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Rational Majority Originals
Original content written by and for everyday Americans who participate in political discourse not as a profession, but as a civic duty
Curated by John Cashon
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Suggested by Robert Bunn

Meanings matter


I planned to write an essay. It would be about social liberalism, fiscal conservatism, and minimum wage. It would present a neat line using minimum wage to clarify whether it was more important to you to be a social liberal or a fiscal conservative. This is not that essay.

I didn’t write that essay because I discovered something interesting. I discovered that I didn’t know what “fiscal conservative” meant. I thought I knew, from listening to the things being said by people who described themselves as fiscal conservatives. I was wrong.

I thought fiscal conservatism was about cutting taxes. I thought it was about pro-business policies, or at least against policies that favor households over firms. I thought it was about doing anything possible to reduce the size, scope, and cost of federal government. I believed a lot of things said by self-described fiscal conservatives to be fiscally conservative policies. None of them had anything to do with the meaning of fiscal conservatism.

I’m still not convinced that fiscal conservatism, strictly defined as being opposed to deficit spending, is compatible with social liberalism. What I am sure of is that people who are fiscal conservatives by the actual definition of the term need to do a better job of reclaiming it from people who say it, but mean something entirely unrelated.

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Suggested by Michael Charney


Social-liber-moder-conserv-fiscal-ali-docious | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


Imagine Disney doing a version of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. In this version Howard Roarke is played by a doddering (but still funny) Dick Van Dyke while Julie Andrews slips comfortably into the role of Dominque Francon. (And, by the way, Julie still looks great. She was born for the part.) At one point the two of them, along with a few obsequious followers, jump through an architectural drawing that’s been chalk-marked onto a sidewalk. They then frolic and cavort in some other-worldly nanny state filled with animated characters (created by Pixar, of course, since Disney owns it), while singing the title song, the one you see at the top of this essay.

A nonsense word. Even when you try to sing it. (C’mon. You know you did…)

The idea it contains—that there is something special about fiscally conservative and socially moderate (or liberal)—has also been accused of nonsensicality. In a recent essay, my co-host on The Middle Ground, Eric Byler, had this to say about it:

"I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative."

I hear that so often, I’m tempted to say "Who isn't?” before the speaker adds: “That’s why I hate politics,” or "That's why I feel like I have no political home."

The self-ascribed label is often used to set the speaker apart from society, and yet, especially in younger and more urban demographics, it has become the norm.

I agree—just a bit—with Eric. The terminology has been genericized into near-meaninglessness, but that’s not the fault of the terms themselves, but of the way they are so casually used. With the term “socially liberal,” for example, it’s easy to answer Eric’s question. It’s pretty clear to me (and, I imagine, to you) “who isn’t.” We generally refer to them as the base of the Republican Party, the substantial minority of registered GOPers who still think that Todd Akin is just the cat’s meow. (As opposed to the cat’s hairball the rest of us consider him.)

There’s also the “socially moderate” label, which I prefer to “socially liberal,” the term with which it is often combined. I don’t think you can conflate the two so easily. My example (sure to ruffle some feathers) is the now-settled question of gays in the military. Social liberalism would argue that a policy like “Don’t ask/Don’t Tell” was a humongous insult and a mistake to boot. A social moderate like me would argue that it was the perfect policy for the time. It took careful steps toward an important change, but allowed society and the military to both monitor and assess any unintended consequences, and to allow for additional enculturation. A similar example is playing out with respect to gay marriage, where a socially liberal person would likely embrace a federal law (or constitutional amendment) supporting the move, while a social moderate looks for both the respect of state’s rights and a period of, again, enculturation.

The whole fiscally conservative thing, though, is where we end up with chalk marks in a rainstorm. (Double analogy, for those paying attention: Mary Poppins and Joni Mitchell.) I haven’t heard anybody claim the mantle of “fiscal liberal” and I doubt even J. M. Keynes would have accepted such a moniker.

Many would likely accept the alternative term fiscal responsibility if offered the choice, especially since the word conservative carries around such elephantine weight. It does seem, though, that there is a tendency to use either term at least somewhat interchangeably. For me, though, they are not the same at all.

Fiscal responsibility—which I define as balancing a return on investment with a humanitarian heart—should be the price of admission. Think of Congress as a collection of 538 CFOs all sharing the responsibility of keeping our bottom line from bottoming out. If they can’t do that job, we should just fire their asses and hire people who can. We expect—and demand—fiscal responsibility from our elected leaders. Every single one of us. It’s a mom-and-apple-pie economic principle. (We don’t often get it from Congress, but that’s another essay. Maybe three.)

Fiscal conservatism, though, isn’t just about responsibility. It means that decisions about how to responsibly spend our money will generally favor maintaining the status quo (for those things that are working), and making gentle, subtle adjustments (for those that are not), all the while ensuring that we take the time along the way both for analyzing the possible unintended consequences and for any necessary enculturation.

Allow me to provide an example, another one that will certainly re-ruffle those same feathers I ruffled a few paragraphs back:

There are people I’ve talked with who would consider it fiscally responsible for the U.S. to make drastic cuts in military spending. In fact, that would be fiscally irresponsible. Our military/industrial complex is woven so deeply into the economic fabric that any attempt to rapidly pull threads could result in severe unemployment, a terrible drop in GDP and, possibly, another recession (or worse). The fiscally conservative approach would be to look at what’s working and what’s not, anticipate the future needs (cyber vs. subs, for example), and then to make incremental small cuts and/or program trade-offs that would be far less likely to shock the system and far more likely to move us in the direction we need to go.

That’s not, I’m sorry to say, a position I often hear, but it is the fiscally conservative approach. (Ironically, today’s GOP is taking a fiscally liberal approach: spend and build and spend and build. As always, the military is the party’s Keynesian backdoor.)

These examples—both on the social and the fiscal side—will, I hope, give you pause to reconsider how you define these terms for yourself. To people like me (a self-proclaimed consiberal) these terms do have real meaning. They’re not just a nice blanket that covers a large group of fence-sitters. Socially moderate and fiscally conservative define an ideological approach, not just a middling moderate middle.

I would add as a final note a very specific—and frightening—answer to Eric’s question. I can tell you precisely “who isn’t” a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Glenn Beck isn’t. Al Sharpton isn’t. Rush Limbaugh isn’t. Ed Schultz isn’t. Michael Savage isn’t isn’t isn’t. They’re all just loud people possessing more wattage than you and me….

It may be very true—and I hope and believe that it is—that millions of you out there are socially moderate (or liberal) and fiscally conservative. (It must be true! Someone's selling t-shirts, for God’s sake….) But if it is true, then we dearly need to hear from more of you. We need you louder and stronger and better organized. We need you to “be the media,” as we sometimes say, on Facebook and YouTube and Twitter and Internet Radio. Eric and I would want you to know that you do, in fact, have a “political home.”

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Suggested by Eric Byler

My response to Michael Charney's response to my Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative Essay

My response to Michael Charney's response to my Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative Essay | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


TONIGHT on Coffee Party Radio, Michael and I will start The Middle Ground at a special time: 7:30 pm ET. We'll go for the 90 minutes leading up to the second Presidential Debate.  CLICK HERE to listen live, or call in at 646-929-2495.  Our topic: "Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative."

This is an email from me to Michael Charney re. Charney's latest blog which was a response to my blog, both in preparation for tonight's radio show.

Everything you wrote was perfectly clear and delightfully illuminating, except that I haven't read The Fountainhead so the absurdity of the contrast was somewhat lost on me.  I love the point that it's no fault of the term, but a fault of the loose way that people use it, that we aren't sure quite what it means.  

I do think we're on to something.  I fully realize that the "who's not" socially moderate & fiscally responsible is the shrinking Republican base. As I often say, the ruling class knows this group is shrinking, that's why such drastic measures are being taken to bolster its influence with money and all that it buys, including new voter suppression laws and Supreme Court decrees like "Citizens United."    

But, if the People can counter Big Money + Big Media with massive participation + social media, the inevitability that the former is meant to prevent will not be preventable.   I know that social conservatives seem ferocious right now. They yell at us, they threaten us, they bring guns to public meetings, and of course they vote.  But truly, where would they be without Big Money + Big Media?  The only reason that the ruling class invests in BM + BM (and uses it to provoke conflict on social issues) is that it wins elections.  What if it didn't? The changes I predict could happen much faster than you might think.    

Right now, BM + BM is unnaturally inflating the power and the intensity of social conservatism.  Sure, I know it's out there, but I believe that social conservatism could not, in today's America, continue to be a national organizing principle without Fox News and the Republican party manipulating and provoking us.

If the Fox News/GOP establishment decided that stoking social conservatism is no longer a winning formula, they would change their script, shoot a different movie, and, offer different candidates.  (Or, they could offer the same candidates reading a different script).  They'd push the Republican base, and thereby their candidates toward the gradual changes you mention.  

They'd seek to build a coalition that includes constituencies that are not shrinking, and will always be there, for instance, socially-liberal-fiscally-responsible people.  Then, the choices we'd be focusing upon would be filled with substance rather than bluster.  They'd fall between where you see things and I see things, or, where Jon Huntsman wants to take the country and Hillary Clinton wants to take it.  Wouldn't that be nice?  

Some things I want to cover in tonight's radio show:  

  • Where do you and I disagree, let's try to fight about it! (=
  • Why isn't the Libertarian party the answer?
  • Is there really no such thing as a fiscal liberal? 
  • It seems we've created a new tent that begins with the premise that social conservatives are icky and money in politics is bad.  Is that a coalition to build upon, or does it just seem that way because we feel passionately about it?
  • Are we stumbling upon the formula that can heal the country after the election and gradually put our country on a sustained right track?


READ the original essay by Eric Byler

READ the Michael Charney response

LISTEN to The Middle Ground with Michael Charney & Eric Byler tonight (10/16) at 7:30 pm ET

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Suggested by Jessica English

The Vice Presidential Debate| A Single Mom's Analysis

The Vice Presidential Debate| A Single Mom's Analysis | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


I used to be Chair of the Big Stone Republican Party, and Paul Ryan is cute and he’s from my former neighboring state of Wisconsin, so, I thought I’d give his ideas “equal opportunity.”


However, as a woman, I admit that I entered the Vice Presidential debate with bias. I like the fact that Biden represents most Americans’ view on contraception and abortion, and has fought to fund the only place I can afford healthcare – Planned Parenthood. I love the fact that he has been in my shoes as a single parent, and, as a result, has dedicated his public service to defending the middle class. When I was a student in my local community college, I appreciated his championing of my education. Most of all, I respect the fact that his team’s first act in office was to protect and bolster equal pay for my daughters and me. So, to be honest, I went into the debate with the hope that Biden would have the chance to talk about his record.


The one theme that surprised me in the first half of the debate was Joe Biden’s visible commitment to (and defense of) thoughtful diplomacy. As the daughter of a disabled Viet Nam Veteran, I was honestly encouraged to see his unequivocal commitment to working with our allies in countries like Iran and Syria and getting out of Afghanistan by 2014. I think during the Bush years, I got so used to the beating drums of war, that to see someone give such a bold answer to the argument that “we can’t alert the terrorists to an end date cause they’ll wait us out” was awesome! I agree with Biden, it is time for Afghanistan to step up and for us to draw down our military response and, I would add, send in the humanitarians! Let’s be honest, the Afghan people - life expectancy of age 32 and 70% of the population unable to attain potable water - need our soldiers, guns and war just as much as the Iranian people need to be bombed on top of being starved.


Ryan’s statements regarding Iran, Syria, and the Afghan fighting season, along with his attempt to paint the Obama administration as careless in their handling of our national defense really lost a lot of points with me. What I saw was the unraveling of the effect of Paul Ryan’s hair.


Let’s spend less on war and tax the wealthy to pay for the first two before we start criticizing Obama’s foreign policy. As far as the questions and the moderator go, I was disappointed, as usual, that we did not have a question about wages. I don’t care about jobs and job creators as much as I care about wages and those 1 in 5 Americans earning poverty wages. Also, why was Ryan given so much time? Was he really telling us anything specific? I would like to have heard an equal amount from the Vice President.


Maybe Ryan could have been stronger in this debate, if he had specific answers to the questions regarding his plans. At times I felt that Ryan’s statements were clearer, more concise and less complex, but that doesn’t mean that he was able to educate me on his positions. Instead, it felt like a sales pitch. Irreverent of the policies that lead our country into a Great Recession, with a “so-called” plan devoid of historical context, Paul Ryan was the candidate running from the record. After all, isn’t it time that tax cuts put in place during record surpluses expire, so that we can pay for our wars? Great point, Joe!


Finally, I really appreciated the question on faith and abortion. As a Christian, it was refreshing to finally see the mention of Christian Social Doctrine in a thoughtful response on abortion. As a woman who has suffered from three miscarriages, I could relate to Ryan’s bean story, but I could respect Biden’s choice to honor his faith, while honoring the beliefs of other Americans.


I honestly, missed the closing remarks because my seven year old piped up with this question, “Mommy, can women be president?”


“Why do you ask?” I asked her.


“Because all I ever see for president are these men.”


So, I missed the end of the debate to explain to my daughter the hopes I have for 2016.


All in all, I would have liked to have heard something concrete from Ryan, but what I took away, was some canned statement about fear and running from records, which he illustrated well.


While Biden, lived up to my hopes of detailing successful policies that have benefitted the middle class and seniors, I felt he missed a couple of opportunities. Sure, the VP could have done a better job rebutting Ryan’s strange assessment that unemployment rates going down are not an improvement to an economy that was losing 800,000 jobs a month under the last Republican President. What is up with Republicans and math? Sure, Biden isn’t perfect, but while some are doing everything in their power to maintain their power… after the debate, I truly believe that Biden is working on behalf of me - a single mom, committed to peace, in need of healthcare, hoping to one-day graduate from community college, while striving to create equal opportunities for my daughters.

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Suggested by Margaret Reeve Panahi

Thank Goodness

Thank Goodness | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


Oct. 12, 2012 VP debates

Last night’s debate made me feel better. It was civil and respectful. I really appreciated the sense of respect that congressman Ryan had for the Vice President and vice versa. The debate showed Joe Biden’s courage and Paul Ryan’s stands on his beliefs.

Joe was a great ally of the president’s. Paul supported Romney, but mostly spoke about his ideas and the parties’ ideas, though they were pretty vaguely described. I wanted to see the fact checks because I wasn’t sure how much of what was being said, and what I didn’t know about regarding specifics, was accurate. That was helpful.

Joe is a hard fighter for the workers and Paul Ryan believes in top down economics. I appreciated the comments on faith and Mr. Biden’s assertion that the Catholic (and really core Christian) doctrines teachings that we must take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. This, for me, was a comment to the conservative position that has been eviscerating the social programs, and economic balance in our country. And it spoke to my values.

When I woke up today, I had the refrain from a sixties song in my head:

“Come on people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try to love one another. Right now.”

That seems corny now, but maybe that is what civility inspires in me.

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Scooped by John Cashon

The Evolution of a New Party

The Evolution of a New Party | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by HAL ZIEGLER,  former Republican State Senator in Michigan

To some of us who were part of the GOP for years--and followed its history from Lincoln to the early 2000's, we believe an entirely new GOP has evolved--literally destroying the old GOP.

A Party that once stood for individual rights and freedom of expression replaced by suppression of those rights through Jim Crow voting laws.

A Party that believed in limited Government now sees Government as a force to be used to go after voting rights.

A Party that believed in strict adherence to the Constitution has been told 10 times in just a few months its actions were unconstitutional.

A Party that championed Separation of Church and State now includes in its platform the mandates of some religious groups.

A Party that worked with LBJ to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act now seeks to trample on the rights of minorities.

A Party that woke up and saw the dangers of a racist movement, the John Burch Society, and closed its doors to such a movement, but has now opened its doors to its successor, the Tea Party.

A Party that, at the eleventh hour, worked across the aisle when the country was at risk and needed solutions, now purges any member who dares mention compromise.

A Party that once felt pride in exercising its legislative duties is now led by a Senate Leader who believes a Senator's duty is solely to destroy the Presidency.

A Party that celebrates annually, a Lincoln day dinner and embraced by the likes of Taft, Goldwater, Kemp, yes Nixon, Ford, Dirksen, Bush I, Dole, Reagan and so many other good men and women, now embraces a nominee who flip-flops on virtually all issues, lies regarding four murders of Americans for political points--and well to sum it up, is running a "dishonest campaign"--those being the words of Newt Gingrich during the primaries.

A Party whose core was once real conservatives, not neo-conservative obstructionists, and embraced by those who believed in the rights of the individual and limited Government, has been replaced by a party whose belief is the Government is the tool to use to deny voting rights, so a party who believed in tolerance has been replaced by racism and religious extremism.

YES a NEW PARTY, but to those who gave much to the OLD PARTY, nothing but regret, sorrow and concern for the future of the Two-Party System, and the Country.

[LISTEN to Hal Ziegler on Coffee Party Radio]

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Suggested by Robert Bunn

Why debates swing opinions


For the past several months, we’ve been engaging in the great national political debate. We’ve been engaging one on one with our friends, with acquaintances, with strangers; on facebook, on message boards, in the office, over coffee, on street corners, even door to door. We’ve been out there, putting our ideas in contact with other people’s ideas, representing the candidates we choose to represent us.

In all that time, the candidates themselves haven’t been speaking to each other. They’ve been talking to their own fans. We’re like two unrelated fandoms, trying to settle the perennial question: “Who would win in a fight, Batman or Iron Man?” There’s no answer to that, but we can see what happens when the Democrat hero and the Republican hero meet face to face. In fact, we saw that last Wednesday.

Shockingly (to Democrats), what we saw was that Mitt Romney had a better understanding of the nature of the contest the people expected to see. The Roman Coliseum would hardly have been filled to watch two men sit across a table, seek common ground, peacefully identify their differences, and submit to the crowd for arbitration. Ideally, that’s what good politics would look like, but it’s lousy political theater.

In the same was that many fans watch hockey for the fights, so do we watch the political debates. Finesse players are for goals, but it’s often the enforcers who draw the crowds. Sidney Crosby gets the real job done, and when he does it, he can bring an arena to its feet. But Eric Godard can do the same, without advancing any useful objective, and far more easily.

Last week, the Republicans got Godard, and the Democrats got Crosby. The Republicans were happy, because they had been expecting Don Cherry. The Democrats were disappointed, because they were expecting Godard, or at least Bob Probert.

All of this leads us back to the real point. What nobody was expecting was two people discussing issues like adults. We’ve been conditioned to view our political process as a gladiatorial contest between opposing teams with mutually exclusive goals. This lens distorts our perceptions, disproportionately magnifying the importance of a single one-on-one confrontation to the point that ninety minutes of altercation is expected to affect the teams’ standings. Our political process will be mature when we expect our candidates to be mature.

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Scooped by John Cashon

Rhetoric of our fathers: the election of 1800

Rhetoric of our fathers: the election of 1800 | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


When one sees the elections of today, they think of the rhetoric that is being thrown at both sides. Every election seems to get worse and worse.

If only we could return to the glorious days of our founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Would it surprise you to know that the rhetoric was just as bad, or worse, back then as well?

The election of 1800 was the first election that had two parties where the winner would control the Presidency and the Vice-Presidency. The Federalists selected John Adams and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and the Democratic-Republicans selected Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

To get the full story, we would first need to begin by looking at the 1796 election when George Washington, a Federalist, declared that he would not run for President again.

In George Washington’s Farewell Address as President of the United States, he warned about the danger of parties in the State:

"I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to founding them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you, in the most solemn manner, against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes, in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled or repressed; but in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy."

At this time, under the original Constitution, two parties did choose their candidates, but there was nothing indicating how to handle two parties for the elections.

In this 1796 election, the Federalists ran John Adams and Thomas Pinckney and the Democratic-Republicans ran Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

According to the Miller Center, a nonpartisan institute seeking to expand understanding of the presidency, policy, and political history, and based at the University of Virginia, states:

"Each party named two presidential candidates, for under the original Constitution, each member of the electoral college was to cast two ballots for President. The winner of the presidential election was the individual who received the largest number of votes, if it constituted a majority of the votes cast. The person receiving the second largest number of votes, whether or not it was a majority, was to be the vice president. In the event that no candidate received a majority of votes, or that two candidates tied with a majority of votes, the House of Representatives was to decide the election, with each state, regardless of size, having a single vote."

After the Electoral College delegates cast their ballots, the Vice President, who was the presiding officer of the Senate, had the job to count them. This just happened to be John Adams.

When the votes were counted, John Adams had 71 votes making him President and Thomas Jefferson had 68 votes giving him the Vice-Presidency. This meant the government would be run by a Federalist as the President and a Democratic-Republican as the Vice-President. 

Saying that the two parties were not fond of the other's platform for the direction of the country would be a wild understatement. They bitterly opposed each other's ideas.

The Federalist believed in a strong central government that would have the authority to restrain the excesses of popular majorities. They were backed by the commercial sector of the country favored by the electors in the northern states.

The Democratic-Republicans, containing many members of the former Anti Federalists, wanted to reduce the national authority allowing the people to rule more directly through the state governments. They drew their strength from those favoring an agrarian society which was the strongest in the southern states.

Alexander Hamilton, a leader in the Federalist Party, once stated, "Men are reasoning rather than reasonable animals." He disagreed with Thomas Jefferson's view that the general public should control government. 

Thomas Jefferson believed in universal education and universal suffrage for some white men. According to The American Pageant: A History of the American People: To 1877 by David M. Kennedy, Lizabeth Cohen and Thomas A. Bailey:

"Above all, Jefferson advocated the rule of the people. But he did not propose thrusting the ballot into the hands of every adult white male. He favored government for the people, but not by all the people – only by those white men who were literate enough to inform themselves and wear the mantle of American citizenship worthily. Universal education would have to precede universal suffrage. The ignorant, he argued, were incapable of self-government. But he had profound faith in the reasonableness and teachableness of the masses and in their collective wisdom when taught." 

The Democratic-Republican's ideals may sound familiar today with their arguments against Federal authority, taxes, and the call for stronger states rights heard today by the Conservative and Libertarian Parties as they debate for smaller government. This debate has a long history in the United States.

The Election of 1800

By the time the campaigning for the 1800 Election began, many in both parties were angry with John Adams. The Miller Center describes the situation for Adams:

"The Federalist Party was deeply split over his foreign policy. Many had opposed his decision to send envoys to Paris in 1799, some because they feared it would result in national humiliation for the United States and others because they hoped to maintain the Quasi-War crisis for partisan ends. Furthermore, early in 1800, Adams fired two members of his cabinet, Timothy Pickering, the secretary of state, and James McHenry, the secretary of war, for their failure to support his foreign policy. Their discharge alienated numerous Federalists. In addition to the fissures within his party, the differences between the Federalists and the Republicans had become white-hot. Jeffersonians were furious over the creation of a standing army, the new taxes, and the Alien and Sedition Acts."

The Federalists asked the electors to cast their two votes for John Adams and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, but they did not designate which would be President. The Democratic-Republicans nominated Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, but designated Jefferson to be their candidate for President. 

During this time, the candidates did not actively campaign, choosing to allow their camps to run their campaigns, while they spent most of their time in their respective homes in Massachusetts and Virginia.

As the campaign continued, the Federalist camp painted Jefferson as a godless nonbeliever and a radical revolutionary. They believed if he was elected, he would bring about a reign of terror in the nation. Adams was accused of trying to have his son married off to King George III's daughter and was trying to setup a dynasty. 

It got worse when John Adams was accused by Jefferson's camp of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." This led Adam's camp to call Jefferson, "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father." 

Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams, wrote, “In short, we are now wonderfully popular except with Bache & Co., who in his paper calls the President, old, querulous, bald, blind, cripple, toothless Adams.” 

The campaign was getting particularly brutal with Adams being labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant. Adams' camp followed suit by calling Jefferson a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward. Martha Washington, after hearing the attacks on Adams, told a clergyman that Jefferson was "one of the most detestable of mankind." 

One other event transpired that showed one difference between Jefferson and Adams' campaign styles. Jefferson decided to hire a 'hatchet man' named James Callendar to smear Adams in publications while Adams believed he was above these types of tactics. This proved successful for Jefferson because Callendar's work helped convince many Americans that Adams wanted to attack France. 

Jefferson and Burr tied for first in the election with 73 votes each becoming the only time in American history that the President and the Vice President tied for first in an election. Unfortunately, for Jefferson, a tie meant the decision would have to be made by the House of Representatives, according to the Constitution, even though they declared in the beginning that he was running for President and Burr was running for Vice-President. In a close vote and with Alexander Hamilton's help, because of his animosity towards Aaron Burr, Jefferson won the vote and became the President of the United States. 

This election was the first of its kind in the United States because it was the first where an opposition party replaced another in running the government. Even after all of the vitriol that was slung in this election, Jefferson's opponents stepped down peacefully, which is very significant. This two party structure allowed the opposing groups in the government to have a way of transferring power, through elections, without trying to destroy the other side and allowing each to coexist peacefully, and this established a precedent for all of the future elections to follow.

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Suggested by David Biddle

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


Dear Mr. President,

I watched you last night on the first debate for the campaign of 2012. I am a big fan. I was so happy when you were elected almost four years ago. You know why we all voted for you. That optimism and hope thing was more than alluring, it seemed real and genuine to all of us. We wanted someone who would use happiness, intelligence, hope, and wit to fight the old style people who are all about protecting those with money and those who want money. You were the one. Do you understand that? You were the one.

Now, it’s clear you got dealt a crappy hand inheriting the biggest economic mess since the great depression. We know that this wasn’t your fault. We also know that you didn’t start a war in Afghanistan then jump over to start another one in Iraq and bungle both of them like a five-year-old tangled up in his underwear and confused by his own poop. That was the Republicans. They are a sorry, sorry lot.

We also have watched them lie, cheat, and steal over the past four years all in the name of doing whatever they can to defeat you this year. Most everyone voting for them this year knows good and well what that story is about.

We also know that things here in the second decade of the New American Century are very complicated. There are way too many of us in the 99% group who have a hard time. It’s no one’s fault and it’s everybody’s fault. Pretty much all of us want to do better for the world and for our families, but life in a country this size and with so much stuff everywhere (have you noticed that?) is not easy. Lots of us are getting old and that means medical attention like never before. And pretty much no one likes their job. Drinking, smoking, and watching TV (especially sports and reality contests) is how we all get by.

So I can understand you taking the high road last night. I’ve got close friends who are political consultants and less close friends who have run for elected office. I know how trying to be part of the status quo can make you think.

The thing is, I would imagine you’re pretty frustrated about now. I’d imagine you watched the Occupy Movement last fall and understood their demand for participatory democracy and their anger about how government (the people’s government) is teamed up with Big Money, and that democracy has taken a back seat to free market economics and the power system.

I’m sure, like me, you were puzzled that the Occupiers didn’t make specific demands and stand for a list of change items that they could hang their hats on. It took me a while to get it. I just watched this YouTube video called “History of an Occupation.” Now I get it. They were (and are) so out in front the media and those of us who call ourselves planners and thinkers couldn’t understand. They couldn’t make concrete demands because they were operating on their own terms. Those terms meant people of authority (and their enforcers) were illusions. How can you be real in a democracy (the people’s government) when you don’t have the authority of the people backing you? I shake my head. Few of us who had a hard time understanding what the Occupiers were all about actually wanted to see them defeated. They stood for the 99%. That was very important. We all knew that.

But lets go back to the debate. You were very regal. But you were kind of wifty. You forgot to mention that your health care work is predicated on the fact that about 45 million (or more) people don’t have insurance. Also, that health care costs are a ticking time bomb in every family in the country.

You also didn’t pound your fist and tell your opponent (and Jim Lehrer) that it has never been about government vs. the private sector. It has always been about government and the private sector working together. Everyone knows that, especially all the contractors who make money off of public contracts — from roads and bridges to submarines and energy research. I heard you say good things about small business. But I didn’t see you speak the truth about life in the real world. The private sector always needs help. So does government. The two work hand-in-hand doing the people’s business. The data is there to prove that…(I know you’ve seen it).

There’s also the matter of budgeting and planning. Republicans don’t like planning. Planning means you have to take reality into account and make moral decisions. Even you, Mr. President, seem to have forgotten the basic family strategy of budgeting. It’s not about looking at your revenues and cutting the cloth to fit the suit. It’s about tallying up all the things that matter to us as a society (sitting around the kitchen table) and then figuring out how to pay for them. You’re saying that when you talk about raising taxes for the rich, but it’s not getting through.

Maybe your opponent is right. Maybe more should be done by the states for themselves. But the discussion about the states never accounts for the states committing to more taxes to pay for things and the states being more equitable. We need better senior care, support for families with disabled kids, more teachers (lots more teachers), and a more balanced set of transportation options. The states can do that. But the debate needs to change. They need to develop the required revenue. I have no problem paying more in taxes here in Pennsylvania, especially if my federal taxes drop, but I can’t stand the fact that my governor here has increased spending on prisons and decreased it for schools. Someone needs to take that idiot (or bully) out to the woodshed.

I’d continue here, but I’m sure I’ve already made you feel bad. I don’t want you to feel bad. But I do want you to get back on the right horse. My suggestion is for you to open your mind up again, like that bright eyed young candidate we all fell in love with four years ago. Start by watching the “History of an Occupation” video. Think about the idea of democracy and how it’s been trampled on for three decades by the Republican Party. Think about the idea of the people as the ones who legitimate authority. We gave you authority because you offered change, hope, and leadership. I know you still believe in that stuff. I know it’s hard to feel comfortable on that kind of horse after all you’ve been through. But I also know that your daughters will be raising children of their own in about 20 years. A world where they feel like there’s still a chance is a good thing.

Remember, Mr. President, a lot of us still love you. We also know that what you’re up against is damn hard. But we don’t want you to run from the truth. There is class warfare going on. It’s going to get much more obvious very soon (especially if you don’t get re-elected). This election is just like the last one. It’s not about you — even though they’re trying really hard to make it that way. It’s about us. All of us. Every last damned fool American exhaling carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, flushing our toilets, driving our cars, waiting in the doctor’s office, and going shopping.

You’ve got two debates to go. Your opponent is saying your administration is a failure. He wants to take us back to a system that’s proven unworkable — lower taxes; cut spending; let businesses solve problems; more drilling; more coal; less spending on the 47% who don’t need him.

What are you waiting for? We’re all madder than hell. We want you to be that way, too. We’re still hopeful though, too. We believe in change. Hell, change is all we’ve got. The system isn’t working. What have you got to lose? If you go through two more debates like last night’s and don’t beat this sucker, you are going to go out with a lousy taste in your mouth — like kerosene, stale potato chips, and rotting broccoli all churned up in a blender and then poured down your nostrils. That’s the way a lot of us will feel. I don’t want that. Yuck! I want you to remind us of who we are one more time. I want you to tell it like it is.

We all love the idea of speaking truth to power. That’s what this country has been built on from the beginning. But sometimes it’s important for power to speak truth to those trying to take it away from them. This is one of those times. I’ve spoken for a lot of folks here…at least I think I have. But this one last request is just me. Please, Mr. President, you have my permission: fill your heart with love and peace, and then go out there and kick some ass. We’re all depending on you. Make your mother proud. Make your daughters proud. Make me proud.


David Biddle

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A liberal dissident in Republican lands

A liberal dissident in Republican lands | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


In my neck of the woods, if I believed that I could not be friends with any Republican because of their beliefs, then I would have no friends. Friends that shared adventures with me, shared their stories with me, and most importantly, their time. Friends that were there for me when I needed them most, which I still do sometimes. How could I ever think that way?

Reading the comments on local news boards throwing hyperbole and hate at each other, like a messy food fight where everything is rotten, and seeing all the people fussing at each other on television with nothing to show for it and being resolved, I can see how one could believe an answer can never be found. An endless game that continues to bring ever increasing profits to the media outlets. In other words, it's big business.

Hostile crowds scream and protest the other sides values, demonizing them to the electorate and trying to show their lack of patriotism and morals, while questioning their need to have a voice altogether. Family members grow bitter towards each other and co-workers ostracize opposing viewpoints. A nationwide intervention is needed to reduce this division and hate.

All the while, everyone is forgetting those times in our nation's history where we stood together or died fighting for our freedoms. Bigger issues were dealt with in the spirit of unity and community, and where great events were shared by a proud nation, when everyone remembered that most important lesson of all, we were all Americans.

It goes on and on daily if you have the stomach to watch, but the drumbeat continues showing only the differences and conflict. There comes a time when the game will have to be exposed and for everyone to just take a breath and relax for a second. If it seems bad now, it was probably worse at another time in our history, even though one politician or another would tell you differently.

Watching politics today is like following the intrigue of the 'Game of Thrones' on HBO. The tactics and strategy overwhelm every thought of every player in the grand campaign of our political institutions. It consumes morals and good will to each other, eliminating the common bond that holds our communities and nation together. In today's political climate, it is the game that counts the most and not the people, and Machiavelli would feel right at home.

A game that draws fans to both sides and appears to be fun for a time while venting differences at each other and winning or losing debates. Most debates continue on and on without one side or the other able to land that final rebuttal that will quiet them into agreeing. At some point, the debate has to end and compromise begin. When we cannot come together in our own communities, how can we expect our politicians to do the same for the purpose of governing?

It appears the politicians have watched and learned that when the tempers flare and partisan rhetoric flows, it is easier for them to continue with their need to win the ultimate battle. Stoking the fires within their base by creating a fear of the other side winning, so visceral, that the only answer is the complete destruction of the other political party. This is the goal that is most highly prized. Complete power of one party in the government institutions.

Moderate voices from both parties have lost the ability to appeal for reasonable debate using common sense and compromise, but the extremes have decided that it would be much easier to use their influence and money to remove those moderate voices from the argument.

I hear this anger directed at me where, in the past, it did not exist, and I see the distrust in their eyes. Gone are the days when my political views were tolerated and the conversations were a good-natured banter, but I have faith this will be only a short-lived period of disagreement. Our country has had plenty of times when events caused ripples in the water of the pond, but, with patience, the water has always calmed, over time.

I am a liberal dissident in Republican lands, but I have learned to accept the fact that most of my friends are Republicans in my community, and I wouldn't change a thing. I am proud to call them my friends and perhaps that is what our country needs the most, patience for each other and possibly, a pride in the fact that we are all Americans even if we do have differences.

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Round 1 is in the book.

Round 1 is in the book. | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


According to those that actually get paid for their opinions, Romney "won" this one. My opinion? He reminded me of a salesman on the last day of the month that is one deal away from a huge bonus. Pressing, somewhat nervous, and over selling without presenting value and reasons to "buy" now. The rest of the time, he looked like he was passing a stone. I think the Prez played his usual hand. Always collected and cool, he knows that he gets two more "at bats". I don't put a lot of weight into these debates as the Romney Ryan ticket has already made my mind up for me. They refuse to present clear details for their vasillating plans and programs, and I have never once felt that either of them are really interested in the plight of middle America. Romney's 47% speech pretty much was the last straw for me, and basically backed up what I have been saying from the start of his run. He is just a shill for huge business and only wants to be President so he can orchestrate more tax reform for people like him. That would be about 4,000 of America's most wealthy individuals. Is Obama perfect? Hell no, but I believe he cares more for the majority of us than Romney and those like him. I hope by election day, enough voters can see the choice is more clear than "they" want you to think.

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Musing on the media

Musing on the media | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


Listening to some in the news, one would think the United States is within days of complete economic failure. This view can be subjective according to which party is speaking at the time, creating a panic that some voters may perceive as possibly occurring at any moment. This creeping anxiety has spilled into the election season through its chosen proxy, the media, which should surprise no one.

Every latest news cycle has a different story compelling everyone to stop and say, “Oh, what now?” The latest trying to outdo the earlier story in sensationalism, but very few are digging deeper for what is really going on and instead deliver the latest talking points, written by the leadership of the parties and the Super Pacs.

The relentless rewriting of history being vocalized by the henchmen of both parties, daily, lends one to discard anything said as being pure hogwash. Rarely does the truth matter anymore and long gone are the days of Walter Cronkite where we knew we were getting the whole story when he finished with, “and that's the way it is.”

A jovial mind would look to the humor of the situation and could fall back to the words of Will Rogers, a humorist and satirist highly esteemed in the United States during the ‘Great Depression’ years for his political wit:

"Now these fellows in Washington wouldn't be so serious and particular if they only had to vote on what they thought was good for the majority of the people in the U.S. That would be a cinch. But what makes it hard for them is every time a bill comes up they have things to decide that have nothing to do with the merit of the bill. The principal thing is of course: What will this do for me personally back home?"

Will Rogers also wrote, "Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously, and the politicians as a joke, when it used to be vice versa."

It is not a coincidence that in today’s political climate, comedians like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher are popular by giving everyone a chance to laugh at the foolishness of this never-ending battle between the parties, especially when the country has serious economic problems due to the lack of jobs.

There are many other notables in history that we can look back to glean some truths. One that comes quickly to mind is Mark Twain, also known for his humor and political wit. Twain once said, “If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.”

Here is another humorous statement by Twain that could be used today:

“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”

Along with his humor and sarcasm, Twain sometimes had something inspirational and steeped in common sense to say. From A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court:

“My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.”

The pessimistic views being expressed in the media leave out that our country has been saying the same things for over a century, or even longer. This amnesia pushes them to constantly highlight the country’s divisions that have helped polarize the citizenry.

American author, humorist, and columnist, Irvin S. Cobb, from Paducah, Kentucky, was widely known for his writing in the Saturday Evening Post. In his novel, “The Thunders of Silence”, Cobb showed the realities of the politics of the day through his characters:

“Upon a time the presidential nomination of his party--the dominant party, too--had been almost within his grasp. That made his losing it all the more bitter. Thereafter he became an obstructionist, a fighter outside of the lines of his own party and not within the lines of the opposing party, a leader of the elements of national discontent and national discord, a mouthpiece for all those who would tear down the pillars of the temple because they dislike its present tenants.”

The conclusion to our fears being portrayed in the media today is that there is always more to the story, and that what has happened before is happening again and nothing is really new with the partisan stances being given by the parties.

So when we are told, by our leaders, that this situation the country finds itself in today is far different than what has ever happened before, and that drastic changes must be made to save us, we can learn from the past and seek to find common sense answers together. It would not be a bad thing if we learned to laugh at ourselves a little more and move forward again.

There are some words that Teddy Roosevelt once said that we could use to look back on and reflect upon today’s political climate, and tell ourselves, “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”

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Canadian letter on Obama From A Small Business Owner In NE Oregon

Canadian letter on Obama From A Small Business Owner In NE Oregon | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


I received this unsolicited letter a couple of days ago after I posted the blog post “A Canadian’s View On Our Disrespect Of President Obama’s Presidency”. It is touching because anytime one person takes the time and effort to send an email to me about a blog post I understand they are representative of many with the same sentiment.


For too long those of us that care, those that are empathetic to those that are less fortunate, and those that support policies that are moral have been maligned by the Right Wing. Francis’ letter from the heart is one of the stories we must be telling.

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Debating for a new beginning

Debating for a new beginning | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


The second Presidential Debate was to be Presidential Obama's chance to dig himself out of the hole he created for himself during the first debate.

Watching the debate, it seemed the President had regained his confidence, rebuffing Governor Romney's attempts to rattle him by his hurling question after question directly to the President.

I saw this constant barrage of questions by Governor Romney as disingenuous, because it appeared that he really did not want the President to answer but instead was only asking, and interrupting, for dramatic effect only.

During this debate, with Governor Romney continuing the same lines from the first debate, he encountered much more resistance from President Obama this time, which led to entertaining back and forth moments, especially concerning women's rights for better pay, immigration reform and their tax plans.

When it was pointed out that Governor Romney was incorrect about the President not mentioning an act of terror the day after the attack in Libya by the moderator, Candy Crowley, he had no answer. Governor Romney was acting as if he had a great gotcha moment until it boomeranged on him, and after this point, he appeared to be on the defensive.

When the last question about Governor Romney's biggest misperception that the American people have about him as a man and a candidate was asked, I believe Governor Romney set himself up for the President to counter with the 47% remark, which he made during a private fundraiser, when he said he would back 100% percent of the population. Although, it is just as likely that the President would have brought it up anyway considering that he did not mention it during the first debate.

During the first debate, I felt that Governor Romney did have the better body language, but his changing his positions from what he had been saying on the campaign trail had me questioning his integrity. Does he think that I haven't heard him say the opposite many, many times on the news? If it was not meant for me but for the people that haven't been keeping up with what has been said on the stump, I find that just as deceitful and also disturbing. 

I have never seen or read anything about a candidate changing his positions so much at such a late date before the election, but Governor Romney's aides did say they would have an etch-a-sketch moment during the campaign. However, I did not think it would be so blatant.

All things considered though, I am not sure how much this debate will affect the election, but President Obama's base will certainly be pleased by his performance, and Governor Romney's base will also back their candidate just as furiously.

While the media has been twisting itself in knots from one week to the next after each of the debates, the small percentage of undecided voters will continue to be asked their opinions. Does it matter to them that both candidates have vastly different opinions for the direction the country needs to follow? For those that have already decided, some question how anyone could not know, one way or the other.

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NEWS BULLETIN: NEW GOP expels Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Ford and Reagan

NEWS BULLETIN: NEW GOP expels Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Ford and Reagan | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it

by HAL ZIEGLER, former Republican State Senator in Michigan

In addition to the above, the NEW GOP has purged Goldwater, Kemp, Nixon's overture to China, Bush I, and virtually all GOP leaders from Lincoln to the early 2000's.

Here is why. The NEW GOP opposes lincoln for unifying the Country and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Teddy Roosevelt for advocating balance between Corporate greed and the Country's interests. Ike for teaching military restraint and forcefully protecting the rights of Minorities. Goldwater for saying abortion and same sex marriage were none of the Government's business. Ford for his decency and Reagan for being pragmatic while working with Tip O'Neill to save Social Security and raising taxes when necessary.

If you combine some or all of the beliefs of earlier Republicans, you find compassion, tolerance, fiscal responsibility, sound Foreign and Military Policy, conservatism not obstructionism, having beliefs that all Americans deserve to be treated equally and not just a select few, that the Religious beliefs of a minority not be made part of Federal Law, that sometimes compromise is necessary for the good of the Country, that voting rights should be protected--the list is endless--all of the above have been purged as part of the new GOP doctrines.

Anyone who honors the past of the GOP is suspect and anyone who wishes to see policies of the OLD GOP become reality today are expelled and not welcome. Any office holder who talks compromise, tolerance or fairness can expect a Primary opponent.

The Mantra of the NEW GOP is clear--discard the old "Everyone is Created Equal" with "Some, a few, are more equal with others."

While Romney said he only wants to lead 53%--the reality is the NEW GOP really believes only a much smaller number deserve to be included or even matter.

I ask you--and I am trying to be objective--to show me any comparison, just one, between past GOP nominees and the present front runner. I challenge you to show me any hypocrite flip-flopper like Romney or any nominee so dangerous on foreign policy, i.e. the Libyan lies or so reckless in his proposed uses of the military. I challenge anyone of my generation--well o.k. old--to justify how the NEW GOP is in any way like the OLD GOP.

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Musings of a southern gentleman having a liberal persuasion

Musings of a southern gentleman having a liberal persuasion | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


Having been raised to be a polite gentleman in the old southern tradition, the sight of seeing the hostile debates today about politics stands out in contrast to how I believe things should be done. As a consequence, I have often ignored my own musings about the party differences for the purpose of avoiding debate.

The south has a long history of political debate beginning with the early days of stump speeches given by the likes of Davy Crockett that drew out crowds from their farmlands to these festive affairs. My hometown of Paducah, Kentucky had a long tradition of debates between the Jacksonian Democrats and the Whig, No Nothing and Republican Parties.

As I talk with friends on the social networks, I have had many stimulating conversations about politics. Debating those I know in the Tea Party has been a great asset for understanding, and where there is usually hyperbole and talking points, we have attempted to describe our beliefs with civility, but the chasm between us is still wide, and so far, no compromise could be concluded.

As I tried to understand their viewpoints, my own thoughts turned to trying to berate their beliefs, and although I held my tongue as best as I could, I found it was very difficult when my logic could not interpret their thought processes.

Below, I have listed a series of my musings with the intent of expelling them from my mind before they tear themselves out into an epic rant. I would like to apologize to those that may disagree with these thoughts because I truly mean no disrespect.


I wonder if 'some' in the Republican Party are wishing the government did fail so that they can start their own 'New World Order' of no government at all. Not all of them, mind you, but enough to put a wrench in the gears.


I have often wondered why some on the other side in politics would not want to help the poor. Maybe our brains are wired differently. For example, taxes. There are those that see the word and think, "police officers, firefighters, education, and water safety" while others see the word as an invasion of rights.


Throughout history, we have had those that believe in a society that seeks to work for ‘the good of the many', but we have also had those that believe only in 'helping themselves'.


I think a lot of the problem with politics today is that each side wants to convert the other side to their cause without ever thinking that it will never happen. Diplomacy 101, you have to find a compromise. Granted, I do see some of the Democrats trying but I just wish I saw more Republicans. It is as Thomas Paine said, “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”


I simply just don't understand why the right would want to inflame the passions of woman against them. Women are one of the largest voting blocs and they are acting as if they are whacking at a hornets nest. They need to rethink their tactics.


Why no one changes positions in Washington? I guess they feel like they made their bed and now they have to lie in it.


It’s okay if the people get all riled up. That’s what we do. What isn’t okay is when an elected official stays that way.


A Republican is being interviewed and he says that an apple is actually an orange.

The interviewer answers, “but you are most certainly holding an orange.”

The Republican replies, “No, it is most certainly an apple. If I say it enough, my base will believe me.”


I may want the left and the right to stop being so angry and work together, but don’t think that I will not stand up for what I think is right. Each side feels this way and that is the starting point. The final point will have to meet in the middle.


As a liberal, I often get riled up for a fight with the right. Then I realize, they are angry too. Can it be possible for two angry groups to find common ground without the fires being extinguished to a lesser degree?


It feels good to get these out of my head as I hope others will try to do the same, because we all have our musings and we sometimes need to voice them. To get them off our chest, as some might say. For me, it brings a clarity of thought, and who knows, it might bring good conversation and insight, if fiery tempers can be moderated.

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Will the Rational Majority please stand up

Will the Rational Majority please stand up | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


We saw with the emergence of the Tea Party Movement how a relatively small percentage of the electorate can vocalize their displeasure of the government. Even though some of their ideas lack factual merit and they showed many intolerant attitudes, they should be congratulated for their tenacity.

Imagine what a large majority could do. This example can be used to show everyone else that we do not have to sit and watch idly from the sidelines while intolerance spreads through the political discourse.

You only have to watch a couple of political ads from any election to see that the rhetoric is just getting worse with no end in sight for reason to return. As long as the reasonable and rational people remain quiet, the money being thrown into the elections will continue to grow adding to the lack of civility being shown in politics today.

Is this what we want to teach our children about how our government works? Is this the legacy that we want to leave them?

In the political spectrum today, there are groups that are radically to the left and to the right but there is an even larger group of the electorate that longs for the return of common sense and sanity to the government.

We are the Rational Majority. Ranging from moderate republicans, independents and moderate democrats, this majority can become a real political force if only they would unite and vote together to bring back the belief to more people that working together is more beneficial to the country than division and hatred.

We all see how a lack of bipartisanship in government is failing to meet the demands of the 21st century and the moderates have the ability today to show that by working together as Americans first, we can accomplish great things.

If the rational majority can unite, our vote can tell the politicians to get their act together and quit arguing like children. We all want to see our country succeed and only by working together can we achieve that.

Our government has been a beacon of light to many countries in the world striving to create their own democracy. Can we really be proud of what the world sees now? How can we degrade each other for political gains and how can we allow a small minority to hijack the political agenda from the majority? Honor is a value long lost in politics.

The Rational Majority can restore that honor by standing together and using their vote to counter the big money being injected in politics with common sense.

The United States is more important than just the war between blue states versus red states. By looking at the similarities that we all share opposed to what makes us different, can we ever escape this adversarial culture that has taken over the politics in our country. Let's show the world that we are not a divided nation but one that is built on consensus and common sense.

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Suggested by Eric Byler

My thoughts on VP debate (before seeing the spin)

My thoughts on VP debate (before seeing the spin) | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it



Debates are important for the impressions they leave on vast numbers of people. I think the biggest impression the VP debate left on Americans is "Paul Ryan is not ready to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office." This is a direct consequence of the debate's solid focus on national security.


I liked the way Joe Biden spoke softly, earnestly, and off the cuff. He showed great command of the issues and "the facts," something to which he often referred. He took advantage of being able to say "I was there" not only during the historic and trying times in the Obama White House, but also during negotiations with President Reagan on reforming social security. Ryan didn't seem eager to admit that he was there for anything that's gone on in Congress since his arrival. In fact, he seemed perturbed when Biden reminded him he'd been there and how he'd voted (on deficit exploding measures during the Bush administration for instance).  


Only once did Biden seem to be reciting a memorized speech. Maybe it's just me, but I don't  like to see memorized lines in a debate. I prefer to see the candidate thinking on his or her feet. Ryan really turned me off when he resorted to a memorized and misleading list of attack lines when asked what he would say to a decorated veteran who is concerned about incivility in politics. 


By far, the most decisive factor in the debate was the foreign policy chops of moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC News. Raddatz' expertise, poise, and assertiveness kept both debaters on their toes. The Vice President's advantage over Mr. Ryan in the arena of national security is so pronounced that one could argue it was unfair of Raddatz to spend so much time focusing on it. Mr. Ryan looked like the odd man out for more than half of the debate. He looked out of his depth, as if he had no more knowledge of national security issues than the average Fox News consumer. At one point, he basically said, "We want to leave Afghanistan too but we have to complain about it because that's our job." His heart really wasn't in the complaints. He seemed to be reciting someone else's words.  


The fact that this is the first impression Mr. Ryan will make on millions of voters is unfortunate. It will be difficult for him to overcome. But let's not forget Bill Clinton once made a "he's not ready" first impression on a national stage, and he recovered nicely.


If the VP debate had been moderated in the same fashion, and with the same issue focus as the first Presidential debate, Mr. Ryan would have done much better than he did tonight. I wonder if others will say this, but the questions seemed stacked against him.


At least Mr. Ryan avoided the worst thing he could have done, which would have been to treat Vice President Biden as disrespectfully as Mr. Romney did the President a week ago. Ryan was instead extremely polite, and wisely so because my experience tells me that such disrespect targeted at an affable senior citizen who looks like an all-American grandpa would have backfired on him big time. (And, yes, I say "all-American" fully aware that to many, President Obama doesn't "look" American. I think that's why we have tolerated such nonsense as the birther conspiracy, for instance, but without ever asking ourselves, would we have tolerated the same toward a white President?)


I don't think that Ryan increased his negatives. Going from "handsome but unproven/unknown" to "not ready to be President" is pretty much a wash.  


I do think that Vice President Biden increased his positives. SNL depicts him as an idiot. But tonight he was sharp, compelling, knowledgeable and likeable. If I look at those same four adjectives with Mr. Ryan in mind, I'd say he was sharp and likeable, but not very compelling and as for knowledgeable, I have a feeling he might have some points docked by the fact-checkers just as Mr. Romney did.

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Scooped by John Cashon

Republican tactics for winning

Republican tactics for winning | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


It's 2009 and Barack Obama has just been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The Republicans have lost big in the election and they are asking themselves what to do now.

The country is going through a damaging recession and millions have lost their jobs and the housing market is in shambles. We have been in this situation before. In 1929, the 'Great Depression' began. The Republicans begin looking for similarities to be able to place blame on the new President.

Herbert Hoover was the President in 1929 and history does not look kindly on his efforts to help the suffering people of the United States. Is there any way the Republican's can duplicate history by making President Obama the new Hoover?

To do this, they need to make sure the economy doesn't get better by the next election, but how? Ah-Ha! Make sure he cannot pass anything that is effective with helping the economy. Make sure he is a one-term president like Hoover and hang all the troubles caused by the previous administration on President Obama's shoulders.

The Republicans don't have control of the House and the Senate, so it is going to be a tough time trying to block anything that would make the President look good. The President helps get the Stimulous Bill passed and when he tries to produce legislation to help cure the ills of the faulty Health Care system in the United States, the Republicans are delighted when the far right Tea Party rises up from the grassroots to oppose it.

The Tea Party is their answer so their next tactical move is to pander to this new group and make sure they back them against the President at all costs. It doesn't matter that some of them are hostile to the Republican establishment because the ultimate goal is all that matters.

The Affordable Healthcare Act is passed but the Tea Party explodes in rage and the Republicans know they have a winner. Just keep backing the Tea Party and everything will be okay.


It's 2010 and the Midterm Elections are in full swing. The Republicans begin to see some of the hazards of backing the far right Tea Party movement when many of the Republican establishment's candidates are knocked out the election in the primaries by the Tea Party. Also, many in the Tea Party helped further the 'Birther Movement' saying that the President was born in Kenya and therefore could not be our president.

No matter, the Republican's still have their plan to discredit the President. They will continue to back the Tea Party. What are a few bumps in the road compared to that goal?

The Tea Party helps the Republicans win big in the Midterms. The Republicans won back the House of Representatives, so they finally have the ability to block the President and the Democrat's legislation attempts.

They didn't win the Senate, but no matter, they have the filibuster to stop all legisation, and even though it has never been used as much as now in the history of the United States, it is a great gift to be able to filibuster without the need of staying on the House floor to maintain it, and they use it to full affect, because the main goal is to get President Obama out of office.


It's 2011 and the House of Representatives is flexing its muscles and stopping anything from being passed if introduced by the President or the Democrats. The Debt Ceiling is being debated and the Tea Party has taken a stand for no compromise with the Democrats. They want only their ideas to be pushed through and no other because they believe they have a mandate from the population, no matter if that population is divided almost evenly. The United States' credit-rating is downgraded.

The Republican establishment is helpless to direct the Tea Party Caucus in the House away from their arguments of absolutely no compromise before the downgrade, and the media begins to ask who is effectively in charge now. It doesn't matter though, the main goal is to get the President out of office.


Now it's 2012 and the Presidential Election is in full swing. Now the Republicans will finally see if their tactics have worked. They continually ask the populous if President Obama's policies have helped the struggling population.

They know their tactics have been working to some degree. The populous is still divided almost evenly and their chances are as good as they could have believed in 2009. The Republicans have again had difficult primary battles with the Tea Party, but they soldier on through the election.

Will the electorate agree with them and agree that President Obama is the next Herbert Hoover or will they believe President Obama is the next Franklin Roosevelt? Does it matter that Hoover's policies were the same as theirs and President Obama's are like Roosevelt's?

Time will tell if the Republican tactics worked, and if they do, will the Republicans still be winners even though the far right has taken over their party and removed all of the moderate voices? That is another question all together.

BverinFL's curator insight, April 7, 2013 2:54 PM

As we know now, this strategy was hatched during a meeting on the night of President Obama's first inauguration. What's incorrect in these excerpts is that the Tea Party was NOT a grassroots movement - and Republicans knew it! 


Suggested by David Biddle

When I Noticed We Stopped Thinking: Over Sangria and Marinated Meat

When I Noticed We Stopped Thinking: Over Sangria and Marinated Meat | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


It was a warm weekend evening in September of 1985. We sat in our small urban backyard, pink clouds over-head, starting on a second pitcher of Sangria after a shish-ka-bob and salad dinner. I was more or less happy. I’d become aware of the need to marinate meat the week before and the beef and lamb skewered between red onion, green peppers, and fresh cut pineapple was as tasty as anything you’d get at the Shiska-Wu truck downtown. It was a beautiful evening. Our friends, I’ll call them Gary and Monica, were happy, too. We were all happy — satiated, a bit tipsy, present in the beautiful evening together, young, fit, beautiful, on our way. Gary and Monica were just hitting 30. We — my wife at the time, and I — were just edging that way at 27.

And then I brought up the earthquake that had just happened in Mexico. Michoacan on the west coast had been ruthlessly devastated by this catastrophe with thousands dead and injured. A tsunami added to the carnage. I said, “We spend so much time talking about nuclear war and invest so much in new weapons, but our military should be investing heavily as a nation in helping countries deal with disasters like this instead.”

It was an innocuous statement. I was making intelligent conversation. One of the skills you develop in college, if you care to learn, is the art of moral discourse. You don’t really learn it in class. It comes in all those late night debates and discussions about the state of the world and the meaning of life.

Monica said, “You know, I see what you’re getting at, but, frankly, I’m tired of worrying about other people’s problems. We need to focus on what matters to us.”

“Yeah,” Gary said, “it’s time to cut our losses and stop trying to save the world. I’m tired of paying so much in taxes. Do you know what I pay?”

I remember Monica finished her glass of fruit juice and wine. She spun the remaining ice cubes expertly in the bottom of the glass then reached for the pitcher and a re-fill.

There was silence. At first, it seemed normal. But it built up, the way moments sometimes do if you’re paying attention. And then it felt like everything just stopped — the sound of cars a block over; the hum of wind; late summer insect songs. All noise was virtually non-existant. Gary moved a knife around on his plate and it didn’t make a sound. It was as if the whole world had paused to take that statement in.

What matters to us…?

Our friends Monica and Gary were good people. They were well-educated and highly liberal. Gary and I often had great discussions about free market economics and socialism. We both agreed that the key to economic freedom was not unfettered capitalism, nor was it collective control and ownership of private property. The key, it seemed to each of us, was a democratic economic system that spread responsibility between the public and private sectors. Gary is the first person I ever heard say that we don’t really have a mixed economy so much as a democratic one.

Monica did lots of health work with low income women and girls. Gary had a number of special projects he worked on to help the poor. Both of them were avid supporters of the burgeoning rap music movement.

You get the picture, right? And yet, there they were saying it was time to cut our losses and that we needed to pay attention to what mattered to us.

The world stood still for me that day. I know it didn’t really stop, but it sure seemed like it. Because, in fact, the world didn’t stop — I did. That was my first brush with something that I see more and more these days. It’s been growing and morphing in ways that make it hard to discern. But it’s there nonetheless — it’s getting too easy not to think outside the box. It’s become old hat to question reality. It is easier to ignore the suffering of others because it costs too much — either monetarily or figuratively.

Those of us who still want to ponder morality and the meaning of life are more often than not humored or regarded as quaint. But we’re becoming more and more alien every day; we’re treated in many ways like doddy old uncles and aunts. That is, we’re given that kind of “tutt-tutt” pass if we’re calm and thoughtful with our ideas. Many of us, though, are quite frustrated and sick of people ignoring us. Many of us get loud, argumentative, and overtly self-righteous. We can’t help it. The 20th century was all about looking out for other people and taking care of each other — even though we did such a bad job of it.

Up through the 1970s, it was also a time to reflect on the mysteries of the mind and the meaning of love and to walk the fine line between the pleasures of the body and selfishness. We talked a lot about how we were all going to be dead and buried in 100 years and no one would even know we existed. We wondered what death was. We took great delight in all these mysteries. They were inevitably open-ended and never definitively answerable. But that was why questioning life and thinking about its ultimate meaning(s) was so alluring.

That last century began with a full-frontal assault of religion and God on so many levels (not spirituality, but the hardened bunkers of traditional theological dogma) and it floated up and out and over the causeway of civilization. All of us looked over the side to view the world like it’s never been viewed before. We were giddy with the possibilities of what we saw, and we were giddy with our new responsibilities. For if you are all of a sudden free to wonder about the ultimate questions of the Universe in that kind of fearless and sublime way, but also filled with the courage and almost superhuman capacity to accept the beauty and simple joys of life as answers themselves, well, then anything is possible and the knowledge that whatever we envision can be made real is one helluva profound and celebration-worthy realization.

That all changed in the 1980s. For me, my realization of this came in my backyard that late summer evening in 1985. People didn’t want to juggle the puzzles and mysteries anymore. Thinking big was out. I noticed it more and more over time. People wanted answers. All of a sudden they knew. Some folks locked on to God and religion; some became libertarians or even dyed-in-the wool liberals. Others glommed onto social issues like abortion, gender rights, and environmental stewardship (or the antithesis for each of these). A heck of a lot of folks got rolling with free market capitalism (the seed for this were, of course, always there, but by 1985 a dogmatic movement was blossoming into one strange bouquet of things to come). And so many decided it was all about hunkering down, making money, and/or just enjoying themselves.

It can be argued that this need to latch onto something, or a group of somethings, is natural. After decades of seeking, our collective energies were sapped. It’s certainly much easier to focus on some thing than just be amazed by the Life.

Einstein’s theory of relativity had been transplanted into everything from the arts to the civil rights movement and geo-political conflict. But relativity can be quite tiring. Life is so frustrating. The 20th century saw some the most horrendous holocausts humanity has been capable of in Europe, Russia, and China. And while slavery was outlawed by the end of the 19th century in most of the world, inequality and injustice resulted in atrocities that boggled the mind. A relative world, a world without God and divine rule, was a dangerous and mind-numbing form of barbarism, especially because so much transcendant beauty and human potential stood side-by-side with that barbarism.

And so, here we are in the second decade of the 21st century. The Western world and Islam are pitted against each other. Africa is slowly being bought up by China, which already bought up much of the US economy. Climate change is essentially being ignored by everyone in power now everywhere — as well as most of us not in power. And the fact that no one can get Israel to stand down and cut the Palestinian people a break shows how utterly bereft of imagination and justice the rest of us are — and Israel and Palestine.

It’s ironic. Virtually everyone thinks they know the answer to everything that matters now. The questioning of life and its mysteries has all but ended. We live in a world where everyone thinks they’re the smartest person in the room, and yet, things are more fucked up than ever before. Somehow that doesn’t compute.

I go back to Monica’s statement so long ago: “…what matters to us.” When you think you have all the answers, it’s easy to think you know what matters. What matters to us is a statement of value, though. Because what matters to Monica may not matter to me. And what mattered to Monica on that fateful September night nearly 30 years ago may not matter to her anymore. She adopted a little girl a decade after that evening of Sangria and shish-ka-bob. That little girl is of partial Mexican decent.

What matters to us is what counts every day. I have numerous friends struggling with their marriages right now. What matters to them these days is getting through that pain. But in another decade what will matter to them is the future of their grand children and the happiness of their own adult children in a world that continues to show no signs of coming to its senses.

So, I ask you: what matters to you? Do you really think that you know the answers to all those questions? Do you really no longer care about the big ones and the ones that seem so important but are so unanswerable it is easier to ignore them?

Gary said, “Time to cut our losses.” Is that even an option?

It is hard living in a relative world. It is hard defining the future and having the courage to admit our failures and our self-deceit. But it’s supposed to be hard. Those answers you think you have? They’re not answers. They’re blinders. Making up the truth is not the same thing as seeking the truth. We can start thinking again. It’s easy. The first step is not to think this essay is a bummer. It’s not intended that way.

The second step is to flick that switch and begin to enjoy the difficulty of life. Learn to ask questions again and to do that with a smile on your face and love in your heart. Let yourself cry when you hear young children’s voices singing. Get personal with your emails and tweets. Compliment people you work with, especially those you are in charge of. Look people in the eye when you shake their hand. And marinate meat before you cook it. I use sugar juices, garlic salt, vinegar or wine, and soy sauce usually. Sometimes, like that night in 1985, marinating meat and then grilling it makes it perfect. And if you’re a vegetarian, well, marinate your vegetables, too. And think while you’re doing this. Think about what matters. And then come to dinner with some really interesting questions.

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Scooped by John Cashon

Keep your hands off my history

Keep your hands off my history | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


The 2012 Election has reached a new low and moneyed interests are pulling all of the strings. A narrative has been created that resembles nothing near to the truth. A narrative that has expatriated a President, mischaracterized long held liberal beliefs as a foreign invader and told half the country to forget everything they have learned and believed because they were wrong. A narrative that has been rewriting history for ulterior motives.

For what? To win an election or to change long standing law? Total control of the government institutions or better yet, dismantling them and leaving only a shell where our government stood?

Politicians and their operatives are showing a blatant disregard of the truth and it has become common during this election. Their talking points are not spin anymore, and when confronted with indisputable evidence from a video or a direct quote displayed before them from an earlier time, they continue to tell the lie with that knowing, mischievous smirk. Just win at all costs is all that matters.

There are two groups in our country. One highlighting the hopes and goals of everyday people that need nothing more than a days work and spending time with their families, with no aspirations for becoming rich. A living wage is one of their main requests, because they are already rich with what they were given.

With the poor and the middle class, there is a real fear of being one sickness or accident away, even with insurance, from losing everything and going bankrupt. This causes a lack of security and keeps them from taking risks for a better life, especially when their insurance is tied to their work, because it is too expensive to buy insurance outside of the workplace.

The other side includes those who believe to be truly American, one should be able to strive to rise as high as they can in society and wealth, without government interference. It is their highest ideal. Business works best when there are no hindrances from regulations, and banks work best when they are allowed to gamble, without restrictions, the pensions and investments of the masses for the sole purpose of becoming larger and larger to be able to buy out all of their competitors. The too big to fail controversy was unfortunate, but they promise it will not happen again. It was just a few bad apples.

Unfortunately, many of the far right have begun to take a new path, and fact checking and history are no longer required. Their blatant disregard of the facts and the fact checkers boggle the mind with how this has become possible, but there it is, occurring every day. It is curious that there has not been a bigger push back from the news services to counter this tactic of refusing the truth.

So what you get is a large group of the electorate that is continually getting misinformation and propaganda, but the worst part of all of this is they tell their friends, and they, in turn, tell their friends. You get the picture.

Politicians have grown unconcerned when their facts do not agree with history. When they are not held accountable for the facts, what reason would they have to worry. Also, partisan rewriting of history has become the new fad, but hopefully one that will be squashed as ineffective for winning elections, but for this to happen, the citizenry has to be notified to what is happening.

One would hope that historians across the nation would stand up together to expose this practice, but unfortunately, they have not united with one voice against this misrepresentation of history. Some are influenced with their own political motivations and can be affected by politics as well, causing them to turn a blind eye if it helps the candidate they support. They are human, after all. However, you can become your own historian and find out the truth for yourself.

First of all, pull yourself away from the 24 hour news cycle mindset and look at everything with a bigger lens. By looking at the big picture instead of single occurrences over a time-frame, the picture becomes more clear. Be concerned with the sources you are reading, even though you agree with the viewpoints expressed, because there are many biased news articles on many news sites today, so one point to remember is that with news articles, it is much easier to dig for the truth when you only need tweezers instead of a shovel.

Historians are all taught that being objective is the most important goal while doing research. You have probably heard the expression that history is written by the victors, and you will see there are times when the winner of an election will declare a mandate and rewrite history by overlooking their negative campaigning and only highlighting their accomplishments or inflating their numbers.

When reading an article, listening to the radio, or watching the news on television, verify if the information is from primary sources. For example, someone that was a witness or a participant of an event would fall into this category. Someone that heard about an event from a friend or family member would be a secondary source and not as reliable as evidence, but second or third hand accounts or those just giving opinions can be used for anecdotal thoughts, reactions or comparisons.

If a news article shows no attempt to hide their partiality, this does not always mean nothing interesting can be found. This is a great way to research how both sides are coming to their conclusions, and this can be important to understand their rational. Compare the similarities and the differences of opinion from both sides and try to determine if they are trying to mislead the public or if what they are saying is only half true.

When you are done researching the topic, review all of the different viewpoints and try to do this as an outsider looking in, making a conscious effort to remain as neutral as possible. Determine what the evidence is telling you and build your own narrative of the facts.

It is very similar to what an investigative reporter would have to do while interviewing and researching a story. Objectivity can be seen when a story shows, accurately, both sides of the story so that the reader can make their own interpretations. It gives the story credence and allows the reader to follow up and review the sources to verify the writer's facts.

Historians are mostly like detectives though. They have to build timelines, look at the context of what is being said and done that could affect the narrative, and most of all, the witnesses and sources must be credible.

A lot is being said and done today against the public interest and the culprits have been stealing our history for their own political or nefarious reasons. Can you solve the case?

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Suggested by Robert Bunn

A Perspective on the Youth Vote


It’s really not surprising Ron Paul is popular among college kids. The Tea Party / Libertarian / Fiscal Conservative elements of the Republican Party have a natural “in” with the youth vote. They tell a story that’s very relatable if you still live with your parents, or have just recently moved out.

It’s easy to envision the government as the ultimate Mom and Dad. When you’re a child, authority means your parents. When you become an adult, the face of authority is the government.

What the Far Right want is to paint the Democrats as the mean parent. Who’s always telling you to watch your language, clean your room, and turn your music down? Momocrat. Ms. “My Roof, My Rules.” The one who tells you what you can and can’t spend your allowance on, but when you want to get a job, it’s time for you to pay some rent and help out with the bills.

Republidad wants to sell you the idea he’s the good parent, encouraging you to go out and get a job so you can afford your own house, and won’t need an allowance, because you want to be independent and self-sufficient, don’t you?

But that’s not the whole story.

To carry the analogy to its logical conclusion, we need to accept that you’re fourteen. No matter how old you really are, in the government/citizen relationship, you are a teenager. You always will be. Governments are not around to turn citizens into independent sovereign nations. Governments exist precisely because there needs to be some authority to settle disputes between equals who can’t or won’t come to mutually agreeable terms. They will always be able to send you to your room if you can’t learn to play nice and share.

The parent the Republicans are trying to sell you doesn’t acknowledge that. The reality is, they’re ready to toss you out on the street at fourteen because you’re not contributing enough to the household. They aren’t going to make sure you go to school. They don’t want to pay the tuition anyway. They will remind you at every opportunity that your prescriptions are ruining them, but gloss over how much money they spend on their guns and multiple home security systems and spy cameras and hiring shady characters to snoop on the neighbors.

They make no secret of the fact your eldest brother is their favorite. He’s the only one who ever gives them birthday cards or presents on Father’s Day. Never mind that he makes you give him some of your allowance every time you want to use the laptop, or pick what’s on TV, or borrow his bike. They’re his. They bought them for him. He can do what he wants with them. But they aren’t going to buy you toys or things of your own, because there’s already plenty in the house. Go talk to your brother.

Right now, the Democratic parent is the one who’s going to give you the support you need. “We care about you, no matter who you are or how you dress.” “Sure, you have a part-time job, but it certainly doesn’t pay enough to live on, so we’re not asking for rent, and if the pay is *really* lousy, we’ll even continue supplementing it with an allowance. And you’re always welcome to eat dinner here if the food budget is tight.” Do you want to live in your parents’ basement forever? No. But if the alternative is living on the street, it’s nice to know it would be there if you needed it, isn’t it?

Sadly, though, you (and I, and all of us) are caught in the middle of this nasty spat. The Democrats are really trying to be there for us, but at the moment, all they can offer is words of support and some favors here and there. Why? Because anything of significance still needs both signatures, and the Republicans refuse to sign anything – even the checks for our mortgage and doctor’s appointments – unless they get to make all the important decisions.

This is why I’m begging you, all my brothers and sisters in the United States, to tell the Democrats and the Rebuplicans that we need to stop this bickering, because it’s hurting the whole family. We still remember what happened last time it got to the point of filing for divorce. Rather than trying to turn us against each other, we need you to sit down, work out your differences, and find a way to stay together. For the sake of the children.

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Suggested by Robert Bunn

A Voter is Born


My girlfriend hates politics. In her words, she never understands what they’re talking about. Understandably, then, she grumbled a little when I told the family Tuesday night that I wanted us to watch the debate together on Wednesday so I can start teaching my daughter, age nine, about civic responsibility.

She listened and watched attentively, though. She paid attention to what was being said, and asked questions. As the night went on, she became increasingly engaged. After the debate, she had two questions for me.

“Can we watch the rest of the debates?” Of course. I wanted to anyway, and it’s good to know she’s not going to be bored or irritated the whole time. She felt good about having understood what they were talking about, and how these decisions will affect her life, and her father’s life.

“Is it too late to register to vote?” She’s on Medicaid. Her father is uninsured because he has a pre-existing condition. It was very clear to her where her interests lie.

I’ve been listening to all the commentators today talking about Governor Romney’s “strong performance” last night. I can’t speak for what anyone else saw, but in my house, President Obama won.

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Suggested by Margaret Reeve Panahi

We owe ourselves some decency

We owe ourselves some decency | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


      I was just so disheartened by the debate last night that I got mad.  Romney cares about the poor? Really?  The 47%?

     Just heartbreaking that the fact that roughly half of the population that is poor have been brushed off repetedly and now he says he cares? Insulting.  Private insurance for all?

     Breaking down the contracts for social secutiry and medicare made by us, that we all participate in?  Criminal, don't you think?  We are keeping our part of the bargain by paying in and he is talking about reniging the contract and weakening our country more deeply.  These programs are in our best interest and they are ultimately ours.  It is unethical not to have these contracts for basic health and safety continue as originally designed. And it is short sighted not to think about our future in terms of  deserved protection, instead of as a short term cash problem.  It is irresponsible for a leader in this day and age, given all the history that we have as a country, and as a global community, to repeat the downward, destructive cycle.  Doesn't history figure into decisions? Or is it all about revisionist thinking and convenient omission.

     We have basic rights to food, shelter, safety and health from each other in the form of our elected government with our daily contributions as the working public .  It is in the UN bill of rights and we know them to be just for all peoples.  It is degrading to our nation to further harm the already vulnerable and, as it has been said, the "least amongst us".  We are a rich nation and our priorities should reflect values that strengthen our society, from the bottom up.  A sound foundation is always a good investment for whatever is being built on it. Let's respect  ourselves and invest in our citizens and the citizens of the future, with values that see all of us as a part of this whole nation. 

      Painful. Just painful.

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Scooped by John Cashon

Social Security and the Affordable Care Act

Social Security and the Affordable Care Act | Rational Majority Originals | Scoop.it


The battle over the Affordable Care Act, or 'Obamacare' as it has become known, has sparked the fight again between the parties and this battle draws many parallels with the events that occurred in 1935, with the passing of the Social Security Act.

That event had all of the drama that we see today. There were calls that it was a huge tax hike while also being called a socialist or communist program. It faced Republican and Democratic criticism saying that it would hurt small businesses, and an election occurred after the signing and before most of the legislation went into affect, leaving the population unsure as to the contents of the legislation.

With the ruling from the Supreme Court stating that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional because it could be considered a tax, many voices from the right rose up to show their displeasure of Chief Justice Roberts for siding with the liberal justices.

Calls for repeal began soon after the Supreme Court decision and also for the impeachment of Chief Justice Roberts on the conservative blogosphere for betraying the conservative cause.

Freshman Senator Rand Paul, from Kentucky, came out quickly to denounce the decision by declaring that the law was still unconstitutional even if the Supreme Court ruled otherwise.

"Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so", Paul offered in a statement. "The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right."

When asked what he would do to cover 30 million uninsured people, Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, also from Kentucky, responded, "That is not the issue. The question is, how can you go step by step to improve the American health care system? It is already the finest health care system in the world."

"Let me tell you what we are not going to do," McConnell concluded, "We are not going to turn the American health care system into a Western European system. That is exactly what is at the heart of "Obama-care." They want to have the federal government take over all of American health care."

Many Democrats have argued that when the public learns what the Affordable Care Act will do for them to lower insurance premiums, add protections from being dropped because of a preexisting condition or removing a lifetime cap on the amount of coverage provided and allowing children up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents insurance, they will be in favor of the legislation.

They believe the Republicans have distorted the facts about the Affordable Care Act and that many Americans have decided the legislation is bad for the country because of the Republican efforts. Many Democrats also believe they did not do a good enough job of educating the public about the bill.

Similar attempts to discredit the Social Security Act occurred as well. Explaining the purpose of his future legislation to the public in a Fireside Chat given in June 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt stated:

"A few timid people, who fear progress, will try to give you new and strange names for what we are doing. Sometimes they will call it "Fascism," sometimes "Communism," sometimes "Regimentation," sometimes "Socialism." But, in so doing, they are trying to make very complex and theoretical something that is really very simple and very practical.

I believe in practical explanations and in practical policies. I believe that what we are doing today is a necessary fulfillment of what Americans have always been doing—a fulfillment of old and tested American ideals."

In the congressional elections of 1934, the democrats and liberals won both the Senate and the House by a large margin, and this gave FDR the political capital to push for a much more liberal direction in the last two years of his first term, even though the Democrats controlled the majority in the House and Senate throughout his term.

The Democrats controlled congress from 2009 to 2010 with the President, giving them a large Democratic majority to work to help pass legislation, so President Obama chose his first two years to take a gamble and push for universal healthcare. However, the Democrats lost the House in 2010, so there are some differences to the occurrences of FDR's time.

On August 14, 1935, FDR signed the Social Security Act and the first payment was scheduled to take affect in January of 1937, after the election. This Act was disputed as the Affordable Care Act has been today and many of the same talking points being used then are being used again.

Alfred Landon, the 1936 Republican candidate for President, believed the legislation would be a burden to employers and employees, warning of the possibility the government might take worker's money and never give it back.

He declared in his "I Will Not Promise the Moon" speech in September 26, 1936:

"Do not forget this: such an excessive tax on payrolls is beyond question a tax on employment. In prosperous times it slows down the advance of wages and holds back re-employment. In bad times it increases unemployment, and unemployment breaks wage scales. The Republican party rejects any feature of any plan that hinders re-employment… …One more sample of the injustice of this law is this: Some workers who come under this new Federal insurance plan are taxed more and get less than workers who come under the State laws already in force."

Landon finished by saying, "I am not exaggerating the folly of this legislation. The saving it forces on our workers is a cruel hoax."

In a Chamber of Commerce statement in May 1935, it stated, “If the provisions of the bill now pending should be adopted, the country should realize that within a decade there will be a tax burden amounting to as much as $1 billion.”

FDR aggressively defended the legislation against his critics by using a populist, class warfare argument that he would be the people's champion against those having predatory special interests that were hurting the masses. In an October 31, 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden, FDR stated:

"Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."

FDR further implied that the Republicans were not concerned with what the majority of the people were going through, especially those that had been hurting and needing government help. FDR continues:

"Here and now I want to make myself clear about those who disparage their fellow citizens on the relief rolls. They say that those on relief are not merely jobless—that they are worthless. Their solution for the relief problem is to end relief—to purge the rolls by starvation. To use the language of the stock broker, our needy unemployed would be cared for when, as, and if some fairy godmother should happen on the scene.

You and I will continue to refuse to accept that estimate of our unemployed fellow Americans. Your Government is still on the same side of the street with the Good Samaritan and not with those who pass by on the other side."

President Roosevelt won in a landslide and afterwards, successive Republican Presidents did not try to repeal the legislation, because they worried the electorate had grown accustomed to having Social Security and that removing it could be a political disaster if attempted.

With calls of a massive tax increase and socialism, Democratic and Republican criticism of the legislation, and an election to decide the issue, history seems to be repeating itself again. It is not clear yet what direction the country wants to follow this time, but whatever the case, the events of the passing of the Social Security Act have a remarkable similarity with those of today.

In a campaign speech given in Philadelphia in 1936, FDR stated:

"There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny. In this world of ours in other lands, there are some people, who, in times past, have lived and fought for freedom, and seem to have grown too weary to carry on the fight. They have sold their heritage of freedom for the illusion of a living. They have yielded their democracy. I believe in my heart that only our success can stir their ancient hope. They begin to know that here in America we are waging a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world."

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