended anyone else’s campaign only seemed to reinvigorate his. He attracted the worst among us – truly a “basket of deplorables,” and his main base of support was just “undereducated, older, white males,” obviously racists, obviously women-haters, obviously afraid of anyone who would want to come into the country.

We then thought he was in it for the money – repay the “loans” he made to the campaign out of the donations from the masses, then collect the rest when he got out and call it a day.

I cannot envision the Con Man actually taking the job of POTUS or even attempting to. He’s not a grunt, he’s the front man. He’s the glad-hander, not the policy wonk. He famously offered Kasich the day-to-day chores of the presidency, which would fit my impression of him, and one has to wonder if he made the same deal with Pence. The ultimate delegator.

There should have been no way that Trump would win the nomination, but I (and everyone else) severely overestimated the Republican electorate. There was no low bar that Trump could trip over. There was nothing so horrible that he could say that would lose him a single vote.

But here we are.

The Democratic Party is in good shape going forward. As the Republicans have moved further and further right, the Democrats were becoming more centric. The 2016 campaign gave the Democrats a firm tug back to the left, to the progressive liberal roots of the party.

The Republican Party is in ruins, in disgrace, in flight. After Trump fails, who is left to raise the banner of the party? Who has not soiled themselves by embracing or promoting this clown of a candidate? Who still has any gravitas, any bearing to take the Republican Party into the future? Has the party had enough of the ultra-right wing, the Tea Party / alt-Right? Can the so-called “moderate Republicans” reclaim the party, or is it time to blow it all up and start over?

As I write this*, anticipating the 2nd debate (a town hall, in which Hillary should cement her election), I am expecting Hillary Clinton to win, to become POTUS45, the first woman to hold the office. Given her record, she is the ONE person who can bridge the divide and get the government moving again. Expect the Republicans to throw a hissy fit, but they’ll come around eventually.

It would help greatly if the Democrats can at least reclaim the Senate. After all, imagine a Republican Senate blocking Supreme Court nominations for the next eight years…

* Actually, as I write THIS, a 2005 video from Access Hollywood has surfaced, showing exactly what Trump’s attitude toward women truly is. This is a billboard, there is no walking back from this. This is who he is. This, finally, should end this threat to America.

VOTE, dammit (part 2)

Donald Trump thinks he’s going to carry Pennsylvania.

Democrats in Pennsylvania think of the state as a Blue State. Republicans think of it as Purple. The Republicans are correct. Although Pennsylvania tends to “lean Democratic,” Republicans can and have won the state.

The last time a presidential election ended up with Pennsylvania’s electoral votes in the Republican column was in 1988 – George H.W. Bush against a weak Michael Dukakis. Any Pennsylvanian who is 28 or younger today might assume that the state always votes Democratic. Don’t be so sure.

Looking at the six presidential elections since, the Democrat/Republican split in the Pennsylvania vote is far closer than we’d think. No Republican has won Pennsylvania in these contests, but the margin of victory is as little as 150,000 votes. Pennsylvania is about to be swamped with political ads, robocalls, door knockers, and blog posts (like this one), because the state would be an absolute plum for the Trumpers and a must-win for Clinton.

…The Democrats…for whatever reason, stayed home in 2010. The Republicans didn’t.

The Democrats can usually count on winning the cities – Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, and perhaps Scranton, while the Republicans are left with all of the rest. The quote attributed to James Carville, “Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between,” is not far off. Pennsyltucky. Journalist Tom Ferrick wrote an excellent breakdown of just how Trump could (but probably won’t) win Pennsylvania.

Purple State

After Obama was first elected in 2008, the Democrats seemed to think “mission accomplished” and, for whatever reason, stayed home in 2010. The Republicans didn’t. The State House and Senate turned BRIGHT RED, along with a Republican governor to succeed Ed Rendell. Immediately, when not chipping away at abortion rights or giving tax breaks and subsidies to their wealthy patrons, the Republicans thought of how they might suppress the Democratic vote to ensure continued Republican wins. Witness Voter ID requirements and similar new burdens enacted throughout the Republican-controlled states. (Alternately, Democratic-controlled states are looking at increasing voter registration through Motor/Voter laws, even automatic registration on 18th birthday.)

In 2010, Corbett beat a Democrat no one remembers by about 350,000 votes. In that same election, the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat went to Pat Toomey (over Joe Sestak) by a margin of only 80,200 votes – out of almost 4,000,000 cast. That’s close! (Toomey was formerly president of the ironically named Club for Growth, an organization which opposed every measure put forth by both Bush and Obama to help recover the economy. Club for Growth’s answer to the Great Recession: “I’ve got mine and I’m keeping it. You’re all on your own.”)

Gerrymandering

Whichever party controls the State General Assembly in the beginning of a decade (a la 2010) gets to redraw Congressional districts. The Republicans swept into office in the 2010 elections were the ones who got to control who gets to vote in which district, thereby ensuring their own re-election in years to come and keeping Democratic voters to a majority in as few districts as possible. This PDF map shows the pure art form that is Republican district mapping. Take special note of the districts around the major urban areas of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. This accounts for the fact that Pennsylvania’s contingent to the U. S. House of Representatives is made up of only 5 Democrats but 13 Republicans, despite being a majority Democratic state. The fix is in, and will be for many years to come. Unless the Democratic Party can reclaim the General Assembly by 2020 (improbable), the Republicans will continue to control the state government for at least another decade.

District 6

The Sixth District (above) is a work of art. Spans four counties to ensure a majority Republican vote for the next several centuries.

If you don’t know whether you are eligible to vote in Pennsylvania, click here for the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Voter Registration services. It’s quick and easy.

Blue Since ’92

Here are the results from Pennsylvania over the last six presidential contests compared to national votes.

Bill Clinton won his 1992 race, but benefitted in large part from the insurgent campaign of Ross Perot. George H.W. Bush might easily have won re-election but for Perot.

1992 Total U.S. Percentage Electoral Votes Total PA Percentage
Clinton 44,909,806 43.0% 370 2,239,164 45.15%
Bush 39,104,550 37.4% 168 1,791,841 36.13%
Perot 19,743,821 18.9% 0 902,667 18.20%

In 1996, Clinton increased his vote total, while the Republican total remained flat. Insurgent voters seem to have cooled on Perot, with perhaps some of them ending up in Clinton’s column. Still, Clinton was re-elected easily.

1996 Total U.S. Percentage Electoral Votes Total PA Percentage
Clinton 47,401,185 49.2% 379 2,215,819 49.17%
Dole 39,197,469 40.7% 159 1,801,169 39.97%
Perot 8,085,294 8.4% 0 430,984 9.56%

The 2000 election was the one that went all the way to the Supreme Court. While Al Gore did compile a larger number of national votes, the all-important Electoral vote came down to the state of Florida (hanging chads). Whoever won this last state would win the presidency.

2000 Total U.S. Percentage Electoral Votes Total PA Percentage
Gore 50,999,897 48.38% 266 2,485,967 50.60%
Bush 50,456,002 47.87% 271 2,281,127 46.43%

Having endured the questionable 2000 election and the questionable invasion of Iraq, suddenly over 20,000,000 more voters came out of the woodwork for the 2004 race. Even so, the results were very close in the total of votes. Notice also that W won both times with a narrow victory in electoral votes.

2004 Total U.S. Percentage Electoral Votes Total PA Percentage
Bush 62,039,572 50.73% 286 2,793,847 48.42%
Kerry 59,027,115 48.26% 251 2,938,095 50.92%

The miracle of Obama’s first campaign was in getting millions more voters registered and getting them to the polls. Note that the Republican votes are down 2,000,000, while the Democrats total was UP by over 10,000,000.

2008 Total U.S. Percentage Electoral Votes Total PA Percentage
Obama 69,498,516 52.9% 365 3,276,363 54.47%
McCain 59,948,323 45.7% 173 2,655,885 44.15%

In 2012, Obama suffered voter disaffection, largely because of the historic Republican obstruction in Congress and the blowout Republican wins in the 2010 midterm elections. Even so, he was able to overcome a Romney challenge – but note how close the vote totals were. Even though Republicans were generally dissatisfied with Mitt Romney, they turned out in large numbers to pull the Republican lever.

2012 Total U.S. Percentage Electoral Votes Total PA Percentage
Obama 65,915,796 51.1% 332 2,990,274 51.97%
Romney 60,933,500 47.2% 206 2,680,434 46.59%

More dry numbers: As of the 2012 presidential election, Pennsylvania had 9,910,224 citizens of voting age. Of those, 8,508,015 were registered to vote (a healthy percentage), yet only 5,753,670 of us actually turned out.

As of this week, the breakdown of voter registration:
4,072,826 Democrat
3,155,935 Republican
674.460 Unaffiliated
427,374 All others

I SUSPECT (and I have no data to back this up) that a large portion of the unaffiliated are disaffected Republicans (like myself) who left the party because of recent events. This would be BEFORE the campaign of Donald Trump. So if they were disaffected before, they should be even more so now.

Donald Trump has managed to offend and antagonize virtually all groups of people except undereducated, older, white men. Yes, there are the exceptions that prove the rule, but by and large his base is what it is. The Democrats, seeing this, are fashioning an even larger tent to include Republicans unwilling to vote for Trump. More and more top-level Republicans are indicating that they may, just this once, vote for a Democrat, rather than allow Trump to embarrass us all for the next four years. I would suggest that this is exactly the way to go.

A sample of conservative columnists who agree:
Daniel Payne, The Federalist
Andrew Weinstein, Wall Street Journal
Donald Brand, Fortune

Two of the most common gerrymandering techniques are “packing” and “cracking.” In the first, the party in charge of redistricting tries to “pack” voters from the rival party into as few districts as possible, to minimize the number of seats the opposition is likely to win. In the second, blocs of opposition voters are parcelled out among several districts, to achieve the same goal.

Both techniques were brought to bear in Pennsylvania. The new Republican majority “packed” blue-leaning voters into a handful of districts around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Then it “cracked” the rest into districts that tilted red.

Drawing the Line
How redistricting turned America from blue to red.

By Elizabeth Kolbert

Lipstick

​The Republican Party (i.e.: the people who run the party) are about to try “putting lipstick on a pig,” if I can borrow from Half-Governor Palin. Throughout the convention and the 3½ months until November, they are going to try their hardest to get you to forget the entire last year. They will succeed with a large portion of Americans, whose collective memory is at best two months and those who will vote Republican no matter what.

The main-stream, lame-stream, liberal/conversative media is going to try to get you to forget, too. The storyline they want to push is that this race is extremely tight, could go either way. They’re going to point out every instance when Trump is “presidential,” while using code words for Hillary Clinton (you know, the bitchy words). Pay attention. Nobody is going to consume media if this becomes a lopsided, obvious-outcome race, so they will perpetuate the notion that it’s “coming down to the wire.” (It’s coming down to the wire.)

WE remember. WE don’t forget.

If your impression of Donald Trump is that he is a pig, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a racist, a fraud, a liar, a pig (did I say pig?), ignorant of the U.S. Constitution and federal laws and treaties, a cheat, a deadbeat, and on and on, you are correct.

From the day he descended the escalator into the realm of politics, he declared himself a bigot. With his very announcement speech (Mexicans, rapists, and some of them, I’m sure, are good), he rang a bell that the Pale Skin Militia could hear 3,000 miles away. Since then, he has managed to target one segment of the population after another, with the exception of stupid, older, white men (of which, ironically, I am one) and all who believe that a lack of melanin somehow conveys an innate biological superiority.

These men have no scruples, no honor, no self-respect, no dignity. And these are the men who want to choose as your next president the unstomachable Donald Trump.

This article (by Chris Kirk, Ian Prasad Philbrick, and Gabriel Roth at Slate.com) lists a STAGGERING number of missteps made by Trump over the last year. A mere 10 years ago, any one of these might have forced him out of the race. Today, all of these are absolutely acceptable to Republicans, as they now work their asses off to get this man into the White House.

And now the Party People think they can wrangle Trump, bend him to their will, and make him a much more appealing candidate for the general election. As disgusted as they’ve been, as #neverTrump as they’ve been, as humiliated as they’ve been, it’s all in the past and their one goal now is to DEFEAT HILLARY CLINTON. These men have no scruples, no honor, no self-respect, no dignity. And these are the men who want to choose as your next president the unstomachable Donald Trump. The guy with the tiny hands.

When you see Trump looking down and reading his speech, he’s reading the words that his handlers have written out for him. When he uses a teleprompter, he’s reading prepared text not his own. When he goes off script and begins to extemporize, his handlers cringe and we can all look forward to yet another newsworthy verbal faux pas that offends a whole lot of folks.

His chosen vice presidential candidate was not a Trump pick. Pence was put forward by the Party People in a deal for their support of Trump. Trump didn’t pick Pence, Trump doesn’t even like Pence. Trump’s introduction of his new “partner” showed that about as clearly as possible. The King of the Deal got outdealt by the political hacks. But Trump doesn’t give an orange crap about who the VP candidate is, since that’s outside of the scope of his attention – himself. VP is irrelevant. Trump is All.

(And if he wanted to assure that women would not vote Republican, the only candidate worse than Trump himself would be Pence. His record on women’s issues is a disaster.)

This might all just work.

When I see a poll that says that more Americans think Trump is more “honest” or “trustworthy” than Clinton, I know that I’ve given the American public too much credit. The fact-checkers (the people who check “facts”) rate Hillary the MOST truthful of all 20 candidates, far above “Lyin’ Donald” (also above Bernie, but that’s no longer relevant). The Republicans have spent 25 years painting Hillary as the Devil Incarnate, and it seems to have stuck with the majority of idiots – I mean, Americans. There are “articles” and videos all over the internet proclaiming Hillary to be a liar, an incompetent, ineffective, even a murderer. And yet, even after 128 Congressional inquiries and investigations, she’s still walking around free. And it drives them crazy. With every Republican attack, Hillary just gets stronger. Hillary Hulk.

Christian evangelists are voting for Trump, because they’re completely screwed up to begin with. These Christian evangelists are neither Christian nor evangelists. They are hate-filled radicals who cheer every insult of “others” and readily believe that Trump’s favorite book actually is The Bible, a book he’s never read (or owned, probably, before it was brought to his attention that he should oughta maybe have one). Every time he talks about how religious he is and always has been, he embarrasses himself. It is obvious how NOT religious he is.

The good news is that Christian evangelicals are not the major religious voting bloc. That award goes to the Unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics, people who choose not to pick one religion out of many). And the Unaffiliated are leaning heavily Democratic. While Christians profess to believe in an ancient alien (by definition) who hates all things Democratic, more and more are coming to see that that’s a whole lotta garbage that they can live without and that we all have more in common than we thought.

Gun worshippers think voting Trump is the way to go. May be, since he really doesn’t care about that, either, while the Democrats want sensical, popular restrictions. They love their guns above all else. Any side-eye is enough to get them riled up, as if the jack-booted thugs are comin’ to git their guns! I’m convinced that the gun worshippers, as a class, are among the stupidest, low-information voters there are. We’re all agreed that universal background checks should be routine, but if you try to pass that law, even the gun worshippers who SUPPORT that start screaming about chipping away at their 2nd Amendment rights and hug their guns even tighter.

WHEN we come to take away their guns (uh-huh), we should start with those who insist on Open Carry. Open Carry means that I can wear a holster, like in the Wild West, or sling a long gun over my shoulder while wearing my paramilitary gear or camo and go grocery shopping. But let’s think about this… Why would anyone want to carry a firearm out in the open in public?

1) They’re very afraid. Or
2) They’re looking for an excuse to use it.

If you’re not afraid, you don’t need to walk around with a gun. But, just like drawing a sword, if you carry it, you better be ready to use it. And look forward to it.

If there’s another reason, I don’t know it. But our collective insanity over guns is a topic for another day.

Economic conservatives are voting for Trump, thinking that he’s the answer to our sluggish economy. Yes, the man who exemplifies the flow of all money to the top is the very man who’s going to solve the problem of income inequality. In a lipstick-covered pig’s eye. He has no real plan (other than everything’s going to be great) and he’ll be surrounded by the same Republicans who’ve sabotaged the U.S. economy for the last 16 years. So what’s going to change? “He’s a great businessman.” He’s great at declaring bankruptcy, extracting millions for himself, and leaving thousands of workers holding an empty bag. This is the very picture of Wall Street greed that even rank-and-file Republicans are supposed to despise, but now they’ve nominated him as their candidate. Crazy.

Sentients will not be voting for Trump.

Women will not be voting for Trump. Aside from his piggishness (and tiny hands), Trump is not exactly an advocate for women’s causes. His new running mate is exactly OPPOSED to women’s causes. The Democratic candidate, on the other hand, has long been a voice for women, at home and around the globe. Hillary Clinton is famously a warrior for women’s health, education, workplace respect and dignity, and, of course, pay equity.

Educated people are not voting for Trump. Apparently, the least little bit of higher education imparts enough sense to avoid political candidates like Trump. Even college-educated white men are leaning Democratic. It’s obvious that colleges are teaching reading skills and, maybe, How to Use The Google 101.

Minorities are not voting for Trump. With only the rare exception, people of color are smarter than to vote for a man who has flat-out insulted them, threatened them, denigrated them. A recent poll showed that Trump’s share of black voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania was 0%. That’s a zero. Okay, it was rounded DOWN to zero, but that’s still really close to zero. (Psst – the very concept of zero came from the Arabic peoples, by the way.) Minorities are not just knee-jerk Democrats, they are among the most discerning of voters, fully aware of issues that matter to them, and they know full well that today’s Republicans are actively attacking them.

Basically, Trump gets stupid, old, white guys

This is what it comes down to – the largest bloc of voters for Trump are “working class” (read: no college) Caucasian men over a certain age. That’s the one reliable group that he can count on, and that’s the group that all of his attention has been on for the past year. He had them from “Mexican rapists,” so he really should have spent his time courting other demographics. His loss. But he gets the Klan, obviously, and all of the right-fringe radicals hiding throughout the 50 states, waiting for the White Nation to rise again. Notice now how often these fringe elements are beginning to come out into the daylight. The Trump candidacy emboldens them. David Duke chose NOW to run for the Senate from Louisiana. No coincidence.

Vote, dammit

But it is not enough to win the election and install Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office. That’s just asking for another 8 years of obstruction, hate, threats. We need the proverbial landslide – the STATEMENT election that says, “Crawl back under your rock.” The message has to be loud and clear that we will not tolerate racism, xenophobia, or misogyny in our politicians. We will not tolerate this from the people who support such politicians.

The message has to be loud and clear that we will not tolerate racism, xenophobia, or misogyny in our politicians.

And we need to take back the Senate (well within reach) and as many seats in the House as we can manage.

We need to reclaim State houses, so the Republican-gerrymandered districts can be redrawn (this one is much harder; the damage was done in 2010 and may take decades to undo).

The Republicans have cheated their way into a large majority in State Houses across the nation. They’ve passed hundreds and hundreds of anti-abortion bills across the country, ruined state budgets by giving tax breaks and subsidies to corporations and the wealthy, while simultaneously attacking our very right to vote. They are determined to hold onto power, despite being a minority party.

If every eligible Democratic voter would vote twice each year for the next four years, we could put an end to a lot of the Republican nonsense. That’s all it would take. Ten minutes of your time, twice each year, for the next four years. DO IT.

“He lies so constantly and so fluently that it’s hard to know if he even realizes he’s lying.” — Ezra Klein (read this)

147

The common wisdom is that the public just isn’t all that excited about the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. But surveys would say the opposite: her supporters rank among the most enthusiastic in this election year, more enthusiastic than the enthusiastic throngs that show up at Bernie Sanders rallies. That’s a big disconnect.

Welcome, Mrs. President
Welcome, Mrs. President

In survey after survey, the American people rank Hillary Clinton at the bottom as far as “honest” and “trustworthy.” But if you ignore the gut reaction of the voters and look to the professionals who are tasked with fact-checking this current crop of candidates, the one who stands out head and shoulders above the rest where “truth” and “honesty” are concerned is – Hillary Clinton. More honest than Bernie Sanders. Certainly more honest and truthful than anyone the Republicans can put up against her. Another big disconnect.

…reported that up to 147 FBI agents
were assigned to the case…

In the 23 years that I’ve been aware of Hillary Clinton, there have been insinuations, suggestions, claims of impropriety and borderline (or over the line) criminal acts. She has been investigated countless times, she has been probed, poked, and hauled before Congress (how many different Benghazi hearings? 9?), and has come away each time unscathed. One Republican after another has sought to make his career by bringing down the evil Hillary, and she has vanquished them all.

The GOP would have us believe that the (just-closed) State Department and (ongoing) FBI probes into her use of a private email server will lead to Hillary behind bars. The Washington Post, itself, screwed up and reported that up to 147 FBI agents were assigned to the case. (147! Can you imagine? That’s more than worked the Oklahoma City bombing case.) They retracted that number and took it down to “less than 50.” (50! A terrorist attack might warrant 50.) A source close to the investigation says that the actual number is “around 12.” Right-wing news sources (and some Sanders supporters) continue to run out the 147 number, even after being corrected, because it has great shock value.

H.A. Goodman has a nice hit piece in Huffpost Politics, in which Clinton has already been convicted of one crime or another involving her email server, and Senator Sanders is now the President. (Sanders supporter much?) Like all Republicans and a good number of Sanders supporters, he believes that Hillary might as well be already tried, convicted, and perp-walked to jail. Guilty before proven innocent. Again.

I don’t have any answers. No idea why we always believe the worst of Hillary Clinton. (Google Clinton murders list.) It just gets crazier and crazier. See, I think Ted Cruz is evil, and apparently everyone else thinks Hillary is worse.

Chris Cillizza asks if the perception of dishonesty doesn’t hurt Clinton because another survey also suggests that Americans see her as the most qualified candidate in the field and the one they want in the Oval Office when things turn sour.

Bottom line: the American people view Hillary Clinton as a liar and cheat, someone who probably deserves to be in prison for one charge or another, and yet she’s the one that most people want as President.

Americans are fun.

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Thank god I’m (now) a Democrat

Remember that Tea Party protest sign years ago? “Keep government out of my Medicare!”

That pretty much summed up the whole Tea Party movement. These folks were used and abused by the Koch brothers, who greased the wheels of the Tea Party Patriots to get the rabble all riled up. They were supposedly protesting taxes, but it was a time of historically low taxes. Then they were supposedly protesting Obamacare, but only 20% of the population would be eligible for Obamacare, and for them it was a godsend. No, it is not a coincidence that the Tea Party idiots came out of the woodwork in 2009, when the first African-American president was sworn into office. “I want my America back,” one stupid woman famously wailed in a moment of rare honesty.

Let’s be honest. Turn off the reactionary part of your brain and face facts. President Obama is not a communist, not a socialist, and not really all that much of a liberal. He’s NOT coming to take your guns, he is NOT a secret Muslim, and, yes, he WAS born in the United States, if you admit that Hawaii is a state. Obama’s two most famous accomplishments – the early stimulus program (including the Detroit “bailout”) and the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) – were Republican ideas.

Yes, his thinking on same-sex marriage evolved, as did Joe Biden’s, as did Hillary Clinton’s, but only after seeing the polls that said the American people were way ahead of him. If you are opposed to same-sex marriage today, you are in a certain minority. Even so, trust me that no one will force you to gay-marry.

Even his “assault on the [precious] Second Amendment” didn’t go as far as the vast majority of Americans (and Republicans!) wanted him to go. He did what he did through executive order, the same process that every president before him has used to effect change. Why is it that everything Obama does is an attack on our freedoms, when every president has done much the same? Because he’s black.

This president has been disrespected in ways that were never done before (i.e.: to the 43 old white guys that preceded him). From his very first State of the Union address (“YOU LIE!”), from the night of his inauguration when key Republicans held a meeting and determined that they would oppose EVERYTHING that Obama wanted, from Mitch McConnell’s famous declaration that the Republican Party’s Number One Task would be to render Obama a one-term president, there has been a unilateral, nasty, and (frankly) treasonous effort on the part of the right to deny this man his duly-elected office. The Republican leadership was willing to watch the American economy go down the toilet, rather than allow this president the chance to help, and thereby take credit for having done so. (If that’s not treason… )

Let’s look at who the Republicans have put forth to challenge for the White House this year, to succeed a good, gracious, thoughtful, and patient man.

Donald Trump is a joke. Period. Who has he not attacked? Even his recent statement that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and it wouldn’t cost him a single vote is disgusting, arrogant, and true, because the drooling right-wing 10% loves him (for all the wrong reasons).

Trump recently polled at 39% of “likely Republican voters.” Even with a healthy 50% voter turnout, this 39% would be more like 20% of Republican voters. Assuming Republicans and Democrats vote in equal numbers (reference the last three presidential elections), that 20% would be 10% of all voters. And since not all Americans are registered voters (too young or too dumb), Trump is actually polling in single digits, where the whole of the U.S. is concerned. In this light, you can see that it truly is the less than 10% drooling right-wing that supports Trump, a fraction of the American public that is getting ALL the attention in the press these days. And increasingly, Trump supporters include white supremecists, who feel emboldened now to come out from under their hoods, because they’ve found a new national spokesman.

Ted Cruz is dangerous. And a liar. With a fluid philosophy that changes as circumstances warrant. He is incredibly bright, calculating, and wholly evil. He may, in fact, be the Antichrist, but I won’t go there. Yet.

Marco Rubio is a little child having a temper tantrum. He is so eager to prove that he’s every bit as manly as Trump, every bit as Constitution-centric as Cruz, that he’s embarrassing himself on a national stage. Before this campaign, he actually showed promise.

Jeb Bush… no.

Chris Christie is his own biggest fan and one hell of a blowhard. Keep your “Jersey attytood” in Jersey. (And now he will, apparently.)

The rest aren’t worth a mention.

If I were a Republican and HAD to vote for one of the current Republican candidates, I would vote for John Kasich. Simply because he is not a rabid, drooling hatemonger spouting nonsensical red meat phrases guaranteed to entertain the rubes, Kasich gets my vote. He is centered, honest, sensical, and has a solid record of actual governance – including negotiation and compromise with the opposite party.

Yes, I “would” vote for Kasich on commonsense ideas, except that I cannot abide his stance on social issues. Common to most Republicans, his thinking on women’s health, social programs, and much else held dear by the progressive element is anathema. If it were a choice of one, I’d stay home, rather than vote for this man.

Like so many others, I was convinced early on that the Republican nomination was Jeb Bush’s to lose. When Trump entered the race, and for months after that, I believed his campaign was a satire, a funny “impression” of a campaign. All of the news sources treated him that way, too. But after a time, something strange happened – the journalists started treating Donald Trump as if he were a serious candidate.

Want a serious candidate? The Democrats have two this time. Both are competent, compassionate, and capable of leading the U.S. While the “clown car” that is the Republican slate continues lurching its way along, Sanders and Clinton show a glimpse of what used to be – politics that is respectful, courteous, fact-checked, intelligent.

Yeah, it’s good to be a Democrat.

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The First Woman President

I was saying on Twitter last night that Hillary’s campaign is like a crash course in misogyny.

I am married to a strong (and often opinionated) woman, and I have a grown daughter who is one of the finest people you’re ever likely to meet. I thought I was attuned to the troubles that women face in everyday life, but my eyes are being opened wide these days and it’s exceedingly ugly.

When I scan the replies to Secretary Clinton’s tweets or even to tweets of people who just express an interest in voting for her, I see nasty, nasty, nasty people out there with a profound hatred of everything woman. I don’t get it.

There was much to-do recently over a segment on Morning Joe (MSNBC) where host Joe Scarborough and journalist Bob Woodward waxed poetic about Hillary’s speaking style – “she shouts too much.” Shrieks, too. They went on and on about her shrill voice turning off potential voters and how the great Ronald Reagan knew how to hold a mic and keep his voice down (’cause, you know, “man”).

Hillary shouts

Someone put together a video mix in response, showing some of the male candidates shouting and yelling, and at the end was Hillary just quietly answering a serious question. Now which talk show hosts are complaining about all of these men shouting? At best, they get made fun of on SNL or The Daily Show.

In my humble opinion, the real shrieker – the voice I can’t stand hearing – is Ted Cruz. There’s almost a cartoonish quality to his voice, a “regional theater” practiced style (as one writer put it), that I cannot abide. And listening to Donald Trump on the stump is like having a conversation with a gangster.

Hillary Clinton has been hounded, investigated, interrogated, called before Congressional committees, slandered, insulted, held up as Satan’s spawn or the ultimate expression of the Evil That is Woman

One of the questions that folks love to keep asking is why Hillary made $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman-Sachs over the course of a year. I thought she answered it very well during a recent town hall event: “Well, that’s what they offered me.” Fact is, Hillary is very much in demand as a speaker, and her average fee per event is $225,000, ranging up to as much as $400,000 for a single appearance. She can get that because she has earned that. She was, after all, The Most Admired Woman in the World for 20 of the 23 years 1993 through 2015. But ONLY HILLARY is asked to make public transcriptions of her speeches, whether to Goldman-Sachs and clients or whomever. Who else has EVER been asked for this?

I wonder if anyone has ever asked any of the male candidates (of which there are many) about their own speaking fees. I know that some of W’s post-presidential appearances were criticized because of WHO he was talking to, but no one ever thought he was being overpaid. In fact, I just Googled “Ted Cruz speaking fees,” and I got an article about his loans from Goldman-Sachs, a link to his agency, a couple more articles about questionable dealings, and then a WHOLE BUNCH of articles about Hillary Clinton and Goldman-Sachs. So if Ted Cruz is speechifying and collecting fees, nobody is talking about it.

Women who support Hillary are accused of “voting with their vagina” (yes, really), as if the only reason a woman would vote for Hillary is because she is a woman. No man is ever accused of voting with his penis, if he supports any of the male candidates. (This might also have something to do with the fact that, other than Shirley Chisholm, we’ve only EVER had old white men to vote for.)

“Bernie Bros” have all kinds of reasons why they are voting for Bernie Sanders, thereby codifying their intellectual superiority. They must think that if you are going to vote for Hillary Clinton, it’s only because you haven’t done any research and you’re voting with your heart, not your head. (In other words, you’re WRONG and probably a woman.)

Since Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992, Hillary Clinton has been hounded, investigated, interrogated, called before Congressional committees, slandered, insulted, held up as Satan’s spawn or the ultimate expression of the Evil That is Woman. And still, today, she handles it with aplomb, with quiet strength. Watching her testify before the Benghazi committee (STILL ongoing) and the stark vision of this competent woman versus a host of Republican men dying to make their bones by bringing her (finally) down, I couldn’t help but be mightily impressed.

Clinton at Congress

Most of the candidates running for president this year are a joke, of one kind or another. But of all of the candidates on either side, the strongest is a woman, and Hillary Clinton is the one I want to see in the Oval Office.

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VOTE, dammit

I blame the Democrats. It’s all their fault.

Here comes another Election Day. Nobody cares. This time, it’s a bunch of judges, county commissioners, prothonotary (?), recorder of deeds, township supervisor, and a bunch of other offices for which we feel unqualified to vote. So we don’t. Over the years, the voter turn-out has declined to almost embarrassing levels. No, actually embarrassing levels.

When we pick a new president, over 50% of eligible voters turn out. But when it’s a mid-term and we’re only voting for Representatives in Congress or Senators, or – worse yet – when it’s an off year and we’re asked to pick local officials, 35% or fewer turn out. This is completely backwards, since the local and state officials have much more impact on our personal lives than the President ever will.

VOTE

RINO

When I turned 18 in 1972, I duly registered to vote (and registered for the draft). Being young, stupid, and apolitical, I registered as a Republican. Why, I can’t tell you. I had a choice of two, and that’s the one I picked.

Also, at 18, I was far more of a liberal than a conservative, although some of the conservative policies were attractive. In truth, I may have been representative of the huge middle – the Silent Majority, a pure centrist. While I wasn’t all that sure of my own politics, I know I wasn’t a hippie, but nor was I sporting a crewcut by any means.

It was a presidential election year – Richard Nixon was running against George McGovern, two candidates who couldn’t be any more dissimilar. I had a vested interest in this election, since the Viet Nam conflict was ongoing and the draft was still scooping up American kids to send over there. I had to vote McGovern.

Since then, in every presidential election, I have voted only for the Democratic candidate. There hasn’t been one Republican that I wanted in the White House, and yet I was a Republican the whole time*. Looking back over the presidential candidates during my voting adulthood (below), I still agree with that sentiment.

But while I and everyone else was focussed on the presidential races, a group of very determined hard-right Republicans were taking over state and local government. State houses, assemblies, senates, and state governorships went Republican, one after the other. It was masterful. By 2010, Republicans were in position to redraw districts (gerrymandering) to ensure that Republicans would continue to hold those state houses. And immediately, they (Priority No. 1) passed tax breaks and subsidies for their wealthy patrons, (Priority No. 2) began chipping away at women’s rights, and (Priority No. 3) severely cut or discontinued programs to assist the poor and or education budgets. Regardless of the words they say, Republicans show their true priorities by what they do. They tried to convince us that public school teachers were the true enemies of democracy and that public sector unions – all unions – were destroying our way of life (the way of life that we largely owe to unions).

taliban

This excerpt from Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom is brilliantly simple, simply brilliant. It says everything I see in the Tea Party.

PATRIOT, SPELLED M-O-R-O-N

In 2008 we elected a black man to the White House. Immediately, the Tea Party came out of nowhere to make fools of themselves. It was about taxes, they said, at a time when taxes were historically low. Okay, so that couldn’t have been the reason for this “grassroots” Koch-fueled uprising. Wonder what it could be?

Sheep

Regardless, the Republican officeholders from 2000 on have been dishonest, disingenuous, hardly fiscal conservatives, and absolutely hawkish. (Witness John McCain, of all people, who never met a conflict he didn’t want to fully engage.) The LAST thing they were was “Republican,” in the true sense of the word. When I saw a wave of Tea Party idiots elected to Washington, I’d had enough. In 2011 I changed my registration to Democrat. I was too embarrassed to be associated with the R word.

(If they can’t take having a black President, wait until we elect a WOMAN. Their heads are going to pop.)

There is only one reason that the United States is being taken down by right-wing radicals: Democrats. If Democrats would come out and vote in significant numbers, all traces of the Tea Party could be erased from public office within a four-year cycle. It starts at the local level, it centers in the state house. Democrats have until 2020 to turn things around, or the voting districts already drawn will ensure another TEN YEARS of Republican control. Yet voter turnout, especially in the meaningless local elections, remains pathetic. As if it meant nothing.

NEED ANOTHER REASON TO VOTE?

One party is busy attacking your rights. One party is actively trying to take away your right to vote. One party wants to shut you out of the electoral process, and thereby hopefully win back the White House. The Republicans.

By not voting, you’re helping them take away your vote.

* Here are the choices I faced every four years of my adult life. Looking at the Republican v. Democratic candidates, there is no wonder that I voted Democratic every single time.

  Republican Democrat Independent
1976 Gerald Ford
Bob Dole
Jimmy Carter
Walter Mondale
1980 Ronald Reagan
George H.W. Bush
Jimmy Carter
Walter Mondale
John B. Anderson
Patrick Lucey (ind.)
1984 Ronald Reagan
George H.W. Bush
Walter Mondale
Geraldine Ferraro
1988 George H.W. Bush
Dan Quayle
Michael Dukakis
Lloyd Bentsen
1992 George H.W. Bush
Dan Quayle
Bill Clinton
Al Gore
Ross Perot
James Stockdale
1996 Bob Dole
Jack Kemp
Bill Clinton
Al Gore
Ross Perot
Pat Choate
2000 George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
Al Gore
Joe Lieberman
2004 George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Kerry
John Edwards
2008 John McCain
Sarah Palin
Barack Obama
Joe Biden
2012 Mitt Romney
Paul Ryan
Barack Obama
Joe Biden

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Sickness

Recent Twitter war:

dwight munroe ‏@tfrogdotcom
There’s a group o’ yahoos in Nevada making a strong case for tighter 2nd Amendment regulation. Patriots, my ass. #BundyRanch

will nevertell ‏@WNevertell
@tfrogdotcom read the declaration of independence they are doing there  duty study history before you run your mouth dont be a commy

dwight munroe ‏@tfrogdotcom
@WNevertell Next time I drive the turnpike and refuse to pay the tolls, I sure hope some yahoo “militia” shows up to cover my back.

will nevertell ‏@WNevertell
@tfrogdotcom then protest it dont just bitch about it

dwight munroe ‏@tfrogdotcom
@WNevertell Sorry, I thought we were pretending that this was a “Declaration of Independence” issue, instead of just refusing to pay bills.

will nevertell ‏@WNevertell
@tfrogdotcom this is way bigger then a bill do so research or stfu

dwight munroe ‏@tfrogdotcom
@WNevertell Right. ‘Cause if Bundy HAD paid his bill, all of this would have happened anyway. Sure. THINK, dammit.

will nevertell ‏@WNevertell
@tfrogdotcom you are a sheep if it wasnt bundy it would have been someone else just one more straw on the camels back  go back to sleepsheep

dwight munroe ‏@tfrogdotcom
@WNevertell You’re desperate to make something out of nothing. You backed the wrong horse, and now you’re stuck. Me sheep? #bundyranch

will nevertell ‏@WNevertell
@tfrogdotcom that is the  thing I back freedom not the man  i hop you wake up some day

dwight munroe ‏@tfrogdotcom
@WNevertell Freedom to what? What “freedom” has been quashed here? You don’t like land use fees? You don’t like taxes? What, exactly?

will nevertell ‏@WNevertell
>no reply<

There is a sickness upon the land.

This is 2014, not 1776. A lot has happened in the last 238 years, but let’s try to keep up.

There was, some years ago (okay, a lot of years ago), a running skit on Saturday Night Live about rules and regulations that we all adhere to, because some ONE person screwed things up for the rest of us. Some idiot was caught urinating in a public park, so now NOBODY gets to urinate in a public park. Some idiot refused to yield at an intersection, so now we have STOP signs, traffic lights, and even “red light cameras.” (We never learn.)

Some idiot tried to set fire to his sneakers aboard an aircraft, so now we ALL have to take our shoes off. And now, some idiot doesn’t want to pay land use fees, so we have a whole bunch of yahoos waving guns in Nevada to protect “our freedoms.”

“Will Nevertell” is just one example of a knee-jerk “patriot.” They love to wave the Declaration and Constitution around, but fail to acknowledge that things have changed just a bit since the 18th century. For one, there are a hell of a lot more people here in the U.S. of A., and we all have to try, somehow, to get along and respect each others’ “rights.” For another, a few more amendments to the Constitution were added after the Second. And each of those successive amendments are as valid as the first two. We no longer get to own other people. Women are no longer “belongings,” but full-fledged humans with all of the rights and responsibilities of men.

No, I don’t think anyone is treading on Mr. Bundy’s rights. (Except, possibly, Mr. Bundy himself.)

There are billionaires (BILLIONAIRES) funding political campaigns, trying to stir up “the people” to oppose this oppressive Obama regime. I can’t figure out why – they’ve never had it so good. Since 2008, they’ve seen their individual fortunes rise astronomically. What more do they want? What are they fighting, exactly? The right to despoil the land? The right to rip off millions of consumers?

They want to abolish the EPA. Of course, they do! Who wants to spend extra money to protect the people’s ability to breathe, to drink clean water? After all, we know that the free market would never behave badly where the environment is concerned, even without the EPA watching over them. (Remember Superfund? That was a whole lot of taxpayer dollars.)

Social conservatives have no problem at all trying to tread on MY rights (and everyone else’s).

The way I see it, there is only one group who are trying to whittle away at my rights, my “freedoms,” and that’s the Republican Party. In state after state, they are changing voter registration laws with only one goal in mind – to decrease Democratic turnout and to guarantee Republican victories in elections. They have come right out and admitted to that. They are rigging the system.

In state after state, and now on the federal level, too, they are whittling away at women’s rights. In some states, it is now almost impossible to get a legal abortion. Now, first – no one is “pro abortion.” I don’t believe that the women who GET abortions are pro abortion, or even happy about it. But it is a necessary choice, and I am certainly pro choice. And who is it that are trying to take away this right? Usually, it’s a group of older white guys, Republicans, who sneak these things through.

Republicans want to slash the federal safety net – cut food stamps, end extended unemployment benefits, and they’d like nothing better than to FINALLY abolish Medicare and Social Security. Today, we still hand over $4,000,000,000 in taxpayer money to oil companies, and Republicans will fight to protect that subsidy to companies who have no need for that money, while cutting a needy family’s monthly food budget by $90.00.

Someone once said that progressives are always looking forward, conservatives always looking back.

Some conservatives, like my friend Will Nevertell, seem to want to take us all the way back to 1783 (pre-Constitution – more Articles of Confederation). Some want to take us back to the good ol’ 1950s. And still others seem to prefer the Dark Ages, when life was good, a man was a man, and Church was the only game in town.

Doesn’t matter how far back someone else wants to take this country, I want to go forward. There are a LOT more good people in this country than yahoos. It’s just that the good folks don’t want to make a ruckus, don’t seek out attention, don’t want to raise a fuss. Problem is, all of the yahoos will come out to vote in every election, while the good folks only turn out in presidential election years.

The good folks DID show up in large numbers in Madison, Wisconsin to support public unions, when Wisconsin Republicans wanted to strip them of all bargaining power. The good folks DID show up in large numbers to support Wendy Davis, when Texas Republicans were trying to outlaw abortion. In both cases, the good folks were ignored, and Republicans did what they wanted to do, anyway.

There is a sickness upon the land, and until the good folks start exercising their rights (while they still have them), the yahoos will be running things at the state and local level. And nothing – NOTHING – will ever be done about the obvious problem this country has with guns, with voting rights, with income inequality, with substandard education, with the millions upon MILLIONS of folks who wonder if they’re going to even eat tomorrow.

And Will Nevertell will never know what hit him.

 

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.