Sea Change?

A recent post is full of comments to and from SeaSpray, a valued and long-time commenter. She and I started our online relationship on Surgeonsblog, where I concluded she was a thoughtful and genuine person. She is. So it's become some sort of a mission to try to get through to her; I don't know why, it just has. Based on prior discussions, I figured she wasn't the typical screamer. So here's my final attempt, on which I embark fully aware it'll change nothing.

SeaSpray, I get that people don't like President Obama, and that there are plenty of reasons to disagree with his policies. But neither you, nor people of the teabag persuasion, seem to want to nor are able to address their objections based on policy or on conservative principles. You -- and they -- perseverate on the stuff that people want you to, in order to get you -- successfully, as you've admitted -- to ignore the effects of their policies. Lately I've been posting about the few true conservatives who've been expressing their disappointment in their party, as they see it becoming unhinged, rigid, and unhelpful. I'd hoped you might be able to see it, too.

As I've written over and over, this country needs two opposing parties; it improves both of them, it leads to finding solutions that aren't too over one edge or another. I
want there to be a strong conservative party; but that also means one that's willing to come together when needed, and to propose solutions that haven't already been shown to fail, time and again. Solutions about which they don't feel compelled to lie.

I guess I could repeat all the ways in which your party has become dangerous; but since I have already, many times, there's no real point. I wish, though, that you could step outside yourself and have a look at the points you keep making: the New Black Panther Party; Joe Biden gets a pass; unfair media; racism; whispering to Putin (it was Medvedev, actually, and what he said was that after the election he'd be able to take up arms control more easily. A political truism. And treaties have to be ratified. Even if he agreed to send all our missiles to Russia wrapped in flowers and candy, with GPS coordinates of your house attached, the senate has to approve it.)

You buy the lies about Obama and Israel, evidently. And you repeat the RWS™ upside-downer that Obama is divisive, ignoring the fact that from day one your party lined up against him, even as Eric Cantor said Rs had had more face time with Obama in six weeks than they'd had with Bush in eight years, and that teabaggers, who now control your party, claim he's unAmerican. Let alone not born here. Hates America, says Rush. Wants to destroy it. And still Obama says he believes they'll work with him. "Oh yeah??" answer the Rs. Who's dividing whom?

You actively don't talk about the economic impact of cutting taxes even further on the wealthy in ways that will raise them on the middle class, increasing military spending and, if they do as they claim they'll do, balancing the budget. The only way it'd work is to eliminate virtually all domestic spending. It's true: practically every analysis has said so. (And they've also said it's still impossible to achieve balance!) I've provided links in the past. Do I need to again, or would it make a difference?

We've become cynical enough about politics to consider some amount of lying and spin to be normal. You might recall I've criticized Obama for some of his ads, and when Alan Grayson went over the line, I wrote that I hoped he'd lose (which he did), even though he was one of the most effective liberal voices in Congress. But the lies of Romney and Ryan are beyond the pail, and they've based their whole campaign on them. When a writer for Fox "news" even says so, you know it's something to consider. If I re-listed the lies, would you care? Do you prefer to believe Obama apologizes for America, hates capitalism, gutted welfare reform, etc, etc, so you don't have to consider the good things he's done? Just as Karl Rove hopes.

Do you wish the auto industry had gone under? Can you look at this graph and believe the stimulus had no effect? Do you think it might be worthwhile to understand the origin of our deficits and debt? Are you unhappy that Obama has killed more terrorists than Bush ever dreamed (including you-know-who)? Is that why you think he'd ready to sell out America? Have you decided Romney's health plan in Massachusetts, which is working, and which differs from Obamacare mainly in that Obama gave other states latitude to try other approaches, was a bad thing? Do you think we should still be in Iraq? Do you believe that returning the wealthy to tax rates under Clinton, when the country was flourishing, is anti-capitalist, or might you be able to see it as a way to balance the budget while still paying for such things as education, first responders, roads, consumer protection, health care...? Is it socialism or Marxism to recognize that capitalism needs government to survive? Are you aware that Obama has proposed significant spending cuts, too, but in a balanced way that doesn't rob the future?

Those are the issues. Romney and Ryan would rather lie about Obama (again: shall I provide lists?) than discuss their plans in any detail; and the Koch brothers, via the RWS™ and superpacs, are paying handsomely for you to be distracted by distortions and falsehoods so you won't notice their self-enriching plans, their plans for their present at the expense of the country's future. Money well spent, evidently.

Like you, I don't care about dogs on roofs or on dinner plates. I don't care that Romney is a Mormon (and although, since we know he's a tax-avoider, I do think it's relevant to know if he's also a tax cheat, I don't care as much about that as the other stuff, either.) I do find very significant that your candidate has changed his mind on
every single major political and moral issue this country faces, and I wonder what it takes to influence him nowadays? But, okay. Let's assume his latest positions are his real positions. Like on "Millionaire:" final answer. (You said he's okay with abortion for rape and incest and life of the mother and so are you, but he's also said he'd sign a bill that declares personhood at conception, which would make those exceptions murder. But, okay. No candidate holds every position that a voter wants. [RNC conventioneers, when asked about the conflict between his views and their platform against all abortion, no exceptions, said everyone should be allowed choice on the matter. Ironic, huh?])

In the end, SeaSpray, what we should want from
any voter is evidence that the decision is based on reality, on the issues we face. I'd like to believe you've assessed each candidate's positions on the budget, on health care, Social Security, Medicare, education, taxes, military spending, etc, etc, and decided that, on those issues, you prefer Romney, and have specific policy reasons for making your choice. Not based on whether Obama is Kenyan, Muslim, hates America, didn't speak out about a group that contains a handful of people, or based on a literally impossible Foxobeckian fever dream of handing the keys to Putin: based on policy. Based on what he's done and wants to do, versus what Romney and Ryan plan to do. And undo.

I acknowledge a significant problem with that: neither Romney nor Ryan has specified the details of their economic plans. "We'll tell you after we're elected," they say. "We'll close loopholes, but we're not saying which ones or how much revenue it'll gain," they argue. About the only specific is Romney's promise to make defense spending total 4% of GDP (more than the Pentagon wants) which would be a huge increase, despite the fact that we're already spending more than the rest of the world combined, and the fact that aircraft carriers can't stop suitcase bombs.

To me, it's puzzling (to put it mildly) that anyone but a mulitmillionaire could choose to vote for R/R, because everyone else will be adversely affected, and our ability to secure a future will be gone. As a speaker at the DNC said, "Freedom isn't free, but neither is opportunity." And "It's impossible to be pro-business and not be pro-education." The R/R plans are based on short-term gain for those who already gots, and ignore the need to make sure there are funds for future Americans to succeed as well.

Tell me where I'm wrong about that. Or, if you'd rather not, tell yourself. That's all. My vote for Obama is based on the conclusion, supported by experts more expert than I, that R/R plans will devastate the ability to pay for things that I consider vitally important. Is your decision based on the conclusion that they're not important; or is it that you don't care? Or that you think I'm lying?

[Added, after a certain speech: Lemme take a wild guess -- you didn't watch Bill Clinton last night. If you didn't, you should. Do it for yourself. (And give yourself plenty of time: he did go on!) I don't imagine you'll be moved; but do it anyway. And decide if he made sense, if he was credible. Or if you think he lied. And if so, where? Answer his arguments, his elaboration of the last four years: not to me. To yourself. Here it is. The generalities, which you'll hate, quickly give way to specifics you need to consider. Skip ahead to the five minute mark. And if you can't make yourself watch the whole thing, there's a short clip of it here that gives a taste of him addressing the facts.]

Finally: don't take it personally, SeaSpray. I've always liked you; I tried to help back on Surgeonsblog, and I'm trying to help now. But, really, I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to teabaggers everywhere, and I'm perfectly aware they're not listening. Which makes me what?
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