Archive for October, 2013

If I were a Republican strategist, I would…

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

elephantAcknowledge hatred isn’t be a bonding emotion

While it would be nice to say racial inequalities and bigotry don‘t exist in America, we can’t. The election and reelection of an African American president, while historic, has invoked historic racism and bigotry. People, who are fiscally conservative or have always been loyal to the GOP are now turning away because of the brazen hatred. The Republicans should separate themselves from and denounce these people. By doing so, the GOP will expand their base to many others who aren’t currently even considering them.

Value-oriented Republicans need to stop the bleeding that the Tea Party has inflicted on them. This vocal, minority group, has taken over the thought process and imposed great harm on the Party. Speaker Boehner needs to disregard this part of his caucus and move the country forward with bi-partisan votes in the House. Having both parties work together is a good thing and will boost Republicans standing among many.

GOP leaders need to stand up for what is right and begin vocally criticizing Republicans who are out of line. Right now, many Americans see the GOP leaders as weak and only vested in their own reelection, not the country, not their constituents and not even their own Party.

Be the solution rather than the problem

During the upcoming budget debates, don’t present the same Ryan budget as before. It has been turned down time and time again. Consider what is really important to the Americans and the Party. Don’t present reduction in entitlements. It has lost every time it has been proposed. Start looking at reforming/improving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid rather than privatizing them or creating a voucher program. Don’t continue to fight losing battles that keep the GOP from being on the winning side. Keep the core values that make sense today; abandon those that don’t.

Stop blaming others for things you created. The Republicans cut funds to embassy security, so don’t blame the White House for Benghazi. The GOP shut the government down, so don’t blame the parks department when the War Memorial isn’t open. Accept responsibility for your actions, devise a plan of action that is built on positive solutions to real problems, and remember everyone doesn’t share the same ideology. If the majority of Americans are opposed to the Party’s views, trying to force it on everyone will only alienate the Party more. Focusing on what is important to most Americans, not just the extreme conservative base, is a strategy that will win American support and elections.

If you don’t want to support Democratic bills, get out in front and propose real, viable solutions that would put people back to work and help the economy grow. Republicans have the chance to be heroes.

The Republicans have a decision to make. To rebuild their image and grow their numbers by adapting their values to the 21st century as the Democrats did in the 90s. Or go the way of the Whig Party–split and dissolve.

Part 3 of 3

If I were a Republican strategies, I would…

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

elephantMaintain core values, but bring them into the 21st century

The GOP is opposed to entitlements, but I don’t think they understand the concept. Seniors have paid into their Social Security and Medicare all their working life. They deserve the benefits of this program in their silver years. It is not a handout. It’s an earned obligation. If the GOP is concerned about the government’s ability to pay, there is an easy fix to that problem.

The solvency of the Social Security can be maintained by simply removing the cap on income that is deposited into the system. Everyone getting a paycheck should pay into Social Security each and every paycheck for all 12 months. By implementing this one change, Social Security will be solvent for 75 years or more.

If the Affordable Care Act needs tweaking, work to fix it, don’t dismantle it. You can’t win a losing fight by doubling down on the same strategy that has you underwater already. The GOP needs to show some compassion for others. Currently, many see them as cold and heartless.

Encouraging self-reliance is a key core value of the GOP, and that is good. But, in times of a recession and high unemployment, it is not the time to cut programs that would put people back to work. Being obsessed with the deficit, rather than growing the economy, shows poor business skills. If the Republicans want to retain the view as the party for business, they need to make decisions that help grow business, not shut them down.

Deregulation and tax breaks for the rich hurt everyone, including the wealthy. During both Reagan’s and Clinton’s administration, taxes increased a number of times, businesses flourished and everyone shared in the prosperity. During George W’s administration, large tax cuts were made and deregulations were plentiful and the economy fell into a deep recession as a result. Balancing spending cuts and revenue increases helps everyone. When the poor and middle class have more money to spend, they spend it and the economy expands.

Government could be smaller by cutting duplications, inefficiency and unnecessary expenditures, not by cutting programs that many Americans depend on such as the elderly, veterans and the disabled. It provides police, fire, education, infrastructure, economic stability, laws and governing. Providing subsidies to big oil that they don’t need, are wasteful uses of tax dollars that can be better spent building our infrastructure.

The government shutdown, primarily blamed on the GOP, showed just how poorly thought out the idea was. While claiming to be the party of fiscal responsibility, the shutdown cost the government $24 billion in lost revenues and thousands of jobs. It hurt our country’s standing internationally, raised our interest rates and made people the world over concerned that America doesn’t know what it is doing. Continuing to create a fiscal crisis month after month doesn’t instill confidence in the Party or demonstrate that it can lead.

Most importantly, for government to function with a two-party system, compromise must exist. Republicans need to understand that democracy does not mean “my way or the highway.” Americans want their elected officials to work together. Voters don’t want the House to send bills to the Senate that have no chance of passing…it’s a waste of everyone’s time and tax payers’ dollars. Voters want results. If Americans saw Republicans offering real compromise, not just phony rhetoric, they would be more likely to support the Party and their issues. If they provided real economic solutions, rather than obstructionism, people would take notice. The Party, whether Republican or Democrat, that helps bring our economy back will win votes and loyal supporters.

Part 2 of 3

If I were a Republican strategist I would …

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Assess the current situation, poll numbers and policies

The Republicans took a beating in Ted Cruz’s shutdown. Their approval ratings plummeted, and they got nothing in return. That is just bad business. When a child throws a temper tantrum, responsible adults don’t crater to their demands. Likewise, if the far right continues to act like children, the responsible GOP members shouldn’t crater to them, but rather punish them for their actions.

Get on the winning side of history and grow support

elephantAs our country grows more diverse, any political party that hopes to thrive in the years to come must also diversify and expand. Exclusion, rather than inclusion, is a suicide mission. Since women alone can carry an election, Hispanics are increasing rapidly, and African Americans have fought hard for their right to vote, it just makes good common sense to figure out ways to attract, rather than disenfranchise these segments of the population.

Gerrymandering and suppressing the vote are popular Republican tactics, but that can’t be the only strategy if the party expects to win nationally in the future. The GOP is currently controlling many states, but it’s only a matter of time before the people revolt against these divisive tactics.

Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice

The Republicans must end their war on women. While they profess to value human life and fight ferociously to change pro-choice/abortion laws, they do it in the most destructive way possible. When they called a committee to discuss this issue, the visual of an all-male body was stark and reconfirmed the belief that Republican men want to control women’s bodies and healthcare decisions without any input from women. Their refusal to let Sandra Fluke testify before the committee only served to reinforce this belief.

While I support a woman’s right to choice, unlike Republicans, I’m willing to listen to others points of view. Blocking sex education, contraceptives, and making unreasonable medical demands on women, won’t increase votes for either a candidate or the party. If Republicans want to maintain their pro-life stance as one of their core values, then they need to follow up after the child is born with supportive measures. When food stamps are cut, Head Start funds demolished and healthcare for the poor is opposed, Republicans weaken their case for pro-life. Currently the GOP isn’t pro-life, it is pro-birth, and that is very different.

Part 1 of 3

Why do people vote against their own best interest?

Monday, October 14th, 2013

As an expert in the women’s market, I have frequently been asked, why would a woman vote Republican when they clearly have a war on women. I wish I had a great answer for this. Perhaps they have always voted Republican, and thus continue down this path. Until recently, while Republicans and Democrats differed on many views, they worked together to more the country forward. Perhaps their husband is wealthy and the tax breaks the Republicans fight for for the rich is the most important reason. Whatever the reason, I find it disturbing that so many people, both men and women, continue to vote against their own best interest.

vote4Many solidly red states receive a huge percentage of their income from the federal government—the same government they want to shut down and cut their spending. The amount many of them pay in federal taxes is small compared to the amount they receive from the government. It reminds me of the old saying, “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” It makes no sense.

Women, in particular, should vote their interests. While I acknowledge many women are prolife and that is one reason they remain Republican, offering choice and allowing women, their families and their doctors to reach the best conclusion under a specific set of circumstances rather than a one size fits all approach just makes good sense.

But more troubling is why they would support a party who barely passed the Violence Against Women Act, who fought to keep women from receiving equal pay for equal work, and who thinks women’s bosses should be able to determine a woman’s health and reproductive rights.

I respect the two-party system and that means understanding differences exist in many areas of fiscal and social governance. That’s healthy for a democracy. But the right-wing fringe has hijacked the sanity of the Republican Party, and the GOP needs to get back on track. Gerrymandering, suppressing the vote and unlimited terms have led to these undemocratic processes which will destroy America if voters don’t stand up and fight for what is right.

Citizens, rather they are Republicans, Democrats or Independents, all have much to gain by voting for politicians who are interested in the good of the country: working together, listening to each other and compromising. Otherwise, citizens will have more reasons to fear Washington DC than terrorists.

Is America Still a Democracy?

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

donkeyandelephantDemocracy is where they majority rules, unless it is America where apparently the vocal minority rule. Democracy is based on mutual respect, compromise and working together for the betterment of our country. Currently, this isn’t the case. Gerrymandered districts have insured lifetime terms for politicians who care little about doing their job. Their whole focus is on getting reelected. Rather than passing bills to help people get back to work, to build our infrastructure, to improve our education system and to assist the less fortune, the Republicans are bent on obstructionism unless they get 100% of their insane and unreasonable demands.

While both parties and the president are being blamed for our current government shutdown, Republicans should make no mistake that they are going to own the brunt of the shutdown disaster. Since I believe in the two or three party system, I hope the Republicans will eventually realize they have to appeal to more people and present ideas and values that are more in tune with Americans today, not 50 years ago. They can’t win in the long run by relying on the tactics of gerrymandering, suppressing the vote, and unlimited funds from people like the Koch brothers.

John Boehner, the weakest Speaker of the House in our history, is not only allowing a loud minority to rule, but is also taking orders from a freshman senator and a radical radio host. With no moral compass of his own, he has allowed our government to shut down and now has it headed for a fiscal cliff that if we go over, will leave the country unable to be a world leader now or in the near future.

As America tries to spread democracy as a way of government around the world, we should focus on spreading it here at home. While the world watches us destroy our self, citizens currently have more to fear from Washington D.C. than from terrorists. Our country shouldn’t be held hostage by fellow Americans.

Republicans should pass a clean CR and debt limit extension. Then, and only then, should both parties sit down and actually work to solve the fiscal challenges and other government issues we face. No one can get 100% of what they want. That is what compromise is all about when two or more different opinions exist.

Here’s one thought. Let’s suspend Congress’ pay until they actually do something constructive. And then, let’s pay them per accomplishment rather than a set salary until they show they have earned the right get a salary again. If their livelihood was in jeopardy like the people they are presently hurting, maybe they would find a way to act like responsible adults rather than spoiled children.

The Affordable Care Act is here: Get over it and move on

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

doctorAs Senator Elizabeth Warren so accurately stated, “Congress voted for this law. President Obama signed this law. The Supreme Court upheld this law. The President ran for reelection on this law. His opponent said he would repeal it – and his opponent lost by five million votes.”

Today, the radical right has shut down the government because they want to defund ObamaCare. They don’t care about the millions of people who have been furloughed or laid off due to their lack of work and ability to compromise as is necessary in a democratic society. They don’t want democracy—they want to be dictators of the law. They don’t want to govern; they want to rule. They don’t want to provide healthcare to millions while lowering costs to taxpayers. They don’t want to provide food stamps to hungry children; but want to give huge subsidiaries to large corporate agriculture entities. They don’t want to raise the minimum wage, but want to give more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. They don’t really want to lower the deficit, but to eliminate any help for the less fortunate.

This has been the most do-nothing congress in the history of our country. Speaker Boehner is the worst speak of the House because he has no leadership or backbone and continues to let his caucus obstruct any bills that would move this country forward. He would rather be speaker than do what’s right and my guess is he’s going to lose his speakership anyhow. Republican state legislatures have gerrymandered districts so they can’t lose, no matter what they do, or in this case, don’t do. Congress even took healthcare away from their own staff, but kept their own. They aren’t paying millions of federal employees, but they are still taking their salary.

The GOP (Greedy Obstructionist Politicians) is ruining our government, our economy, and our democracy. Americans need to unify and vote this Congress OUT. In 2014, Democrats, Independents and moderate, reasonable Republicans need to say, “We have had enough.” Congress needs to help implement the healthcare law, get back to immigration reform, pass a jobs bill, and fund the government for several years, not weeks.