HOW I SEE THE WORLD
In response to a comment on a previous article, I decided to provide my take on Dr. Kermit Barron Gosnell. As many of us recently learned, Dr. Gosnell is a former physician who practiced as an abortion provider in Philadelphia from 1972 to 2011. He was arrested in January 2011 and charged with eight counts of murder resulting from gross medical malpractice in the treatment of patients at his clinics. The murder charges related to a patient who died while under his care and seven newborns said to have been killed after being born alive during attempted abortions. Although Gosnell denied the allegations, he was convicted on charges of first and third degree murder, illegal prescription of drugs, conspiracy related to corruption and illegal abortions and related medical malpractice offenses at his practice.
It was reported that before the trial opened, all defendants with the exception of Gosnell and one other, had already pled guilty to similar charges including for some, charges of third degree murder. Several defendants had testified to “snipping” the spines of babies. One defendant, Steven Massof, testified that he had personally done this over a hundred times, describing it as a “standard procedure” at the Gosnell clinics. On May 13, 2013, Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder, one count of involuntary manslaughter, and numerous other charges, including 211 counts of failing to wait 24 hours between consulting with a patient and performing an abortion. He was found not guilty of one other charge of murder.
In 2011, Gosnell was well known in Philadelphia for providing abortions to poor minority and immigrant women. It was also claimed that he charged $1,600–$3,000 for each late-term abortion. Gosnell was also associated with clinics in Delaware and Louisiana. Atlantic Women’s Services in Wilmington Delaware was Gosnell’s place of work one day a week. The owner of Atlantic Women’s Services, Leroy Brinkley, also owned Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and facilitated the hiring of staff from there for Gosnell’s operation in Philadelphia.
Here are a few examples of Gosnell’s appalling behavior as a physician:
The conditions of Gosnell’s practice should also be noted such as: (1) Extreme unsanitary conditions, including STDs, septic (unsterile) conditions, blood and animal feces and urine and other noxious fluids and waste, and months-old fetal remains stored in “jars, bags and jugs.” (2) Improper equipment and usage including reuse of disposable supplies and broken life-saving and monitoring equipment; (3) Padlocked emergency access and exit routes; (4) Lack of properly trained staff including “bogus doctors-unqualified, unlicensed and unsupervised staff who misrepresented themselves to patients as qualified licensed clinicians; (5) Operation of a “prescription treadmill” whereby blank signed prescriptions would be left for those seeking controlled medications, unsupervised and uncontrolled by Dr. Gosnell.
As reported by Policymic, Dr. Gosnell was the operator of an abortion mill – this was no clinic – located in West Philadelphia called the “Women’s Medical Society” and set up in 1972. He was a product of the local neighborhood, and he had spent almost four decades running his establishment – “giving back” to the community he grew up in. Of course, he had a peculiar form of charity: “Infant be-headings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure.” Gosnell’s mill was known for its willingness to carry out late-term abortions – the illegal practice (in Pennsylvania) of killing a child after the initial 24 weeks of pregnancy. Indeed, as word spread about the doctor’s services, women would come from all around to subject their bodies for the benefit of his services.
“There was blood on the floor,” witnesses reported. “A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets.” Despite the dreadful conditions, the illegal practices, and the innumerable women and children who were both injured and killed as a result of Gosnell’s actions, he was still able to operate for almost 40 years. The reason is because of politics, prejudice, and plain negligence. After approving the Women’s Medical Society to open an abortion clinic in 1979, the Pennsylvania Department of Health apparently conducted no site reviews for another 10 years. In both 1992 and 1993, Gosnell’s “clinic” was guilty of “numerous violations,” but was allowed to stay open on the promise that he would go about fixing them.
“After 1993, however, even that pro forma effort came to an end. Not because of administrative ennui although there had been plenty. Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro-abortion. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions.”
Basically, “the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, the victims were infants without identities, and the subject was the political football of abortion.” Despite countless appeals, complaints, warnings, and deaths, the Gosnell murder trainl continued to operate until February 18, 2010, when an FBI raid of the offices was executed because of reports of “illegal prescription activity.” What they found, of course, was much, much worse.
As I mentioned in a previous article, without exception, the Sixth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill” and it doesn’t matter if it’s a baby or adult. In my view, Dr. Kermit Gosnell is one of the most wicked and shameful murderers in modern times and even the severest penalty will not come close to matching his crimes, but that’s just my take.
Ever since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe vs. Wade legalizing abortion, conservative Republicans especially evangelical Christians, have practically dominated right-wing media about their commitment to pro-life values. They claim that they are so interested in preserving life they are willing to do everything in their power to overturn or at least neutralize the legal effects of Roe v. Wade. In fact, some even use the 6th Commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” to demonstrate their unwavering loyalty to the pro-life agenda. But, are these conservative Republicans really committed to preserving the sanctity of life, or are they speaking with a “forked tongue?” To answer that question, let’s examine the record.
Anti-abortion violence (or pro-life violence) is violence committed against individuals and organizations that provide abortion. Incidents of violence have included destruction of property in the form of vandalism; crimes against people including kidnapping, stalking, assault, arson, bombings, attempted murder and murder. While most of these incidents are stunning, this article will focus on attempted murder and murder by right-wing radical conservatives.
From mid 1984 to mid 1994, Pensacola, Florida, was a focal point for anti abortion crime. For example, in March 1993, Michael Griffin assassinated Dr. David Gunn outside an abortion clinic. Griffin was convicted and given a life sentence. In July 1994, Paul Hill, a former Presbyterian minister and leader in Defensive Action, assassinated a physician and bodyguard outside an abortion clinic. He also wounded the wife of the bodyguard. He was sentenced to both life imprisonment on federal charges, and execution on state charges. The Defensive Action sponsored by the Army of God, a right-wing, religious extreme group of pastors, has the following statement on its website:
“We, the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life including the use of force. We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child. We assert that if Michael Griffin did in fact kill David Gunn, his use of lethal force was justifiable provided it was carried out for the purpose of defending the lives of unborn children. Therefore, he ought to be acquitted of the charges against him.”
In July 1995, Paul Hill, a Presbyterian minister and then owner of the Army of God website, shot and killed Dr. John Britton, the physician taking Dr. David Gunn’s place, as well as James Barrett, Dr. Britton’s armed security escort. Paul Hill was executed on September 3rd, 2003 at Florida State Prison.
Dr. George Richard Tiller was a physician from Wichita, Kansas, and gained national attention as the medical director of Women’s Health Care Services, one of only three nationwide clinics that provided late term abortions. During his tenure with the center, which began in 1975, continuing the medical practice of his father, Tiller was frequently targeted with protest and violence by anti abortion groups and individuals. After his clinic was firebombed in 1986, Tiller was shot in both arms by anti-abortion activist Shelley Shannon in 1993. On May 31, 2009, Tiller was shot through the eye and killed by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder, as Dr. Tiller served as an usher during the Sunday morning service at his church in Wichita. Roeder was convicted of murder on January 29, 2010, and given the maximum penalty allowed under Kansas state law.
Recently in Des Moines, Iowa, David Leach stated publically that, “It will be a blessing to the babies” if someone shoots the people who recently reopened a Kansas abortion clinic. Leach posted the comments on YouTube and includes a recorded phone conversation he had with Scott Roeder. Leach has previously suggested that other men were justified in killing other abortion providers. He notes in the video that Tiller’s old clinic was recently reopened by a new abortion agency. “If someone would shoot the new abortionists, like Scott shot George Tiller, hardly anyone will appreciate it but the babies,” he says. “It will be a blessing to the babies. Everyone else will panic.”
Leach is an Iowa anti-abortion activist and publisher of the extremist newsletter Prayer & Action News and web site The Partnership Machine. His publications support the doctrine of justifiable homicide for abortion doctors, the same doctrine cited by Prayer & Action News subscriber and contributor Scott Roeder. Prior to the assassination of Dr. Tiller, Leach reprinted the Army of God manual, which lists ways to damage abortion buildings from putting super glue in locks to two simple bomb recipes, in the January 1996 issue of his magazine. The manual had previously been published only anonymously and mailed anonymously to pro-life leaders and news reporters. Leach’s reprint was the first printing that was not anonymous.
Consistent with this radical justifiable homicide theory, a law under consideration in South Dakota in February 2011 would make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation passed House Bill 1171 out of committee on a nine to three party-line vote. No final action has been taken on this bill at this writing.
The sixth Commandment states specifically that “thou shall not kill” and does not contain any exceptions as some conservative Republicans suggest. The position they take is that life of an unborn fetus is much more important than the life of an individual and is consistent with God’s Commandment. In addition, this extreme right wing component of the Republican Party not only rejects established law including the decision of the highest court in the land, but even assesses a guilty verdict and death punishment on individuals without “trial by jury.” Remember, this is a party that publicly embraces the Constitution while completely ignoring the Sixth Amendment that sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions. Moreover, the Supreme Court has consistently applied the protections of this Amendment to the states through the due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.
I believe that it would be unconscionable for this radical constituency to honor the provision of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. That phrase exemplifies the “unalienable rights” with which human beings are endowed by their creator. It is apparent to me that the wing-nut element of the conservative Republicans many of them say that they are “Christians,” are not “pro life” but “pro death” when it comes to implementing their radical agenda, but that’s just my take.
On April 17, 2013, because of NRA intimidation, 45 cowardly senators voted to deny background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people. Even though 90 percent of the American people, 55 senators, and over 70% of NRA households – an overwhelming majority– support background checks. The 45 Senate cowards, most but not all of whom were Republicans, voted against a bipartisan compromise offered by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Senator Pat Toomey. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that, today’s vote “handed criminals a huge victory, by preserving their ability to buy guns illegally at gun shows an online and keeping the illegal trafficking market well-fed.” Compounding this shameful vote by these senators, all of this happened as Newton families and other gun violence victims looked on from the Senate gallery. A woman survivor of the Tucson shooting shouted “shame on you” after the Bill was defeated.
For many years, the NRA has been the most outspoken and aggressive lobbying groups working to block even common sense gun control legislation. Manchin said that the NRA’s decision to score the vote was the main reason his compromise on background checks failed. Without it, he argued, 70 senators — well above the 60-vote threshold needed — would have supported it.
The NRA’s words used to oppose the Senate amendment for gun control legislation are “a bald-face lie,” Senator Manchin told state media via telephone conference. Manchin said that those who have read the proposed legislation understand that it does not take away gun owner rights. Manchin further explained that prior to voting, he spoke with his constituents involved with hunting and shooting groups. They did not oppose the “common sense” legislation that was crafted over approximately three months, he said.
Manchin also said the NRA has told people that their rights to give guns as gifts to friends and familyor to buy or sell with friends and neighbors will be restricted which is simply not true. He explained that if a person lists a gun on the Internet, they would have to proceed with a background check of the buyer; however, an online sale to a friend or neighbor doesn’t make much sense.
Manchin’s co-sponsored amendment specifically states that a gun registry cannot be created and anyone attempting to do so would be charged with a felony and penalized with a prison sentence and/or fine. However, the NRA has said further gun control legislation would eventually lead to a national gun registry, another lie. The amendment calls for putting all of the names of prohibited purchasers, such as convicted criminals and those with dangerous mental illnesses, into the background check system. Manchin’s amendment allows a private individual to sell or give away a gun but someone selling at a gun show would have to have a licensed firearms dealer complete a background check on the person wanting to purchase the gun before it could be sold. Background checks would also be imposed on intrastate online purchases. Currently, individuals may buy guns from a dealer within his or her own state without going through a background check which Manchin calls a “loophole.”
Manchin has an “A” rating from the NRA and describes himself as a “proud gun owner” who understands the “gun culture.” He says his amendment protects the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. I am also a NRA member but I will not renew my membership when it expires in October 2013.
Adolphus Busch IV, heir to the Busch family brewing fortune, resigned his lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association after the Senate rejected a series of amendments to the bipartisan gun control bill. In a letter to NRA President David Keene, Busch said that, “I fail to see how the NRA can disregard the overwhelming will of its members who see background checks as reasonable.” “The NRA I see today has undermined the values upon which it was established,” wrote Busch. “Your current strategic focus clearly places priority on the needs of gun and ammunition manufacturers while disregarding the opinions of your 4 million individual members.” Reached for comment on Busch’s resignation, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told The Huffington Post, “We disagree with his characterization, but we wish him all the best.”
Busch joined the pro-gun organization in 1975 and has spoken before of his love of hunting. But the NRA has moved in a direction that Busch would not follow. “One only has to look at the makeup of the 75-member board of directors, dominated by manufacturing interests, to confirm my point. The NRA appears to have evolved into the lobby for gun and ammunition manufacturers rather than gun owners,” he wrote.
“It disturbs me greatly to see this rigid new direction of the NRA.” Busch singled out the gun lobby’s reversal of its 1999 position in favor of universal background checks, as well as its opposition to an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines. “I am simply unable to comprehend how assault weapons and large capacity magazines have a role in your vision,” Busch wrote.
“Was it not the NRA position to support background checks when Mr. LaPierre himself stated in 1999 that NRA saw checks as ‘reasonable’?” Busch wrote, referring to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the wake of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. At that time, LaPierre said the NRA believed that universal background checks were a “reasonable” choice. The group even took out ads in major newspapers that read, “We believe it’s reasonable to provide for instant background checks at gun shows, just like gun stores and pawn shops.”
Despite the recent gun control setback, President Obama, Newton parents, and other gun violence prevention advocates vowed to continue the fight to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. I agree with the recent statement of ThinkProgress, “Everyday that we fail to pass comprehensive background checks is a day we put at risk the safety of our children, our law enforcement, our neighbors—indeed, the safety of all Americans. The price of the Senate’s [cowardly] inaction will be paid by the Americans whose names will be added to the list of gun-violence victims every day as a result.”
According to the Constitution, members of Congress are elected by the people to represent their respective states in conducting the business of government; they were not appointed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) nor any other lobbying group. If Congress passes term limits, perhaps lobbying groups would lose much of their influence over our elected representatives. In the meantime, however, many of the forty-five (45) senators who voted to side with NRA and not the American people, will be replaced in the 2014 elections, but that’s just my take.
Wikipedia defines “crisis” as any event that is, or expected to lead to, an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community or whole society. After President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, the Democrats controlled the House, Senate and White House. During that time, the President accomplished a myriad of legislative achievements including: the Stimulus, Health Care Reform, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Wall Street Reform, Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, reforming Student Loans and ratifying the Start Treaty, yet not one self-imposed crisis.
When the Republicans took control of the House in January 2011, a new game started – a variety of self-inflicted, pre-planned crisis. By early April 2011, the Republicans first self-inflicted crisis was initiated – a looming government shutdown primarily influenced by Tea Party Republicans because of the controversy surrounding funding for Planned Parenthood. At the last minute, the Party was able to avoid its first crisis.
Three months later, July 2011, the Republican Party initiated another self-inflicted crisis regarding the Debt Ceiling. Again at the last minute, they were able to pass legislation raising the Debt Ceiling but not without an unprecedented cost to the United States – Standard and Poor downgraded the US credit rating.
Less than three months later, September 2011, the Republican Party initiated another self-inflicted crisis threatening another government shutdown. Fortunately, at the last minute, they were able to avert a shut-down by passing a bill to fund the government. The House Republicans took a break for the November 2012 elections and produced no relevant legislation. President Obama was reelected and the Democrats picked up additional seats in the Senate and House but were not able to reestablish a House majority.
One month after the elections, December 2012, the House led by the Tea Party Republicans manufactured another crisis – the fiscal cliff. At the last minute, the House voted to stave off widespread tax increases and deep spending cuts by accepting a brokered Senate compromise. It made permanent the Bush administration’s tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 per year and couples earning less than $450,000. It also raised rates on those who make more than that from 35% to 39.6%, bringing back a top tax bracket from the Clinton administration, and will raise roughly $600 billion in new revenues over 10 years, according to various estimates. The bill also extended unemployment insurance and delays for two months, until March 1, 2012, the threat of sequestration. On March 1, 2012, we are faced with the sequester, another self-inflicted, pre-planned crisis resulting from a 2011 budget agreement.
Republicans and Democrats agreed to raise the debt limit through the Budget Control Act of 2011. The law found approximately $1.2 trillion in budget cuts spread over 10 years but also directed Congress to find another $1.2 trillion through a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which came to be known as “the super-committee.”
This super-committee was to meet and agree on a deficit reduction package by Nov. 23, 2011. Their proposal — which could include tax increases, spending reductions or both — would then get a filibuster-proof, up-or-down vote in Congress. As an incentive to the super-committee, the law included an unusual budget threat: If the super-committee couldn’t agree on a package, or if Congress voted it down, then automatic, across-the-board cuts would go into effect, with half of those cuts hitting defense. These automatic cuts are referred to as “sequestration.” In June 2011, during deliberations of the super-committee, Congressional Republicans abandoned budget talks leaving the outcome in doubt as they vowed not to give in to a Democratic push for new tax revenues as part of any compromise. The breakdown was set off by the surprise decision of House majority leader, Eric Cantor, and one of two Republicans participating, to quit the negotiations. Thus, we are now at the entrance of the most recent self-inflicted, pre-planned crisis thanks to the Republicans.
While Democrats agree that this sequester would be devastating to our economy and National security, Republicans have a mixed response. Senator Orin Hatch says that the sequester will “lead to economic disaster” but Tea Party Senator Rand Paul says that, “its pittance…this is just really nibbling at the edges.” Congressman Jeff Miller says that it will “throw our nation into another recession” but Congressman Tom Price says that it will “get this economy rolling again.” House Speaker John Boehner has said that it “threatens National Security” but Congressman Tom Cole says “fiscal questions trump defense.” Instead of dealing with this crisis, Speaker Boehner gave the House a 10 day vacation.
According to Douglas Elmendorf, CBO Director, the $1.2 trillion across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to take place in March could result in the loss of 750,000 jobs in 2013. “We think that would reduce the level of employment by the end of the year [by] about 750,000 jobs,” Elmendorf said in a House budget hearing. The sequester can be avoided if Congress comes up with an $85 billion alternative by March 1; however. Republicans are insisting that tax revenue is off-the-table, while Democrats say a deal must include revenue not just spending cuts. During his State of the Union address, President Obama fueled the battle by accusing Republicans of wanting to shift possible cuts from defense and military spending to social programs. In my view, that is exactly what the Republicans want to do rather than deal with tax loopholes for the wealthy. The 750,000 job loss estimate may be conservative. The Bipartisan Policy Center said recently that as many as one (1) million jobs are at risk if the sequester goes forward because it would pull so much money out of the economy very quickly.
The Republican rationale for not wanting to close tax loop-holes for the wealthy is that they claim that the President already received a tax increase during the fiscal cliff negotiations and want major cuts in entitlement programs even though President Obama has already added over one trillion dollars in spending cuts. What Republicans are not saying is that the tax increase was based on the expiration of the Bush tax cuts only and not really a tax increase. Part of the Republican platform during the 2012 elections was to close tax loopholes, but since President Obama won reelection, Republicans have now reneged. Republicans are also complaining that the President has not offered any plan to avert the sequester; but his plan that reduces the debt sensibly by over four trillion dollars is on the White House website. Here is the link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/deficit_reduction_table_bucketed_r8.pdf
Even if we get through this current crisis with a deal, the Republicans have already orchestrated another crisis – (1) possible Government shut-down by the end of March if a budget or continuing resolution is not passed; and (2) the next Debt ceiling debate in May 2012.
Will Republicans heed the calls of their constituency and offer economic support or compromise in behalf of the American people, probably not since their number one objective is to continue to obstruct the President’s agenda that 51% of the citizens agree with. In a recent poll, congressional Republicans have a 25% approval while the President’s approval is 55%. The Republican Party has apparently ignored the results of the 2012 election when they lost seats in both the Senate and House, and it is my belief that if they continue their obstruction and non-compromising behavior, the House Republicans will be in the minority following the 2014 elections, but that’s just my take.
So, why were Willard Mitt Romney and other Republican Party candidates basically annihilated during the 2012 elections? The answer is simple – in addition to the genius of the Obama campaign strategists, I believe there are four major reasons why Romney and other Republicans lost—(1) Flawed Leadership; (2) Far Right Agenda; (3) Lack of Credibility; and (4) Resolve of the American People.
Flawed Leadership – Romney had been practicing to become President since 1994 but was not prepared for the journey. He should have known that his taxes, off-shore accounts, Bain Capital, and his Massachusetts healthcare law would become significant campaign issues. This past March, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum suggested that “re-electing President Barack Obama would be better than electing Republican rival Mitt Romney.” Fox News commentator, Ann Coulter, said that, “If we don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and he will lose to Obama.” This past January, Newt Gingrich called Romney “a liar who would mislead the American people if elected to the White House.” Romney’s leadership credentials were flawed and Republican leaders especially the Fox News crew disdained him.
Far Right Agenda – The Republican Party’s far right agenda especially dealing with women’s health and civil rights issues angered an extremely large constituency. Congressman’s Issa’s hearing on women’s contraception without permitting female testimony and Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke intensified the problem. Richard Murdock’s comment that rape resulting in pregnancy was “something God intended to happen” and Todd Akin’s comment about “legitimate rape” were not only reprehensible but alienated women. The selection of Paul Ryan as the vice presidential candidate who has views similar to Murdock and Akin was a problem as well. Abortion rights also became an important political divider and when Romney talked about appointing Supreme Court Justices to overturn Roe vs. Wade, his popularity continued to wane. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. Romney’s “self deportation” comment that he made during a Republican presidential primary turned-off many of the Hispanic population. The threat to turn Medicare into a voucher program, to defund Planned Parenthood and make significant cuts in domestic programs did not go over very well. The Romney video concerning the 47% was the last straw. It validated his agenda and was the first nail in his coffin.
Lack of Credibility – The Romney campaign and Republican Super-Pacs flooded the airwaves with lies, distortions and fabrications about the President and Democratic senatorial and congressional candidates. In addition, a different Romney appeared in each of the presidential debates. During the first debate, Romney came across as a “denier” of the facts that he had been supporting since the start of his campaign. At the second debate, a more conciliatory Romney showed up and seemed to be in agreement with the Obama policies. At the third debate, Romney’s National Security showing was a disaster and his lack of preparation and ignorance was clear. The main reason that Romney lost Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin was because of the blatant double-down lie he was advocating that Jeep was relocating to China that the residents of these states knew was a lie. That was the second nail in the Romney coffin.
Resolve of the American People –Republican state officials launched an exceptional, centrally focused crusade to suppress democratic voters. Republican governors and state legislators passed a variety of measures aimed at preventing millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from voting in the 2012 election. The success of this effort would have been the most significant setback to voting rights in this country since passage of Voting Rights Act of 1965. What these voter suppressors failed to consider, however, is the resolve of the American people who were so enraged at their actions that they were motivated to spend hours upon hours in lines just to exercise their right to vote. While many thought that this constituency was not motivated enough to turn-out for this election, the crowds were huge especially among women, African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. Not only did President Obama win a second term, but the Democrats picked up significant Senate and House seats. This was the third nail in the Romney coffin.
In a previous article, I had predicted that Obama would win a second term with at least 310 electoral votes. After Florida is called, his electoral votes will be 332. I also said that Senate Democrats would pick up at least two additional seats and they did. The House Democrats also picked up additional seats and three of the most despicable Tea Partiers, Joe Walsh, Todd Akin and Allen West, also lost. In addition, Maryland residents approved same-sex marriage (Question 6) and the new Maryland casino (Question 7) by significant majorities.
The Republican Party has yet to realize that the US electorate and issues have become more progressive. The 2012 election was a repudiation of the right-wing radicalism and ideology. In addition to overwhelming support of women, President Obama captured 93% of the African American vote, 72% of the Hispanic vote, and 73% of the Asian vote. Moreover, voters made history on Election Day by endorsing moves to allow gay marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington State. Minnesota voters also rejected a ballot measure that would have preserved an anti-gay marriage law in their constitution, and neighboring Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin as the country’s first openly gay U.S. senator. For the Republican Party and its Christian conservative base to be competitive in future elections, they will have to accept the current reality including the fact that marriage equality has nothing to do with religious rights but everything to do with civil rights. Although it’s difficult for many Christians to admit, this country was not founded on Christian principles and beliefs but as a “nation under God.” Other US religions including Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, New Age and many others worship their god but do not promote Christian values, yet their faith is as strong. As long as conservative Republicans continue to listen to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other right-wing radical commentators, it is doubtful that the Party will abandon or severely limit its extreme right-wing ideology by the 2014 mid-term elections and as long as they continue that dogma, they will become irrelevant as a dominant political party, but that’s just my take.
On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, despite the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars spent in negative advertisements to deny President Barack Obama a second term, he won by an overwhelming majority, and Willard Mitt Romney along with other Republicans got trounced. Not only did Obama win, but he won in a landslide victory capturing over 300 electoral votes and over two million popular votes. During the election process, Dick Morris, Fox News analyst, made several bizarre predictions grossly inconsistent with national polling data and common sense. His predictions were “so far out on the limb” that Bill O’Reilly told him that if Barack Obama wins the election, Morris would be “through.” Morris predicted that: (1) Romney would defeat President Obama in “a landslide;” (2) Republicans were going to win 10 Senate seats; and (3) Obama would drop out of the presidential race, just to name a few of the Morris predictions. Morris was wrong. After recovering from “shell shock,” Mitt Romney told his supporters that he lost because “Hurricane Sandy” changed his momentum, a statement also not supported by the polls.
Many on the right were devastated at the Romney loss and the blame-game has begun. Even before President Obama’s win was secured, Romney supporters and right wing commentators were eager to identify reasons Romney lost, and for some, Chris Christie topped the list. Governor Christie’s praise for Obama’s swift Hurricane Sandy response irritated conservatives and Romney insiders who were upset at the image of Romney’s most prolific surrogate touring the Jersey coastline with Obama in Marine One. In an attempt to justify his own failed predictions, Morris said: “But the more proximate cause of my error was that I did not take full account of the impact of hurricane Sandy and of Governor Chris Christie’s bipartisan march through New Jersey arm in arm with President Obama. Not to mention Christie’s fawning promotion of Obama’s presidential leadership. It made all the difference…By working seamlessly with an acerbic Republican Governor like Christie, Obama was able to blunt Romney’s advantage in this crucial area.”
Some conservative leaders also lashed out at Romney saying his attempts to paint himself as a centrist and hide his principles cost him the presidency. They vowed to wage a war to put the Tea Party in charge of the Republican Party by the time it nominates its next presidential candidate. “The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today and the failed Republican leadership should resign,” said Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. He said the lesson on Romney’s loss to President Obama on Tuesday is that the GOP must “never again” nominate “a big government established conservative for president.” Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots said Romney failed to make the kind of strong case for conservatism that would have won the election. Of course it’s the Tea Party that probably cost the Republicans the Senate for the second election in a row.
Newt Gingrich said that party strategists were mistaken in believing the unemployment rate and struggling economy would doom Obama to a one-term presidency. “We were wrong,” he said on “CBS This Morning.” He and other Republicans, such as Karl Rove, “misunderstood what was happening in the country.” Part of the “rethinking” party leaders should do is how to appeal to Hispanics and other demographic groups who supported Obama’s re-election, Gingrich said. “Unless we do that we’re going to be a minority party,” he said.
Ron Bonjean, a former communications adviser to Republican House and Senate leaders, said the party’s wing that opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage is poised to portray Romney’s loss as a repudiation of nominating more moderate candidates. “They will likely call him a flawed candidate,” Bonjean said. “There’s going to be an element of Republicans who don’t think they went conservative enough.”
Shortly after the television networks called the race for President Obama, Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, sent an e-mail to reporters blaming the loss on “a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party. The presidential loss is unequivocally on them.”
Charles Krauthammer, a conservative political columnist, dismissed Romney as “a transitional figure,” on Fox News. “He’s a Northeastern liberal, and that’s not where we’re going,” Krauthammer said. “That’s not where the future of the Republican Party is.” Krauthammer said a new generation of Republican leaders, such as Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, will give the party a more conservative bent. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly said that the folks who voted for Obama wanted “free stuff” and that’s what Obama would give them. Karl Rove told his donors that Hurricane Sandy was the cause of the Romney downfall. ”The billionaire donors I hear are livid,” one Republican operative told The Huffington Post. “There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do…I don’t know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing.” Karl Rove also suggested that the Obama campaign had successfully “suppressed the vote” with negative advertising. Part of the Obama advertising campaign strategy was to define Romney early and to that degree, Rove does have a point.
CONTINUED IN PART II
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