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An Open Letter From Mitt Romney

Dear America,

First, let me say that it was a great privilege to campaign across this great land for months and to get to know so many of you and hear about your dreams and your concerns. I wish the outcome had been different, but it was not to be.

I’ve had a chance these last few weeks to reflect on the campaign and on what the election results mean, and I’ve come to this conclusion: I’m really, really ashamed of you. Facing an historic election that will determine the course of this nation for years to come, you chose to let yourself be swayed by a bunch of expensive gifts you don’t need and didn’t deserve. I’m not surprised that the 47 percent of you who are lazy, worthless takers without the ambition or initiative to make your own way in the world took Obama’s handouts, but I didn’t expect that other four percent who voted for him to be so easily bought.

You people with pre-existing conditions sold out your country for access to health care? Really? Your ancestors crossed the prairie in covered wagons, and you’re too wimpy to go to the emergency room when you get sick? And you shiftless washouts who lost your livelihood in the recession or had your jobs eliminated when Bain Capital took over your business want MORE unemployment benefits, after all you’ve taken already? You just expect those of us in the one percent to dole out more and more of our wealth so you can eat. Have you no shame?

Then there are you Latinos out there whose brothers and cousins and nephews came to this country illegally. You got suckered by the promise that their children could stay here and that your friends and relatives might have a way to become citizens. I offered to let your wetback relations self-deport without any problems at all, but no! You’d rather their kids be educated at our expense, take our people’s jobs and become good little taxpaying liberals. It’s sickening.

I’ll never understand women. A couple of silly little comments about rape and pregnancy and and you all go nuts! One promise to let your insurance pay for contraceptives and you’re all ga-ga for Democrats. You’d think controlling your own bodies was your God-given right the way you talk. And don’t even get me started on abortion. Oh, and that thing about equal pay? Dream on.

And you young people! Honestly, you traded your vote for what? Cheap loans for college. Like getting an education is going to get you anywhere these days. I guess you haven’t noticed that guys like me make the rules now, and we’re keeping the money. I don’t care what Obama promised you. The middle class is toast. You’ll take the wages we give you and be happy we let you have anything at all.

In conclusion, let me say again that I regret that you didn’t give me the opportunity to be your president. I’m not sorry, though, that I didn’t try to buy your vote with promises to create and maintain programs that might make your lives better. I lied about pretty much everything else, but I have too much integrity for that. It would have been an honor and a privilege to have had the chance to keep chipping away at what little you have left.

God bless you, and God bless America, or at least the 49 percent of you who voted for me.

What Went Wrong?

Last week a group of Republican politicians and strategists met secretly in Washington for a high-level post-election debriefing. Yesterday, someone slipped a transcript of the meeting under my door.

Attending the meeting were Roger Ailes, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor.

Ailes: Gentlemen, are we all here? Where’s Mitt?

Cantor: That loser? He wasn’t invited. Not like he was ever really one of us.

Ryan: Hey, he’s a good guy. I got to know him pretty well during the campaign.

Cantor: Another loser heard from. You couldn’t even carry your home state.

Ryan: You want to step outside and say that?

Ailes: Cool it, both of you. Calm down, everyone.  You two can work that out next session. We’re here to figure out what went wrong.

Boehner: You should talk. Who was it that created the Fox bubble, anyway, Mr. Alternate Reality. Obama’s unpopular, the real issue is the deficit, Romney’s ahead in the polls, the Dems are gonna get trounced.

Gingrich: Yeah. As the historian in this crowd, I could have told you there’s no such thing as permanent majority.

Ryan: Hah! Didn’t YOU predict a Romney landslide, while you were on the Fox payroll?

Rove: Aren’t we getting a little off track here? Let’s face it, we underestimated Obama’s ground game. We had a lead, but they almost caught up with us in spending.

Cantor: Yeah, right. What did your $400 million win? Bupkus! And you want to piss away MORE?

Boehner: Shut up, Cantor. I had a grand bargain on the deficit in my hand, but you and your Tea Party loonies walked.

Norquist: You shut up, John. You would have caved on taxes, just to get a deal you could put your name on.  And now you’re making public statements like you’re trying to weasel out of the Pledge again.

McConnell: No deals! Not gonna happen on my watch.  Obama’s got to come to us.

Boehner: Screw you, Mitch. Did you happen notice who lost MORE seats in the Senate? I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t the Dems. At least I hung on to the House.

Ailes: Only because those seats are so gerrymandered you COULDN’T lose. Even that idiot Bachmann kept hers.

Gingrich: I think we’re missing the point here. We lost because the country is changing. There are more Latinos and Blacks, and that’s not going to change.  We lost their vote and women. Demographics is destiny, gentlemen.

McConnell: So what do you propose? Roll over and pander to them? Like Hell!

Cantor: Amnesty for illegals? MORE Medicaid and food stamps and unemployment insurance? Contraception for women? Admit that rape is a bad thing? Abortion? Are you nuts? Abandon everything this party stands for?

Boehner: A little compromise on some issues wouldn’t be a bad thing, necessarily. You moved to the middle during the election, didn’t you, Paul?

Ailes: Lied like a rug, not that it convinced anyone.

Gingrich: Wait. I have a brilliant idea!

Rove: You’re going to divorce Callista?

Gingrich: Shut up. We’re thinking about this all wrong. Who DID vote for us?

McConnell: White men.

Gingrich: Right. As the resident historian, I can tell you that when this Republic was founded, only white men were allowed to vote.

McConnell: Yeah, so? I don’t quite follow.

Boehner: There’s a surprise.

McConnell: Shut up.

Ailes: But that would require repealing the Emancipation Proclamation AND the 19th Amendment.

Cantor: That’s crazy! That would take years to work through the states, and you’d never get Blacks and women to vote for it.

Gingrich: Who’s talking about repeal? Get the Supreme Court to declare them both unconstitutional.

Ryan: How can an amendment be unconstitutional? That makes no sense. The Court can’t overturn an amendment, can it?

Gingrich: These are the same guys who declared corporations are people and money is speech. If they can do that, they can do this.

Cantor: It’s brilliant!

Boehner: Do you really think we count on them to do it?

Gingrich: Scalia will absolutely LOVE it. The originalist asked to reaffirm the Founders’ intent.  Done deal. Alito will fall in line, Kennedy’s on our side now. Thomas does anything Scalia says. I’m a little worried about Roberts, though, after the Obamacare ruling.

Ailes: He got beat up so bad for that one, I think he’ll fall back in line.

McConnell: I hate to bring this up, but isn’t Clarence Thomas Black?

Ryan: Now that you mention it, I think so. You wouldn’t know it from his rulings or the way he acts, but yeah, I’m pretty sure I remember him being Black when he was appointed.

Boehner: Hmm. That could be a problem. Would he vote to take away his own vote?

Cantor: Damn!

Ailes: I think we should at least feel him out. But we really ought to have a Plan B if this doesn’t work.

McConnell: Like what?

Ailes: You won’t like this, but we may actually have to reach out to minorities and women.

McConnell: I’m against it.

Boehner: Mitch, the whole idea stinks, but I think we have to. Let’s put Ryan to work on the women initiative.  They go for those big dreamy blue eyes of his. We’re going to have to give on immigration reform if we ever want the Latinos. We can put Rubio and Bush on that.

Cantor: I can’t believe we’re doing this.

Boehner: Art of the possible, Gentlemen. We do what we have to. Now for the really hard part: anyone here know any Black people?

(long silence)

Boehner: Anyone?

END OF TRANSCRIPT.

Nov 9

Takers

My neighbors David and Barbara are intelligent, witty and charming people of the extreme right-wing persuasion. They’re wonderful neighbors, pleasant, kind and generous. He’s 89 and she’s perhaps a year or two older. He just had a hip replacement, and she was hospitalized recently, as well. They shared a hospital room for several weeks while rehabilitating, which is kind of romantic, in its own weird way.

I spoke to David the day after the election, and he was mildly distraught over the outcome. He thinks Obama is a crook and assumes the president will raise his taxes. He hates paying taxes so that other people will get benefits they didn’t earn and don’t deserve. This is a staple, of course, of Tea Party thinking, that there are earners and there are takers, and the earners shouldn’t be forced to give up what they’ve earned so that the takers can live off it.

In the same conversation, he marveled at how much he and his wife had received from Medicare. He was certain that the medical services they had just received exceeded the amount he had put into the system. I couldn’t help needling him. “So, you like socialized medicine, then?” 

What amazes me most about this whole strain of political thinking is the disconnect. Somehow, it doesn’t bother my neighbor that his neighbors are paying taxes for his health care, but it annoys him mightily that he might have to pay for his neighbors’ unemployment benefits. If he were alone in thinking that way, we might conclude that my wonderful neighbor is a sociopath, but he represents an alarmingly large and vocal percentage of the population. Fortunately, not quite large enough to have won the election. 

Nov 8

Nail-biter?

This was a close election, right? A nation bitterly divided between red and blue. Two parties evenly splitting the vote. Two starkly different visions of America. Obama squeaking out a bare 50.3% of the popular vote, although he carried the electoral college handily. Except that it wasn’t really close and we aren’t that divided. No president presiding over an economy this bad should have been re-elected; it should have been a landslide for Mitt Romney, and the Democrats should have lost the Senate. If this election revealed anything, it’s not a divided electorate, it’s the glaring weakness of the Republican Party, which has become a party almost exclusively of rich old white men.

Demographics is destiny, they say, and the GOP has spent the last 20 years alienating the fastest-growing segments of the population. It has gone out of its way to drive away Blacks, Hispanics, women and the young, presenting the Democrats with a winning coalition broad enough to deliver a victory even in the worst economic climate in more than 70 years. Had unemployment been, say, five percent, Obama would have won in a landslide and the Dems likely would have retaken the House. Worse for the Republicans, the map is turning more and more blue. The solid South is solid no more, with Virginia and Florida going blue and North Carolina in play. The West, too, is turning Democratic, with Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada joining the West Coast, and Arizona beginning to shift. No region of the country is going the other way.

Now the fun begins. How will the Republican Party react? Will it adopt a more conciliatory strategy now that its four-year opposition to anything Obama has failed, or will it dig into that destructive playbook again? House Speaker Boehner seems willing to work across the aisle, now that the Tea Party has been somewhat rebuked (if not chastened). Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is another story. His classless and off-key remarks after the election don’t seem to offer much hope. Is it too much to hope that his own caucus might have something other than another four fruitless years of obstructionism in mind?

The Storm and the Election

All the TV commentators are wondering how Hurricane/Noreaster/Frankenstorm/ Superstorm Sandy will affect the election. They refer, of course, to voter turnout and to the perception of the how Obama and Romney respond to the crisis. What they SHOULD be wondering is why neither candidate has mentioned climate change during this election, and why nobody seems to be pointing out the obvious: that Sandy, following Irene, following Katrina, are exactly the kinds of increasingly severe storms that climatologists have predicted will be spawned as the planet grows warmer. Nature abhors a vacuum, so Sandy, unprecedented in size and menace, has arrived just in time for the election. This be a warning to the candidates that they need to discuss how they plan to deal with global warming. My guess is they’ll pass. I wonder how soon and how big the next one will be.

As the election nears, politics is getting heated in the Freshly Squeezed household. See the whole series at GoComics.com.

As the election nears, politics is getting heated in the Freshly Squeezed household. See the whole series at GoComics.com.

Nation of Whiners

When did politics become one long offended whine? Poor little Mitt getting beat up on his taxes by the big mean Dems. Poor little Barack, inheriting a bad economy because of those nasty old Republicans. Poor little Paul Ryan, had to grow up without a daddy, so everyone else should have their benefits cut and be self-reliant like him. Poor little minority and elderly voters, having to produce picture IDs to vote. Hey, guys, this is politics, remember? A full-contact sport. Hardball. Get over it. Are the campaigns really going to spend a couple of billion dollars to tell me why I should elect the most victimized candidates? 

Okay, it’s election season, so I got a little political. Hard for me to shed my editorial cartoon roots. Read the whole series at GoComics.com. Better yet, sign up there to have Freshly Squeezed emailed to you every day.

Okay, it’s election season, so I got a little political. Hard for me to shed my editorial cartoon roots. Read the whole series at GoComics.com. Better yet, sign up there to have Freshly Squeezed emailed to you every day.

Mitt’s Veep

Now the far right is demanding that poor Mitt prove his bona fides as a true wingnut by selecting Rep. Paul Ryan, author of the extreme budget the Republican party has adopted, a budget so mean-spirited that even the American Catholic bishops have denounced it for savaging the safety net. Romney, a formerly sane Republican who in the past has made at least a modicum of sense and who has previously championed what used to be an acceptably moderate Republican agenda, has already bent over backwards disavowing virtually everything he used to believe in. This, of course, has not been enough for the Ridiculous Right, which will never trust Mitt not to be secretly sane.