Saturday, January 28, 2012

They are NOT all the same!

Don’t you dare even try to tell me this election year that “all politicians are the same.”
Just don’t.  I’m liable to go postal on you.
That’s the laziest and most dishonest cop-out a citizen of a democracy can take and that attitude already brought us to the brink of disaster in the eight years that George W. Bush was president.
If you cannot be bothered to get on the Internet or read about the candidates, if you cannot be bothered to find out where the candidates really stand on the issues, then please, don’t tell me, or each other, that they are “all the same.”
Voting for someone because he has a (D) or an (R) after his or her name when you don’t know another blessed thing about them is not only stupid; it’s destructive to the electoral process and to the country.
Think about it, if we had elected Al Gore, or rather if the U.S. Supreme Court had chosen Al Gore, over George Bush in 2000, Gore never would have gulled us into going to war in Iraq, killing 4,000 of our own children and tens of thousands of Iraqis, over a barefaced lie. 
We probably still would have gone into Afghanistan after 9/11, but I think we would have conducted that war better and maybe gotten it over with a lot faster and with a better outcome than we are.
Gore would not have destroyed the budget surplus his predecessor handed him and given a fat tax break to billionaires and millionaires to “not create” jobs.
Gore would not have let thousands of enforcement jobs stand vacant throughout the 2000s in the SEC, the FDA, the USDA, the EPA and other agencies.  He would not have appointed anti-regulation zealots to thousands of other enforcement jobs, thus making the government regulation of securities, food safety, the environment, health care fraud, and drugs and medical devices a sick joke, until President Obama was able to begin reversing some of that “we’re open for business and to hell with people”  philosophy.
Gore would not have disparaged the solid science behind global climate change at the behest of Big Oil and he would have done everything he could to lead us into the clean energy future rather than the really, really filthy tar sands/Keystone XL Pipeline past.
And, I firmly believe, Gore would not have allowed rightwing politicians to so successfully wage the vicious war on women and reproductive health care that they are waging so well right now. 
We might have still had the financial meltdown, since Glass-Steagall was repealed in the waning days of the Clinton Administration and Clinton signed it into law, but I like to think there would have been more oversight of mortgage lending and derivatives trading rather than the utter lawlessness and maybe not the ridiculous bank bailout Bush left us with as a farewell present.
So now we have this bunch of liars, hypocrites and clowns running for the Republican nomination to challenge President Obama, but even they are not “all the same.”   One is worse than the other, each in his own unique and horrifying way.  Even in the Republican clown car, they are not all wearing the same makeup and clown noses. 
Mitt Romney is a plutocrat the Robber Barons would have embraced and the common people would have tried to blow up a hundred years ago, Ron Paul lives in a Utopia of small government that can never be allowed to happen, lest we all return to cave dwelling and hunting and gathering, and Gingrich is just as dishonest, mendacious, smug and arrogant as he ever was.
Gingrich is kind of a special case though, because he has been able to reinvent himself, just as if the Republican House had not sanctioned him for myriad ethics violations, fined him $300,000 and encouraged him to resign from Congress when he was Speaker of the House, Speaker of the House, for Pete’s sake! 
If you are too young to remember that, here are the reports of the House Ethics Committee that came out of his House ethics probe.  I warn you, it is about 1,200 pages long and it is chilling reading.  Gingrich unethically used tax-exempt organizations and the GOPAC to develop supposedly neutral but actually pro-Republican TV programs and “history” courses and books to recruit voters and non-voters to what he hoped would be a permanent Republican majority. 
He may have failed personally, but the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and other party high rollers and propagandists soon picked up on his scheme, and founded a score of “think tanks” and grassroots (astroturf) organizations to do the same thing, the most successful of which is now the Tea Party.  Thoughtful, sane Republicans must be in deep mourning or rigid with embarrassment.
The Gingrich revolution includes Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that allowed the entry of unlimited amounts of corporate money into our political discourse.  Gingrich has been a major beneficiary of Citizens United.  He doesn’t have to raise money from supporters or even care what voters may think of him; he needs only to hold his hand out to his good buddy, Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire Las Vegas casino operator, for $5 million here, $5 million there for more lying campaign ads of the kind he bemoans when they're aimed at him.
Gingrich has this anti-Romney commercial out in Florida that says:  What kind of man would mislead, distort, and deceive just to win an election?
He means you to think "Mitt Romney" but really, who leaps to mind?  You, Newt!
This election year is going to be the ugliest any of us alive have ever seen, maybe the ugliest of all time.  Some say the Jefferson era was worse, but in this day and age of modern communication, that’s hard to believe. Campaign commercials are going to engulf us.  They will be a months-long onslaught of one 30-second lie after another, sandwiched between all our favorite programs. 
Use your mute button, cast down your eyes, and take some time to find out what the candidates at all levels really represent. 
 Or please, just don’t vote at all.  Voting for a candidate you’ve been brain-washed into supporting is worse.