THE POLITICS OF THE ABSURD

Have those deliciously obnoxious political TV commercials come to your state yet. You know, the ones that are comprised of maybe 5% or 10% fact, followed by as much as 90-95% fiction. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones living in an uncontested state where there is no need for either side to waste resources on commercials bashing the other guy. Political pundits are saying there is at most, 15 states in play for this fall’s election. So if you live in say Utah or Wyoming or the deep South, everyone knows they are going to vote Republican so why bother campaigning there. Conversely, everyone knows that states like New York or California or Maryland will likely go Democratic, so again, no need to spend money campaigning there either. I, however, live in Nevada which is presumed to be up for grabs, so the obnoxious commercials have already begun with each side running TV ads saying their opponent has shipped tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas. These ads are so blatantly dishonest as well as being obnoxious, that it’s hard to believe the voting public falls for them. But since each side is prepared to spend in the neighborhood of a billion dollars each on such ads, I guess people do make their voting decisions based on what they see on TV. I find it ironic that people in the 19th century, when hi-tech was a telegraph and a local newspaper were better informed about political candidates, than people today in the electronic age when all the information they could ever want is at their fingertips. But after all, who has time to spend researching candidates political positions when there are so many other more pressing issues, like the latest Kardashian antics, or who will be the next American Idol.

I have to admit I miss those Republican debates that took place before Romney became the inevitable choice. All those whacky kids up there on the platform, each one trying to prove they were more of a right-wing, looney-tunes, space cadet than the other guy, was highly entertaining. As an aside, one of those looney-tuners, Michele Bachman, just announced that she has become a Swiss citizen. Seems she will hold a dual citizenship with the United States and Switzerland. (Immediately after the announcement, there was a sharp upswing in the Swiss suicide rate as people were found to be throwing themselves off the highest peak in the Swiss Alps. Ms. Bachman was finally prevailed upon to announce that she had no intention of running for office in Switzerland. A huge, collective sigh of relief could be heard throughout Zurich.) In any event, the Republican debates gave the candidates an opportunity to showcase the bottomless pit of their right-wing extremism, and Romney had to describe himself as a “severe extremist” to prove to a doubting GOP constituency that he could sink further into that pit than the others.

Anyway back to the obnoxious, devious and mudslinging commercials. They’re just beginning now, but by September and October they will be flooding the airways (unless you are one of the lucky ones living in one of the 35 states that are not competitive.) Your choices then will be to shut off the TV for good, or at least until after the election, or tape every program ahead of time so you can fast-forward through all those commercials. In any event, I thought that I would give the pros and cons of each of the candidates strengths and weaknesses, and the key issues to consider,  so readers can make up their own minds. Here goes.

An important issue that thus far has gotten very little attention, is the fact that the next President will get to make at least one, and possibly 2 or 3 nominations to the Supreme Court. This means that legal abortion hangs in the balance. Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is 80 years old and has survived pancreatic cancer, will undoubtably be the first to go. She is strongly pro-choice. We know that Romney’s mouth has written checks that his large, anti-abortion, evangelical base of supporters expect to cash once he becomes President. That means appointing anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court. Bottom line, if Romney is President, Roe V. Wade is overturned, and legalized abortion is history. Obama, of course, would nominate a pro-choice judge.

The economy, of course, or the lousy state it’s in, is ostensibly the dominant issue in the campaign. There is no question that Obama has made some serious mistakes in that regard, and it may cost him re-election. Unemployment which was 10% when he took office, is now down to about 8% which is an improvement but a pretty tepid one. Obama’s initial efforts to aid the economy didn’t work out too well, and his attempt to achieve universal health turned out to be a 2700 page behemoth that everyone seems to hate. It will also likely be overturned by the Supreme Court, sending us back to square one in trying to devise a system where everyone gets decent health care. Then there is the ballooning deficit which is heading toward the 16 trillion dollar neighborhood, although that’s mainly due to the lack of revenues because of the poor economy, rather than increased spending. The problem was that Obama was a rookie, with only 2 years of Senate experience, and he made a lot of rookie mistakes. With 4 years experience under his belt he would probably be a better president in his second term. On the plus side, he got Osama bin Laden and a host of other low-life terrorists,  he saved General Motors and Chrysler from going out of business, he got us out of Iraq and is getting us out, finally, from Afghanistan.

Advocates for Romney would point out that he is a smart businessman, looks presidential and would sharply reduce Government expenditures as well as regulations if elected. The problem is that almost all of those sharp reductions would be in benefits that go to the poor, the elderly and the sick. The rich would not be asked to make any sacrifices, and in fact, would reap huge windfalls under Romney’s proposed tax plans. After cutting programs for the disadvantaged, he would significantly increase military expenditures, although he hasn’t said where he would get the money to do that. Must be from that good old money tree that continues to grow in the Pentagon courtyard. Then there’s the problem that Romney will say just about anything, and flip-flop on every issue he once stood for, in order to get elected. I’ve written about that before, so I won’t go into the gruesome details again. But from abortion, to health care, to gun control, to gay rights, Romney has had a complete reversal of previous positions, now that he’s decided to become a ” severe conservative.”

I could go much deeper into these issues, but if you’re interested, as I’ve said, there’s a ton of information just a few clicks away. If you do intend to vote I would urge everyone to be as informed about the issues as is reasonably possible.

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