With the Presidential Election less than 3 months away, the airwaves (especially in the “swing states”) are jammed with campaign ads and questionable, secretly funded Super Pac attacks. Until the party conventions are over and the debates begin, media coverage of the election will continue to focus on the horserace, breathlessly trumpeting every incremental rise and fall in the polls.
Before President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney – and their ticket mates Biden and Ryan — are finally able to square off face to face over the issues, the current phase of the election season is mostly about hot air, hot buttons, gaffes and guesswork.
Sometimes I think it would be better just to turn on AM sports radio until the debates get underway. News coverage of the recent NBA blockbuster trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers exhibited more frank and clear-eyed analysis than you’ll hear on Meet The Press or from George Stephanopoulos and his roundtable of pompous political hacks.
Everybody’s got an opinion, no matter how ill informed, and opinions trump facts. Politicians make claims and accusations — and the media debates the effect of those assertions on a gullible public rather than doing the hard work of establishing what’s true and what’s total bullshit.
Covering the Obama and Romney campaigns, the mainstream media tends to adopt a “plague on both their houses” standard of false equivalency. The GOP openly and repeatedly questions the President’s U.S. citizenship, his Christianity, and his love of country, while blowing racist dog whistles that are heard loudly by the angry white low information voters in their base.
But when Vice President Joe Biden responds to Romney and Ryan’s self-confessed intention to “unshackle” the big Wall Street Banks — and (somewhat clumsily) turns their own metaphor around by saying, “They’re going to put y’all back in chains!” – Romney has the gall to say Obama is running a campaign of hate. And few of the self-satisfied, pampered and intellectually lazy fools that pass for our political pundit class point out Romney’s blatant hypocrisy.
It’s enough to make you want to kick in your television set, tear your car radio out, and toss your newspaper in the trash unread. Rachel Maddow, Ed Shultz and Lawrence O’Donnell notwithstanding.
But as frustrated as we might get with this crass, corrupt and confounding electoral process (especially in a post Citizens United world) we must not forget that there’s truly a lot at stake in this election.
There are big differences between Obama and Romney.
And there are big differences between the Democrats and Republicans.
When I was a small child, I asked my father what was the difference between Democrats and Republicans. My father, born in 1927 and raised in New Orleans, was a child of the Depression and a product of Huey Long’s populism and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. “Republicans,” my father told me, “are for the rich man. Democrats are for the working man.” And as corrupt and pro-corporate as some Democrats may be (Max Baucus, I’m talking to you) – my dad’s dictum still rings true.
Any working person who votes for a Republican is voting against his or her own economic interest.
That’s not something you’ll hear from Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
So, now that I’ve made it clear where I stand in this election – here are ten reasons why you should vote a straight Democratic ticket on Election Day.
1. When President Obama wins re-election, he’ll need majorities in the House and Senate in order to get anything done that moves this country forward.
3. President Obama believes in tax fairness. He’s campaigning on the idea that the investor class and those with inherited wealth should pay the same tax rates as working men and women. Romney won’t release his tax returns because, clearly, he’s on the other side of this issue.
4. Romney says he’ll put an end to Planned Parenthood (as though he could) and Paul Ryan is a big fan of personhood for fertilized eggs. Unlike a lot of GOP hacks who simply give lip service to ending women’s reproductive rights in America – these guys just might try to do it.
5. Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is going to be 80 years old in March of next year. Stephen Breyer is 74. Do you want Romney to replace them?
6. Picture two more years with John Boehner as Speaker of the House.
7. Imagine Yertle the Turtle, AKA Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader.
8. Romney thinks that saber rattling against Iran and Russia is a strong foreign policy. Which should come as no surprise since his advisors include nasty neoconservative nut jobs like Frank Gaffney and soulless fascist operatives like Dan Senor.
9. The Republicans give aid and comfort to climate change skeptics and won’t do anything to promote clean, renewable energy sources until their Big Oil masters have pumped every ounce of planet-killing poison out of the ground and burned it up.
10. Republican governors and state legislatures appear to have three main items on their agendas:
— Make it harder for poor people and minorities to vote.
— Restrict contraception and reproductive rights.
There are lots of other reasons to vote for Democrats and oppose Republicans – but these ten are more than enough.
Now, can we get those debates underway soon?