My parents and grandparents were Republicans all of their lives; so have I. Tired of the financial chicanery enabled by the Republican Party’s push to deregulate the financial industry, I voted for Obama in 2008. At this point I am undecided about whether I will vote for any of the candidates. I think President Obama has done a fairly good job given the hand he was dealt. The worst cards in his hand were not just the dismal economy which he did inherit, but the fact that the extreme liberal wing of his party kept him from achieving most of his economy by opposing the Republican House majority at every turn. Not that Boehner and his buddies who let the Tea Party and Grover Norquist, perhaps the most mean-spirited faux human being of any age join with Pelosi and Reed in playing Monkey in the Middle with Obama. I want to be clear here, I am not using the term monkey in the middle as a racist comment – it was a game I played as a child. Here we are now with what are supposed to be our leaders playing Monkey in the Middle, not only with the economy but with us taxpayers. We should all call a pox on all of their houses.
As I see it, Obama’s signature accomplishments during his first term include: stabilizing the economic freefall and helping create an environment where businesses are cautiously beginning to hire people, getting GM and Chrysler through the bankruptcy process more quickly than most people thought he could, getting the Iraq War wound down and creating a timetable for getting us out of Afghanistan. His health care program while not perfect is a welcome start. I wish both parties would begin a productive dialog to cure the defects in our health care system. On the downside, I have yet to see real “Change I Can Believe In.” But, it takes two to compromise. I believe our President was open to compromise but his extreme liberal wing worked in lockstep with the Tea Party to prevent that happening.
So, what is my problem with the party of my ancestors and my political past. First, they really are doing nothing for the citizens of this country. My party was the party of pragmatic compromise – sometimes you have to acknowledge that you do not have total wisdom and insight on every topic and make decisions, that while distasteful personally at least get the ball rolling in something of the right direction. You can come back later, assess the situation and negotiate adjustments. What they are doing now, is playing Monkey in the Middle, along with the extreme liberal Democratic Wing, and we, the citizens and taxpayers are being treated as monkeys.
Now let’s get to Mitt Romney. Remember just a few short months ago the party was trying to nominate anyone rather than Mitt. He won out, mostly by not taking any controversial positions or performing badly in debates. Now he is the last man standing. I might have voted Republican were Paul Ryan heading the ticket and if I was not so concerned by his being dominated by the Tea Party.
Doesn’t Mitt Romney want the job just a bit too much? The guy changes his positions about as often as most people change their linen. What about his health care program in Massachusetts? He broke ground on a new Public Television Property while governor of Massachusetts. He has disavowed both. When do disavowals rise to the level of lies?
Do you really want your President to be the Tax Evader in Chief? His effective tax rate for the years he is willing to make public is less than 14%. The story he gives, is that most of his income is from capital gains and dividends which are subject to a 15% rate. As an aside, thanks to a quirk in the Alternative Minimum Tax,most taxpayers having much less income than Mitt Romney pay an effective tax rate of 26%. Now about those capital gains. Taking advantage of a legal loophole called the Carried Interest Rule Mitt any other people carrying out management activities through partnerships have found the new alchemy, the New Jerusalem even, of taxation. Voila! They can treat management fees as capital gains. Should you or I manage property on behalf of others our income would be ordinary income taxed at much higher tax rates. Now this is not something Mitt thought up for himself. Bill Clinton has carried interest deals. I would think any politician worth his or her salt would get hired as a consultant for a buy-out fund like Bain Capital and get a carried interest. Over the past few years there have been proposals to eliminate the carried interest exception. Does anyone really think a politician will really support these proposals – perhaps Ron Paul…..
What Romney has done, however, goes way beyond the carried interest rule. How many American citizens do you know that have offshore bank accounts in Panama, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland. Panama is probably the tax haven of choice for drug dealers and gun runners. Why would Mitt put his money there? Well, drug dealers and gun runners put it there to evade taxes and keep the proceeds of ill-gotten gains from US Federal authorities. I am not suggesting that Mitt has ill-gotten gains, but why is his money parked in such unsavory locations? There are only two reasons I know for US citizens using offshore bank accounts. One would be that they are uncertain about political and economic stability. If this is Mitt’s reason, do you want a President who has already hedged his losses so he can jump ship before it hits the iceberg? I suspect his reason is the traditional one. He might be hiding income. I also suspect that part of the reason he will not release tax returns for earlier years is that he paid zero tax in many of them.
Now, just what has Mitt done for the good of our country, a country whose freedom and well-being was bought by the blood of fathers, sons, mothers and daughters. Has he or any of his family done military service? NO! Now being Mormon they have done missionary work, which is commendable. But our guy Mitt is all too willing to carry the big stick and endanger everyone else’s sons and daughters. Not being satisfied with having more than most other mere mortals, he wants our sons and daughters to make the sacrifice to allow his progeny to prosper. And, should our sons and daughters not successfully defend his progeny’s freedom, the Romney family’s money is safely offshore.
Getting back to Grover Norquist. He is the epitomizes the Plantation mentality of pre-civil war days. He really wants a world where 2 percent (or less) of the population controls 98 of our country’s wealth; so long as he is safely ensconced in the 2%. Isn’t it curious that the Party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt has become the party of former landed gentry of the rural south? Teddy Roosevelt lead the charge up San Juan hill. He put himself and his family in harm’s way to protect our country that had been so good to him and his ancestors. Where’s Waldo, I mean Mitt. Roosevelt was the trust buster of his age, keeping the playing field level. The Mitt and his crew work constantly to protect and enable oligopolies that suck the income from the working classes. Every time there is talk about raising taxes on higher income people, the rich (Norquist and his cabal talk about class warfare. Doesn’t anyone realize that the wealthy have been carrying out economic warfare on the lower classes from the beginning of time. We have not had a middle class all that long. Would we have had a middle class had the wrecking crew that is today’s Republican Leadership been in charge.
There is no longer a progressive wing in the Republican Party. Our two female senators from Maine are the last of the best of the Party. For me, until the Republican Party returns to its roots I will be an independent.
I am thankful for my parents who taught me a better (socially) way of living. My mother taught me to take pride in the accomplishments of others and to show compassion for those having less than I. George W. Bush, who history will remember more kindly than he is currently treated by his own party, said he was a compassionate conservative. I believe him. I also believe William F. Buckley was of the same breed. I have enjoyed reading his work and have learned much from his writing and experience. I am also thankful for those of you who have read this rant. I will appreciate any and all questions and counter arguments. We really must try to find away despite the best efforts of our faux political leaders.