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Aaron Regunberg: The GOP is a Flawed Product

Friday, November 09, 2012

 

Want to know why the GOP fared so poorly on Tuesday? Check out Donna Perry's GoLocalProv piece yesterday, in which she tries to piece together the election fallout in a way that doesn’t completely devastate her own worldview. Perry’s argument can be boiled down to her final sentence: “Make no mistake about it, the state GOP, like its national Party, leaves 2012 not just wounded, but a severely damaged ‘brand.’ It’s not that the product is faulty. The problem lies with the consumer, so frighteningly and easily fooled by the competition’s distorted sales pitch.”

That’s right, American people. That’s right, Rhode Islanders. According to Perry, the majority of you are frighteningly foolish, and it’s your foolishness that caused Republicans to lose.

Perry’s argument paints a picture of Rhode Islanders and Americans as children. We are incapable of making informed decisions for ourselves based on how we think policies will affect our lives and our communities. Old people fell for scare tactics. Women, the idiots, paid attention to the GOP’s war on women. And folks in the inner city? Well, they just wanted a snack, according to Perry, who wrote: “It’s too simplistic and blatantly unfair to start hurling charges at the state GOP for across the board losses when they do battle in a state where the Board of Elections sees no harm in the fact that ‘free pizza’ was allowed to be delivered to a crowded and chaotic inner city polling place by the campaign of David Cicilline Tuesday night.” It sounds a whole lot like Ms. Perry is saying low-income people and people of color, who were the majority of those who voted at the Juanita Sanchez poll on Tuesday, can’t make choices based on higher-order thinking.

Well you know what, Ms. Perry? They can. That’s why so many voters in that precinct were willing to put up with record delays, waiting hours and hours and hours in order to send a message to the GOP that no, they don’t support slashing social services and funding for public education so that millionaires and billionaires can have even fatter tax cuts, and no, they don’t support xenophobia or “self-deportation,” as Mr. Romney put it. (And by the way, if you want to start appealing to Latino voters, Ms. Perry, you’re going to have to do better than, “A responsible but realistic plan for handling the influx of illegals must also be developed and better communicated.” Latinos understand the power of words as well as you do, and many of them find it offensive when segments of their community are referred to in dehumanizing terms.)

You know who else can make their own informed decisions? Women. When they came out in overwhelming numbers to fight back against the GOP’s war on women, they were not doing so because of a bad sales pitch. Sure, Akin and Mourdock’s comments on rape were straight-up insane, but they were a relatively accurate reflection of the GOP’s national platform, which makes no exception for abortion in the case of rape, and the GOP’s national ticket, which included a vice presidential nominee who co-sponsored legislation with Akin redefining rape as “forcible” rape. If your product is giving old white men power over the bodies of American women, and the majority of women aren’t buying it, the problem is not in the branding. The problem is that your product is steeped in misogyny and would fit better in the 19th century.

Perry’s argument that the fault for Tuesday’s election results lies not with the failed conservative policies of the GOP but the frightening foolishness of the American public and Rhode Islanders in particular is not just arrogant and condescending in and of itself—it is also a microcosm of the arrogance and condescension that spelled doom for the Republican Party this week. Take Mitt Romney’s continuing dishonesty throughout the campaign. He banked on the American electorate being too apathetic to care about his secret finances, too stupid to discern that his budget proposals simply did not add up, too uninformed to call him out on absurd falsehoods like “Jeep is shipping jobs to China” or “Obama is dismantling welfare reform.” The results of the election proved that this cynical view of the American public was wrong.

So to the 60+ million Americans who voted for Obama; to the 255,000 Rhode Islanders who voted for progressive champion Sheldon Whitehouse, and the 102,000 1st District Rhode Islanders who voted for Cicilline, and the 135,000 Rhode Islanders in the 2nd District who voted for Langevin or the more-progressive Independent, Abe Collins, and the many thousands of Rhode Islanders who voted to further decimate the Republican State House caucus, I have one message for you: don’t sweat Donna Perry. You’re not fools, and just because a lot of conservatives will probably spend the next couple weeks explaining to you why you’re so dumb and wrong doesn’t make it so.

Rest assured, it is not you that’s faulty. It is the GOP’s product, and until Republicans get their heads around this basic fact, they’re going to keep losing elections.

 

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Comments:

Christopher Lee

Rep. Ron Paul, whose maverick presidential bids shook the GOP, said in the wake of this week's elections that the country has already veered over the fiscal cliff and he sees no chance of righting ship in a country where too many people are dependent on government.

"We're so far gone. We're over the cliff," the Texas Republican told Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop" program. "We cannot get enough people in Congress in the next 5-10 years who will do wise things."

Mr. Paul, who is retiring after 12 terms in the House, said voters on Tuesday rejected Mitt Romney because he had opposed the government bailout of General Motors and Chrysler.

"The people in the Midwest voted against him: 'Oh, we have to be taken care of!' So that vote was sort of like what we are laughing at in Greece," Mr. Paul said.

"People do not want anything cut," he said. "They want all the bailouts to come. They want the Fed to keep printing the money. And they don't believe that we've gone off the cliff or are close to going off the cliff. They think we can patch it over, that we can somehow come up with some magic solution. But you can't have a budgetary solution if you don't change what the role of government should be. As long as you think we have to police the world and run this welfare state, all we are going to argue about is who will get the loot."

Michael Napolitano

Aaron perhaps you weren't watching TV during the last few months when Cicilline, Whitehouse and Langevin informed voters that Republicans wanted to take away their Social Security, Medicare and even Pell Grants. Perhaps you didn't hear these candidates state that over and over in every ad. Perhaps you didn't also hear them say that Republicans wanted to lower taxes for the rich and get tax credit for jobs overseas. These are called lies and scare tactics. When you can't run on your record you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

Aaron Regunberg

Michael, are you arguing that Republicans don't want to lower taxes for the rich (as in have not been actively trying to do so and don't include it explicitly in their policy positions)? Because that is wrong. Are you arguing that Republicans have not done everything in their power to keep tax breaks that ship jobs overseas? Because, again, that is factually incorrect, they have blocked that legislation (co-sponsored by Sen. Whitehouse). Are you arguing that the man in the vice presidential slot did not create a budget that would voucherize Medicare and decimate Medicaid? Because that is also wrong.

That’s the thing, Michael. There are these things called facts. Real, knowable facts. The GOP has been in this mode wherein they pretended like there weren’t these things called facts. I’m gonna quote from the recent rant of a pundit here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVwXA7sHUlE), but Obama actually won on Tuesday. He really did won Ohio, despite what Republicans were embarrassingly claiming even after the state had been called. He really is the president, again. And he really was born in America. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics didn’t fake its jobs report the other month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no research that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And Nate Silver wasn’t making up fake projections on the election to make Republicans feel bad, he was doing math. And global warming is a thing. And Saddam Hussein did not have WMDs. And women really can get pregnant from rape. And moderate reforms of the financial industry are not the same thing as Communism. And the moon landing happened.

anthony sionni

Aaron, this state is a mess and the Democratic party has been in charge forever , do you see any connection in the mess we are in and the party that has been in charge, I am just talking about the state . What party has been in charge in providence, who left the city with a $110,000,000 deficit? Maybe you want to put some blame on the state legislature and what party would that be? We have had some republican governors but we all know they have to deal with a democratic general assembly.

What about all these cities and towns on the verge of bankruptcy or bankrupt like central falls,which party has been in charge ? You may say we ned new people,new democrats, but its the same ideology isn't it? I have been a democrat for nearly 30 years,but I am now leaving the party and will be unaffiliated.


I think Donna Perry does have a point, go interview 100 people in south providence and asked them why they voted for cicilline and see what they tell you, heck I know the area very well and have campaigned over there for candidates. I have asked some people myself, after talking to one guy and telling him everything cicilline has done bad,he said to me, they all do that! He also said to me, cicilline hired minorities in city hall and that was his reason. Other people have told me he is a nice guy and they like him, that was their reason or just that he is a democrat. I will bet you that these are the types of reasons you will hear and when you press them on issues, the majority will say they dont know about this or that or dont care. Also go question them on all the ballot questions and charter questions in Providence, see what they tell you, I just gave you a nice story to do ,heck I will even go with you to hear it,not sure if you would accept the results thou lol.

jon paycheck

Politicians tell people what they want to hear. Statesman tell people what they need.

just keep voting democrat and you will get all you want.

just ask the libs in greece and france....

Aaron Regunberg

Yes, ask Greece, which has continually seen its economy shrink and shrink because of unprecedented austerity right when it needed stimulus most.

Or ask Iceland, on the other hand, which has done the opposite after having the greatest collapse of all, letting the private financial sector eat its own losses and expanding the social safety net. Iceland's recovery is incredibly robust. Greece's is, spiraling downwards. The lesson's pretty clear there, Jon. Again, there are facts in the world, and when you don't know them, you make arguments that don't make any sense.

Terrence Barrettee

Dear Aaron,
It is because of people like you who will defend with their dying breath the "leaders" like Cicilline, Whitehouse and Langevin who have rode the backs of the poor and despondent to office and then quickly forgotten about them. The Democrats have done nothing in this state in their 70 plus years of control. That is reflected in national statistic, or "facts” that you love to quote:

Job Growth: 47th
Unemployment: 50th (10.5 %)
Education: 20th
Taxes: 10th Highest (10.2%)

and the list goes on, keep your Liberal colored glasses on and watch our great state continue to slide further into the obscurity. Our state is a joke and articles such as this are reason number 1.

Russ Hryzan

This author is a complete liberal hack. His idea of responsible governance is a bankrupt government like Greece spending money when there's nothing left to spend? This is why the left and their communist socialist idiocy will never survive in the real world - the numbers just never add up. We need less liberals and Democrats in this country of it to prosper again. I'm not saying Romney was the solution, but he was a better option than this traitor we have sitting in the White House for another 4 years who refuses to execute his constitutional duties.

Aaron Regunberg

Russ, thanks for giving another good example of why conservatives lost so badly on Tuesday. Because you keep saying crazy things like that Obama is a traitor. You don't agree with Obama, you have different opinions on the role of government and other important, big issues. Okay, that is fine. That's how democracy works. But that doesn't make him a traitor.

I didn't agree with Bush. I thought he was a lot of things. But I didn't think he was a traitor. And I don't agree with John Boehner, but I don't think he's a traitor. Democracy only works when we're willing to debate issues on their merits and act like reasonable people. It doesn't work that well when we fall back on crazy delusions and refuse to look at the world as it is.

Russ Hryzan

Aaron - once again, you sidestep the fact that you spewed the liberal nonsense of telling people to spend money when they have none left to spend (incredibly irresponsible at a minimum), and instead try to cover up for the traitor in the White House. Bush made some bad decisions, and nobody's denying that. But lets focus on Obama.

The US Constitution in Article 2 Section 3 (regarding duties of the president) reads: "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed"

Obama chose to ignore the enforcement of federal immigration law (which he does not have the constitutional authority to ignore) and installed back-door green card processes via an executive order which also directly violates the federal laws he is sworn to uphold. He is not congress. Congress makes the laws, and it's his responsibility to enforce them in their entirety, whether he agrees with them or not. Openly defying his constitutional duty to uphold and enforce a law which is enacted by congress and is also intended to protect the citizens of the United States makes him a traitor, and no liberal nonsense you spew will ever change the US Constitution.

jon paycheck

greece never had an economy in the first place....not in centuries, except tourism..

but they spent and spent and spent-lots of big government pensions and borrowed and borrowed and now they are so deep in debt they will never get out.

greece has no more options....

Michael Napolitano

Aaron your assumptions on policy and stereotypes are very telling. First of all in a down economy raising taxes on anyone is not a solution. Perhaps a course on macroeconomics is in order. You argue there is no proof and there is a great deal of it. Federal revenue increased after the JFK tax cuts, after the Reagan tax cuts, after the Clinton tax cuts, and after the Bush tax cuts. The problem has not been taxes. The problem has been runaway spending. Total federal spending has not dropped once in over 40 years. The government acts like a college student with his/her parent’s credit card. No matter how much the limit, it is never enough.

Just because Republicans stand for keeping the Bush tax cuts for everyone, does not necessarily translate into tax breaks for the rich, which is how the Democrats have spun it. The Democrats have also stated over and over that the rich don’t pay the same taxes as people in the middle class, which is also untrue. Perhaps you should look at the IRS tax tables and upon checking them one can clearly see that the more income one makes the higher one is taxed. Is this not already built in? Of course your party has gone out of its way NOT to clarify the difference between capital gains taxes and income taxes and the risks associated with investments versus income. Another fact is that the top 10% pay 70% of the federal income taxes. It seems that point is never brought up either.

Also, technically, companies can claim a deduction for the costs associated with moving. However, the deduction is not a special loophole afforded only to companies moving work overseas, as Democrats have made it sound. Rather, the deduction is written into the tax code pertaining to any cost companies face in the course of doing business. That means a company can claim the deduction whether it's moving operations to Beijing or Buffalo. By the way any cost of doing business is deductible. It seems these points are never brought up either.

To continue, you use another tactic in your comments to my response. You attempt to lump me in with the fringe theorists which is yet another tactic I see utilized quite often with Democrats especially Sheldon Whitehouse. So if you wish to argue facts and use logic rather than attempt to paint anyone who debates you as extremist, please don’t insult me.

Under President’s health care plan $716 billion will be cut from Medicare which is a fact. Those touted Medicare savings are achieved through reduced provider reimbursements and curbed waste, fraud and abuse. If they can cut so much from waste fraud and abuse why hasn’t it already been done? In addition, when you pay less to doctors who participate in Medicare, less will accept patients with it.

A recent investigation involving ABC news affiliate WTVD with Dr. Joseph Shanahan was up front about the challenges of accepting Medicare patients. Shanahan stated the system doesn't pay enough to cover costs. "The reimbursement is so low for that - in some cases 60, 80 dollars - it costs you more to get a plumber to come to your house than to get a rheumatologist to come to the hospital," said Shanahan. Shanahan says he's one of only a few rheumatologists treating Medicare patients in his area . They make up about 60 percent of his business but pay for a small percentage of the cost to run it. "The less physicians get paid, the poorer care you're going to receive," said Shanahan.

Right now, Shanahan said Medicare pays him between $40 and $190 to see a new patient and $19 to $134 for follow-up visits. If proposed Medicare cuts kick in by the end of the year, the payments will be about 30 percent less. "There's a point, an edge, a cliff, that when we get to it, I'm not going to be able to provide that top quality care. If I can't provide the best care, I'm not going to provide any," he said. And, the Raleigh rheumatologist says he's come to that point, making the difficult decision to stop taking new Medicare patients this year.

The bottom line is that Cicilline, Whitehouse and Langevin were dishonest in their campaign ads. The only skill their campaigns utilized was how far they could go on lying by omission. They brought the term spin-doctoring to a whole new concept! But then again you are also using the same tactic.

Michael Trenn

One could be polite and say that the three Democrats running for national office "were dishonest." I am not that polite. They outright lied in their campaigns, and the uneducated sheeple in this state believed them. Just because they won does not make them truthful. As far as the future is concerned for Republicans, it seems to me that Romney was the last of the moderates, and we finally have them all gone. It is time to start hitting back hard, and also reaching out to Hispanics. Sen. Rubio went to Iowa for a GOP event right after the election, and George Precott Bush filed papers in Texas to run. Youg Bush is as Hispanic as the President is Black.

Joseph Bernstein

Aaron-Obama won the election and now he owns it.Whatever happens I don't want to hear whining how the Republicans are still ruining everything.The president acted illegally in the immigration issue by extending a provision intended for case by case application to a lrge number of people at once.
He thinks he can get another assault weapons ban .He will have a war on his hands that he'll wish he never started.The House will tell him to stick it where the Sun don't shine and even in the Senate there are Democrats like Manchin and Tester who won't follow the urban leftist lead on this.
I see just more Benghazis on the horizon-although you don't seem put out by the whole episode.

Max Diesel

Aaron,
You won the election. Thou dost protest too much. Stop trying to justify the lies that got you there. The Greek culture is alive and well living here in Rhode Island. The telling sign was sweeping vote for over $200 million in borrowing by the state. Total cost to the taxpayer $307 million. Couple that with the lies from the left and this is the result. When the state keeps crumbling and more people keep moving away, the lies won’t matter anymore.

Michael Trenn

Mr. Regunberg: Just whom does the President blame now? The previous President was himself. As far as your coulmn is concerned; for Republicans, the absolute last thing we need to do is to listen to liberals such as yourself for strategy advice. As if we would get advice that is not completely self-serving. Oh yes, become liberal Republicans and then run against liberal Democrats. Were you here for the Chafee Weldon Senate race in 2006?




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