Elections have consequences, so we are told. In America, that must true by an order of magnitude. It’s been said America sneezes and the world catches a cold, so influential is our country. At the national level, our politicians run for offices that govern the largest economy and military in the world. So it is with very little wonder that in this country in particular, elections do very much have consequences both at home and abroad.
But what if as a political party both your platform and party membership is no longer in tune with the majority of the country? How do you remain viable and continue to be competitive in national elections? How do you change with the times? We have seen this in the past, as the Democratic Party recognized the writing on the wall in the sixties. By adopting morally and socially correct positions, the party positioned itself as relevant for the next several generations. There were short-term growing pains, as some were unwilling to grow or change and left the Dems. But today we have a Democratic Party fully known as a progressive party willing to make the tough decisions in order to protect the rights of all groups, no matter their country of origin, religion, or sexual preference.
Conversely, we see the opposite approach by the GOP today. As the party shrinks, it is becoming more fanatical. The most extreme candidates are winning their primaries, and those that win in the general election have shown themselves to be a roadblock to progress. So what do you do if you really want to win the White House despite smaller membership, little appeal to independents, and candidates completely out of touch with mainstream Americans? If you refuse to change your platform and adapt to the changing social climate, you do the only things left for you to do: You lie about your candidates, lie about your platform, and try to disenfranchise those who vote for the opposition.
The would-be President
Mitt Romney comes to the campaign as a true political thoroughbred. His father was governor of Michigan and once upon a time was considered a strong White House candidate himself. Romney is a successful businessman and former governor of Massachusetts. On the surface he seems a fine candidate and certainly looks presidential. But while looks certainly matter in our dysfunctional system, the slightest peek beneath that shallow surface reveals much to consider.
While at Bain Capital, Romney helped to saddle numerous companies with such a debt load, they filed bankruptcy and laid off tens of thousands of hard-working people. Left to struggle with little or no income, little or no health care, personal bankruptcies and the like, Romney and his partners made off with tens of millions of dollars in sorely earned profits.
While governor, the median income in his state fell by 2%. The infrastructure crumbled. The state’s debt increased. Jobs were shipped overseas. And the unemployment level dropped slightly only because so many people fled the state looking for work. In fact only post-Katrina Louisiana lost more workers during the Romney administration.
Mitt has been extremely vague, intentionally so about many of his priorities if elected. However, the few specifics he has put forward concerning a budget just got hammered by the non partisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center.
We are told all of this qualifies Mitt Romney to be President.
His running mate
Paul Ryan is known to most as the progenitor of his Path to Prosperity budget that has been heralded as an attempt to trim government spending and balance the budget. Yet every non-partisan organization has declared it unworkable, as it merely does the two things Republicans have always wanted: slash the social safety net and give tax breaks to the wealthy. It does balance the budget however, in thirty years. Ryan has claimed his Catholic faith was a guiding principle in his budget, and yet the Bishops and Nuns of the Catholic Church have declared the budget immoral.
Across the country, fellow Republicans are running hard and fast away from the Ryan budget, even running commercials touting those who refused to vote for it.
Ryan and his party are trying to package him as a small government budget hawk, yet Ryan voted for every unpaid for Bush spending plan that came down the pike: wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, you name it. Ryan helped to increase the deficit at every opportunity, but now wants to claim he is worried about our national debt.
Then there’s the wee little problem of Ayn Rand. For years, Ryan has trumpeted Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead as American classics everyone should read. He made them required reading for his interns. He has said time and again Rand was the greatest influence in his life. But a funny thing happened recently. After being given the nod as the Republican vice presidential candidate, he has now disavowed the Rand philosophy “later in life” as an atheist ideology. Later in life? As late as this April he was still praising the virtues of Ayn Rand.
Can you imagine Barack Hussein Obama stating a Russian atheist who wanted to destroy all religions and said the family unit was not necessary in any society, was his single greatest influence? Reverend Wright would have been peanuts in comparison.
Lastly, Ryan is an anti-abortion fanatic. He believes in fetal personhood and has sponsored such legislation. He wants to outlaw any and all abortions for any reason. And Romney says their views in this area are in tune with one another.
Suppressing the Vote
Of course, Republicans know if these issues are discussed at length they’ll get steamrolled in the general election. Within hours of the Ryan announcement, the GOP put our talking points specifically warning the two to stay away from language about their plans to destroy the social safety net. If they can’t win legitimately, then lying and cheating seems to be their plan.
In several swing states they have tried every trick in the book to limit minority voting, under the guise of eliminating voter fraud. The problem is there is no voter fraud. None. Nada. Zilch.
In Pennsylvania, the Republican Speaker of the House is on tape declaring the voter suppression law there was intended to swing the election Romney’s way. So much for the oft repeated lies about ending voter fraud, parroted by some right here on PolicyMic. In Ohio, they have stopped weekend registration, long a staple on Sundays in the African-American community. They have even tried to limit voting hours in the counties that trend Democratic, while lengthening the hours in Republican voting counties. Florida is once again purging tens of thousands off their voter rolls. See a pattern?
This is happening.
As an American and combat veteran I am particularly disgusted by this hijacking of our political system. In the end it is not only bad for the Republican Party, as they will soon learn, but it is truly dangerous for our country as well. Their hope is to win just enough votes and limit just enough votes to win the White House.
Elections have consequences. Think about the Supreme Court, women’s reproductive rights, the social safety nets, tax fairness, income equality, and the right to vote. These things are important and are being lied about or at the very least misrepresented by some on the right. No matter where you stand, left, right, or independent, it is up to us all to spread the word about these lies and attempts to end run our most cherished voting tradition. Let’s all send a message in November. Politics is politics, but cheating and lying is not the way to win an election in America.