Monday, November 8, 2010

Mid-Term Aftermath: Democrats did it to themselves.

I imagine humans are hypocrites by nature. It’s pretty hard, even for the purists out there to avoid it. After all, the mind is full of changing opinions based on changing events and that ever so crazy concept of nuance. The more information we absorb can tend to alter our original views and eliminate that initial visceral emotional reaction many of us (myself included) tend to have about things.

Still this past Tuesday was definitely the height of such hypocrisy. What makes it different than the reasonable scenario above is that the people behind the hypocrisy don’t use facts at all to change their opinions. They use zero logical reasoning oncesoever. In fact, facts contrary to their own opinions, only strengthen their resolve to push back and defend their ignorance. So with that line of thinking, Americans went to the polls in rather large numbers are voted in Republicans and Tea Party candidates. Their rationale? The economy is not recovering fast enough and Washington spends too much.

What a blanket term that is. Washington is “spending too much”.

Of course when you break it down program by program, that vast majority of people that disagree with the overall blanket term of spending, start showing that they don’t really want to cut spending.

They approve of Medicare and Social Security and they definitely approve the war formerly known as the ‘war on terror’, despite its open ended commitment and no definite resolution in sight.

What’s amazing is that around half approve of or want expansion of the health care bill which is extremely incredible after most of these Republicans and a non-stop media and corporate ad blitz campaigned against it for almost two years.

They hated TARP and didn't know what the hell to think about the Stimulus but didn’t seem to care that many Republican candidates like Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, actually took some related money from bailout receipients… while they were campaigning against it.

They also probably didn’t realize that TARP isn’t going to ultimately end up costing us much as most of it has been paid back or that the Stimulus actually helped to prevent us from going into another Great Depression. Same with the Auto Industry Bailout that saved that industry and has pretty much paid itself back already.

The voters that came out decided that even though Republicans and their policies drove us into the ditch, they were going to get another chance to do so. They ignored that Republicans spent like maniacs the last time in office. They ignored the facts that tax cuts for the rich not only did not create jobs here but only created jobs overseas (hey those used to be your jobs!).

They overlooked some serious bouts of the crazy. Christine O’Donnell’s witchcraft and Sharron Angle’s Republicans should arm themselves if they lose these elections rhetoric lost. But Wisconsin alone elected a Senator that lobbied on behalf of Child Sex Predators, a Governor that never graduated college, a Lt. Governor who touts herself as another Sarah Palin and railed against Government Healthcare when she beat her cancer(she campaigned openly as a cancer survivor) only due to her Husband’s Government Healthcare plan, and almost elected an alleged rapist to Secretary of State. Not to mention the Jan Brewers or Rand Pauls or many other whackjobs that got elected.

Yeah, the sanity went out the window because it appeared all that mattered was if these candidates were willing to rail against Obama and the Government.

Now I am not an Obama apologist. He did a lot to bring this voter collapse onto himself and it wasn’t all racism (though much of it was) where a double standard was applied to him and not to his predecessor. He was cast as an outsider. A muslim. A socialist. Trying to take the American capitalist system down. Fox News and Right Wing pundits/hosts everywhere beat this drum every second after November 2008’s result and it worked. The American people are easily suckered into such emotionally charged diatribes no matter how false they are.

What can be learned from Tuesday’s results is this: Blue Dogs/Centrists/DLCers who more closely resembled Republicans and voted against any true progressive policies lost almost 50% of their seats. Progressives/Liberals lost less than 5%. Why is that?
People want a choice. They always have. They want strong backbones, articulating different positions.

Republicans, for whatever they were otherwise, were strong. They held the line and obstructed every bill or appointment for 2 years straight and were rewarded for their do-nothingness. For no other reason than they appeared stronger. Obama came to them and attempted to compromise before bills were even set forth. He dismissed the Left at every turn, refused liberal ideas like Single Payer to even get a seat at the table for consideration. He started negotiations on the Right and only got pulled further and further over so whatever he did pass was a watered down corporate giveaway, which is exactly what Republicans wanted their friends to have. And Republicans by saying no, even if they were happy internally with what their buddies reaped financially, paid no political price for it.

I’ve said it a million times. You don’t go to a car lot attempting to negotiate by offering to pay the sticker price up front. That’s idiotic. You start off low and negotiate to a middle somewhere. Obama started at the sticker price on health care. HMOs and Pharmaceuticals had to make minor concessions but got 40 million new mandated paid customers in the process with no price controls.

Similarly weak bills saved the Credit Card Industry and Banking Industry from the sort of reforms with teeth needed to reign in what was crushing us. We did not return the Glass-Stegall regulations to end a lot of the scheming against the American Economy done by big banks. We didn’t do much of all to end any of that.
Did Republicans go along with any of that? Not really.

Also when Democrats had 58-59 seats to work with in the Senate (depending on which way the wind was blowing for Lieberman) they claimed inability to pass anything because Republicans would threaten to filibuster. Strangely enough Republicans were at 51 for much of the decade and got all of their items through. Democrats never had the spine to call them out on it and force them to filibuster. They never did what Republicans did and use procedural moves (especially budgetary reconciliation) to force qualifying items through. On appointments, Obama only used recess appointments sparingly despite Bush brazenly using them in previous years and Republicans stalling practically every appointment brought forth.

Democrats, despite being bitch slapped at every turn, acted like a prostitute that was overly loyal to their pimp and crawled right back to try to get in their good graces.

The ‘American people’ is an electorate filled with emotion and not so many facts. They had no interest in why we got to where we are they just wanted to blame Obama for it all. He didn’t come out and fight either. He waited until the last two weeks, when most of these races were already lost, to bother to campaign.

By then he had allowed the right wing media to define him for two straight years and the only prolonged, coordinated media attacks he ever bothered to make, were against the Left. He alienated the very base that elected him and attacked them at will but allowed almost unchallenged attacks to continue on the Right.

Democrats continued to kiss the same corporate rings in Congress that Republicans did only without the guarantee of protections like their counterparts received come election time. Without that corporate money trough and without your most fervent, ardent base supporters whom you’ve now alienated, good luck winning the race against a non-stop media war.

Tuesday proved that a Democratic party more interested in working for corporate masters like their Republican counterparts do not provide a viable alternative to voters.

Republicans are a one note deal. They get elected every time with the same exact line of policies: More tax cuts for the rich, no regulations to prevent companies from stealing from you, more war, if possible (already calling to attack Iran again) and giant cuts to the social safety net. Again... more war, less social safety nets is their big deal.

When they say we want to cut Government Spending, the biggest whiners about it like Rand Paul and Jim DeMint have nada in terms of actual plans as far as programs go. However if the past is prologue as it so often is, we know right where they’ll go for. They came up with an incredibly galling line saying people should be means tested for Unemployment, as if poor people who paid Unemployment Insurance don’t deserve it. Everyone paid for it, it’s their money. Yet Republicans want to steal from that pot of money. They want to privatize social security and have for years and they already stole $2.5 trillion from that pot of money which we have to pay out now. After they raid these funds they then make sure to whine about Social Security not being solvent. You know, because the funds they stole aren’t there.

They make similar arguments about Government not working and then get into office and prove it immediately.

No such cuts are asked of the Pentagon. $2.3 trillion went missing there under Bush as if it was change that fell into a couch cushion. Nobody called for a cut to Pentagon spending. In fact they tripled the Pentagon’s spending using 9/11 as their primary reason. More money to the non-accountable.

The GOP will tout their plans to cut spending but all they have is their attempt to repeal the Health Care Reform bill. Aside from that and possibly cuts to welfare, unemployment funding and maybe education. The real cuts to be made are really the bloated military/defense budget.

Anyway, whether Obama will win or lose 2012 will be determined in how he responds to Republicans. He can come out and be willing to compromise, AGAIN, like he signaled he was willing to do immediately after the mid-term results. And he will be rightfully be painted as a coward and not a fighter. Democrats will continue to look milquetoast and even a pseudo Republican strongman like dumbass Sarah Palin will win the Presidency. Or he can fight back and Democrats can turn the ‘Party of No’ into something that works for them. Reject all Republican ideas out of hand and never allow them to pass the Senate.

Pass Tax Cuts for the Middle Class only. Make huge budget cuts to the Pentagon to drop it back to 1/3rd of what it is today. Hell, I would not give the Pentagon a dime until I took the $2.3 trillion they “lost” and applied it to the $2.5 trillion we stole from Social Security to pay that back. That would force the Pentagon to look a little harder for that money and push them to be accountable for their actions with OUR money. If people want to be outraged, there’s where they should have redirected their anger.

I’d end the Afghanistan fiasco immediately, which costs American taxpayers $190 million a day to NOT catch Osama Bin Laden. Sounds worth it for one guy.

I’d create tax incentives for businesses that create new jobs here and bonuses that kick in after keeping a specific number of them here for 10 years or more. Make it a ladder structure to reward good behavior. Penalize those that take all their business to India and China with higher tax rates. Sorry but American jobs have been hemorrhaged for decades now. We don’t manufacture a damn thing anymore and we’re killing ourselves.

Regardless what Republicans and the ultra rich want you to believe, it’s the poor and the middle class that drive the economy. When they have jobs, they spend. They have to because it’s much harder to save for them. When they spend it creates demand for supply and demand for supply creates more jobs… manufacturing, shipping, retail/sales. More people now working means more spending and thus the cycle continues. And who makes out the best? Corporations. Because a humming economy like that means they are selling more products and increasing their bottom line.

But hey, trickle down seems so much better doesn’t it? The fantasy of the American Dream as we pray for crumbs to fall off a table.

Democrats, specifically those who were thumped on Tuesday, never cared to articulate that line of thinking because they too were in the pockets of the elite. They didn’t fight for you anymore and couldn’t strongly suggest that they were. And they got shellacked. Why vote for the imposter when you can get genuine crazy?

2012 will be more of the same unless Obama retrains himself to be a fighter and Democrats stiffen their message to be the working people’s party again. And if he’s unwilling to be that guy, primary him and let’s end this centrist disaster once and for all.