Show Me The Money
With pundits predicting the combined spending to win the White House in November will exceed $2 Billion, can we all now agree that politics has become a virtual function of money and power? It was reported today that Barack Obama has spent hundreds of millions on early campaign spots to "frame" Romney in a negative light as a "Big Money," "Big Corporation Favoring," Anti-Woman Arch-Conservative," "Off-Shore Jobs Provider" and now "Off-Shore Tax Evader" while Mitt Romney continues to spend hundreds of millions portraying Obama as a "Failed President," "Loser on the Economy," "Panderer in Chief," "Failed Apologizer" on and on. What folks don't seem to get is that the only "trickle down economics" at work in this campaign, is the fact that political campaigns are now more a function of how much money a candidate can raise and spend in media ads to defeat their opponents and the promises they have to make to those providing those fundraising dollars versus representing us, the American people who should be their primary and most important constituents. Now, all political campaigns are becoming a function of money and promises in return to those giving. When will the American people wake up and realize that our nation's problems cannot be solved when politicians sell themselves out to the highest bidders and once elected, give them access to help shape policy and legislation, regardless of how it impacts the rest of us? When will we realize that members of Congress make $175,000 a year in salary, but will spend millions to get the job. What kind of investment would the average American make to get this type of low paying return...unless there is a pot of gold at the other end. Same goes for the Presidency. $2 Billion is the going rate in 2012. What will it be in 2016, 2020? Is there no end to it all? When will Americans realize that the reins of power in our government are really at auction, bought by the higest bidder? Will it forever be a case of "show me the money?"
Fit To Serve?
Once again, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) loses his temper and screams at a constituent asking a question about the recent health care ruling. This is just one of a series of public outbursts by Gov. Christie, who has once again solidified his real role as "Bully-In-Chief!" Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) recently stuck his foot deep down his own mouth (again) for claiming that the IRS is the "New Gestapo" as it will be enforcing the new penalty/tax against those who choose to not buy health insurance and instead push their health care costs, like they have been onto the American taxpayers. Gov. LePage has a history of making provocative remarks in the past geared towards promoting a rhetoric of hate and conflict by appealing to those who share his views that not all Americans deserve to be considered "real Americans." This time, it's the IRS. Make no mistake, I am no fan of the IRS, but even thinking that the IRS is anything like the Nazi Gestapo is ignorant, irresponsible and a cheap way to pander to the like minded and dimwitted populace. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Illinois) had one of his own "foot in mouth" episodes caught on tape when after a constituent asked him a question at a "Cup-O-Joe" constituent town hall meeting, his response was to start screaming about "free markets" and when she replied "please don't yell at me, because I am not yelling at you," Mr. Walsh screamed back, "That pisses me off." Hmm, seems he has a problem with caffeine, or perhaps, handling legitimate questions from the people he is supposed to represent! Now we hear reports that Obama's campaign ads are erroneously claiming while Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital, he outsourced jobs to China, which is not true. On the flip side, Romney paints Obama in just as many false manipulations and distortions. Gov. Chris Christie just two days ago released a political radio ad railing against state Democrats for blocking tax cuts in New Jersey. Today, the news media released a report that it was Gov. Christie himself who was blocking the tax cuts he was really seeking (and that after railing against the former Governor for raising taxes, Christie himself has raised taxes by over $800 million). These are but a few current example of how politicians continue to think of themselves as exempt from speaking "straight" with their constituents. With politicians like these, it is no wonder our country has lost its way. Incredibly, their supporters will do anything to keep them in office or get elected. But ask yourself this key question. Are they really fit to serve?
On a day when we have politicians complaining that their rivals spend too much time speaking about their military service without recognizing the extent of their real sacrifice (in that case, two legs) to having the fear that Obamacare will lead to socialized medicine and a mass exodus of doctors from their practices, I have been accused of being something many have probably thought but not been comfortable saying. I have been accused of being a "leftist", of being a "Republicon", an "Ivory Tower Thinker'", which course I do not accept. Today I was accused of being, wait for it.....an "Optimist!" OMG! Someone who looks at everything that is supposed to be bad and somehow perceived it to be somehow positive! Shameful! Actually, when it comes to everyday matters, my wife would consider me to really be a pessimist, but when it comes to our government and politics, I can say that I am really, deep down, a pragmatic optimist! So, I guess you can now take everything I say about our government and political environment with a real large grain of salt. I do believe we have the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. I do believe we have the best system of government, even with all of its warts, scars and troubles. Although I do believe in these positives, I do recognize that we as a nation, have a ton of problems that can only be addressed by our elected officials, those who we trust will work on solutions that will benefit all of us. Can we really believe we have those elected officials in place to do what needs to be done for us all? I don't think so. Can we find better? Of course we can! Can we do it within the existing political environment? Now you got me. But as a teacher of American History and not just government and politics, I know that our great nation "earned its stripes" by fire, which included some very contentious political upheaval, and we not only survived, but we came out stronger as a result. I believe that we have three factors working against us at this point in our political history. 1. We have political parties driven to retain and/or increase power by allying themselves with interest groups, putting their real constituents - the American People second. Big mistake. 2. We have forgotten or fail to appreciate our solid history, which makes us vulnerable to manipulative politicians driven to wrap themselves with power instead of true public service; and 3. We have a For-Profit media interested in only attracting viewership and market share through efforts less honorable than truly educating our electorate and more interested in pushing polarizing sensationalized political rhetoric, which only divides us against our own self-interests which leads to most folks being turned off by politics and more inclined to leave politicians to work our problems out for us. So, one day soon, I believe the American People will learn again about how our government is structured and how it is to really work, and then we shall as a united America, hold our elected officials responsible to make decisions based upon our true national interests, and not those that "donate" to them to legislate in their behalf. Hopefully, that day will be soon. Am I nuts? Am I just wrapping myself "in the flag?" Am I too optimistic?
It's Mitt's Turn Now!
Ann Romney recently came out and announced that she feels Obama is out to "kill" Mitt by constantly attacking him personally in what has already turned out to be a very nasty and negative presidential campaign. It appears the constant barrage of negative attacks on her husband's career at Bain Capital make her uncomfortable and Obama's statement that Mitt is "out of touch wth most Americans" is really too close to the bone. Gee, it's taken her this long to figure out that elections these days are nasty/negative and that her husband's campaign destroyed Rick Santorum and Newt Gingerich's during the GOP Primary campaigns using the very same tactics? Perhaps she whould be reminded of her own words, "It's Mitt's turn Now?"
Heading to New York City and I have limited access now to the internet. Have a great day!
Happy Birthday America!
Happy Birthday America. As we celebrate the birth of our great nation, it is always a good idea to reflect back on how the Founders and Framers worked tirelessly to assemble a new and innovative structure of government, although initially fragile, it endures to this day. It is equally important to understand that there is a difference between who the Founders were and who the Framers were. The Founders were actively engaged in the revolutionary concept of separating the colonies from Britain and taking up arms to do so in the Revolutionary War. Many folks are not aware that the revolution was also clearly a civil war between colonists seeking independence and loyalists determined to preserve ties with England and the Crown. Many Americans fought against each other, claiming the right to determine the future of the 13 colonies. The brave Founders, while risking their lives at the gallows, met to determine the fate of the colonies and issued a stern Declaration of Independance, listing the basic principals of American freedom and 13 greiveances against the British Crown. Even though the Declaration was prepared to be signed on July 2, 1776, it took two additional days to secure the signatures necessary to formally adopt the document (hence the official July 4 birth date). But what form of government did the Founders design? NOT the government we have today. I stress NOT the government we have today because the Founders learned the original structure was to fail and fail miserbly under what was known as the Articles of Confederation, a system that united the new states in name only. A system favoring states' rights over a central government was doomed from the start. It was after a series of events that the Framers got together in Philadelphia to create a new structure of government based upon new American principles of liberty and freedom, but with a reliance on a new form of federalism. The Constitution that came from this convention is the blueprint that many Americans misunderstand or are truly ignorant of. Many know we have a Bill of Rights, but do not know why. Many know we have amendments, but do not know how many and for what. Far too few know that there are Articles in the Constitution that delineate the powers enumerated to each branch of government. As it was once quipped, "Our great government was designed by genuises to be run by fools." This comment has never been more true than today! So while celebrating our great nation's birthday, think about the differences between the Founders and the Framers and how they shaped America and how they expected the American people to KNOW how and why the system they chose to design was put in place for all of our benefit. A "tip of the hat" to those genuises that created our uniquely American government. Happy Birthday America! For more on this topic, check out my new book where it all is explained.
Meetings Make It Difficult to Blog
Meetings this morning make it impossible to post a blog this morning. I will try to get to it later today when I can. Please come back later to check out today's rant. As an aside, the Supreme Court ruling in the Health Care debate does NOT eliminate the role of the House Ways and Means Commitee to initiate tax policy under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. See you later.
Is Talk Radio the Problem?
As I drove to an appointment this morning in a friend's car, I had the opportunity to spend 40 minutes of "quality" time listening to the Glenn Beck radio program. As I drove along my merry way, I was entertained by hearing all about how the president is determined to "destroy freedom," domestic oil production," "single-handedly tax us" on anything he wants us to do or not do, and to even to perhaps tax us if we don't exercise our right to vote. Mr. Beck's book was also touted as an unrivaled evidence based treatise that "cover to cover" proves that Obama has designs to destroy America during his second term and that he therefore, must be defeated. A guest on Mr. Beck's show then came on to tout his book, a second in a series dedicated to the very same theory that Obama is the "devil" and that the "Liberals secretly want to destroy America"...all documented in pages of end-notes (For those readers thinking I am taking sides, I apologize. I simply do not listen to Talk Radio adhering to any ideology. I would have much rather listened to a decent music station or ESPN, but I figured I would give Glenn Beck a shot).
What kind of secret can Liberals have if conservative talking heads know about it? Do the Liberals have a major leak somewhere? If Obama wanted to impose a tax on Americans, wouldn't he have to first go through the House Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees, currently controlled by the GOP? Of course he would! How can he "singlehandedly" do any of the things they have proof he "wants" to do? They used inflammatory superlatives like "destroy" "dictator" "Socialistic" "Communistic" "Killer of freedoms and liberties" and "Un-American" and "Treasonous." They then warned that Obama is so worried about re-election, he is pandering to everyone, including illegal aliens (huh?) to vote for him in November (they also stated that he should be investigated for flying around the country on Air Force One while engaged in "politics." Note to "talking heads...it's called "Incumbency Advantage." I bet they know that yet cynically present it rile up the ignorant ideologues that listen in).
I was even more amused that they repeated Rush Limbaugh's sentiment that Chief Justice John Roberts "sold out" to the "liberal media" headquartered in New York and Washington in an effort to protect his legacy as Chief Justice (Limbaugh and Fox also broadcast out of New York...go figure). The commentator on Beck's program proudly declared that although he "hates Bader-Ginsberg, she at least does not forget her principles and can not be influenced by the media when making her decisions." I really enjoyed it when the same commentator went on to state that Justice Thomas (note he omitted the title Justice for Bader-Ginsberg and used the word "hate"), is never influenced by the media because he doesn't read! Just last week I was in Washington D.C. and the Washington Post reported that no one, including the law clerks of the Supreme Court could predict, even as late as the day before the ruling how the justices were ultimately going to rule. Yet Limbaugh KNOWS Chief Justice Roberts was influenced not by the Constitution or by Law, but by the "Liberal Media." One must only shake their head in wonder as to how any of the talking heads on either side of the political spectrum can perpetuate the myths associated with our government, its inherent checks and balances and its seperation of powers in a way to cynically sway the uninformed and gullible listening public. Although I respect the right of the media, (of all ideologies) under the First Amendment, perhaps we have a lot of conflict in our great nation because of all talking heads on the right and left in the media. Is Talk Radio is problem?
Daniel R. Rubin is an Attorney, Key Note Presenter, Lecturer and Award Winning Author. He is a retired Adjunct Professor of American History who also taught Advanced Placement United States Government and American Politics in Venice, Florida. @2023 Daniel R. Rubin Copyright. All Rights reserved.