Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What Are the Republicans Up To?

How do you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving.

I'd like to look at what the Republicans are really up to, in a broad sense. Every election cycle they bring up emotional issues like abortion, flag burning, religion, and lately gay rights (replacing the no-longer-tenable Black rights.) But have they accomplished anything on those issues? Abortion is still legal nationally (albeit less available in many states), no significant "progress" has been made installing the ten commandments in courthouses or legalizing school prayer, the flag-burning amendment is a non-starter, and they have no chance of holding back the tide of gay rights.

It's not like they can blame the Democrats. They control the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. It's true that some of their wants have been stymied by the Court, but that was hardly unforseeable.

So why waste all this energy on issues they have no prayer of winning on?

Because it gets votes. And they don't care about these issues.

What have the Republicans actually accomplished over the last half-century?

They have made the income tax much less progressive, or in other words, they have shifted much of the tax burden away from the rich and towards the poor. Reagan cut the top tax-bracket from 50% to 28%, the lowest it had been since 1916. They have supported big corporations over the rights of the people by consistently voting against environmental regulations, by skyrocketing the deficit (a method of shifting wealth to today's rich at the expense of tomorrow's poor), by changing bankruptcy law to favor lenders, by attempting to kill or weaken social security, by limiting access to health care, and even by going to war with Iraq. (Compare what Big Oil got out of the deal -- record profits -- with what the poor got out of it -- dead and injured.)

I think the "Red State"ers are waking up to the idea that the Republicans are not their party. The Repubs talk a good game about social conservatism, but their actions are all about making the rich richer at the expense of everyone else, present and future. If you've voted Republican in the past due to their empty talk about values, I beg of you, wake up and realize that they don't represent you. The only value they have is money. And not money for you or yours. Unless you're a CEO, of course.


Esther said...

Well put. The Republicans have cleverly figured out that they can't run on a platform of taking money and resources from the middle class and shifting it to the rich. That's why they need the support of the so- called "values voters". They've achieved their goals to date by throwing empty bones to the Christian right.

Think about it this way: if Bush and his cohorts in Congress really support the "culture of life", why don't they propose an anti-abortion amendment to the constitution?

Fact is: the Christian right are being played like a fiddle, while Exxon, Walmart and all the other members of the military industrial complex make record profits at everyone's expense and destroy the planet.

dbackdad said...

Yep, the Mayberry Machiavellians. They've made politics into an art form that's all about perception and nothing about policy and ideas.

asher said...

Everyone knows that GOP stands for "get old people".

By the way, could you tell us what exactly the democrats have done that is so positive they have earned your vote?

Jewish Atheist said...


Democrats are politicians too, unfortunately. But they've done a better job than Republicans. For one, it took them forty years controlling the House and Senate to get as corrupt as the Republicans have gotten in 10. For another, they don't cut taxes for the wealthy while running up spending at the same time. Clinton did an amazing job fiscally. He worked with the Republicans to balance the budget and presided over an economic decade which saw the lives of virtually all Americans improve (unlike Bush, where the lives of only the richest of the rich improve.) He increased grants for students. He didn't mislead us into a war. He tried but failed to get universal health care going. He was better for the environment. He even managed a compromise with the military on gays. If he could only keep his d*ck in his pants, he would've been one of the best ever.

Sadie Lou said...

I just wanted you to know that I've been lurking on the last two posts--just observing and soaking it all in.

asher said...


Clinton said the two things he was most proud of in his term of office was balancing the budget and reforming welfare...neither idea was his own and both were forced on him.

But you gotta hand it to the guy. He still makes you think he did a good job despite the pardons of such luminaries as the Puerto Rican terrorists, the stealing of white house furniture, those wonderful wars in Bosnia and Somalia (neither of which were sanctioned by the UN or anyone else)and his inviting Yassir Arafat to the white house so many times the man had a locker.

dbackdad said...

Asher said, "...those wonderful wars in Bosnia and Somalia (neither of which were sanctioned by the UN or anyone else)"

- NATO was involved extensively during the Bosnia conflict and the U.N. afterward. Odd that you would try to compare Bosnia to current conflicts. There were ZERO casualties during the Bosnia conflict. What is Iraq now? 2400+ and counting?
- The U.N. had it's hands all over Somalia - Somalia. You also seem to forget that weeks before Clinton took office, outgoing-President George H. W. Bush had sent American troops into Somalia.

You criticize Clinton for building consensus and actually getting things done ... things a president is supposed to do. Bush will not listen to anyone except the devil on his shoulder (who he mistakenly thinks is God). He's a "decider". God help us all.

NOTE: Reading worldnetdaily.com and watching FAUX News Channel are not suitable substitutes for thinking.

Anonymous said...

Not that I am a Republican by any stretch, but much of what you say here is just oft-parroted liberal canards.

For instance, skyrocketing deficits are dangerous to everyone. In fact, the more you have, the more you stand to lose from any eventual disruptions that occur. They weren't trying to kill social security, they were trying to save it. The current system is going to go bankrupt and something has to be done. Also, our soldiers aren't poor. The typical soldier comes from a middle class home.

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie Lou:

Awesome! :-) Thanks for letting me know.


It's true the Republicans of the time were pushing hard for a balanced budget. But Clinton got it done. One of his best features was the ability to work with the opposition and get. stuff. done. Remember when that's what politics was? Not gathering your partymates and just railroading your agenda through? (Of course Dems have been guilty of that as well, but not nearly as willfully and gleefully as the Republicans.)

And what's happening now? Republican House, Republican Senate, Republican president, skyrocketing deficits! In fact, the deficits have skyrocketed during each of the last 4 Republican presidents. Clinton was the only president of the last half-century under whom the rate of deficit spending decreased. The only. Yes, Bush has had Katrina (not his fault), 9/11 (probably not his fault), and Iraq (his choice). But did he do what a sensible person does when his roof breaks and he needs some money? (I.e. earn some?) No! He gives more away! Tax breaks for the rich! How in the world is it possible that he ran on a platform of cutting taxes when the economy was great and then when it tanked, his solution was to... cut taxes!

Follow the money. This isn't some stupid conspiracy theory. Poor and middle class people today are making no more than they were 5 years ago (especially if you take into account the rising cost of health care not to mention higher education), but the wealthiest are doing amazingly. Record profits in the oil industry. The Defense sector is through the roof.

How much of that is trickling down to the little guy? Well, almost none. The little guy is stuck with higher gas prices and higher merchandise prices.

This is what the Republicans do. They take from the poor and give to the rich.

Jewish Atheist said...


On social security, The Washington Post asked budget experts on both sides to cut through the partisan rhetoric. On Bush's claim that ss is "going bankrupt," the Post writes that, "[t]he truth depends on the definition of 'bankrupt:'"

The Social Security Administration estimates that by 2042, the system will have depleted trillions of dollars worth of Treasury bonds piling up in its trust fund. At that point, by law, the system could pay out in benefits only what it would receive in Social Security taxes...

But even then, monthly checks would be larger in inflation-adjusted terms than they are today. As long as there are workers paying taxes, there will be money flowing into the Social Security system to pay benefits.

However, you may be right that they aren't trying to "kill" it. That may be hyperbole.

Regarding the military:

It's true that the army isn't made up of only the "poor." Please replace "the poor" with "average Americans" in my statement: "Compare what Big Oil got out of the deal -- record profits -- with what average Americans got out of it -- dead and injured." I don't think the Exxon CEO's kid is going to battle anytime soon. (Also, of course, we've probably paid over a thousand dollars each in taxes/debt for it.)

For instance, skyrocketing deficits are dangerous to everyone.

No doubt. But not in the short term. And Big Business is not known for its long-term vision. What was Enron's long-term plan?

Esther said...

JA - The worst thing abut Bush and his whole rotten administration is probably their sanctimony - they talk a blue streak about "family values" and the "culture of life" while they redistribute wealth from the poor and middle class to the super rich, they cut programs and services to help the middle class and are lifelines to the poor, they lie to get us into a needless war that has crippled and killed countless men, women and children, and they allow corporate interests to despoil the planet for a buck.

It sickens me to hear Bush talk about Jesus.

asher said...

Sorry, Bosnia and Somolia were war begun by Clinton without Congress approval. Hey, he wanted to go in there, why stop him?

I still don't see how you are coming up with Clinton working together with both sides. Is that why the Federal government actually closed down for a couple of days or the fact that he missed being impeached by a few votes?

The guy has been out of office for a few years and he already have mythical status for you all. Give him a few years and the democrats will rate him higher than the die hard republicans rate Ronnie Reagan (I just don't remember)

Jewish Atheist said...

I still don't see how you are coming up with Clinton working together with both sides. Is that why the Federal government actually closed down for a couple of days or the fact that he missed being impeached by a few votes?

Well I'm not saying he just caved in to everything the other side wanted. He stood up to the Republicans when they wanted to cut way too much spending on Medicare and Medicaid even though they pulled that childish closing the government act. ("I'm taking my ball and going home!") Regarding impeachment, that's obviously completely irrelevant to whether Clinton worked across the aisle or not.

In 1993, Clinton and the Democrats passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which *gasp* raised taxes (for only the top 2% of taxpayers), seeing as the deficit was skyrocketing. EVERY Republican in Congress voted against it, claiming it would result in economic catastrophe, blah blah blah. (Guess what? It didn't.)

Esther said...

JA - When are you going to acknowledge that Clinton was a terrible president who presided over the darkest period in our nation's history? Thank goodness Bush came along and fixed everything!

dbackdad said...

Esther -- :-). Very funny comment.

The sooner we Dems all admit that we are in lovely times, are loved around the world, are prosperous, have cheap and plentiful healthcare, don't have to work 2 jobs just to make ends meet ... the better off we'll be. Remember Bobby Knight's famous line, "If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it." -- well the working class is getting raped and the Republicans want us to relax and enjoy it.

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