Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring Cleaning

My posting ideas are much like spring bulbs in the garden. Many are planted, and not all come to flower. My loyal critics might say that these seedlings of ideas are not provided enough of my brand of fertilizer to grow into a fully formed blog post, but I prefer to think that there was enough time in the day for me to apply the proper level of sunshine to the ideas. Today I try to change that.

Here are a few of the half-baked thoughts that have been underground for too long. Let’s see what some water, sunshine and fertilizer can do:

Red Storm Rising

Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida says that we have 78-81 members of the Communist Party currently serving in Congress. He made this statement to dramatize that he believes that members of the Democratic Congressional Progressive Caucus “oppose free markets” and “oppose individual economic freedom”. He did not elaborate on these claims but I think he meant that the Democrats in this caucus support financial regulatory tightening (necessary, by the way, although we could argue the specifics but not the need), and the individual mandate included in the Affordable Care Act (previously considered support for individual responsibility by Republicans who first proposed the mandate).

I guess if we disagree with Congressman West on these issues, we are Communists, and Communists are traitors to their country. I’m sorry, which party is seeking to divide Americans?

High Comedy and Misdirections

Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri told a crowd at one of his town hall meetings that the reason the Congress hasn’t moved forward with impeachment proceedings on President Obama is because they don’t have the votes. He made no mention of any specific high crimes or misdemeanors that would be brought as charges. I will assume that Obama's affiliation with the Democratic Party is enough evidence for Congressman Akin that our President is a traitor (see Red Storm Rising, above).

Responding to an impeachment question from the crowd, he said, “That’s a good question. I can’t speak for the other 400 and some congressmen, but I believe when they take a look at impeachment the question is do you have the votes to do it and, if you do it, it goes to the Senate, what’s going to happen with Harry Reid?”

So to Akin, it isn’t a case that there is no case for impeachment. It’s that boogeyman Harry Reid will stand in the path of justice. I think Obama might not carry his district in November.

Ye Reap What Ye Sow

During the primaries, right leaning talking heads claimed that the campaign dialogue has been hijacked by the national media obsessed with extreme, divisive social issues, all because those coastal elites want Obama to be reelected.

Let’s deconstruct this just a little.

The GOP - a party that has been pandering to right wing Christian fundamentalists for votes for 30+ years - is alarmed at what their party has become on social issues? Umm...excuse me, this IS your party. It's who you are, it's what you believe.

For the last few months, Republicans stared down the real possibility that Rick Santorum could snatch the presidential nomination away from Mitt Romney and with it any idea that they could mount serious opposition to President Obama in the fall. This was not an elitist plot against the GOP. This is the result of the seeds they have been planting and cultivating.

Leadership in Action

A recent excerpt from my friend and blogger Steve Benen, discussing Romney’s habit of equivocating on issues:

This happens quite a bit, doesn’t it? Romney has opinions about gay rights, but he’s afraid to state his position on North Carolina’s anti-gay ballot measure, even when he’s in North Carolina. He has opinions about civility and the public discourse, but he lacks the courage to criticize Rush Limbaugh or Ted Nugent. Romney has opinions on abortion rights, but he was afraid to say what he thought about the “personhood” amendment in Mississippi earlier this year. He has opinions about immigration policy, but he lacks the courage to explain in detail how he’d handle undocumented immigrants who are already living in the United States. He has opinions about the budget, but he’s afraid to go into detail to explain how he’d pay for his agenda.

And now Romney supports a Violence Against Women Act, but he won’t say whether he backs the Violence Against Women Act.

The American electorate can tolerate quite a bit, but no one respects a coward.

Romney could be doing his own version of Pelosi's "if you want to know what's in the bill, you need to vote for the bill."  If you want to know what Romney will support or denounce, you'll have to vote for him first.

Romney Pledges No Vacations If Elected

Mitt Romney has gone to a favorite campaign well. It comes up every 4 years regardless of who is in the White House. The Democrats loved to hammer George W. on his excessive leisure time (he was in Texas for 5 weeks before September 11th). Mitt thinks Obama plays too much golf.

“I must say I scratch my head at the capacity of the president to take four hours off on such a regular basis to go golfing,” Romney said, “I would think you could kind of suck it up for four years, particularly when the American people are out of work.”

I do marvel at the capacity of the GOP to attack Obama for either side of every issue. He takes too much vacation; he is working every day to destroy our freedoms. He is a Muslim; he spent 20 years in a Christian church listening to his radical minister. He wants to raise more taxes; he won’t support raising taxes on 47% of Americans. "We promise bold, decisive action"; "We reject Obama’s bold, decisive overreaching." The markets needs certainty; elect us, and we’ll change everything. It’s really quite amazing.

If you win in November, Mitt, I look forward to your version of “sucking it up for four years”.


As we slide towards the abyss of the fall election campaign, Obama has several areas of potential weakness. He’s cool and aloof. Gas prices are going up. He can’t go right on the basketball court, or on energy issues. Joe Biden may yet say something that becomes an SNL special.

One area where the President has had few critics is his role as father. Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha appear to be a well-adjusted American family (with anti-colonial Kenyan roots, of course). The policies of the President can be attacked as anti-family by the Far Right. It would not stick if the Far Right attacked Obama’s personal family values. By all accounts, he isn’t a serial philanderer like Slick Willie, and his kids don’t revel in giving the press the finger, like Jenna Bush.

Rick Santorum said President Obama set a bad example and potentially endangered American tourists by letting his daughter Malia go to Mexico on a spring break vacation. Santorum told Glenn Beck that an American president should not send his own family into the area given State Department travel warnings for Mexico.

“What I would say is that the president’s actions should reflect what his administration is saying. If the administration is saying that it’s not safe to have people down there, then just because you can send 25 Secret Service agents doesn’t mean you should do it. You should set an example. I think that’s what presidents do. They set an example. And when the government is saying this is not safe, then you don’t set the example by sending your kids down there.”

Unfortunately for Santorum, Glenn Beck’s own website confirmed that there were no travel restrictions from the State Department for the First Daughter’s vacation destination. I would also add that this might fall under the category of the parents deciding what is best for their own children. Santorum used to support that…until Obama did it, then it had to be wrong.

See? All I need was a little fertilizer and look at what I have grown!

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