Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

My heartiest apologies for being away from this blog for the past month. Circumstances beyond my control left me unable to continue my writings. The details are too queasy to delve into, but suffice it to say that I can confirm that the following pair of sentences are undeniably true.

1) When health experts warn expats living in Thailand to wash all of the fruits and vegetables bought in local markets, they really mean it.
2) The hospitals in Bangkok (okay, granted that my dataset consists of one) are Western in quality, cleanliness, and professionalism.

With all that said, I’m glad to be back (and upright).

While I was away, I noticed that the internal workings of the United States government have ground to a halt (almost like my insides…oh, wait, I wasn’t going to go into the details…sorry). This gridlock-slash-shutdown-slash-default seems like the perfect hook to let you in on my latest epiphany.

When I was growing up, I came of age (politically speaking) in the Era of Reagan. Back then, I blamed the Republican president for the budget deficits and national debt that were a hallmark of the 1980s.

In the 1990s, when the red ink turned black, I tipped my hat to President Clinton for his (or at least his advisors) financial acumen.

Now, even in my mid-forties, I am not so bound by ideology that I cannot see new facts and revise what I once knew.

I have now (slowly, but surely) come to learn and appreciate that it is the Congress – and more importantly, the House of Representatives – that controls the budget. The chief of the Executive Branch may be able to offer legislation and a budget plan, but it is still the responsibility of the People’s House to actually allocate the money.

With this new perspective in mind, I belatedly offer my ire to the Democratic-led House of the 1980s for busting the budget and give my appreciation to the Newt Gingrich-led GOP House of the 90s for helping to rein in spending.

What this now means for me in the current situation as the nation I was born in has shuttered most of its windows for the past two weeks and hurtles towards becoming a deadbeat nation is that my contempt is wholeheartedly reserved for the party now controlling the House of Representatives. The current leadership has to know when it has the votes, when legislation will pass and in what form, and what will be able to move through the Senate and make its way to be signed by the President. Any toying with the full faith and credit of the Unites States government simply to achieve a political goal that has been rebuffed over forty times is folly.

I give credit where it is due and blame where it is due. I have been able to change my mind. I hope it doesn’t take the current House leadership decades to do the same.


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With the first quarter of 2011 in the books, it’s reporting time of one sort or another.

For this post, I look at the reporting numbers of the fine folks in Congress who want to be reelected when November 2012 rolls around.

Yes, I know, there was just an election over three months ago, but the 2012 cycle has already started. Therefore, the people who were elected to got to Washington to shake things up have to do the same thing that American politicians have had to do since the Republic was founded – pass the hat around and ask for money.

UPI has this story that states that the GOP freshman have, on average, raised only $176,000 from January to March 2011. This contrasts with the freshman Democrats of 1Q2009 who took in $287,000 and $242,000 in 1Q2007.

However, that figure of $176K is only an average, so there must be some someone who is on the high-end of that scale and indeed there is such a person.

According to this story from TheHill.com, Congressman David McKinley, a Republican from West Virginia, topped all freshmen Representatives by bringing in $536,000 during the first three months of this year.

Since the 112th Congress has only been in session for about one hundred days, this means that, on average, Mr. McKinley has brought in $5,360 (there’s your number for the day) in campaign cash per day since he has been in Congress.

I guess that’s how you show you’re a DC outsider – by asking for money.

In fact, Mr. McKinley has already started his 2012 campaign – and there is still 567 days to go until Election Day 2012 – which makes me wonder how much time Mr. McKinley spends passing the hat around for cash and how much time he spends actually doing any legislating.

I’d love to ask him, but Congress is on recess for the next two weeks.

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Much ink and bytes have been spilt and transmitted about the enthusiasm gap, the phenomenon during the 2010 mid-term elections where Democratic voters did not show up to the polls in the large numbers that they did during the 2008 election.

I wrote of this phenomenon in January of this year when wondering where the missing Democrats had gone in the Massachusetts special election that saw Republican Scott Brown take the Senate seat vacated after the death of Ted Kennedy.

My post in January ended with the thought that perhaps the Democrats did not show up because they were tired.

I would like to amend that hypothesis and postulate that it was not so much that the Democrats were tired, but that it was the Republicans were fired up and the Democrats were lukewarm about this year’s election.

Here’s why…and it all comes down to bumper stickers.

While driving to work, I have the opportunity to view bumper stickers that run the gamut of the wings from right to left and I have noticed an interesting quality in stickers from both sides of the ideological spectrum.

Here are a few samples of bumper stickers from the conservative, right-wing, religious point of view:

I’ll Keep My Guns, Freedom, & Money / You Can Keep the “Change” (link)
T.axed E.nough A.lready (link)
Don’t Let the Car Fool You / My Treasure is in Heaven (link)

A sample of bumper stickers from the left, liberal, and open-to-all-faiths category are:
Save the Whales (link)
Unions Brought You: Weekends, 8-Hour Days, Paid Vacations… (link)
Coexist (link)

The theme that runs through the conservative bumper stickers is that of the “I”, “Me” and “Mine”:
I’ll keep my guns…
I’m taxed enough…
My treasure…

The theme that runs through the liberal bumper stickers is that of the “You”, “We”, and “Other”:
Save the other species
Unions brought you
We should coexist with other faiths

I do not make these comparisons between philosophies as stated on bumper stickers to say one way is superior to the other. I am highlighting these differences in thoughts – the “I” versus the “We” – to show why Republicans came out in force a few days ago and Democrats had better things to do.

For right or wrong, conservatives felt threatened by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, big government, or all three. Experience and common sense point to the fact that a person feels personally that their safety is at risk, that person will fight hard to negate the threat. Republicans, with a strong sense of the “I”, felt personally threatened and therefore went to the polls to negate the threat.

On the other side, when people feel that another group is threatened, they may go to the aid of the other, but that feeling of wanting to help is not as strong as if they themselves were personally threatened. Such was the case of missing Democrats who, with their strong sense of the “We”, may have felt like helping and going to the polls, but perhaps there was a good episode of Project Runway on that night.

Yes, I realize this post is a bit of a stretch – trying to tie bumper sticker philosophy with why people don’t vote – so I’d love to hear your reasons why Democrats took a pass at this year’s polls.

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