The Republican Party Today – Ain’t it Grand?
My 12-year grand-daughter asked what Pres. Bush and the Republicans stand for. “The Grand Old Party stands behind Pres. George W. Bush,” I said, “and he stands for a safe America, an educated America, an America with a clean environment, and a healthy economy where people who want to work can find good jobs and get paid well.”
President Bush wants to make America safer, stronger and more secure. President Clinton says he tried to tell President Bush about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and Al Queda. But when he briefed Bush as he was taking office, President Bush wasn’t listening. Immediately following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush reluctantly set up the Sept 11 Commission to investigate the attacks, and then refused to testify before that Commission. His response was “I didn’t have anything to do with it. I was in Florida. Why should I testify?”
President Bush has launched wars against Al Queda in Afganistan and Iraq. In Afganistan our armed forces have knocked out the Taliban regieme, which supported Osama bin Laden and Al Queda, but have not yet located bin Laden. I am confident that we will find him right around Election Day.
President Bush and the Republicans know how to take action. On the morning of Sept 11, 2001, after he learned of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, Pres. Bush spent about 10 minutes gathering his thoughts and reading to children in Florida. Then he immediately came to New York City – and he got there on Sept. 14. It only took 3 days to get from Florida to New York. It is a long way from Florida to New York City. It’s 4 hours by plane, and there weren’t any flights after Sept. 11.
Bush and the Republicans also say that women should not be responsible for when they become pregnant and when they have children, which coincidentally, is what the Taliban and the Al Queda fundamentalists say.
“But Gramps,” my grand-daughter said, “didn’t we go to war in Afganistan to stop the Taliban and Al Queda?”
“You’re only 12,” I answered. “This is complicated. You’ll understand when you’re older.”
“When I was your age,” I said, “People used to believe that ‘a man’s home was his castle, and that the Government had no call to investigate what was going on behind closed doors between consenting adults.” When Bill Clinton was President, even tho he was elected by a clear majority, many Republicans believed that it was their right and responsibilty to find out anything they could to persuade Mr. Clinton to resign or even to force him out of office. Whether it involved his losing money in bad investments, or his spending time in the company of an young woman from California, they wanted to find out anything that Clinton may or may not have done that could cause him to be forced out or to resign.
“As I said,” I went on, “People believed that ‘a man’s home is his castle, and that the Government had no business investigating what goes on behind closed doors between consenting adults, even when they are of the same sex.” Some gay people love other gay people and stay with each other for a long time. And they want some of the subtle benefits of marriage. For example, the medical benefits that people can get from work, and the right to visit their partner when he or she is in the hospital. President Bush says he is against “Gay Marriage” and that there should be an amendment to the US Constitution banning it. Vice President Cheney says each state should decide about gay marriage, so the Republican Party is both for and against gay marriage. Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, says that gay marriage is ok, but only when gay people marry members of the opposite sex. A friend of mine agrees “Gay men make the best husbands,” she says. “They love to shop. They know all about clothes, and they never bother you in bed.”
“That’s nice, Gramps,” my grand-daughter said. “But what about the War in Iraq?” she asked.
“Well, as near as I can figure out, we led the invasion of Iraq because Bush believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. When it was clear that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction, Bush said that Saddam had ties to bin Laden and Al Queda. Well, we know that bin Laden is a religious fundamentalist and Saddam was against the fundamentalists. While they are both “bad guys” we now know that Osama bin Ladin and Saddam Houssein were bad guys who hated each other. Every time one of Bush’s reason for the Invasion of Iraq turns out to be wrong, Bush comes up with another story, which shows how focused he was on getting rid of Saddam. And remember, Bush declared victory a year ago. The war is practically over.
Bush and the Republicans are also against “flip-flopping.” Like when John Kerry says “Assuming he knew what he was doing, I voted to allow the President to make the decision,” and when Kerry says “I volunteered to serve in Viet Nam, but while I was there I realized that we were not doing the right thing.” Bush and the Republicans never flip-flop. Bush is against Saddam, and when one justification for the war turns out to be wrong, he comes up with another.
Bush and the Republicans want to make our economy stronger. Millions of people have lost their jobs while Bush has been President. More people have lost jobs under George W. Bush than under any other President except Hoover, who was President during the Great Depression. Some have found jobs, but many have not, and many gave up looking. And many of the people who found jobs are working for a lot less money than they used to make. Like computer engineers who are driving taxis. They went from making about $100 thousand per year with medical benefits and vacation. They were overpaid. But today they are working about 10 hours per day, 6 days per week, for about $8 to $12 per hour, with no medical benefits or vacation. Ain’t America wonderful?
When people have been out of work for such a long time that they no longer qualify for unemployment benefits; and they stop looking, they are not counted as “unemployed.” They are considered “bums.” And you know, it’s a lot easier to sit on the couch, watch tv, and drink beer than it is to go out and look for a job, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Especially when there are hundreds or thousands of people just like you looking for the same kind of job, and the employers don’t want to hire anyone who’s not working, and there are close to a hundred people qualified for each job. Those few people who do find jobs are being paid a lot less on their new job then they were paid on their old job. So President Bush and the Republicans shouldn’t be blamed, after all, what can they do?
And remember, most of the Republican politicians are very wealthy, and they have powerful friends who own and manage businesses, so it’s easy for them to find work. When they leave office they become lobbyists. They don’t have to worry about things. When times get really bad we elect a guy like FDR or Bill Clinton, who makes the economy strong.
“Aren’t they Democrats?” my daughter asked.
“Yes,” I replied, “but they could have been Republicans.”
“What about health care?” she asked. Approximately 44 Million Americans – including 9 million children – have no health insurance and can’t really afford to go to the doctor or to buy their medications. That is approximately 1 out of 6 people. These are people who work, old people who retired, and children. Well, if they absolutely need health care, if they break an arm or something, they can go to the emergency room. And when people have to choose between food, or medicine, it will help with people lose weight. And we are building hospitals to provide decent health care to the Iraquis. But there’s a war on. After the war ends, We will tackle health care in this country.
President Bush and the Republicans are for education. A lot of people say the President’s “No Child Left Behind” act has a lot of goals but needs money to achieve those goals. And there’s a war. We are building schools for children in Iraq. After the war, we’ll help our children at home.
“What about the Environment? she asked.
<>There’s a war on, and we have to make sacrifices. We can’t just willy-nilly protect endangered species, wetlands, our air or water. We can’t just fund research into alternative energy like solar, or wind power. We don’t need to make the car companies build more fuel efficient cars so they use less gasoline; we’ll just import oil from our good friends in Saudi Arabia. With bin Laden running around, with terrorists and Al Queda to be worried about; air pollution, water pollution, endangered species, and global warming are just not that important.
“And taxes?” She asked.
The Republican Party used to be careful about how it spent the government’s money. Abe Lincoln was a Republican, and he coined the term “government of the people, for the people, and by the people.” But, that was a long time ago. When Ronald Reagan became President.in 1980 he knew that he could increase the national debt and someone else would deal with it. And sure enough, Clinton reduced the debt and created a budget surplus. Under President Bush, the deficit is even higher than it was under Reagan. But Republicans don’t believe in raising taxes, altho we do raise taxes on poor people and the middle class. We like to lower taxes on rich people when we raise taxes on everybody else, that way we can say we’re lowering taxes.
And think about it. Republicans don’t need welfare, social security, or medicare, so why should they pay for it? Republicans send their children to private schools, so why should they pay taxes to support public schools? Republicans rarely serve in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, so why should they pay taxes that support them? And Bush is borrowing money rather than raising taxes on rich people. Again, that’s what rich people do. Rather than use their own money, they use other people’s money. Democrats money.
So there you have it. The Grand Old Party. Making America safer and more secure by criticizing the Democrats and invading Iraq. A Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage unless states allow it, or gay people marry people of the opposite sex. Making the economy strong by letting it take care of itself. We don’t want our economy to be dependant on the government. Making people stronger by forcing them to choose between food, rent, doctors, or medication. We’re building schools in Iraq, and after the war ends we may build schools here the United States. We’re not raising taxes on the rich, but we are raising taxes on the people who use various government services, and we are borrowing money, after all, interest rates are low.
Ain’t it grand?
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