Showing posts with label GOP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GOP. Show all posts

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The ultimate failure of vision

Against what (at times) seemed to be insurmountable odds, Americans have re-elected a black man presiding over a bitterly divided America still wallowing in a sludge-filled economic trough.

How did this happen?

A miracle? God's will? What happens when white men became minorities in America?  

Perhaps.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who is Paul Ryan?

[Yes, there is the intentional hint of Ayn Rand in the headline, for those who are wondering. Because why not evoke John Galt when talking of Paul Ryan?] 

But it's a fair question to ask - this "who is Paul Ryan" question, since he seems to have seized control of the GOP's platform of late.

He's so out in front of the curve that Newt Gingrich, a man who aspires to be the GOP nominee for president, slammed Ryan's Medicare reform plan, which has been adopted by the GOP-dominated House. Referring to the Ryan plan, Gingrich said he was "against a conservative imposing radical change." [Why do I believe that Newt's campaign is not long for this world?]


A Product of America's Dairyland
What we know about Ryan: that he comes from Wisconsin - a Midwestern state with an economy that wears its cheesehead proudly. Yes, there's a mix of agricultural, industrial and dairy in its economy, but Wisconsin brands itself as "America's Dairyland" right there on its license plates. Its largest city, Milwaukee, is bordered less by suburbs and more by farmland, a strong contrast to the miles upon miles of suburia that ring Chicago.

I live not far from the Wisconsin border - and whenever I cross over into Wisconsin for a visit, I always marvel at the roads. To this Illinoisan, Wisconsin seems to take care of its infrastructure. At least on the surface. Their public pension plan, deemed by Pew Research as one of the most fiscally responsible in the nation,  is still underfunded and has come under strong attack by Scott Walker, the state's Republican governor.

Ryan sits in the congressional seat once occupied by Democrat Les Aspin. He hails from the state that once gave us Senator Joe McCarthy and today is presided over by Walker, who is actively shaping state government into a very conservative mold.

Wisconsin is Midwestern, proud of its heritage as a dairy producer and relatively ignored by national media. [Until recently - when was the last time you saw tweets about any state's Supreme Court elections?! Way to grab the national focus, Cheeseheads!].

And obviously there are great passions that run through some of its political leaders, Ryan included.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Playground Politics Go National....

Health care costs are careening out of control - in the last decade, employer-provided premiums have risen 119 percent - four times the rate of inflation and wages, according to the National Coalition on Health Care.

The number of uninsured Americans has grown to 46.3 million, an increase attributed to the job losses seen in the last year.

Providing and paying for health care in America is seriously flawed these days. Thus, there is a push for reform.

The president appears before Congress to outline key goals and provide motivation to affect change in this area. And what happens?

Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouts out mid-speech that the president is a liar.

It was, according to the NY Times, a rare breach of protocol.

If you've got children, you know this kind of screeching happens all the time on the playground. And you know that calling someone a liar is never an appropriate way to solve a problem - especially when the other person isn't lying.

At this time of crisis, at this moment when America is experiencing critical failure in so many areas - health care, jobs, banking - the list of wounded sectors is endless - a vociferously loud branch of the Republican party has decided to opt out of rational discussion, choosing instead to favor tactics used by playground bullies.

For whatever reason, Republicans have made the decision to view anything said by the president as false. Joe Wilson calls him a liar during an address to Congress. Jim Greer of Florida rages wildly about an innocuous speech to students. Sarah Palin talks about how health care reform will end up killing granny, thanks to the death panels that don't exist in any of the pending legislation.

These Republicans have decided that to respect the president of the United States is not an option. And they've decided to engage in low and dirty discourse, instead of fighting hard to help their constituents.

America can be a "large-hearted" nation. We can be a beacon of hope to those in distress. But not today, apparently, with one party in the thrall of playground bullies.

President Obama warned about this in his speech last night - he knows that if we ever reach a point...

"...When any efforts to help people in need are attacked as un-American; when facts and reason are thrown overboard and only timidity passes for wisdom, and we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter -- that at that point we don't merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges. We lose something essential about ourselves."

If there's any hope following Joe Wilson's howl, it's that his Democratic challenger has raised approximately $200,000 since the gaffe. Americans don't favor bullies in the House, apparently.

Some links about the speech follow below....



Text of the President's speech

The (official) Republican response

WSJ story on backlash felt by Wilson

WaPo's Dana Milbank's story on the speech