The 2010 Election:
America’s Aretha Franklin Moment
September 29, 2010
With the increasing chance of Republicans taking control of at least one house of Congress, I hereby invoke the little-known right of a columnist to channel R&B singer Aretha Franklin to deliver a simple message to the voters of America on this important election:
From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire where Palin-endorsed GOP Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte wants to “repeal the IRS code completely.” This is a perfect example of how Republican tax policy defies logic. First Republicans claim that Democrats reflexively want to raise your taxes, when in reality 98 percent of New Hampshirites received an average tax cut of $1,184 under President Obama. Secondly, Republicans claim that we can cut taxes and still balance the budget, but that is exactly what they said when they passed the Bush tax cuts and now we have a $1.3 trillion deficit. No wonder David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s former budget director, calls the Republican pledge “a big lie.”
From the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania where the Republican Senate candidate is Pat Toomey, a former derivatives trader who earned the nickname “Congressman Wall Street” for pushing deregulation of Wall Street, including preventing regulation of many of the risky new financial products that led to the financial meltdown. Toomey’s slogan is “less government, more jobs,” but less government is exactly what got us into this mess. In fact, Chris Cox, President Bush’s own Securities and Exchange Commissioner, belatedly acknowledged this very fact and called for the regulation of some of the very instruments Toomey’s legislation had exempted.
From the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado where Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck echoes many of the same themes as Toomey in calling for a privatized reform of health care, Medicare and Social Security and argues that we need to “wean the American public off” student loans and other programs. The aptly-named Buck conveniently overlooks the private sector’s failure to address the 50 million Americans without health insurance or the one-third of seniors in poverty prior to passage of Medicare. He also ignores the fact that government programs increasing access to education more than pay for themselves, as the G.I. Bill alone generated nearly $7 in extra federal revenue for each dollar invested.
Buck is also one of five Republican Senate candidates who favor an absolute ban on abortion — even in cases of rape or incest. Women, however, are not the only ones for whom there is little R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the Republican Party, however. They are joined by Hispanics, gays and Muslims in being excluded from Sarah Palin’s “real America.”
From the curvaceous slopes of California where failed former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina — like all but one other GOP Senate candidate — apparently knows more than 32 national science academies and the Pentagon in dismissing the threat posed by global warming. It is bad enough that CEO Fiorina willingly shipped 30,000 American jobs to India and China; she can do far worse in the Senate. Even though she owes her wealth in no small part due to government investment in computer technology, she and other Republicans support unilateral disarmament in the battle with China over green tech supremacy, as the GOP has blocked passage of the Clean Energy Security Act which would have created 1.9 million clean tech jobs over the next decade — including 226,000 in California.
From every mountainside where we all are struggling with the worst recession since the depression but must remember how we got here in the first place. The Republicans inherited a strong economy and a budget surplus and drove the economy to the brink of depression. Even after the financial meltdown, they still don’t get it. This is the party that believes that BP deserves an apology and millionaires deserve tax cuts, while unemployed Americans deserve didley.
In 2008, Republican Congressman Tom Davis said that the party’s brand was “in the trash can” and that “if we were a dog food, they would take us off the shelf.” Two years later it is still the same product.
As Aretha said, “[i]t don’t take too much high IQ’s to see” that the solution to the problem is not to embrace the people who got us there in the first place. That is especially true when things are starting to turn around. Under President Obama, America is getting back on its feet. With no help from the party of “No,” the President passed the stimulus that created nearly 3 million jobs, enacted monumental health care reform, stopped credit card abuses, cleaned up Wall Street, and saved millions of home from foreclosure. And he is just getting started.
Do you really want to go back to the way things were in October 2008?