Dick Cheney had a hunting accident a few years ago.
I know that isn’t news, but the circumstances seem to be repeating themselves; you see the (former) Vice President wasn’t trying to shoot his hunting partner, and he isn’t as incompetent as many would believe. It is easy to loose your bearings in a wooded area and fire on the wrong target. When you are primed and on the adrenaline rush, any movement in the brush can seem like fair game.
Thus the Teabaggers. Oh I know that their “movement” didn’t draw anything like large crowds; but they are a passionate bunch driven by a legitimate love of country. Polling is not an exact science, but the numbers would suggest that up to 20% of the country may harbor the same concerns as the Teabaggers. In today’s political climate, that number grows as fast as fear spreads amongst the ill-informed…and that is pretty fast.
A summary of their beliefs would, I believe, be beneficial:
- President Obama is a Marxist, non-citizen, who wants to turn the United States into a communist nation.
- The President has driven an unprecedented series of legislation through the Congress using the massive liberal majority, and has used executive orders to radically change the nation.
- The President’s legislation has placed the United States under an insurmountable debt burden, unprecedented in U.S. history.
- The President has raised taxes.
- The President is determined to take away Americans firearms.
- The President is determined to further open the borders to illegals, and give them amnesty, health care, and welfare dollars.
- The President is determined to begin the journey to communism by starting with control over banks, automakers, and health care providers. He is further committed to the idea because he supports the progressive income tax system, which redistributes wealth.
I hope I haven’t missed anything. The rational middle believes that Teabaggers, and other good citizens who reside in the opposition, have many targets in the woods that they should be shooting at. The seven points above represent the hunting accident in progress. Towards the end of this post, I will articulate points that I believe the President should be carefully and vigorously scrutinized for. In the meantime, I will answer the arguments above.
- The first point is a largely subjective matter, although the question of his citizenship has been repeatedly answered. His voting record in the Senate is strongly liberal, but still to the right of people like Bernie Sanders and Ted Kennedy. It is ironic that Obama can be called a Marxist by some of the same folks that criticize his ties to banking and finance. Folks, those two sentiments just don’t mix.
- The President has been criticized by the left for not using executive orders to reverse Bush-era policies enough. He has also faced round criticism for his unwillingness to fight with the political aggressiveness of his GOP predecessor. The stimulus bill is the major piece of legislation passed this year, and its effects are temporary (the fear by some economists is that they will be too temporary).
- If the Congress passes HR 3200 without change (unlikely), then the debt burden at the end of budgeted period will be almost identical to that faced by the nation following the Reagan budgets of the early 80’s. This friends, is not a coincidence. The devastating recession faced by this nation in the early 80’s was broken by the big federal spending of that period; no different than the New Deal spending of the 30’s or the stimulus package.
- The President passed a tax DECREASE as part of the stimulus package. No increase. The President will allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, but if you are prepared to call that a tax increase, then you must also credit Obama for given you back assault weapons; he is letting that ban expire as well.
- President Obama is the first Democratic candidate I can remember whose action plan specifically acknowledges that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to gun ownership. The rank and file of the Democratic party has all but given up “gun control” as an issue.
- Then Senator Obama was an early supporter of and voted for the Secure Fence Act (the bill that built the border fence). It is again ironic that Obama’s weakness in the primaries was his poor relationship with the Latin-American community, whereas now he is portrayed as somehow pro-illegal. There seems to be sentiment that it takes a new law for illegals to get hospital treatment. Folks, anyone will get health care when they present to a facility with an illness or trauma…this happens now without health care reform.
- The President had the authority to nationalize the banks and did not; also note that the bulk of the funds injected into the financial system were done by the certainly not Marxist Bush Administration. The automakers begged, and I do mean begged, the government for funds. President Obama represented his constituents by getting an equity stake in those firms in return for the cash. When the stake is repaid plus interest, the control goes with it. Also keep in mind that the auto “czar” is tasked with reviewing major capital spending only…the government is not running the company. Finally, there is health care. Even the so-called “socialized medicine bill”, HR 676 (the one that has no chance of passing) does not “control the means of production” as is necessary for communism. It is single payer, just like Medicare. For-profit hospitals and doctors work with Medicare while controlling their lives, practices, and operations at their convenience. The bill that has (or had) a shot of passing would add perhaps 30 million to the rolls of Medicare or a parallel organization. The President has remained clear that the private insurance structure must remain intact in the United States, and that the Government should not intrude on Doctor/patient relationships.
Public statements and detailed goals don’t seem to grab people’s attention anymore. It is easier if you don’t like someone to grab a clause from a 600 page bill written by congressional staffers, take it out of context, twist and pervert it, and place it in an email to concerned folks as evidence that “He” is out to get us all. Aren’t we all a bit too old to be taken in by boogieman tales?
The signs are amazing; “Marxist Muslim”, “Hitler, Stalin, Obama”, “Communist Nigger”, “Soon to be dead Communist”. These are the signs visible at the rallies; and they are a reflection of what you can hear from the people attending. Fear and hate are symbiotic twins, and ignorance is their cold tool. I have a profound dislike of the policies and methods of George W. Bush, and believe that he took steps that threatened the present and future of this nation. That said,if I were present at the event, I would beat on the idiot who threw a shoe at my President. There are lines that we used to respect in this country that are being crossed by the very Conservatives who were once the stylized arbiters of respect and tradition.
Fear and hate can blind you.
There are issues, I would suggest, that need to be addressed to the President:
- Why has there been no declaration of policy towards Africa, the two Koreas, or Syria?
- What is the plan for long term success in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it is clear that we are engaged in a no-win scenario (particularly in Afghanistan where Bush-puppet Karzai has been unmasked as corrupt and ineffectual)?
- How come there has yet to be real work done on financial services reform that supports the market while protecting investors from frauds and hidden risk exposure?
- Where is the articulated plan for the green economy that was supposed to drive recovery?
- Where is the plan to save manufacturing jobs for Americans and leverage our comparative advantage in services?
These are just five points quickly pulled from the top of my head. More valid lines of questioning would occur to the members of the rational middle. The questions need to be asked, oversight needs to be maintained, bills need to be scrutinized, costs and benefits need to be assessed. None of this can be done effectively or fairly in an atmosphere and climate of hate, fear, and confusion.
The rational middle hopes that those passionate folks who love their country will take a breath and a good second look….