Thursday, September 22, 2010
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The new rising political star in the Republican Party “has dabbled in witchcraft.” So maybe tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell has cast a spell over her coverts. That’s about the only logical reason to explain the “off the wall” pinball effect of the GOP embracing a quagmire of diversionary issues that keep a responsible political agenda out of whack.
Now don’t think I’m jumping on the Wicca community here. Hey, I sit with my granddaughter and watch “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” several times a week. And who could not be a fan of the vampire/werewolf love story “True Blood,” or Stephanie Meyers in the “Twilight” series that dominates our movie theatres and book stores? Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not sure there are enough “issue appeal” on a platform affecting witches to put the Republicans back in control come November 2nd.
If witch Christine is victorious, I guess she could start in the U.S. Senate by calling for a congressional apology for the Salem Witch trials, which would, of course, include reparations. Or like my friend Aaron Kheifets has suggested, Sen. O’Donnell could call “for public schools to begin teaching Wiccan alternatives to evolutionary theory, such as the possibility that the world was created from the dream of an omnipresent life-force that likes flute music.”
A bit facetious here? Not really. Simply put, Republicans are missing the boat on what’s ailing the majority of Americans. And Tea Partiers have picked up the mantle of too much federal spending. They are mad as hell and say they aren’t going to take it anymore. But outside of the spending issue, Tea Partiers are not quite sure just what “it” is. They just know they are not happy with the bills being rung up and the government borrowing that continues to take place.
Democrats have terrible poll numbers nationally with a favorability rating hovering around 30%. The good news for Democrats is that Republicans have an even worse favorability rating. But the bad news for Democrats is that they are in charge. A large number of Tea Partiers’ are not all that enamored with Republicans. They are just against the current power structure that presently is controlled by Democrats. Republicans would feel much of the backlash if they controlled both houses of congress.
Many tea party sympathizers and a cross section of other Americans feel that when it comes to out of control spending, you can put both parties in a sack, shake it up and it makes little difference which party comes out. There is a track record on both sides of the isle to spend, spend, and spend.
In 2000, the Republicans held control of both houses of congress as well as the presidency, similar to what the Democrats have right now. Federal spending when President Bush took office was $1.788 trillion. Eight years later, federal spending was $2.982 trillion; a 60% increase in federal spending under a Republican president.
Under present Democratic leadership, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent to bail out Wall Street, big insurance and the auto industry. The war in Afghanistan is costing the country $2 billion a week with virtually no progress to show for the massive spending. Republicans in congress have either played along with the bailout and spend mentality, or have thrown up diversionary smokescreens.
Here’s what Republicans should be talking about. First, it should be time to seriously consider cutting back on our involvement abroad. Maybe the neocons want to push forward and continue to advocate a substantial presence in the Middle East, but conservatives ought to say enough is enough. We’ve spent a trillion dollars in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. Six thousand soldiers killed and forty thousand soldiers wounded.
Even mainline conservative extremist Ann Coulter says it’s time to bring this sorry chapter to an end. More and more Americans are wondering why we are continuing to fight a war in Afghanistan when few can explain why we are there in the first place, with a price tag of $2 billion a week. Isn’t there a better use for $100 billion back here at home?
Cut out all the conspiracy theories. This is a year when Republicans ought to be making the coming congressional election a referendum on the President’s spending and economic policies. But instead, there seems to be a daily misdirected revelation that is often off the wall and irrelevant to the concerns of the average voter. Obama is not a vampire and he was not the second guy on the grassy knoll. But he has been at the helm of a country that has structural economic problems. In the minds of millions of Americans, the country, economically, is heading for a recession and they, physically, are going through depression.
The average citizen out there will readily admit that the country’s financial problems are beyond their understanding. They have genuine doubts that life is going to be better for their kids than it has been for them. They are looking for someone to set out a clear agenda of how we get out of the financial mess that’s been created that is affecting their future.
A good campaigner in this election should argue that the President made a choice a year ago, and it was healthcare, not jobs. We now have to find a way to expand the economy and “grow the pie.” Politics is theatre, and a smart leader would ask every American to re-read the economic history of 1942-1944. The America was at war, but the country got up off its back, and millions of people went to work. We are in a huge economic war today. That’s the message that’s being left off the table by both parties. A large number of voters are looking for a way out, and want to know what party is going to lead by offering convincing and sensible economic alternatives.
Witches got burned at the stake a few centuries ago. There is going to be some roasting come November 2nd. Both parties ought to be worried. Too many candidates seem to be under a spell and don’t seem to have any idea of witch way to go. Christine O’Donnell may be on to something. “A hex on both your houses” might be a pretty good wakeup call from the tea partiers and the average Joes alike. Can it get much worse?
“She says she’s a common-sense conservative who is part of the real America. She promises to make government smaller, not raise taxes and bring values back to Washington. That would require magic. If she says she can deliver on that promise, then — witch!” Alexandra Petri
Peace and Justice.
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers and websites throughout the South. You can read all is past columns and see continuing updates at www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. The show is televised at http://www.justin.tv/jimbrownusa.