Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Contrary to Popular Belief, I Don't Hate All Republicans

Over all, election night was a win in my eyes. My most passionate interest was in the Virginia's governor's race. Thank God, McAuliffe overtook Cuccinelli! The Cooch was my idea of the most unacceptable kind of candidate...way, way, way to the right, particularly on women's issues.

The polls indicated Chris Christie would win in a landslide in New Jersey and in fact, that's what happened. If I'd been a New Jerseyite, I'd have voted for his competition but I can live with Christie, who is a sensibly conservative Republican, willing to compromise when its in the best interests of his constituents.

Alabama was one I watched closely as an indicator for what is happening with the Republicans. I take it as a positive sign that the more moderate candidate beat the off-the-wall Tea Partyier. Bill De Blasio, an out and out liberal will take over as Mayor of New York City. That will be interesting to watch after the Bloomberg Years. I think Bloomberg was good for New York over all, though a little too Big Daddy for my taste.

Northern Colorado defeated a measure to secede from the rest of the state. This was largely a statement vote and nothing would have come of it but it failed even at that.

I didn't know enough about the candidates in Boston to have a favorite. At any rate, they are both Democrats. Detroit will have a white Mayor for the first time since 1994....and what a daunting job he will have. For one thing, the city is bankrupt (though whether bankruptcy is the best scenario for trying to heal Detroit's wounds is another issue). Secondly, since Republicans in Michigan have basically banished democracy, the people's choice won't have much power seeing as how Detroit is being run by a City Manager, appointed by the governor.

In New Jersey, along with Governor Christie, voters approved a $1 an hour increase in the state minimum wage - a win. Washington State rejected labeling foods containing GMO ingredients. I see this one as a loss. South Portland, Maine voted down the ban against an bringing tar sands oil through their city. Another loss. But Portland, and three Michigan cities (Lansing, Jackson, Ferndale) voted overwhelming to legalize small amounts of marijuana (this now makes 14 cities in Michigan that have done the same). Win.

Apart from the election, the Illinois House approved Marriage Rights for LGBT Americans. Soon, only the most solid of red states will still outlaw gay rights. Big win.

In every election, some go your way and some don't but I'm generally satisfied with the outcome of this oneelection.

I have often been accused of being a lemming, a sheeple (whatever the code word of the day happens to be), blind to the weaknesses of my own party...a hater of Republicans based on general principles.

Contrary to popular belief among my conservative Facebook friends, that has never been true. I would like nothing more than for the Republican party to go back to its roots as a socially moderate, fiscally conservative party. I think the country is way better off when there are two equally strong parties fighting it out. We, the people, are more likely to get good legislation and positive leadership when both sides have to compromise and meet somewhere in the middle.

But, in my view, the years of the ultra-right-wing Tea Party types have been disastrous for both the U.S. and the Republican Party itself. Their ultimate goal seems to bring down the government rather than to make it better. Rather then working together, they prefer to stonewall and obstruct. They seem to believe that preventing anything from happening is a positive outcome.

So, we've stumbled along from one economic catastrophe after another as they refused to enact legislation that would help the economy grow. The House keeps cutting back on the number of days they work. Why? Because they don't plan on doing anything....not immigration reform, not a farm bill, not a jobs bills, not an infrastructure bill. The Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives has been tremendously destructive for the entire country. Their main purpose appears to be conducting witch hunts and hearings that go nowhere, sequester, government shutdowns. They rule through the blackmail of fiscal cliffs and default.

They decided on their tactics to bring down Obamacare from Day One. It would be their main priority. Republican governors would refuse to set up their own exchanges, leaving it to the feds to do....a huge task when you're talking about 27 states. They would refuse to accept the funds to expand Medicare even if it left tens of thousands of their poorest citizens uninsured. They would decline to sponsor information programs to help their constituents learn about the Affordable Care Act, decline to hire navigators to assist people trying to discover how Obamacare would affect them. They would reject spending the money to improve the system. In fact, they wouldn't even discuss the changes they thought would make it better. They didn't want it to be better. They simply wanted it to fail.

The Tea Party Republicans have essentially engaged in democracy nullification. If they didn't like the choices made by the voters, they simply tried to go under, over and around those choices. They impeached Bill Clinton and they'd like to do the same with Obama. Don't like the way voters vote? Figure out ways to keep them from going to the polls or being allowed to vote once they get there. Redistrict yourself into non-competitive seats. Don't like the court's ruling on reproductive rights? Create restrictions that close down clinics or make having an abortion a traumatic and humiliating event for desperate women. Don't like gun laws? Make it a crime for federal agents to enforce them. These are the Constitutionalists who get to decide for themselves when the Constitution applies and when it doesn't.

It's not Republicans I hate....it is a certain breed of radical right-wing Republicans. So is this election the tiniest light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe. I hope so.