Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why I Vote Democratic - Pt 1

At the beginning of the year, I did a guest post at AskCherlock, in which I explained why I vote Democratic.  It was kind of a longer piece, consisting of a list of 7 or 8 chasm-sized differences between the two parties.  But even at over four pages in length (in Word), I didn’t feel like I was getting into it deeply enough. 

I also wanted to run the material here too, so I figured I would take each item on the list and flesh it out into a (considerably shorter) post of its own.  I plan on running more, periodically… I don’t want to blow all them out during the spring and summer, then run out of gas by the elections.  But since we’re revving up for the Great Presidential Campaign of 2012 right now, I thought I’d at least better get things started.  

Note:  When I refer to “Republicans” here, I’m referring only to the national party leaders and political apparatus.  The same goes for my use of “Democrats.”  Local jurisdictions may vary and I have no knowledge or comment about them. 

On the occasions when I do a political post, if I get any kind of blowback in Comments, it’s along the lines of “The Democrats do that too,” or “The Democrats are dirty too,” or “Oh yeah?  Well double-dumbass on you!

The thing is; I don’t care about that.  I think that there is ample evidence that both sides play dirty pool and both sides seek to enrich themselves and their benefactors while prolonging their grip on power.  That’s a draw.  The fact remains that one side is trying to accomplish things in which I greatly believe and the other side is fighting tooth and nail to stop them. 

If the Republicans are right about one thing, it’s that elections are about values.  We vote for what we value.  The Republican Party values two main things: unfettered big business and regressive social policy (usually in the name of religion).

Actually, I believe it’s really just the one thing, or what I call the Republican Prime Directive: the freedom for big business to do whatever they please, consumers and taxpayers be damned, in support of their bottom line. 

But because only Big Businessmen are likely to vote for such a platform, and there aren’t very many of them around, Republicans need something else to motivate people to vote against their own economic interest.  That’s where the religion and “family values” come in.  I’m not saying that the grassroots Conservatives don’t actually believe that stuff; I’m saying that the top of the party doesn’t.  But they’ll use it to keep their voter base in line because it doesn’t do any harm to their Prime Directive.  It's like...

"So what if the gays can’t get married?  Who cares if poor women can’t get cheap birth control or an abortion?  Screw’em!  Just as long as the big wheels stay greased and the money keeps flowing into Big Oil, Big Pharma, Agribusiness and the almighty Defense Industry, the rest of the riff-raff can fend for themselves.  The more their attention is focused on social hot-buttons, and away from what we’re doing behinds the scenes in our well-stocked conference rooms, the better."

Now, I don’t have anything against Big Business, per se.  Hell, I work for one of the biggest.  But you don’t have to be a history major to see the damage that the deregulation of the financial industry has done to the country.  There is one party that is working feverishly to deregulate the finance industry and the other is in favor of preventing another year like 2007.  (You know, where the rich guys betting on stock failures get richer and the rest of us get soaked.)

OR, just look at this week’s news about JP Morgan.  Do you think the big financial guys learned anything from that complete economic collapse (that they caused)?  Obviously not.  They’re still pulling the same kind of shit, while at the same time, begging, pleading with and plunging millions of dollars into lobbying Congress to release the shackles of regulation.  You know, release those shackles whose removal will allow them to go right back to their old ways, without repercussion.

Two billion dollars, they lost.  Say it like Carl Sagan… “Two BILL-YUN dollars.”  At least we taxpayers aren’t on the hook for that, but still, that kind of loss can suck the support out of the market in general and whoops!  There go our 401k’s again.

In a similar vein, the Democrats fought to set up a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to function independently as they look out for the kind of financial malfeasance that robs the common people and enriches the executives of the financial industry. 

So far, the Republicans have tried to create political oversight of the department, (which completely defeats the intended “independent” purpose), withhold approval for anyone to run the department (especially anyone that might be effective) and defund it so that they are too understaffed and financially strapped to operate.  Does that sound like it’s in the best interest of the average American?

Hardly.  That’s in the best interest of the banking industry, an industry that preys on you and me with relentless fees, hidden behind indecipherable legalese, specifically designed to be impenetrable to the average consumer.  They squawked to high heaven at the thought of having to tell their customers, in plain English, what kind of fees they were likely to pay, in clearly articulated circumstances.

Who could possibly be against keeping banks from intentionally scamming customers? 

The Republicans, that’s who.  Their stance on this issue clearly illustrates whose side they are on.

Hint: It’s not yours.  (Unless, you know, you own a bank.)

The Republicans insistence on deregulating industries in general, the banking industry in particular, is one reason why I vote Democratic.  You should too.

Note: Bonus points for anyone that caught the reference to “Star Trek IV: The One With the Whales.”  And Republicans want those whales dead.


Mary Ann said...

Let's hope Elizabeth Warren wins in Massachusetts. The Republicans want every living thing on our planet dead.

bluzdude said...

Well, not EVERYTHING... I'm pretty sure they have plans to build a giant dome, somewhere in the Midwest, to house all the oil, gas and nuclear execs, once the Smokey Mountains become beachfront property and wildfires burn up the rest of the parched, arid heartland.

Cassie said...

I have a friend that works for JP Morgan. She's been awfully quiet on facebook lately. I wonder how it's affected her.

I don't think I've ever voted straight democrat before. Local politicians, sometimes, the republicans actually do have the people in their best interest. But I also think that local politics are a hugely different game from national. I don't think they've been tainted yet.

Gina said...

ON the political stuff - there's nothing for me to say - you know I am about as far left as you can go. So instead - I will express my absolute DELIGHT at seeing my most favorite quote (that I say at least once a day): double-dumbass on you

Judie said...

Actually, according to a news clip of Mitch McConnell that was aired recently, the Republican's prime directive is to defeat Obama. He said so, in no uncertain terms. That means that of course they don't give a rusty f*** about the rest of us--only Obama. People have said that Obama hasn't done anything since he has been in office. Do you think that might be that the Republicans have blocked him at every turn, simply because they want to be in control, and not because they want to make life better for the American voters? You bet!!!

Unapologetically Mundane said...

I guess you have to respect people who stand up for their morals so much that they're willing to get effed in the bank account for them.

Of course, their morals are hateful and bigoted, but try to forget about that.

bluzdude said...

I feel bad for you friend and I can totally identify (because you know where I work). It’s too bad that as far as national perception goes, the rank and file people that do a good job tend to get lumped in with the high-profile gamblers and screw-ups.

I totally agree that local politics is different that national; that’s why I’m not posting about it. It varies far too greatly across the country to be able to talk about any kind of agenda across the board.

I do think that you find the “true believers” at the local level, so in that, I would have a whole different field of disagreements. Right now, from what I can see, Republican “local governments” in a number of places across the country are ramming through a whole slew of anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-woman and anti-poor legislation.

Baltimore is a lot like Pittsburgh, in that there is an entrenched Democratic machine that is not going anywhere. And I assume the two cities are also alike in that a number of the big players have stayed well past their “freshness” date and some new blood is in order. Unfortunately, that’s what the machine does… it bats away any challenge to the established leadership. The ideas that brought these people to office are likely long gone by now, except to resurface in campaign ads.

bluzdude said...

Nothing like a well-timed “colorful metaphor.”

bluzdude said...

I agree that it’s their Prime Directive for this term, and by doing so, it accomplishes the other one that I mentioned.

You almost have to admire the gall of a party that seeks to obstruct every single thing that the other side is doing, even if the ideas originally came from their own side, and then campaign on the idea that they haven’t done anything, or haven’t done enough. The hypocrisy is staggering. They’re counting on the fact that Americans are so easily swayed by bullshit arguments, if they’re repeated enough times. And Lord knows they have the money to repeat this stuff indefinitely.

As far as I’m concerned, the Republicans’ behavior this year has been nothing short of treasonous. (And I mean “real” treason, not just the Tea Party making specious accusations about treason because some taxes might go up on a handful of rich people.)

bluzdude said...

The problem is that they want to take the rest of us with them. I don’t care what people’s personal morality or ethics are, as long as they keep them to themselves. When they try to apply their beliefs to the rest of the country, that’s when I have to call bullshit.

Anonymous said...

You have touched on so many points that are similar to my own views that it was tough to figure out how to comment. I started to highlight as I went, and realized it was about one line per paragraph, and my comment would just be your whole post, so I gave up on that. :)

The hubs and I are constantly complaining about how all the social issues the Repubs act like they're championing are just a show to lure in the uninformed. This from one of your replies above hits it on the head:

"They’re counting on the fact that Americans are so easily swayed by bullshit arguments, if they’re repeated enough times. And Lord knows they have the money to repeat this stuff indefinitely."

Also, I believe I saw a clip of W saying almost this exact thing (without the actual admittance of trying to manipulate people, of course). Craziness.

I honestly believe they're getting away with it because they're taking advantage of the previous generation's blind trust in "serious news" they grew up on. They don't get that media like Fox News are NOT "serious news" and that the whole media world has changed and that Americans now have to think for themselves when they're watching something, that we can no longer trust what we're watching to be true absolutely. My conservative relatives drive me nuts - they are very much the direct targets of the Repub Media Machine.

Also, regarding Big Business, the hubs and I have been victims of that whole nastiness, too. "Doing More With Less" is such a ridiculous motto. I don't think execs even realize how insulting they're being when they tout this crap. It's all about the bottom line. Can't touch profits! No siree.

bluzdude said...

It’s just like how they keep repeating lines about Obama’s “out of control spending.” The stats say that spending has come down since Bush. Also, a huge part of that “spending” was putting the cost of both wars on the books. Previously, those costs had been held out of the budget figures. So naturally it looks like a spike, until you see what it really is.

But that doesn’t stop the dishonest claims. They just keep saying it again and again, and people believe it… especially the people that want to believe it.