Why the Republican Party Has Lost Its Mind: Dirty Tricks

By YeOldeScribe ~ July 19th, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

Anyone even remotely familiar with politics should know that one man’s (or one party’s) dirty tricks is another’s idea of resourcefulness and thinking outside the box. We wouldn’t even think of arguing that Democrats aren’t guilty of this too, though. Take a look at the current debt talks for an excellent example: Democrats keep talking about how ‘raising revenue’ might be necessary, and the Republicans counter that ‘job producers’ shouldn’t be unfairly burdened. Why can’t both sides just say they’re in favor or opposed to raising taxes on the rich? Why is the misleading wordplay necessary?

It’s mostly because neither side wants to admit to the truth of the situation – or rather, they don’t want the public to know that when hard decisions are made that sometimes an unpopular action has to be taken. Naturally, the very thought of remotely upsetting a politican’s constituents is enough to cause him or her to have a heart attack, so they have to make it look like they made the obviously correct decision. So votes against abortion are votes to save babies’ lives, votes to send our boys and girls off to war are really about preserving freedom & democracy, and refusing to tax the hyper-rich becomes protecting job producers.

So how dirty has the Republican party become – especially in Wisconsin? Let’s preface this post by saying that we’ll be doing a separate post soon in this mini series entitled ‘law-breaking’. So we’re only going to get into the minor shenanigans the Republicans have been pulling. For the really good stuff, you’ll have to check back later. Regardless, here’s some of the many things that make our list.

First off, we’ll take a look at the recall election in Wisconsin’s 12th Senate district. Current State Sen. Dave Hansen (D) was up for recall against David VanderLeest (R). We’ll put the irony of the fact that VanderLeest, who is running a campaign based on family values (specifically based on his pro-life stance), has a restraining order filed against him from his wife for an alleged battery incident aside and just look at the facts. While Hansen is very much pro-choice (which our author isn’t a huge fan of), if you’re willing to not be a single-issue voter then Hansen seems to be the wiser choice – mostly due to his experience and the fact that he hasn’t been charged with a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct. Or had a judgement against him. Or filed for bankruptcy. Or violated building codes. Or foreclosed on his home. Or all of the above. So I guess one point we’d like to make is that the Republicans putting up VanderLeest is in and of itself a dirty tactic, because he himself is so dirty.

But the dirtier tactic comes from a pro-life political action committee, who used robo-calls in an attempt to dissuade voters from going out to the polls. Our writer remembers reading an article about it, but he’s having troubles finding the link at the moment. But he knows the story is valid – he received one of the robo-calls himself. The female voice tells voters that a ballot will be mailed to them ahead of time along with a list of pro-life candidates so they won’t have to go out and vote on the 19th. There’s just two small problems with that scenario: first, our writer still hasn’t received a ballot (and he’s not holding his breath on that one), and second, even if the ballot were mailed out, no other propaganda can come with it – and it would come from the government itself, not from some podunk PAC. In other words, nice try unofficial branch of the Republican Party, but you didn’t trick our writer – he still went out and voted today, and not for the pro-life candidate you wanted him to.

Next up is another issue regarding elections: redistricting. This is another tactic that has been abused by both Democrats and Republicans in the past. But just because both parties do it doesn’t make it right. This time around, it’s the Republicans who are guilty of manipulating voting statistics just to keep themselves in power. The changes affect four of the nine senators up for recall, all in favor of Republicans. As the Journal-Sentinel points out, the districts in Wisconsin become far less competitive and much more polarized, ensuring that the current Republican advantage is entrenched for the next 10 years. But it’s even more childish than that. One State Senator – Democrat Bob Wirch, who has served his district for over 15 years – would be drawn out of it under the new plan, and Democratic Senate hopeful Nancy Nusbaum would be drawn out of her district (should she win) by a single block. Let’s not forget that the purpose of redistricting is supposed to be to give minorities the right to have their voices heard and to best represent the populous of an area – not to play political games to ensure your party comes out ahead. But don’t worry, Wisconsin – the Republicans will be sending you the bill for their redistricting efforts via taxes: they’ve already spent $300,000 on the process and there’s no estimate in sight on the final cost. And yet, there’s no money to pay union workers’ their wages? Right…

Finally, let’s take a look at the idea of no compromises. As we reported to you last week, Ron Paul (and many other Republicans both in the House and Senate) are taking the stance of ‘no compromise’ on the debt issue. President Obama has taken the reasonable stance on the issue, saying he was willing to go against his own party to make changes to entitlement programs like Medicare and to Social Security. What he asked for in response was for Republicans to concede that those making more than $250,000 shouldn’t get tax breaks anymore. NOTE: Obama isn’t saying that the rich should be taxed more. He’s saying they shouldn’t receive benefits from the federal government simply for being rich. Republicans – largely led by the Tea Party Movement – have responded by telling the President where he and his party can stick those compromises, because the Republicans feel like playing a high-stakes game of chicken. It’s their way or the highway: either Republicans will get everything they want or they say they’re more than happy to simply let the US Federal Government default on $14 trillion dollars worth of loans and debt.

Now, we understand that politics is a game, and that there is gamesmanship that goes along with becoming a politican. But never before has an entire party said “we have no problem driving this bus (the US economy) off a cliff unless we stop right now at a 7-11 to get a slushie, corn dog AND some hot nuts while you sit and watch us eat.” To put it slightly differently, David Frum of CNN describes it as the GOP demanding Obama’s unconditional surrender. The problem with this, as Frum points out, is that the last time the Repubs tried this, it didn’t work so well – and traditional Republican supporters are already jumping ship in favor of a more moderate (and reasonable) approach. See, some people in big business are finally realizing that if the Republicans keep pushing as hard as they are and a deal doesn’t get done by Aug. 2nd – exactly two weeks from today – that the US economy would crash worse than it ever has before. Worse than the Great Recession of the 2000’s and worse than the Great Depression of the 1930’s. There would be no coming back from this one. The dollar would be worth less than the cotton and paper blend it’s printed on and we’d become the laughing stock of the world economy. Maybe Japan would take over, but it’d be more likely that China would simply grab the reins a few years earlier than planned. Regardless, that scenario doesn’t look good to people with half a brain, so a compromise sounds like a better offer. The Tea Party can push as hard as it wants, but a deal will be reached by Aug. 2nd – and how much the Republicans are willing to cooperate dictates how much of a part they get to play in this whole process.

In short, the Republican Party (especially in WI) is nothing more than a bully. It uses scare tactics and unfair play to give itself an advantage, and then cries foul when it doesn’t get its way. It is by no means legitimate and survives because it creates the rules that allow the party to flourish. And we all know there’s only two ways to get rid of a bully – endure and let time pass, or overwhelm via numbers. Since we clearly don’t have the time to simply weather this storm, let’s show the Republicans how strong the progressive movement is by swarming the ballot boxes and voting the extreme right back out of power (where they belong).

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