"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Has this Presidential Election Become about Race?

The New York Times covered in detail the Romney camp plans to use Welfare and Medicare against Obama even though on Welfare their ads and comments have been declared completely false and on Medicare half false.  What kind of a campaign uses outright lies which have already been proven as lies to attack another candidate?  A campaign that is losing big is the only answer to take this risk.

The Washington Post fact checker is used by both parties for fact checking  ads.  Earlier in the summer the Washington Post fact check went after an Obama ad giving the ad four Pinocchios.  From what I can tell, they are non-partisan and only looking for the facts:
The Washington Post’s fact checker, Glenn Kessler, gave the welfare ads his lowest rating, four Pinocchios. The Tampa Bay Times’s Politifact was equally harsh, describing the ads as “a drastic distortion” warranting a “pants on fire” rating. The welfare commercial, according to Politifact, “inflames old resentments about able-bodied adults sitting around collecting public assistance.” 
Politifact described the Medicare ad as “half true”:
Romney’s claim gives the impression that the law takes money that was already allocated to Medicare and funds the new health care law with it. In fact, the law uses a number of measures to try to reduce the rapid growth of future Medicare spending. Those savings are then used to offset costs created by the law — especially coverage for the uninsured — so that the overall law doesn’t add to the deficit. We rate his statement Half True.
Politifact also rated a claim Romney made later on the stump — that “there’s only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare” — as “mostly false.”
Even though Romney has been hit with using false facts, his campaign intends to continue on this road of lies and deceit.  Is Romney also going to keep inferring that Obama is not a real American with a real birth certificate like he has been doing?  I find that line of attack offensive along with a lot of other people.  The Romney ticket is quickly driving people from the Republican Party who are not part of the hard right culture into supporting Gary Johnson, the former two-time Republican Governor of New Mexico, running as a Libertarian, or actually supporting President Obama for re-election.

There is a real problem in the Republican Party and this Convention is not going to heal the split when seven of the speakers are birthers who have made comments against Obama about his birth certificate and not acting American which includes Romney.  From the GOP Platform, the Rules, the Credentials, and seating of delegates, the evidence has piled up that this GOP Convention is going hard right which is going to drive even more Republicans to either stay home or vote for other candidates.

This may be the year that the split in the GOP is permanent and a new party arises from the ashes.  Too many Republicans with common sense don't like the direction of the party with the attacks on minorities and immigrants that we are witnessing.  Jeb Bush has warned them numerous times alienating minorities especially Hispanics but the GOP Platform is using the AZ Immigration Policy which means this Platform Group led by Gov McDonnell (R-VA) is not listening to the more reasoned voices of the Republican Party.

Since the Ron Paul supporters have been placed in the nosebleed section, and a lot of their delegates who won fair and square have not been credentialed from the caucus states, I would expect a lot of them will be going to Gary Johnson to support him after the Convention.  That is a chunk of people deserting the ticket.  Note that Ron Paul did not endorse Romney at his rally with 10,000 supporters.  Many of his supporters are mad at his son, Sen Rand Paul, for endorsing Romney earlier this summer and are not sure they would back him if he ran for President.  The chances for a split in the Republican Party between the hard right and the rest of us is growing with all the splinters to the Party.

Many Republicans in the last four years have essentially been told to sit down and shut up or leave as the Party has moved hard right.  The door might have to be widened after this election.

This article from the New York Times details what is happening with the Romney campaign and the Republican Party.  When I first posted sometime ago from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush about his worry on today's Republicans not reaching out to minorities especially Hispanics, that article drew a lot of negative emails telling me to leave the Party.  Before this election is said and done there is a good chance they will get their way.  The way minorities unless they are part of the Hard Right are treated today is an embarrassment to long time Republicans who have worked to make the GOP the home of the big tent going back to the years of pushing for the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act legislation.  Maybe my problem is that I come from the North having grown up in Ohio.

Now some in the GOP have called for abolishing those acts starting with the Texas Convention who voted for an overturn the Voting Rights Act.  Then you had an amendment submitted in the House to use no federal money to enforce the Voting Rights Act in the states which turned out badly for Republicans:

Lewis (D-GA), who marched with Martin Luther King Jr., took to the floor to denounce Broun's amendment. 
"It is hard and difficult and almost unbelievable that any member, but especially a member from the state of Georgia, would come and offer such an amendment," Lewis said, recounting the history of struggles over voters' rights. "It's shameful that you would come here tonight and say to the Department of Justice that you must not use one penny, one cent, one dime, one dollar to carry out the mandate of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act." 
“People died for the right to vote -- friends of mine, colleagues of mine,” Lewis said. "I speak out against this amendment."
Broun (R-GA), chastised, gave in. "I apologize to my dear friend from Georgia if he's gotten angry with this amendment. It was never my intent to do so, and I'm going to ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment," he said.
What was Broun thinking?  I find the whole debate about race in 2012 to be incomprehensible.  It is like returning to the 1950's, but then we had a President Dwight D. Eisenhower who supported Civil Rights and integration of colleges and schools which at that time Southern Democrats were very opposed to his policies on Civil Rights for minorities along with Voting Rights.  Is this part of the problem in the Republican Party today that some of those southern Democrat bigots, KKK, and their families became Republican?

All I know is that this not the Republican Party that I grew up in and supported all these years.  I don't recognize the hate I see daily out of the GOP ticket and this group of hard right against a black President especially since it is clear he is not some hard left President.  His biggest mistake IMHO was listening to then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instead of the more reasoned Majority Leader of the Senate Harry Reid.

Obama in the past few years has reached out more to the more reasoned voices of the Republican Party as he did on the budget deal and has been trying on the farm, jobs, and infrastructure bills which are being blocked by the Hard Right in the House and Senate.  No one wants to go against them and face a challenge in their upcoming elections.  How about some Republicans in Congress grow a backbone and actually do what is best for all Americans not just the hard right?

This article takes a look at how race is driving this election and how white the Republican Party has become with their march to the Hard Right.  One thing the author missed is how this Hard Right shift by the GOP has disenfranchised women voters in the Republican Party.

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says that he personally believes that rape is just another “method of conception” and not an excuse to allow abortion.   Why would common sense Republican women, support a ticket with a Vice Presidential candidate that calls rape a "method of conception?"  The answer is  we will NEVER support Romney/Ryan.  In fact, we  will work to defeat such ideology aimed at women that is repulsive.  This comes on top of the attacks on minorities, veterans, teachers, fire, police, and white collar Federal Civil Service by this Republican ticket and the hard right that the GOP has become today.  So who is going to vote for the Republican ticket besides the hard right and the gun clinging white males who support the anti-illegal immigration laws -- tougher the better even when it affects children?  

This article confirms what a lot of us have been hearing about the Romney/Ryan campaign that they are going to get dirtier and nastier against Obama to get more white voters to go to the polls.  Two hours ago it came out that the Romney camp is aiming to get 61% of the white vote now and will be pushing the whiteness of the ticket.  Despicable and repulsive is all I can think of to describe this current thinking out of Romney/Ryan.    Looks like the real Romney is emerging as his Mormon Church he grew up in did not allow minorities to become full members.  This article from the NY Times is correct:

August 27, 2012, 12:43 amMaking the Election About Race
The Republican ticket is flooding the airwaves with commercials that develop two themes designed to turn the presidential contest into a racially freighted resource competition pitting middle class white voters against the minority poor. 
Ads that accuse President Obama of gutting the work requirements enacted in the 1996 welfare reform legislation present the first theme. Ads alleging that Obama has taken $716 billion from Medicare — a program serving an overwhelmingly white constituency — in order to provide health coverage to the heavily black and Hispanic poor deliver the second. The ads are meant to work together, to mutually reinforce each other’s claims. 
The Romney campaign’s shift of focus toward welfare and Medicare suggests that his strategists are worried that just disparaging Obama’s ability to deal with the struggling economy won’t be adequate to produce victory on November 6. 
The importance to the Romney-Ryan ticket of two overlapping constituencies — whites without college degrees and white Medicare recipients — cannot be overestimated. Romney, continuing the Republican approach of 2010, is banking on a huge turnout among key white segments of the electorate in order to counter Obama’s strengths with minority voters as well as with young and unmarried female voters of all races. 
There is extensive poll data showing the depth of Republican dependence on white voters.
On August 23, Pew Research released its latest findings on partisan identification, and the gains that the Republican Party has made among older and non-college whites since 2004 are remarkable. 
Just eight years ago, Pew reports, whites 65 and over were evenly split in their allegiance, 46 percent Democratic, 46 percent Republican. In the most recent findings, these voters are now solidly in the Republican camp, 54-38, an eight point Republican gain. Elderly women were 9 points more Democratic than Republican in 2004, 50-41, the opposite of where they are now, 51-42 Republican. Older men, who were 51-41 Republican in 2004, are now 59-33 Republican. 
Similarly, white voters without college degrees, of all ages, have gone from 51-40 Republican in 2004, to 54-37 in 2012, according to Pew. 
Most importantly, the Pew surveys show that 89% of voters who identify themselves as Republican are white. Faced with few if any possibilities of making gains among blacks and Hispanics — whose support for Obama has remained strong — the Romney campaign has no other choice if the goal is to win but to adopt a strategy to drive up white turnout. 
The Romney campaign is willing to disregard criticism concerning accuracy and veracity in favor of “blowing the dog whistle of racism” – resorting to a campaign appealing to racial symbols, images and issues in its bid to break the frustratingly persistent Obama lead in the polls, which has lasted for the past 10 months. 
The result is a campaign run at two levels. On the trail, Paul Ryan argues that “we’re going to make this about ideas. We’re going to make this about a positive vision for the future.” On television and the Internet, however, the Romney campaign is clearly determined “to make this about” race, in the tradition of the notorious 1988 Republican Willie Horton ad, which described the rape of a white woman by a convicted African-American murderer released on furlough from a Massachusetts prison during the gubernatorial administration of Michael Dukakis and Jesse Helms’s equally infamous “White Hands” commercial, which depicted a white job applicant who “needed that job” but was rejected because “they had to give it to a minority.” 
The longer campaigns go on, the nastier they get. Once unthinkable methods become conventional. 
“You can tell they” — the welfare ads— “are landing punches,” Steven Law, president of the Republican super PAC American Crossroads, told the Wall Street Journal. Law’s focus group and polling research suggest that the theme is not necessarily going to work. “The economy is so lousy for middle-income Americans that the same people who chafe at the rise of welfare dependency under Obama don’t automatically default to a ‘get-a-job’ attitude — because they know there are no jobs.” 
As the head of a tax-exempt 501(c)4 independent expenditure committee, Law cannot coordinate campaign strategy directly with the Romney campaign. Nonetheless, he is sending a warning. The welfare theme, Law said, “needs to be done sensitively. Right now it may be more of an economic issue than a values issue: In other words, more people on welfare is another disturbing symptom of Obama’s broken-down economy, rather than an indictment of those who are on welfare or the culture as a whole.” 
Will the Romney campaign heed Law’s advice to keep it subtle? The principle media consultant for the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, which will be running many of the anti-Obama ads over the next ten weeks, is Larry McCarthy, who produced the original Willie Horton ad. 
Thomas B. Edsall, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, is the author of the book “The Age of Austerity: How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics,” which was published earlier this year.   
Excerpt:  Read more at the NY Times
Why would anyone be surprised at what a person from Karl Rove's Crossroads would have to say about this line of attack knowing it is based on lies?  Rove, himself, is not Mr. Honesty.  The fact that Fox News treats him like a non-partisan when he comes on the air to discuss the election, should also tell you all you need to know about Fox News.  Karl Rove is a partisan hack who used George W. Bush to get to where he is at so he can take out people he doesn't like , e.g. Rick Perry in the primary, with all the millions that have been donated to his two organizations one of them where donors are kept secret.  

Republicans are using Super PACs and non-disclosure donor non-profits to spread the lies so I ask you "Why would anyone vote for the ticket of Romney/Ryan if you believe in honesty and ethics in elections?"  Will the hard right shift this election of the Republican Party be the final nail in the coffin?  The jury is still out.

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