Tea Party Excess in the States Will Help President Obama Win

Conventional wisdom says that in a presidential election year, turnout for state offices is increased because more people come out to vote for our highest office.  Winning presidential candidates have “coattails” and help pull their party to victory in the down ballot races.

But I believe that this year Americans will be highly motivated to turn out for their state races, to swing a pendulum that moved too far to the right after the 2010 triumph of the Tea Party.  2010 saw the GOP win many gubernatorial races and take total control of many state legislatures.

People who thought they were voting for smaller, more efficient government found that once these candidates were sworn in, it was all abortion, all the time.  While voters certainly wanted negotiation with public unions, such as on health care and pension contributions, they didn’t want those unions to be stripped of all their rights.

Angry voters showing up to fix things in their state houses will help President Obama stay in the White House.  I believe there will be reverse coattails in 2012.

Yes, gas prices and the unemployment rate matter for him.  But so do transvaginal ultrasounds.

Hubris and over-reach are consistent losers for both political parties.

The GOP and Birth Control

I am fed up with those seeking to minimize the GOP’s sudden focus on birth control in the presidential race.  I reject those who say it doesn’t matter or it’s a silly sideshow.

If there’s truly nothing to see here and we should move on, the party needs to come out forcefully and unequivocally for birth control.  But they won’t because they’re pushing these extreme “personhood” amendments at the state level that would outlaw not just abortion, but hormonal forms of birth control that have long been accepted and used in this country.

All of the Republican presidential candidates have come out in favor of these “personhood” amendments, which means they oppose birth control.

If Rick Santorum chose to say, “My wife and I personally choose not to use birth control,” I would have no problem with that.  But that’s not what he’s saying.  He’s saying, “Contraception is not okay.”  That’s very scary, and we need to take him at his word.

Let’s learn from the 2010 elections.  Everyone thought the Tea Party that elected Republican governors and state legislators stood for smaller government and less spending, that the movement was about economic issues.  But as soon as these people got into office, they focused on social issues, especially abortion.  All of a sudden 80 laws were passed restricting abortion.

The 2012 election should be about the economy, but if they want to make it about social issues, go ahead, make the Democrats’ day.

Is the GOP Really Going to Nominate This Guy?

Mitt the Tone Deaf told CNN, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”

Given a chance to walk that back, he doubled down!  “I said I’m not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net, but if it has holes in it, I will repair them.  You can choose where to focus.  You can focus on the rich.  That’s not my focus.  You can focus on the very poor.  That’s not my focus.  My focus is on middle income Americans….”

So he’s saying the poor can just stay where they are and remain at their subsistence level, he has no interest in helping them move into the middle class.  This is completely antithetical to everything that America means and stands for.  We don’t believe in a permanent underclass, we believe in upward mobility.  We are the country where you were a guy with a cart selling pickles on the Lower East Side, but your son became a judge or a surgeon.

It is also the rap that the GOP likes to lay on the Dems — that the Dems don’t really care about the poor as they profess to, that they like to keep them dependent on their public housing and food stamps and Medicaid so the Dems have a built-in voting block they can rely on.

Poor people were never going to vote for Mitt.  But better-off people who care about the poor, maybe because they or their parents or their grandparents used to be poor, won’t either.  That’s a voting bloc the GOP can’t afford to lose.

For all the GOP’s garbage that Obama is the “Other” who doesn’t understand and believe in America, it’s their guy Mitt who can’t open his silver-spoon-clogged mouth without revealing that he really is the “Other.”

The Romney campaign may be celebrating their Florida victory, but the GOP should be in panic mode.  You’re saddled with a big loser.

Conflicts Between Rich and Poor

The new Pew Poll finding that 66% of Americans believe there are “strong” or “very strong” conflicts between rich and poor in this country has gotten a lot of attention.  That percentage has risen 19% in just two years.

Some internals in this new poll behind that overall 66% are worth pointing out.

Even a majority of Republicans (55%) feels this way, as does a majority of conservatives (55%).  Among Democrats, this number rises to 73%, and to 79% among liberals.

While only 55% of Americans 65 and older feel this way, the number jumps to 71% among those 18 to 34.  That means that this growing sense of rich/poor conflict is likely to grow rather than fade.

Mitt the Vulture

Speaking about Mitt and his Bain Capital:  “I will suggest they’re just vultures.  They’re vultures that are sitting out there on the tree limb, waiting for a company to get sick. And then they swoop in, they eat the carcass, they leave with that and they leave the skeleton.”

Was that someone addressing an Occupy rally?  No, that was Rick Perry campaigning in South Carolina!  Getting hard to tell the Republicans from the Dems!

Someone should do posters/ads/t-shirts/ mugs, etc. with Mitt’s head on the body of a vulture.

Vote Red, Vote Blue — Green Always Wins

Liberal elites chide the “yokels” in the red heartland who vote Republican, against their economic interests, over issues like abortion and gay marriage.

But don’t be so smug, middle class Americans on the blue coasts, who think you’re smarter than the folks in flyover country.  The truth is you’re voting against your economic interests too.  When you vote Democrat, you’re just buying into the flip side of the culture wars, you’re responding to those who say they’ll protect and fight for your right to choose or to marry someone of the same sex.

Because if you’re middle class, whether you vote Democrat or Republican, you’re voting against your economic interests.  Both parties seek the contributions of Wall Street, both parties are bought and paid for by them, and both parties protect the interests of the rich.  The Dems do more for the poor, that’s true, but I’m talking about the middle class.

In the last thirty years, we’ve had both Democrat and Republican presidents, Democrat and Republican Congresses.  And the middle class has suffered and declined.  Much of the responsibility for the economic meltdown that happened under Bush 43 goes back to Bill Clinton, with such dumb moves as the repeal of Glass Steagall.  Dodd-Frank is a joke that doesn’t begin to address what caused the economic collapse or to prevent the next one.  Dodd-Frank passed because Wall Street signed off on it in an attempt to throw us a few crumbs.

It infuriates me that Mitt Romney, like other venture capital and hedge fund and equity guys, pays income tax at the rate of 15% because of the indefensable loophole of “carried interest,” while I pay 35%.  But you know who one of the top defenders of “carried interest” has been and continues to be?  New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat.  He gets tons of money from Wall Street (he’s their senator) and he watches out for them, not the middle class of New York and the rest of America.  Basically, Mitt Romney and Chuck Schumer are the same guy.

The Wall Street folks don’t care about abortion or gay rights or guns or the “war on Christmas” or any of the emotional issues that get people to vote red or blue.  They just care about the money and the stuff — the triplexes on Fifth Avenue, the oceanfront places at the Hamptons, the Ferraris and the Gulf Streams.

The Wall Street folks know it doesn’t matter if the Democrats or Republicans win because they can’t lose.  They own both sides.  Real power doesn’t shift between red and blue, it always stays with Wall Street green.

Blue people may laugh at red people, but the green people are laughing at all of us.

The Iowa Caucuses are a couple of hours away.  The rich will win tonight, they’ll win the rest of the primary contests, and they’ll win the general.

Can’t Anybody Play This Game?

It’s discouraging to note the parallels between the fight over our economic problems, focused now on the failing Super Committee, and those going on in Europe.

Our Republicans are Germany, our Democrats are France.

Both sides of the Atlantic are dithering their way back into recession, with still higher unemployment and lower tax revenues.

Even harder times are coming, people.