Keeping In Touch with politics and other issues in Central Virginia .....The Virginia 22nd Senate District and The 6th Congressional District......Vote Democratic for a Better Future....Protect Your Benefits

Democratic Committee Meeting

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What is Demography and GOP By-BY

Demography is destiny, which means the GOP is going the way of the Whigs and the Dodo.    Across the country, they see an aging white majority shrinking as the U.S. heads for the future as a majority-minority country and the Grand Old Party becomes the Gray Old Party.     I have been writing about this trend for a couple of years now and have even attempted to explain it to republican friends.    The aging party of old white men likes things just the way they are and makes no accomodation for the future.   Keep it up and the republicans will dry up and blow away like dry leaves on the fall wind.

In the month since 51% of the electorate chose to keep Barack Obama in the White House,  I've spent my time listening to GOP pundits, operators, and voters.   While the Party busily analyzes the results, its leaders and factions are already out front, pushing their own long-held opinions and calling for calm in the face of onrushing problems.

Do any of their proposals exhibit a willingness to make the kind of changes the GOP will need to attract members of the growing groups that the GOP has spent years antagonizing like Hispanics, Asian Americans, unmarried women, secular whites, workers, union members and others?    In a word:  no.

It looks as if the party is betting all its money on cosmetic change.  Think of it as the Botox Solution.    It wants to tweak its talking points slightly and put more minority and female Republicans on stage as spokespeople.   Many in the GOP seem to believe that this will do the trick in 2014 and beyond.    You've heard the expression “putting lipstick on a pig,”  well the Gullible Old Party is deluded.   Marko  Rubio spewing the old republican line is just as repulsive as Chuck Grassley tripping over his personal stupidity.

The Blame Game and the Short-Term Outlook

Although most Republicans see hints of future demographic challenges in the exit polls, many prefer to focus on other factors to explain Romney’s loss out of a desire not to  “blow up the party if there are less radical solutions.”    (Hence, the delusional quality of so many of their post-mortums and the lack of interest in meaningful change.)

First, they cite the Romney factor:    a weak candidate, too moderate -- or too conservative -- who failed to fight the Obama campaign’s early efforts to paint him as an out-of-touch plutocrat.

 In other words, his history (Bain Capital and Romneycare) depth-charged him before demographics could even kick in.    He was, unfortunately, the perfect quarter-billionaire candidate for a Democratic narrative that the GOP is only out for the rich and doesn’t  “care about people like me.”    (He predictably lost that exit poll question by a margin of 81% to 18%).    Running a “vulture capitalist”   (and a Mormon) drove a number of Republican voters to stay home or even -- gasp! -- vote for Obama.  It’s a mistake that won’t be repeated in 2016.

Second, they point to the Obama factor.  In both 2008 and 2012, he attracted unprecedented levels of minority and young voters, a phenomenon that might not be repeated in 2016.   Some Republican operatives are also convinced that his campaign simply had a much better “ground game” and grasp of how to employ technology to turn out voters.   (Half of self-identifying Republican voters think, as they did in 2008, that Obama simply stole the election through registration fraud involving African Americans.)    Whenever you analyze political situations it is a mistake not to factor in the dim witted attitudes and bigotry of the average republican voter.

Third, they emphasize the powers of incumbency.   Romney only became the presumptive front-runner because the GOP’s A-list-- mostly too young in any case -- feared the huge advantage an incumbent president enjoys and stayed home.    2016, they swear, will be different.    Nor do they seem to fear a reprise of the 2008 and 2012 primary circuses because the A-lister's in 2016, they insist, will all have well-established conservative bona fides and won’t have to bend over backwards to cultivate the conservative base.     I look forward to the next 16 candidates grappling  for conservative nut job approval and the 2016 Republican spot.

Trying to appeal to the Right while facing various nutcase candidates, Romney shot himself in both feet, labeling himself a “severe conservative” and staking an extreme anti-immigration position.  George W. Bush, on the other hand, could run as a “compassionate conservative” in 2000 because his street cred on the Right was unchallengeable.  Indeed, Paul Ryan is already talking up “compassion,” while Ted Cruz, the new (extreme) senator from Texas, is hawking “opportunity conservatism.”

Fourth, there is the perceived success of Republicans other than Romney, particularly in what white Republicans call the “Heartland.”   GOP operatives are still angry at Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock for losing two gimme Senate seats to the Dems by “saying stupid things”  (in the words of Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor and frequent visitor to Iowa), and they wonder how they lost in Montana and North Dakota.

Still, they kept their majority in the House of Representatives, losing only a handful of seats.  (That the GOP lost the majority of total votes cast gets less attention.)   The Party also added a 30th governor to its roster, and held onto its control of the majority of top offices and legislative chambers in the states.  Come 2014, GOP operatives expect the Party to do quite nicely, as the opposition party often does in midterm elections, especially if turnout demographics look like 2006 and 2010.  Another lesson many movement conservatives have learned is that the more they pound away on their issues, the more they shift American politics rightward even when they lose. 

All of this suggests to anxious Republicans that they are not crazy for seeing no immediate need to make big changes to appeal to demographic groups outside the Party’s aging white base.  But the short term is likely to be short indeed.  Think of them, then, as the POD or the Party of Denial.

Meanwhile, on the Bridge of the Titanic

Avoid it as they may, the long-term picture couldn’t look grimmer for the Party.  Demographics may well be destiny.  Even acursory look at the numbers exposes the looming threat to the Party’s future prospects.

Whites:  About three-quarters of the electorate (and 88% of Romney’s voters) this year were white, but their numbers aresteadily sinking -- by 2% since 2008.  Yes, many whites may have stayed home this year, turned off by Mr. Car Elevator, butwhites are projected to become a demographic minority by 2050 -- or possibly even before 2040 -- and minority births arenow outpacing white births.

White Christians:  The bulk of Romney’s supporters (79%) were white Christians (40% of whom were evangelicals), but thisis an aging and shrinking group.   Three-quarters of senior voters but only a quarter of millennial voters are whiteChristians, and the generations in between are much less likely to consider themselves “strong” members of their religionthan seniors.  (Non-white Christians, Jews, observers of other faiths, and the growing number of the religiously-unaffiliated all overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.)

Hispanics:  According to the Washington Post exit polls, Obama received 71% of the Hispanic vote in 2012 (67% in 2008).

Already 10% of this year’s voters (9% in 2008), the Hispanic population is exploding, accounting for half of U.S.population growth.   This seems so simple for me to see and project.   How is it that republicans can't see this?

Asian Americans:  The nation’s fastest growing demographic group -- now 3% of this year's voters (2% in 2008) -- gaveObama 73% of its vote in 2012 (62% in 2008).

Unmarried Women:  The percentage of unmarried women has been growing slowly since the 1970s, up to 53% of women as of lastyear.  Even among subgroups favoring Obama, there was a marriage gap in which unmarried women (23% of this year’s voters)favored Obama by huge margins.  Despite winning 53% of (mostly white) married women, 31% of this year’s voters (down from33% in 2008), Romney lost women overall by 11 points.   I am convinced that republicans hate women and their actions inreguards to women's health issues, fair pay and general level of respect clearly show it.

The Young:  The millennial generation (born between 1978 and 2000) has been voting overwhelmingly for Democrats (66% for  Obama in 2008, 60% this year).  They are projected to be 40% of the eligible voting pool by 2020.    Because they are  relatively diverse and secular, the GOP cannot assume that enough will emulate previous generations and swing to the rightas they age.   Republicans ignored the youth vote in the last election.   Republicans said the juice wasn't worth the squeeze.

Such polling figures should frighten GOP leaders.  There’s no reason to believe that what we saw on November 6th was anything but the tip of the iceberg.   The republican party is a scam operation with people like Dick Morris, Karl Rove and Shawn Hannity bilking gullible republicans out of their money and transferring it to their own use.

The factions in the party that are not socially conservative see these looming threats as an opportunity to get the GOP to drop the social stuff.  But movement conservatives aren't going to cede ideological ground, not when they (correctly) think it’s a necessity if they are to attract their base voters.    “This country doesn't need two liberal or Democratic parties,”  is the way Bobby Jindal puts it, typically enough.   Since the Democrats represent workers, women, jobs, fair pay, clean air, drinkable water and health care the Republicans must oppose it.   Makes sense to republicans, how about to you?   If republicans have a good idea we will adopt it and try to implement it.   Republicans then turn against their own idea and oppose it and even label it a European or socialist.   There can be no doubt about it republicans are crazy.

Like right-wing pundit (Fox News) Fred Barnes, many movement conservatives and Tea Party leaders will continue to insist that whites are going to remain “the nation’s dominant voting bloc… for many elections to come.”    Hedging their bets, they have decided to become more “inclusive” or at least just inclusive enough in these days of micro-targeting and razor-thin election margins.   After all, Romney would have won New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado if he had captured even slightly higher shares of the Hispanic vote and he could have won in the Electoral College if fewer than 200,000 voters in key states had switched their votes.

To get more inclusive, however, these leaders offer an entirely cosmetic approach: emphasize the Party’s middle-class message, increase outreach or “partnership” with Hispanics and Asian Americans, back off the anti-immigration message a tad, say fewer stupid things à la Akin and Murdock, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.

A Nonsense Strategy

When it comes to why this won’t work down the line, it’s hard to know where to start.    Take that middle-class message.   Many Republicans think that it should offer “crossover appeal” on its own, so long as it’s said loudly enough.

But what exactly is it?  After all, it’s never about jobs going abroad, retirement worries (except insofar as the GOP wantsto increase insecurity by privatizing Social Security), underwater mortgages, missing childcare for working families,exploding higher education costs, or what global warming is doing to the Midwestern breadbasket and coastal agriculture(much less the long-term capability of the planet to sustain life as we know it).   Instead, it remains about “choice,”lowering taxes (again), “entitlement reform,” and getting the government out of the way of economic growth.

As if what the middle class really wants or needs is “choice” in education (Jindal’s plan to divert tax funds to privateand parochial schools through vouchers was just ruled unconstitutional); “choice,” not affordability, in health care (the#1 cause of personal bankruptcy in America); and ever more environmental pollution, as well as further challenges togetting workman’s comp if you get injured on the job.

Studies have repeatedly shown that most Americans are “operationally”  liberal on the substance of most policy issues.  Inother words, Republicans will support “small government,” until you ask about cutting spending on anything other than anti-poverty programs.   In fact, less than a third of self-identifying Republicans surveyed by Reuters/Ipsos this year“somewhat” or “strongly” disagreed with the proposition that the wealthiest Americans should pay higher tax rates.

As a counter to the charge that the GOP is the party of the rich, Jindal offered this on Fox News:   “We... need to make it very clear... that we’re not the party of Big:  big businesses, big banks, big Wall Street, big bailouts.”

Um… who other than Republican true believers will buy that?

The Jerk Factor

As for those demographic groups the GOP needs to start winning over in the medium- and long-term, putative 2016 A-lister Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to see a middle class “message of prosperity and freedom for all” communicated loudly to immigrants and the young.    But as one astute Republican insider said to me, “Hispanics won’t hear our message so long as they think our immigration platform says, ‘We hate Mexicans.’”

Bobby Jindal was right to say,  “If we want people to like us, we have to like them first.”  But the Party hasn't truly begun to grasp what might be called the liking gap between the GOP and the groups it needs to cultivate.    It’s time for Republicans to take a long, hard look in the mirror.    It’s not just recent anti-immigration fervor that repels Hispanics and others from the party.    The GOP needs to internalize the fact that the dead bird hanging from its neck is its entire modern history.

It’s true that the Democrats were once the segregationists and Abraham Lincoln and the conservationist, trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt were Republicans, as Republicans are fond of pointing out.  But that’s ancient history.

The Party’s modern history began when business leaders got politicized in response to the New Deal and then the GOP begancourting the Dixiecrats after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965 (despite knowing that he had“just delivered the South to the Republican Party”).   The white South started voting for GOP presidential candidates in the Nixon years and would soon become solidly Republican.   At 70% of the electorate (nearly 90% in Mississippi), it remains so today.

White-flight suburbs around the country followed suit.  Add in the fervent cultivation of evangelical Protestant Christians-- anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-evolution, anti-science -- and the various modern incarnations of nativist Know Nothings.

Don’t forget the ejection of moderates from the Party, and you have the essential history of the modern GOP in two paragraphs.

So the GOP can say that it wants to and plans to like Hispanics, Asian Americans, unmarried women, and secular youth, butto be believable, merely easing off on its anti-immigration message or going quiet on abortion won’t do the trick.   And ifit wants to prove that it cares, it will have to put some real money where its mouth is.What the Party Should Do -- and Won’t

Here’s an idea:  how about some  “extraordinary financial gifts” like the ones Mitt Romney denounced just days after his loss!

To really go after the groups it needs, the GOP would have to do the inconceivable: drop the  “entitlement reform” racket,open the wallet, and reach below a restrictive definition of the middle class.  It might, for instance, mean adding more money to Food Stamps, rather than poking fun at the “food stamp president,” because a full quarter of Hispanics and 35% of Hispanic children are poor.

According to the Census, the median income for Hispanics in 2009 was $38,039 versus $51,861 for whites.   The difference is far starker when you compare median net worth:   Thanks to the economic crisis, Hispanic households lost 66% of their median net worth, falling to $6,325 in 2009, compared to $113,149 for white households (a 16% loss).

It would undoubtedly mean supporting equal pay for equal work, which the GOP has consistently opposed.    It would mean working to make healthcare more affordable for everyone.   That’s how you prove you care in politics -- and it would also be good for the nation.

Similarly, if the Republicans want to be taken seriously as “defenders” of the middle class, they would need to dosomething to defend it from its predators.   No, not the lower class but the upper class, the predatory lenders and speculators, the fraudsters, the manipulators of the financial system, the folks who got bailed out while everyone else shouldered the risk.

It hardly needs to be said that this isn’t likely to happen in any of our lifetimes.

So far the only Republican suggestion I’ve heard that seems more than (barely) cosmetic is for the Party to drop itsaversion to gay marriage.   That would, at least, be a beneficial, if cynically motivated, move to look less hateful.

Hesitation in the Face of Change

It is, of course, theoretically possible that Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) could attract enough Hispanic and other voters in 2016 to win the presidency.   Provided that the primaries don’t turn into another wierd battle.   Provided that the tone set by Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, or fringe candidates of their ilk doesn't sink the A-listers.    Provided that not too many “stupid” things are said -- on abortion, immigration, evolution, or global warming.    (Rubio has already gotten to work on that one by punting on a question about the Earth’s age to keep the creationists happy.)

But come 2020, 2024, or 2028, whatever’s left of the GOP is going to be kicking itself for not having built a foundation of anything other than words that no one outside its rank-and-file actually believed.    Texas, after all, could go purple by 2020 or 2024.

Of all the signals emanating from the GOP since Election Day, perhaps the most significant came last week when the socially and fiscally conservative Tea Party kingmaker Jim DeMint voted with his feet.  The man who would rather have “30 Republicans in the Senate who believe in principles of freedom than 60 who don't believe in anything”  is leaving that body for the Heritage Foundation -- a hint about the future of what is arguably the most important GOP organization in the country.

It looks like the GOP is at the wheel of the Titanic, sailing toward that iceberg, while the band plays “Nearer My God to Thee” for all it’s worth.   Have a good trip.

California Showing Signs That the GOP is Gone

Trends start on the left coast and spread across the nation.   It has worked that way for as long as I can remember and I'm hoping it continues because if the future happens first in California, the Republican Party has a problem.

The nation's most populous state – home to 1 in 8 Americans – has entered a period of Democratic political control so far-

reaching that the dwindling number of Republicans in the Legislature are in danger of becoming mere spectators at the 

Democrats hold the governorship and every other statewide office. They gained even more ground in Tuesday's elections, picking up at least three congressional seats while votes continue to be counted in two other tight races – in one upset, Democrat Raul Ruiz, a Harvard-educated physician who mobilized a district's growing swath of Hispanic voters, pushed out longtime Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

The party also secured a super majority in one, and possibly both, chambers in the Legislature.

"Republican leaders should look at California and shudder,"  says Steve Schmidt, who managed John McCain's 2008 campaign and anchored former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election team in 2006.    "The two-party system has collapsed."

Republican voter registration has dipped so low – less than 30 percent – that the party's future state candidates will be hobbled from the start.

Republicans searching for a new direction after Mitt Romney's defeat will inevitably examine why President Barack Obama 

rolled up more than 70 percent of the Hispanic and Asian vote, and 9 of 10 votes among blacks, essential ingredients in his victory.    Women also supported Obama over Romney nationally and in California, where they broke for the president by 27 percentage points.

There is no better place to witness how demographic shifts have shaped elections than in California, the home turf of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan that just a generation ago was a reliably Republican state in presidential contests.

A surge in immigrants transformed the state, and its voting patterns. The number of Hispanics, blacks and Asians combined has outnumbered whites since 1998 in California, and by 2020 the Hispanic population alone is expected to top that of whites.   With Latinos, for example, voter surveys show they've overwhelmingly favored Democratic presidential candidates for decades.   Similar shifts are taking place across the nation.

"There are demographic changes in the American electorate that we saw significantly, first, here in California and Republicans nationally are not reacting to them,"  said Jim Brulte, a former Republican leader in the California Senate.

"Romney overwhelmingly carried the white vote – 20 years ago, that would have meant an electoral landslide.    Instead, he lost by 2 million votes"  in the state, Brulte said.

Perhaps no part of the state better illustrates how Republicans surrendered ground than in Orange County, once a largely white, GOP bastion where Nixon's seaside home became known as the Western White House.

Today, whites make up a little more than 40 percent of the population, while 2 in 10 residents are Asian and about 1 in 3 

is Hispanic, according to the census.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter managed to collect about a quarter of the vote against Reagan in the county.   But by 1996, with the county diversifying, Bill Clinton grabbed 38 percent of the vote, and Al Gore boosted that to 40 percent in 2000.   This year, Obama won 44 percent of the vote in Orange County, according to preliminary returns.

Romney  "implemented a winning election strategy for 1980," University of Southern California professor Patrick James said 

in a statement issued by the school.     "If you look at the demographics and voting proportions, the Reagan coalition would not win a majority today."

Celeste Greig, president of the conservative California Republican Assembly, said in an email to supporters Friday that the party was in need of a makeover, emphasizing Main Street over Wall Street.

"We have to admit that as a party in California, we're just plain disorganized,"  she wrote.

Romney bypassed California this year, waging his fight in battlegrounds such as Ohio and Florida.   In claiming the biggest electoral prize in America, California's 55 electoral votes, Obama rolled up a nearly 21 percent margin.    Voters also returned Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein to Washington in a landslide, after Republicans put up a virtually unknown candidate, Elizabeth Emken, an autism activist who had never held elected office.

Independents now outnumber Republicans in 13 congressional districts in California, a trend analysts predict will continue.

California counted more registered Republicans in 1988 than it does today, although the population has grown by about 10 million over that time.    You'd have to go back to that year to find a Republican presidential candidate who carried the state, George H.W. Bush.

Surprisingly, Democrats continued to make gains in the state even at a time of double-digit unemployment, with polls showing that voters are unhappy with Sacramento and Washington.    And it could get worse for the GOP. Republicans are trailing in two other House races in which the vote counting continues.

It remains unclear what direction Democrats, who have close ties to public employee unions, will take with their additional clout.   If they achieve the super majority in both houses of the Legislature, Democrats can pass tax increases and override gubernatorial vetoes without any Republican support.

The state is saddled with a litany of problems, including a long-running budget crisis, massive, unfunded public pension obligations, tuition increases at California universities and growing demands for water, affordable housing and energy.

Gov. Jerry Brown sounded a cautionary note this week, saying he intended to avoid spending binges.

Still, Democrats believe they have the state's demographics on their side with a message that appeals to a younger, more diverse population.

More than half the young voters in the state, ages 18 to 39, are Hispanic, according to the independent Field Poll.    Thirty

-five percent are Asian.    If you look into a classroom in the Los Angeles area – tomorrow's voters – 3 of 4 kids are Hispanic.

The GOP retains pockets of influence regionally, including rural, inland areas.

Republican National Committee member Shawn Steel has been pushing the party to become more aggressive about recruiting 


 "It's not just all about the Latinos," he says.

Schmidt traces GOP troubles with Hispanics to 1994, when voters with encouragement from Republican Gov. Pete Wilson enacted Proposition 187, which prohibited illegal immigrants from using health care, education or other social services.

The law eventually was overturned, but it left lingering resentment with many Hispanics at a time when the Latino population was growing swiftly and becoming increasingly important in elections.

California  "is not just a large state, population-wise, it's a trend-setting state,"  said Schmidt, a public relations strategist.    "It could be a glimpse of the future."

6th Congressional District 

Shenandoah Rockingham Highland Agusta Alleghany Bath Bedford Rockbridge Botetourt Roanoke

Revolt in Athens, Tennessee!

20 People Wounded
14 Autos Overturned, and Burned at Town Square
Jail Under Seize 8 hours
Sheriff, Senator & Others Flee County

This incident is recalled by gun rights supporters as a reason to have free access to fire arms to protect ourselves against the government.   It happened in a small town in Tennessee in 1946.   From this incident they go back to the revolutionary war and the stand against the British.   If you aren't familiar with these second admendment arguements you will be so here is some info on the future talk you will hear on tv and in the print media.

There had been long-standing concern in McMinn County about political corruption and possible election fraud.  At citizen request, the U.S. Department of Justice had investigated allegations of electoral fraud in 1940, 1942, and 1944, but had not taken action.   Lack of action on the government's part is nothing new and is one tactic used today to get beyond the public caring about an event.   This was fronted by veterans and not allowed to be delayed and dropped. 

Athens, Tennessee: The uprising was led by ex-GIs recently returned from battle, to discover dishonest election tactics and corrupt and crooked local government.    Having seen first-hand, Tennessee blood spilled and Tennessee lives lost in the battle for freedom, these patriotic veterans weren't about to knuckle under to the special interests. Certain insiders, for their own profit and benefit, had taken control of the small community of Athens, a town of about 7600 people (Time Magazine says 11,00, either way a small town.).

The violence started on election day when a poll watcher was attacked and thrown through a glass door.   The town folks, already agitated, became incensed.    They went home and returned with pistols, shotguns and whatever weapons they could lay their hands on.    The incumbents and  "insiders"  had recruited extra deputies from neighboring cities and counties but they were no match for the now armed and angry citizens of McMinn County.   Sheriff Pat Mansfield and State Senator Paul Cantrell, along with others, fled the scene.    Twenty-five deputys retreated to the jail which was surrounded and fired upon by the civillian army.

At 4:00 A.M. the next morning, the  "25"  surrendered their arms and came out with hands up.    Although a cry went up to  "hang 'em", cooler heads prevailed. The   "25"  were taken to the edge of town, stripped naked and told not to come back.

The upshot was the incumbent and  "insider-clique"  were out.   The slate backed by the citizens and supported by the GI patriots was officially certified victorious by State authorities in Nashville.

Thus, a new sheriff, trustee, register of deeds, circuit court clerk and county court clerk were seated (3 Democrats, 2 Republicans). All were new, all were honest and freely elected.    The year was 1946.    In 1948, a city council / county commission form of government, one of the first in the state of Tennessee was created. Athens prospered and grew and today has more than doubled in population. 

Monday August 12, 1946
from Time Magazine

The restless crowd in the public square, the campaign posters on the courthouse maples and the granite-faced strangers swaggering in the streets of Athens, Tenn. (pop. 11,000) were all familiar portents. Election day was upon the  "Friendly City."

A sharp sun drove a few voters to the shady courthouse lawn and its weathered wooden bench inscribed  "Compliments of Paul 
Cantrell."    But Sheriff Pat Mansfield, with a gold-plated badge glittering on his sports shirt, looked coolly confident in a knot of armed deputies.    This was the day that Sheriff Mansfield and State Senator Cantrell, the iron-fisted bosses of McMinn County, had arranged to trade offices.

But as soon as the polls were opened it appeared that the arrangement might strike a snag. Poll watchers from the upstart 
G.I. Nonpartisan Ticket were embarrassingly overzealous.   Sheriff Mansfield's deputies felt compelled to bundle one young watcher off to jail.    When a Negro farmer turned up to vote in Precinct 11, an annoyed deputy shot him in the back.    At the cramped polling place in the rear of the Dixie Cafe, khaki-shirted veterans could not seem to crowd their way up to the ballot box.

"Here It Comes."    By afternoon the suggestions of hard feelings were growing firm.    Half a dozen of Mansfield's deputies were beaten and carried out of town.   When the polls closed at 4, a tense throng milled outside the voting place in the office of the Athens Water Co. to await the count.    Suddenly two G.I. watchers burst through the shattering plate glass door, closely followed by a deputy wildly waving a pistol.    A woman in the crowd screamed:   "Oh God, here it comes."

Two carloads of deputies screeched to the curb.    Holding back the crowd at pistol point, they threw the ballot box into one of the cars and carried it off to the jail for their own brand of safe counting.

When night fell rifles passed through the hands of muttering veterans rallying in front of G.I. election headquarters.   A block away a movie marquee blazed its attraction:   Gunning for Vengeance.    Shadowy figures soon lurked along the ivy-covered 
ridge overlooking the two-story brick jail.    A pale yellow light gleamed through the jail's tall front windows;  the deputies were inside.    Outside, the street was solidly lined with deputies' cars.

A black-haired veteran walked up to the jail front, and shouted: "We want the ballot boxes back where they belong or we'll open up on you."

From the jail came a single shot.    From the ridge rang a deafening volley.    From everywhere all hell broke loose in the Friendly City.

"Let Us Give Up."    Flames burst from an auto parked in no-man's land.     A woman screamed from an apartment next the jail, begging for safe conduct through the erratic cross fire.    An ambulance seeking to rescue the wounded inside the jail hastily retired before sniper bullets from the trees.    For six hours the night echoed with the unequal exchanges between 73 deputies and their besiegers, now swollen to hundreds of shouting, wild-firing volunteers.    Once, the barricaded deputies called out a threat to kill three G.I. hostages, jailed during the day, unless the assault ceased.

Toward dawn a thundering explosion rocked the bullet-riddled jail front.    A dynamite charge had ripped away the porch, and behind the billowing cloud of smoke and rubble the sporadic firing ceased. From within a voice called:    "Stop it. You're killing us.    Let us give up."

Leaving their wounded bleeding on the floor inside, the defeated garrison of Cantrell-Mansfield followers filed out, hands high in the air.    Under a glaring spotlight beamed on the damaged entrance, the onetime law of McMinn County squinted wearily at a jeering, taunting mob.

At week's end McMinn County Politicos Paul Cantrell and Pat Mansfield, whose Democratic machine had bullied the fertile 
East Tennessee valley for ten years, were still absent and in hiding. The entire G.I. Nonpartisan ticket (including two Republicans) had been declared elected.    The new Sheriff will be Knox Henry, 34, filling-station owner and an overseas Air Corps sergeant.

In Athens' white, gingerbread courthouse a public mass meeting chose a minister and two businessmen to run governmentless 
McMinn County until the G.I.s could take over.    Shootings and car-wreckings by armed bands of vigilantes continued. Big-jawed, towering Jim Buttram, twice-wounded corporal with the Ninth Division and manager of the G.I. Ticket, promised   "to help maintain order."

McMinn County's shooting veterans had spectacularly rid themselves of one type of tyranny.    But thoughtful citizens knew 
they had set an ominous precedent.    Abraham Lincoln had made the point:

"Among freemen there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet, and. . . they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost."

Fiscal Cliff Fictions:     Let’s All Agree to Pretend the GOP Isn’t Full of It

It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan.    It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn't cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.

This isn’t just cognitive dissonance.    It’s irresponsible reporting.     Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party.    I’m old enough to remember when Republicans insisted that anyone who said they wanted to cut Medicare was a demagogue, because I’m more than three weeks old.

I’ve written a lot about the GOP’s defiance of reality–its denial of climate science, its simultaneous denunciations of Medicare cuts and government health care, its insistence that debt-exploding tax cuts will somehow reduce the debt—so I often get accused of partisanship.    But it’s simply a fact that Republicans controlled Washington during the fiscally irresponsible era when President Clinton’s budget surpluses were transformed into the trillion-dollar deficit that President Bush bequeathed to President Obama.    (The deficit is now shrinking.)    It’s simply a fact that the fiscal cliff was 
created in response to GOP threats to force the U.S. government to default on its obligations.    The press can’t figure out how to weave those facts into the current narrative without sounding like it’s taking sides, so it simply pretends that yesterday never happened.

The next fight is likely to involve the $200 billion worth of stimulus that Obama included in his recycled fiscal cliff plan that somehow didn’t exist before Election Day.     I’ve taken a rather keen interest in the topic of stimulus, so I’ll be interested to see how this is covered.     Keynesian stimulus used to be uncontroversial in Washington; every 2008 presidential candidate had a stimulus plan, and Mitt Romney’s was the largest. But in early 2009, when Obama began pushing his $787 billion stimulus plan, the GOP began describing stimulus as an assault on free enterprise—even though House Republicans  (including Paul Ryan) voted for a $715 billion stimulus alternative that was virtually indistinguishable from Obama’s socialist version.    The current Republican position seems to be that the fiscal cliff’s instant austerity would destroy the economy, which is odd after four years of Republican clamoring for austerity, and that the cliff’s military spending cuts in particular would kill jobs, which is even odder after four years of Republican insistence that government spending can’t create jobs.

I guess it’s finally true that we all are Keynesians now.  

Republicans don’t even seem to be arguing that more stimulus wouldn't boost the economy;  they've suggested that Obama needs to give up  “goodies”  like extending unemployment insurance (which benefits laid-off workers) and payroll tax cuts (which benefit everyone) to show that he’s negotiating in good faith.    At the same time, though, they also want Obama to propose bigger Medicare cuts, even though they spent the last campaign slamming Obama’s Medicare cuts and denying their interest in Medicare cuts. In Florida I had the pleasure of hearing a radio ad from Allen West, hero of the Tea Party, vowing to protect Medicare.

Whatever.    I realize that the GOP’s up-is-downism puts news reporters in an awkward position.    It would seem tendentious to 
point out Republican hypocrisy on deficits and Medicare and stimulus every time it comes up, because these days it comes 
up almost every time a Republican leader opens his mouth.    But we’re not supposed to be stenographers.    As long as the media 
let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it.    Every day

Republican's are ignorant, non-thinking robots.     If they say 5 things 2 will conflict with three of their statements and they don't even appear to be aware of it.     I am ashamed to live in a part of the country where these garden slugs are in control of the governing structures.     As long as republicans settle for the sorry leadership the GOP offers them the country will continue to suffer and go downhill.      Sometimes the truth is harsh.

The fellow in the above photo is The President of the United States of America.      His name is Barack Obama and he is close to finishing his first term and starting his second term.      The voters elected him in a fair election.       Republicans have thrown away the first four years of his Presidency road blocking and opposing anything he wanted to do.      Imagine how much better the shape of our economy would be if those of you in the loyal opposition were loyal to our country.      He has gotten the job done  without you.
Will you continue to be childish pond scum or will you put away the anger and work for the good of the United States?     If you want to be treated and talked to like adults then ACT LIKE ADULTS!


Blog Archive