I know nothing of the political inclinations of this person but have suspected from other such comments that they could be a member of the Tea Party. At least they seem to be at the more Conservative end of the spectrum, more Republican than Democrat. This person is intelligent and well-educated so from my more liberal vantage point, such a statement seems out of character and a bit of a surprise. Since I shy away from anything political or religious (No, wait! I avoid those topics like the plague!), I let the comment slide and moved on to something more innocuous. Why are you and I still talking after all these years? Because I keep my big trap shut instead of exclaiming, "WTF!?!" when you say something outrageous.
My Sunday morning perusal of all things newsworthy in the world had me through a Twitter feed end up at Time magazine, specifically the article "An Election of Lesser Evils" penned by Joe Klein. The journalist is out on the road reporting on the campaigns and offered some frontline stories of speaking with the man and the woman in the street.
Auto Bailout vs. Bank Bailout
Klein talks of both the auto bailout and the bank bailout. In Ohio where the car industry is now doing okay, people feel the auto bailout made sense. It worked and they can see the results. It is obvious that people would agree with a bailout if the results are tangible and affect them personally. Klein adds that without the bailout, Ohio's economy would have collapsed.
However the bank bailout is not looked upon favorably. People feel it merely lined the pockets of the bankers but Klein points out that the bank bailout achieved on a national scale what the auto bailout achieved in Ohio. That is, the nation's economy did not collapse however it is obvious, in Ohio at least, that your average person cannot see the tangible results of the bank bailout the same way they can see the tangible results of the auto bailout.
Am I informed enough to be allowed to vote?
Running a country is complex. It is really, really, really complicated. However, in this time of campaigning more than ever, it is startling to realize that the success or failure of a candidate is reduced to some buzzwords around which one can rally the troops. When somebody goes into the voting booth later this year to cast their ballot, will their choice be based on seeing the tangible results of the auto bailout in Ohio and or their impression that the bank bailout did not do the same thing nationally but merely lined the pockets of those fat cats on Wall Street?
Klein interviews a woman who expresses doubts about Romney because [he] "smells like money". There again this negative attitude towards the so-called fat cats. Klein continues:
"But I guess I have to vote for him." Why? I asked. "Because I think Obama is hiding the truth about his past. I think he's a Muslim and he's trying to destroy America. One day the truth will come out."
Obama is destroying America. An entire presidency with the complexities of governing a nation and the problems of handling of $15 trillion economy, the largest on Earth is reduced to a conspiracy theory. This woman is going to vote for Romney because she thinks Obama is Muslim. She thinks this. And she thinks he's trying to destroy America.
The Polarization of America
I would like to joke by saying the Polaroidization of America and tell you all to say, "Cheese!" as I snap your picture. However I am now apprehensively looking around for the nearest exit plotting my escape before the shooting starts.
The rhetoric being passed around as legitimate political debate is absolutely nuts. There is so much misinformation, exaggeration or outright lies that it isn't the least bit surprising the woman mentioned above would vote as she says she will. How can anybody sort out fact from fiction when the talking points are formulated to scare the hell out of the population? Vote correctly or this time next your house will be taken away from you, your family will be interned, and you'll be eating gruel in a soup kitchen: Apocalypse Now Redux.
Joe the Plumber
The origin of this political personality is a perfect example of how misunderstanding and exaggeration can turn a politician into the personification of the Antichrist. From Wikipedia:
[Joe] gained national attention during the 2008 U.S. presidential election when, during a videotaped campaign stop in Ohio by then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama, Wurzelbacher asked Obama about his small business tax policy, and Obama gave a response that included the statement, "when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody." Obama's response was seized on by conservative commentators, as well as by Obama's rival, Republican candidate John McCain, as an indication that Obama was interested in wealth redistribution, and had a socialist view of the economy.
Wealth redistribution? Socialism? Ah, what better way to scare the bejesus out of an American than by uttering the S word? Warren Buffett deserves every penny of his billions upon billions of dollars and why should he have to cough up any more than the next guy for the good ol' U.S. of A.? Hmmm, by the way, does anybody know who paid for the roads you all drive on? When any of you goes to emergency at the hospital, who pays for that? Where did that bridge come from? The park? Who pays for social security? Medicare? Mediaid? Wait. All those things are funded through taxes. That means tax payers paid. Wait. That's, ah, wealth distribution. What? The United States is... [gasp]... a socialist country!!!
By the way, none other than Warren Buffett himself have agreed with Obama about "spreading the wealth around". In my blog "If I can pay, the rich can pay", I wrote about the gazillionaire's take on sharing the sacrifice as per his op-ed piece in the New York Times.
Starting with the admission that he paid nearly seven million dollars in income tax last year - he says himself that this sounds like a lot of money - he notes that his tax rate was 17.4%, lower than the 20 other people working at his office. In fact, those people paid from 33% to 41% with the average being 36%. Mr. Buffett recognises that the rich are not like you and me and explains how all of us get hit with income tax and payroll tax while the rich pay income tax but virtually nothing in payroll tax.
Hmmm, so the S word isn't socialism, the S word is sacrifice as in shared sacrifice.
Joe the Plumber has moved on and moving on is to something of a political career. He is currently running in the 2012 race for Ohio's 9th congressional seat. As part of his campaign to capture the hearts and minds of the voters, he has released the following video.
Published on Jun 18, 2012 by JoeforCongress2012
YouTube: I Love America - Joe on the 2nd Amendment
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated. In 1939, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, 6 million Jews and 7 million others, unable to defend themselves were exterminated. ... I love America.
Joe Klein points out that without the auto bailout, Ohio's economy would have collapsed. He states that without the bank bailout, the national economy would have collapsed. Is the average person in the street capable of grasping these ideas or are wealth distribution and socialism scarier buzzwords capable of swaying the vote? Polarization. Misinformation, exaggerations and lies. Winning is the goal; winning at any cost. Come November, no matter who wins, the American tax payer is going to pay. The question then is after paying into the system, what will the tax payer get back out of the system?
Time - Jun 14/2012
An Election of Lesser Evils by Joe Kein
In the early afternoon of June 19, 2012, my third annual road trip collided with Mitt Romney's presidential bus tour in the lovely little town of DeWitt, Mich. I suppose it was inevitable that sooner or later we'd come across a full-fledged stump speech, and there was Romney, in front of Sweetie-licious Bakery Caf, saying, with utterly feigned surprise, "We came here to have some cherry pie and we find all these friends standing here," as if his campaign hadn't spent the last 24 hours blocking off Bridge Street and setting up loudspeakers and security posts.
Wikipedia: Joe Klein
Joe Klein (born September 7, 1946) is a longtime Washington, D.C. and New York journalist and columnist, known for his novel Primary Colors, an anonymously written roman à clef portraying Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. Klein is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a former Guggenheim Fellow. Since 2003 he has been a contributor at the current affairs Time news group. In April 2006, he published Politics Lost, a book on what he calls the "pollster-consultant industrial complex". He has also written articles and book reviews for The New Republic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, LIFE and Rolling Stone.
Wikipedia: Joe the Plumber
Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (born December 3, 1973), better known by the nickname "Joe the Plumber", is an American conservative activist, commentator and politician.
Digital Journal - Jun 20/2012
Video: Joe the Plumber says gun control caused the Holocaust by JohnThomas Didymus
Joe's comments about the cause of the Holocaust have not gone unnoticed by Jewish Democrats. The National Jewish Democratic Coalition issued a response: “Using the memories of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust to make a political point is never appropriate, under any circumstances.” According to The Huffington Post, president and CEO of the pro-Democratic group David Harris, said in a statement, that the comparison was "beyond pale." He called on Wurzelbacher to "apologize and remove this offensive video immediately."
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