Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sea Change?

A recent post is full of comments to and from SeaSpray, a valued and long-time commenter. She and I started our online relationship on Surgeonsblog, where I concluded she was a thoughtful and genuine person. She is. So it's become some sort of a mission to try to get through to her; I don't know why, it just has. Based on prior discussions, I figured she wasn't the typical screamer. So here's my final attempt, on which I embark fully aware it'll change nothing.

SeaSpray, I get that people don't like President Obama, and that there are plenty of reasons to disagree with his policies. But neither you, nor people of the teabag persuasion, seem to want to nor are able to address their objections based on policy or on conservative principles. You -- and they -- perseverate on the stuff that people want you to, in order to get you -- successfully, as you've admitted -- to ignore the effects of their policies. Lately I've been posting about the few true conservatives who've been expressing their disappointment in their party, as they see it becoming unhinged, rigid, and unhelpful. I'd hoped you might be able to see it, too.

As I've written over and over, this country needs two opposing parties; it improves both of them, it leads to finding solutions that aren't too over one edge or another. I
want there to be a strong conservative party; but that also means one that's willing to come together when needed, and to propose solutions that haven't already been shown to fail, time and again. Solutions about which they don't feel compelled to lie.

I guess I could repeat all the ways in which your party has become dangerous; but since I have already, many times, there's no real point. I wish, though, that you could step outside yourself and have a look at the points you keep making: the New Black Panther Party; Joe Biden gets a pass; unfair media; racism; whispering to Putin (it was Medvedev, actually, and what he said was that after the election he'd be able to take up arms control more easily. A political truism. And treaties have to be ratified. Even if he agreed to send all our missiles to Russia wrapped in flowers and candy, with GPS coordinates of your house attached, the senate has to approve it.)

You buy the lies about Obama and Israel, evidently. And you repeat the RWS™ upside-downer that Obama is divisive, ignoring the fact that from day one your party lined up against him, even as Eric Cantor said Rs had had more face time with Obama in six weeks than they'd had with Bush in eight years, and that teabaggers, who now control your party, claim he's unAmerican. Let alone not born here. Hates America, says Rush. Wants to destroy it. And still Obama says he believes they'll work with him. "Oh yeah??" answer the Rs. Who's dividing whom?

You actively don't talk about the economic impact of cutting taxes even further on the wealthy in ways that will raise them on the middle class, increasing military spending and, if they do as they claim they'll do, balancing the budget. The only way it'd work is to eliminate virtually all domestic spending. It's true: practically every analysis has said so. (And they've also said it's still impossible to achieve balance!) I've provided links in the past. Do I need to again, or would it make a difference?

We've become cynical enough about politics to consider some amount of lying and spin to be normal. You might recall I've criticized Obama for some of his ads, and when Alan Grayson went over the line, I wrote that I hoped he'd lose (which he did), even though he was one of the most effective liberal voices in Congress. But the lies of Romney and Ryan are beyond the pail, and they've based their whole campaign on them. When a writer for Fox "news" even says so, you know it's something to consider. If I re-listed the lies, would you care? Do you prefer to believe Obama apologizes for America, hates capitalism, gutted welfare reform, etc, etc, so you don't have to consider the good things he's done? Just as Karl Rove hopes.

Do you wish the auto industry had gone under? Can you look at this graph and believe the stimulus had no effect? Do you think it might be worthwhile to understand the origin of our deficits and debt? Are you unhappy that Obama has killed more terrorists than Bush ever dreamed (including you-know-who)? Is that why you think he'd ready to sell out America? Have you decided Romney's health plan in Massachusetts, which is working, and which differs from Obamacare mainly in that Obama gave other states latitude to try other approaches, was a bad thing? Do you think we should still be in Iraq? Do you believe that returning the wealthy to tax rates under Clinton, when the country was flourishing, is anti-capitalist, or might you be able to see it as a way to balance the budget while still paying for such things as education, first responders, roads, consumer protection, health care...? Is it socialism or Marxism to recognize that capitalism needs government to survive? Are you aware that Obama has proposed significant spending cuts, too, but in a balanced way that doesn't rob the future?

Those are the issues. Romney and Ryan would rather lie about Obama (again: shall I provide lists?) than discuss their plans in any detail; and the Koch brothers, via the RWS™ and superpacs, are paying handsomely for you to be distracted by distortions and falsehoods so you won't notice their self-enriching plans, their plans for their present at the expense of the country's future. Money well spent, evidently.

Like you, I don't care about dogs on roofs or on dinner plates. I don't care that Romney is a Mormon (and although, since we know he's a tax-avoider, I do think it's relevant to know if he's also a tax cheat, I don't care as much about that as the other stuff, either.) I do find very significant that your candidate has changed his mind on
every single major political and moral issue this country faces, and I wonder what it takes to influence him nowadays? But, okay. Let's assume his latest positions are his real positions. Like on "Millionaire:" final answer. (You said he's okay with abortion for rape and incest and life of the mother and so are you, but he's also said he'd sign a bill that declares personhood at conception, which would make those exceptions murder. But, okay. No candidate holds every position that a voter wants. [RNC conventioneers, when asked about the conflict between his views and their platform against all abortion, no exceptions, said everyone should be allowed choice on the matter. Ironic, huh?])

In the end, SeaSpray, what we should want from
any voter is evidence that the decision is based on reality, on the issues we face. I'd like to believe you've assessed each candidate's positions on the budget, on health care, Social Security, Medicare, education, taxes, military spending, etc, etc, and decided that, on those issues, you prefer Romney, and have specific policy reasons for making your choice. Not based on whether Obama is Kenyan, Muslim, hates America, didn't speak out about a group that contains a handful of people, or based on a literally impossible Foxobeckian fever dream of handing the keys to Putin: based on policy. Based on what he's done and wants to do, versus what Romney and Ryan plan to do. And undo.

I acknowledge a significant problem with that: neither Romney nor Ryan has specified the details of their economic plans. "We'll tell you after we're elected," they say. "We'll close loopholes, but we're not saying which ones or how much revenue it'll gain," they argue. About the only specific is Romney's promise to make defense spending total 4% of GDP (more than the Pentagon wants) which would be a huge increase, despite the fact that we're already spending more than the rest of the world combined, and the fact that aircraft carriers can't stop suitcase bombs.

To me, it's puzzling (to put it mildly) that anyone but a mulitmillionaire could choose to vote for R/R, because everyone else will be adversely affected, and our ability to secure a future will be gone. As a speaker at the DNC said, "Freedom isn't free, but neither is opportunity." And "It's impossible to be pro-business and not be pro-education." The R/R plans are based on short-term gain for those who already gots, and ignore the need to make sure there are funds for future Americans to succeed as well.

Tell me where I'm wrong about that. Or, if you'd rather not, tell yourself. That's all. My vote for Obama is based on the conclusion, supported by experts more expert than I, that R/R plans will devastate the ability to pay for things that I consider vitally important. Is your decision based on the conclusion that they're not important; or is it that you don't care? Or that you think I'm lying?

[Added, after a certain speech: Lemme take a wild guess -- you didn't watch Bill Clinton last night. If you didn't, you should. Do it for yourself. (And give yourself plenty of time: he did go on!) I don't imagine you'll be moved; but do it anyway. And decide if he made sense, if he was credible. Or if you think he lied. And if so, where? Answer his arguments, his elaboration of the last four years: not to me. To yourself. Here it is. The generalities, which you'll hate, quickly give way to specifics you need to consider. Skip ahead to the five minute mark. And if you can't make yourself watch the whole thing, there's a short clip of it here that gives a taste of him addressing the facts.]

Finally: don't take it personally, SeaSpray. I've always liked you; I tried to help back on Surgeonsblog, and I'm trying to help now. But, really, I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to teabaggers everywhere, and I'm perfectly aware they're not listening. Which makes me what?


  1. Oh Dr Schwab - you SURPRISE me with your kind words! You know what they say - never say never. SOMETHING may still sink in. Hmmm I referring to you or to me with that last sentence? ;)

    Seriously ..thank you for your kind words.

    I was just reading through this post, didn't finish because I am so distracted with other thoughts, things I have to do, etc. (and wanting to go out in the sun -in the pool and pick tomatoes in the garden) but, I will come back to this post to answer. HA! You're prolific writing/commenters are hard to keep up with.

    I still want to go back to answer Bl.

    You may recall, that in the past I quoted Chris Matthews (because I agreed wholeheartedly), when he said, "We need both wings to fly the eagle." But, that was BEFORE his political bias caused him to skew the facts and perpetuate lies and cry racism. Maybe he did before and we missed it because there was more balance. Anyway - I AGREE WITH YOU about needing balance in our government. I do take issue with your stating It is the republicans who don't cooperate. Do you mean to tell me that dems don't do that? You know that budget the president put out (because he had too) - dems also voted against it.

    I have to go, I'll come back asap. Sometimes I read, but just no time to comment. Or the post/comments too painful ..I just leave.

  2. Well, when/if you do come back, SeaSpray, I hope you'll address the central questions, and ignore Chris Matthews, who has nothing to do with anything.

    And I'm sure you understand the reason all Dems voted against "Obama's" budget: it was because the bill put forth by Sen Sessions, R, was NOT Obama's budget. But since I've referred to that here, I'm sure you were just being silly. Right?

    So let's not get into a "I know you are but what am I," okay? Let's address the issues.

    But if you DO really think D obstructionism is equal to R's, how many times have Rs filibustered since Obama was elected, vs Ds when Bush was president? How many R votes did the stimulus and health care get, compared to D votes for Bush's bank bailout, when he asked for help? Just asking. I'm sure you already knew, and were just kidding...

  3. "I do take issue with your stating It is the republicans who don't cooperate."

    Never call them do nothings!

    They voted 34 times to eliminate The Affordable Care Act; now that's what I call cooperation!

    They tried, and frequently succeeded, to block cancer immunizations for young women.

    They vote to destroy Planned Parenthood services - even non abortion services.

    In Texas, a woman found that there were only 13 clinics or doctors that take the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. Thirteen. Not 181 as TexASS politicians claim.

    Why? Because 92 of the state’s listings are duplicates. Others are radiology associates and labs and pediatricians and even closed clinics.


    Sid has appealed eloquently to the Christian values you say you hold dear; I and just about anybody, could go on citing the unjust and merciless "Values" Christian Teabaggers espouse but there are none so blind as they who refuse to see.

    That which you do not do, to the least of these my brothers, you do not do to me! JC

    Make you proud to be on board SS?


  4. "Or the post/comments too painful..."

    Pain, makes man think.
    Thinking, makes man wise.
    Wisdom, makes life endurable!


  5. I haven't forgotten either post comments. Just so *busy*. I will come back. Don't know if worth the wait ...especially since I will make you crazy. :)

    Someday ..I'll have a laptop and can just kick back in comfort to read/comment. A SeaSpray can dream. :)

  6. If you address the central questions, about R/R budgets and their impact, and don't repeat the NBPP stuff, the racism denial, the media, Biden -- all the distractions -- it won't make me crazy. Despondent, maybe, but no crazier than the world has already made me.

    (It'd be okay to tell us why the lies -- the ones even too much for Fox "news" -- don't bother you, though.)


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