Thursday, November 08, 2012

Republicans Still Can't Come to Grips with Voters

The Republicans are still pretending that they lost many of the 2012 elections, especially on the federal level, because they were not conservative enough.

Since they don't like dealing with facts, they are ignoring both the vote and many exit polls that indicated the following facts:

  • Voters believe in keeping abortion legal - roughly 60% in favor
  • Voters want improved rights to health care by implementing Obamacare
  • Voters don't believe that women magical powers over their bodies, like mystically becoming non-pregnant if they become pregnant as the result of a rape
  • Voters believe people shouldn't be subject to different laws because they are gay
  • Voters believe the rich should pay more in taxes
  • In many areas, voters will vote for candidates without worrying about their race or gender

I heard the Republicans complaining over these issues time and time again yesterday.

The Republicans lost the big elections because they are completely out-of-touch with the average American. Yes, they do have very vocal supporters, there's no doubt about that. But most Republican politicians cannot relate to people who do not share their regressive views.

Even now, the Republicans are still playing the "we can't increase taxes" card. This is bull. Grover Norquist and his famous "no new taxes" pledge is crippling this country, threatening to send it over the famous fiscal cliff at the end of December. An awful lot of our hideous national debt is due to Bush, Cheney and Norquist, but to hear the Republicans talk, it's all the Democrats' fault.

Reality check - when was the last time we didn't have a high federal debt?

Under President Clinton, a Democrat.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

My Hopes for the Second Obama Term

Watching the returns after the 2012 election was mostly a thrilling experience.

I'm so happy that the billions the Republican noise machine spent trying to discredit Obama were wasted! I'm very happy that the Website 538 was spot on with its meta-analysis of polls. I'm very happy that the members of the Rape Caucus lost and that Chuck Fuqua ("Parents should be able to execute their disobedient children") lost and that Michelle Bachmann almost lost. Women won all over the place - Warren, McCaskill, Baldwin. Paul Krugman has been nothing but right for years. Twitter was heavily overloaded and did not crash and burn Election Night. And Faux News was completely discredited as anything like a news source all night long. Millions of us already knew this, but I think millions more finally caught on last night,

Mostly, I'm glad we'll have four more years of President Obama. Like other developed nations, we'll have a more inclusive healthcare system. Yes, some people (and we might be some of them) will need to pay more taxes. The long "tax holiday" is over. Yes, I'm sure we'll still have some obstructionism, but I don't think the gridlock will be quite as strong as it was.

And, I do look forward to the coming civil war within the Republican party. The TPers are still as delusional as ever and think the American public wants them. They don't. More Republicans don't even want them anymore. For the next four years anyway, the country will progress and not regress. I think the TPers will try to start their own party, and will become increasingly less relevant. America voted for more women, voted for gay rights and legal pot, and re-elected a black president with both plenty of electoral votes and a clear popular majority.

The people who lost will continue to whine and cry - heard a few minutes of the Akin "concession" speech and it was amazingly juvenile. They can whine and cry all they want, but democracy and rationality basically won the day yesterday, and we can be very happy about that. Vote suppression and vote buying did not win - the voters won!

It looks like our country will finally not be involved in multiple wars simultaneously. While Romney and the hawks seem to want nothing more than a war with Iran, there are ways around that, and I'm sure Obama would not start a war with anyone unless absolutely necessary.

Perhaps our country will finally raise enough in taxes to improve crumbling infrastructure, improve the schools, contribute to science research and NASA. America can be a great country again, but it needs the tax money to do so.


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Importance of Pollworkers

Good pollworkers are the lifeblood of every election. It's a thankless job with long hours. Getting sharp pollworkers is vital, particularly given voter intimidation, voter suppression and voter fraud efforts. The pollworkers are there to ensure we have a fair election and that every vote is counted (at least in most states) and that every voter votes only once.

We live in the suburbs west of Pittsburgh, in North Fayette Township. It's a very white, fairly Republican area. We've voted there without any problem since 2006 when we moved here. Usually, we're in and out in under 20 minutes, maybe a half hour.

We decided to vote early, got there before 7:25 and were shocked to see the many cars parked illegally and the long lines. We also parked illegally and got in line for our precinct. One line moved reasonably well, but our line moved extraordinarily slowly. One rumor that went down our line was that there was only one working voting machine for our precinct. It felt a little like voter suppression, except that we're in a Republican area in a state where Governor Tom Corbett has said he supports voter suppression in Democratic areas like Philadelphia. It seems unlikely they would try to suppress votes in a majority Republican area.

After about a half hour, someone who seemed to be working for the town said that the slowness of our line was due to "trainees." So they didn't see if their "trainees" could comprehend alphabetical order before they gave them a job as pollworker? That wasn't a good sign.

When we got inside (after a very cold hour and 15 minutes outside, we could finally get warmed up), some of the pollworkers looked pretty familiar to me. It was taking each person almost a minute to get processed to vote. When I got up to the table, it was already 8:50 (and, remember, the polls opened at 7:00) and I was voter number 102. That meant it was taking nearly a minute to process each voter before they even got to vote!

I don't like to criticize older people for being a little slow, and I appreciate the work they do. Heck, I'm middle aged and I'm slower than I'd like to be. But the woman who was in the critical position of having to look up people in a book that was in alphabetical order had trouble doing so. She couldn't remember that "M" was at the beginning of the second book. She couldn't find my husband's name right away, but once she found it, I said "and I"m after him" so she'd keep the book open to the same location.

They say with age comes wisdom, but it isn't wise to put a person on a voter processing table who slowed down hundreds of voters today. What if we lived in an area without enough voting machines, or if genuine voter suppression efforts were in play? How much longer would the line have been? How much longer would people have waited? But, most people waited.

Finally, we got to the voting machines, selected our candidates, pressed the big VOTE button and pressed CONFIRMED. We were out of there.

And the line outside was longer than ever.

So, if you're voting in North Fayette Township today, dress warmly, wear comfortable boots and maybe bring along a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee - you're probably going to need it. But vote anyway. Everyone's vote is too important to be deterred by slow processing.

Twelve hours later, I was tweeting with a neighbor who was in line at the same precinct after 8pm (PA polls close at 8). She said 150 people were in line in front of her. She didn't get to vote until 9pm. Her husband tried to vote earlier. They told him they couldn't find him on the voter lists, told him he was in the wrong place (when he wasn't) and did not offer him a provisional ballot. Residents of North Fayette Township need to talk to the County Board of Elections about this. It may not be deliberate suppression but it is gross incompetence.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Get Out and Vote, 2012 Edition

It's interesting how terrified Republicans are of all adults voting. It's as if they've finally realized how irrelevant they'd be in a true democracy. I frankly don't care who you vote for (well, of course I'd prefer that you vote for Obama), but I've always believed, whether I've tended to vote Republican, or gone the straight Democratic ticket (since 2000), that it's the civic responsibility of all adults to study the candidates and vote. Voter suppression, as already seen in Ohio and Florida, and will probably see in parts of Pennsylvania (especially Philadelphia) tomorrow is just plain evil no matter which party is doing it (but, over the last 20 years, it's been Republicans).

There are been times in our country's history when the Democrats have been the party of idiots, and now it's been the Republican party for over 20 years.

On the federal level, they've obstructed President Obama at every turn, including when he tried to bring more federal aid to job creation...and then they claimed in their political advertising that Obama failed to create jobs. I'll grant you, President Obama has had problems, but when I compare what he actually accomplished in the poisoned atmosphere of the Congress, I'm amazed.

In some states and localities, Republicans have gone out of their way to make it difficult for people to vote. Witness the long voting lines in Ohio and Florida. Why is that? These area with lines are in areas that tend to vote Democratic. You'll never see voting lines like that in Republican enclaves.

Republicans keep claiming they're for freedom...unless you're a woman, of course. Or a Muslim. Or an atheist. Or trying to vote for someone other than a Republican. Or...whatever minority they want to control this week.

The Republicans are trying to turn the United States of America into a tax haven for the rich and a hell hole for the poor. We're on our way to being a third world country because of the way they've turned "taxes" into a four letter word. I want to live in a place where there are good roads, good schools and good health care. Infrastructure matters - have you already forgotten what Sandy, Irene and Katrina did to areas that failed to have the cash to make needed improvements?

I want a government that's forward-thinking, and not one that only wants to go fight another war somewhere.

I want a government that's paying attention to environmental issues, not one that's busily polluting our water and air.

I want a government that's realistic and admits there are problems and wants to correct them, and work across the bureaucracy and with businesses and citizens to correct them. We need a big tent approach that's inclusive to deal with the future, and not a little estate that supports only the 1%.

I want four more years of Obama. While I'm not a big fan of Bob Casey, he has my vote for Senator as he's less bad than his opponent. Ditto Larry Maggi for Congress, Matt Smith for PA House and Mark Scappe for PA House.