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Changes in the Nation’s Political Landscape for Good or Ill

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The good news is that the Vermont legislature has passed a single payer health care bill which the Democratic governor will sign. Vermont will be the only state providing health care to all of its citizens, supplanting insurance companies. Woohoo!

The bad news is that Republicans in states all across the country are in the process of tearing down 80 years of social progress and doing everything they can to render Democrats powerless.

Most of us are aware of the many states that have killed or are in the process of killing public sector unions and have an eye on private sector unions as they represent the only significant, organized source of campaign funding for Dems.

Also in Michigan, the governor has proposed to do away with the state mandated minimum number of days children should be in school, while in Maine legislation is being considered that would do away with most child labor laws. Florida, Kansas and other states have made or are in the process of making it difficult, if not impossible to register new voters, and/or to change registrations due to a change of address or marriage/divorce, etc. What party do you suppose this hurts the most?  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker started a school voucher system in Milwaukee a few years ago to benefit private schools which has proven to be an abject failure – test scores of kids in the private schools are no better, and in some cases worse than those in Milwaukee public schools. Yet he wants to enact the same voucher system statewide, and also exempt the private schools from state mandatory testing! So, there will be no means by which to measure their performance.

None of the above even touches what states are doing regarding abortion and other social issues. A state legislator in Louisiana has proposed a bill which would make any woman who has an abortion guilty of manslaughter and subject her to penalties of up to 15 years in prison.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are any number of other means through which Republicans are tilting the playing field away from Dems. Fundies and other social conservatives are feasting on their advantage in the House, governorships and statehouses across the country. A couple of years ago, people were saying that the Christian fundamentalist movement was dead. Knowing how the pendulum swings, I warned then that that wasn’t the case. I knew that those whose intent was and is to establish a christian theocracy in this country were not finished. Their cause is alive and well and living in all levels of government and the private sector.

Oh, and one more thing. I just turned around to watch a bit of The Daily Show, only to discover that Congress has added an amendment to the First Responder’s Compensation Bill which stipulates that all claimants must pass a Homeland Security background check to make sure none of them are terrorists before they receive any recompense. As Jon Stewart states, after messing around with this bill for nearly 10 years, Congress found one more way to kick the sick and dying first responders while they’re down, before they receive any relief. This particular piece of garbage was endorsed by both Reps and Dems alike. Way to go Congress! Makes you proud.

Then there’s the environment… Well, you get the picture.

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About Baritone

  • So many issues, like reproductive rights, are determined by those who are effected the least, in this case, conservative white males. But in the absence of real policy or respect for equal rights under law, the pendulum has made its swing back in time to the late 40s, just before these offensive legislators were born.

    I hope, as you do, that the electorate gets the picture.


  • Jennie

    I’m not sure where you got your information, but Scott Walker did NOT start the voucher program in Milwaukee at all, much less a few years ago. It was started in 1990 and I believe it was the first in the nation. Walker had nothing to do with it.

  • Boeke

    Vouchers? Did someone mention vouchers?

    I’ve got a new voucher plan. American business has $2trillion in retained earnings tucked away because the economy is so bad there’s no good place to invest or spend it. So they’re hoarding it.

    Suppose we grab (er, ‘reform’) that money away to invest it in current needs: aid for needy children, unemployed workers, single mothers, etc. We can give the businesses vouchers in exchange for the money; we can call them “bonus vouchers” and they can distribute them as bonuses to their executives. Later, we can establish a “bonus fund” for business executives and allocate that fund to the Bonus Vouchers.

    I’m a genius! And ‘brave’, too!

  • Baronius

    Baritone, your article boils down to this: Democrats are implementing the Democratic agenda, which is good, and Republicans are implementing the Republican agenda, which is bad. Is that it?

  • Flights

    Baronius, if you are right about what Baritone’s article boils down to, what is the problem?

    Since the Tea Party got into the GOP driver’s seat, the only real agenda that the Republicans seem to have is the destruction of every social program implemented since the signing of the Constitution.

    There’s an old saying that you can’t go back.

    Americans aren’t likely to support a return to the “good old days.” They were only good for a small elite segment of the population.

    Baritone is right. Until the GOP comes up with a forward looking agenda, rather than one mired in nostalgia, attempting to implement their agenda is bad.

  • Baronius

    Flights, my point is that there isn’t much to this article other than the observation that each party is acting like itself, and the advocacy that one of the parties is good and the other bad.

  • Bar – This goes beyond any agenda. As the Reps have no viable agenda that can hope to gain enough support to supplant Obama from the White House and gain control of the Senate, they have turned their attention to disenfranchising as many likely Dem voters as possible.

    Actually, that has long been their game. They made all the fuss and blather about ACORN and managed to destroy it – an organization which helped the poor in a # of ways beyond voter registration. However, after all was said and done, there was never any proof that a single illegal vote was cast anywhere for any candidate at any level that could be tied to anything promulgated by ACORN. (Now the Reps are doing the same thing to Planned Parenthood and Head Start.) At the same time, Reps in virtually every state, but especially in Ohio and Florida and now Kansas have and continue to prevent literally thousands of people from voting or even to register to vote.

    Further, if they ultimately succeed in effectively breaking up unions, they will further cut into the Dems finances. Meanwhile, the conservative, activist Supreme Court in its Citizens United decision has opened the flood gates for unlimited corporate donations which are overwhelmingly given to Reps. Is that the “agenda” to which you refer, Bar?

    It is blatantly obvious that the Rep agenda, such as it is, has taken aim on women’s rights, against minority rights and against the poor in general. So, to answer your question: Yes, the Republican agenda is bad. It would appear from the response Paul Ryan and other Reps who voted for his budget bill are getting from many on the home front, that agenda is not selling well with their constituents. So, if the Reps continue to pursue the draconian measures they propose, they and the whole tea bagging movement may well find themselves kicked out on their tight little asses come 2012. One can only hope.


  • Baronius

    Baritone, my point is that your article has a lot less analysis in it than your last comment does.

  • The article wasn’t meant to be analytical. It was meant to foment discussion, which it has. It normally follows that the discussions get down to more definitive analysis to either support or not support the initial claims put forth in the article at hand.

    Your initial comment focused upon party agendas, which I aptly commented on, stating that much of what Reps are now doing has little or nothing to do with their supposed agenda, and a good deal more to do with disenfranchizing Democrats.