I was shocked to read that some of Hillary Clinton’s supporters were thinking of voting for John McCain. Are these women not aware of McCain’s conservative background? He’s been claiming that he was one of the original supporters of the Reagan revolution, and that he intends to appoint another conservative justice to the Supreme Court in the mold of John Roberts if elected. I will admit that I was once an independent voter myself, but that was before I actually took the time to find out what being a conservative actually meant. These people include libertarians, Southern segregationists, members of the Posse Comitatus, and former members of the John Birch Society. I admit that I once voted for Ronald Reagan, but I switched to the straight democratic after Iran Contra. I will never cast my ballot for another republican for the following reasons:
1. Since the twenties, Republicans have run on the mantra “The business of America is business.” Unfortunately, the business of business is business, and they will sell America down the drain in the blink of an eye (Some might argue they already have). Their favorite tactics during times of recession are downsizing and outsourcing. With the help of the Republican party, they have rendered American labor unions toothless. They oppose the minimum wage. Like the meat packers of the 19th century they like to keep their labor pool poor so they can’t afford to look for a job with a living wage. Republicans like to argue that tax breaks for the rich will trickle down to the rest of us. Trickle down is nonsense. How many of those millionaires own businesses? How many of them hire legions of lawyers to avoid taxes? How many of them pay any taxes at all?
2. Deregulation. Deregulation leads to disasters like the housing bubble and the Enron scandal. CEOs and other executives need to make a profit for their shareholders or they’re out of a job, and they’re willing to do almost anything to stay in the catbird seat. The housing bubble is close to a rerun of what happened prior to the Depression. Stock speculators bought stocks on margin, and when these loans were called, the banks failed. Republicans never learn from their mistakes.
3. Mean-spiritedness. How can somebody like Norm Coleman criticize Al Franken, a former writer for Saturday Night Live who’s running for the senate in Minnesota, when the Republicans originated the enemies list under Nixon and topped it with the Swiftboaters?
4. Gun Control. Since when is collateral damage acceptable on the American scene? Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, The University of Texas, Columbine etc. etc. etc. Republicans argue that Americans have the right to defend themselves, but in reality, gun owners end up harming themselves, their spouses or their neighbors before they fend off a criminal, who if he doesn’t harm them, will steal their guns.
5. The right to life. Republicans spend much more time arguing about the unborn and the living dead than they do about improving the lives of healthy citizens. The Republican party is the death penalty party. They support torture and are not averse to using 9/11 and terrorism to frighten American citizens.
6. Fiscal responsibility. According to that unimpeachable source, Doonesbury, the two Bushes and Reagan are responsible for seventy percent of the national debt. Borrowing money from China to finance a war in Iraq, is completely incomprehensible. If China dumped our debt on the market, our economy would be ruined.
7. Where do they get these guys? Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon, Dan Quayle, George W. Bush. Worry more about competence and less about electability. I always kind of liked George H.W. Bush until he chose Dan Quayle as his vice president. Why would he choose a lightweight who could be president in a heartbeat? But then I got a look at his son George and it suddenly became clear. Quayle reminded him of his son. Why do conservatives not claim Dwight D. Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt? Could it be because Eisenhower warned against the military-industrial complex during his farewell speech and that Roosevelt was a trust buster? Today’s conglomerates make those trusts look like pop stands.
8. Disingenuousness: If you’re fighting a war to make sure America has a sufficient supply of oil, don’t try to convince the public you care about democracy in Iraq. Reagan attacked American education because the teachers unions supported the democrats. No Child Left Behind is a scam started by Bush’s secretary of education, Rod Paige, who faked the results in his school district in Texas.
9. Religion: The first amendment is pretty clear about separation of church and state. The Puritans were not allowed to practice their religion in England because of England’s state-sponsored church. Yet, the Republican party has targeted Evangelicals as their political base. Aren’t Republicans supposed to be strict constructionists when it comes to the constitution? Only when it suits their purposes it seems.
10. Science. Science, not religion, is the embodiment of human significance.
Republicans oppose stem cell research (even though these embryos will be destroyed regardless), scorn global warming and evolution, and are paranoid about the supercollider, which may tell us about dark matter. Certainly science should be regulated to avoid such doomsday devices as atomic weapons, but there’s no arguing that the human who mapped the genome is preferable to human who stole the apple in the Garden of Eden.
11. The United Nations. Instead of complaining about the UN, fix it. It’s our only hope for world peace. The nation state certainly isn’t going to do it.
12. Liberals and activist judges. Which do you prefer, a liberal or a reactionary? Liberals at least have an open mind, besides I’m not sure there is a liberal agenda; whereas, there certainly is a conservative one. When the judge in Dover, Pennsylvania, who was recommended by Rick Santori and appointed by George W. Bush, ruled against the Dover school board in its bid to incorporate Intelligent Design in its biology classes, one of the former school board members, who had been booted out after the school board elections, referred to the judge as a liberal. Antonin Scalia, who coined the term activist judges, is a strict constructionist when it comes to the constitution, except when confronted with the Florida supreme court who had given the go-ahead on the presidential election recount, and states’ rights was thrown out the window.
I know I sound like one of those spin doctors who show up after the presidential debates and insist that their candidate won, no matter how
clueless he sounded (George W. Bush against Kerry, the first debate.). I can never understand why they interview those people in the first place. You know what they’re going to say. Is it that hard to find an unimpeachable source? Journalists are taught to include both sides of an issue. But it seems that every time I turn on the radio these days, there’s another Rush Limbaugh clone telling me the democrats want to create a socialist state. For some reason, liberal commentators like Keith Olbermann and Al Franken (who quit to run for the senate) don’t do as well. Well, I don’t like the liberal commentators either. Olbermann spends most of the program dissing Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly probably loves it; it keeps his name out there. I’d much rather have Walter Cronkite, even if he is eighty-something-years old. One thing American voters should remember: Democrats and other progressives passed most of the great legislation in American History: social security, the child labor laws, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, the Marshall Plan and the GI Bill. I can‘t think of one significant law the Republicans have passed, except for some tax legislation that favored the rich. They tend to thwart effective legislation rather than create it. Can you say Kyoto Protocol? They don’t even believe in effective government.