The silly season has started, what with Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio announcing they were running for president (Rand Paul and Ted Cruz announcing don’t count as they are the silly silly season), and as per usual, the Media, the chattering classes, and every mother’s son with an opinion – yours truly included – have started to weigh in on what looks to be one of the longest, most acrimonious, and downright exhausting run-ups to the 2016 Presidential Election we will ever have seen in this country. The attacks have already started, with attack ads being aimed squarely at Rand Paul, Ted Cruz already becoming irrelevant as he tells us how he will do away with ACA while at the same time availing himself of it, Marco Rubio telling us all how we have to move into the 21st Century while espousing 18th Century positions, Chris Christie – though he hasn’t announced yet – telling us all how he would privatize Social Security, and everyone piling on Hillary Clinton. Add to that the Media obsession with the horse race – who’s up in the polls, who ate lunch where, what’s the latest faux scandal – and it’s no wonder the majority get burned out and just say fuck it and don’t vote.
After all, they’re all the same; right? Right? Aren’t they all the same?
And that’s where the problem starts. The Media, the chattering classes, and many among every mother’s son with an opinion have made us come to believe that the Republican candidates are all the same as the Democratic ones. That there are no real differences between the two parties, so it doesn’t matter who you vote for, you’re going to get the same outcomes. That, my friends, is an outright, bold-faced lie. And that, my friends, leads us and this country down the path to becoming some kind of Theocratic, Oligarchic, Right-wing Dystopia where everyone is a wage slave except for a favored few, and if you’re a woman or a minority, or a white working stiff, you don’t count other than as cannon fodder for the latest war that can line that favored few’s pockets.
All of those of you who keep saying they are all the same, get this through your thick skull: THEY ARE NOT THE SAME!
If you don’t believe me, look at the policies the Republicans want to or have already implemented: In Kansas, the state is hemorrhaging jobs and the deficit is ballooning out of control. It’s gotten so bad that Kansas schools HAVE TO close early because there isn’t enough money to pay for keeping them open. Governor Brownback has turned the State into a laboratory for every nutty right-wing, supply-side economic theory he can think of, and Kansas is slowly becoming hell. It’s so bad that Brownback is trying to keep everyone’s mind off of it by coming up with crazy-assed laws that make women second class citizens. Again, don’t take my word for it, take the word of the major Republican Caucus in Kansas that pleaded with the citizens of Kansas to vote for the Democrat in the last gubernatorial election. But it appears voters in Kansas are so sickeningly stupid that they would rather the Governor never had a lap-dance than have working schools, a thriving middle class, and infrastructure.
Or take Wisconsin – Please! Scott Walker has made that State a paragon of Right-wing idiocy. Wisconsin went from third in job creation to 40th under Walker. Wisconsin is dead last in job creation in the Midwest. http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2015/mar/16/mark-pocan/wisconsin-dead-last-midwest-job-creation/ Walker has cut taxes, so now the Wisconsin budget shortfall for the next two year period is projected to be $2 Billion. Yes, that’s billion with a B. And while cutting things like education and public services seems to be the way conservative Republicans like Walker prefer to go, he’s spending $1 Billion – yes, that’s right, billion with a B – on a new sports arena and entertainment complex. Seems rich people being able to take in a basketball game is more important than an educated citizenry.
And does one even need to point out Pence in Indiana? Didn’t think so.
This is just some of the insanity happening on the state level. When we get to the National level, Right wing Republican goes to a whole ‘nother level of crazy. Climate Change – “I’m not a scientist.” Age of the Earth – “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” Technology – “I’ve never sent an email.” Same sex marriage – “Well, if you want to discriminate because your religion says so, that’s okay.” Women’s Rights – “Women don’t need to be paid as much as men,” and “If you don’t want a baby, keep your knees together,” and “Well, just because we pay for the blue pill, why should we have to pay for contraception?”
And it gets worse. Social Security is an entitlement program! Medicare is wasteful! Food Stamps are being misused to buy lobster and Filet! We need to get the Federal Government out of education by eliminating Common Core! Yes, Social Security is an entitlement program, by the original definition of the word entitlement – a right to benefits specified by contract or law. Medicare has waste. It also provides millions of people with healthcare they could not possibly afford on their own. Food Stamps are misused at a rate of about 3%. While no fraud is acceptable, that’s a great deal lower than fraud found in the banking industry, and the people using food stamps actually need the money, what little they get. But being a good Republican, you have to hate the poor. And Common Core – Well, folks, Common Core is not a Federal program.
Add to this the attempt to derail the P5+1 Iran Nuclear negotiations, as though treating Iran as an irrational actor will somehow have a favorable outcome. Instead we get Tom Cotton and John Bolton who would rather that we bomb them, because, of course, giving the Iranian people a common enemy to rally around is really going to get us what we want.
It is as though the GOP position on every issue is how can we most hurt Americans. We don’t want them to have healthcare, we don’t want them to have education, we don’t want them to live in a peaceful world, we don’t want them to be able to love whomever they love, we don’t want them to have a secure retirement, we don’t want them to have a world that they can leave to their children and grandchildren. The list just goes on and on.
Do I want reform of the election system? Stupid question – OF COURSE! But does that mean I won’t vote for the lesser of two evils because they are both evil? HELL NO! I have a choice of choosing someone who may not be great but doesn’t think my life is worthless unless I can buy them a house, or the insane clown posse of the Republican Party that believes you and I don’t matter at all. So if I’m a good Republican voter I’ll listen to some insane fuckwad who will tell me that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that helping the poor and disenfranchised, maintaining roads, maintaining peace, having clean air and water, and keeping society from discriminating against one group for the benefit of another are all bad things for government to do and I’ll vote for the insane person who believes I don’t matter. Or I can vote for the slightly more sane one that believes I do. I know which one I’m voting for.
And again: THEY ARE NOT THE SAME!
UPDATE: Scott Walker’s Wisconsin is now 49th in Econ Outlook! Yeah! That’s what we want for America!