I can’t say that I was at all surprised by some of the tactics we’ve seen recently from Republican presidential candidates in particular. Some may say that it’s expected given Republicans history with employing racial politics when necessary, and that the recent statements by someone like Newt Gingrich can’t be that shocking. Gingrich clip below:
He understands exactly what he is doing. Many would argue that some Americans on food stamps take advantage of the system. Some may, but determining the full extent is tricky. Also, unfortunately some Americans hold a belief that African Americans make up a majority of food stamp recipients(actually 33%). Blogger Joshua Green does a great job of explaining why critics of President Obama on this issue should look in the mirror:
The number of food stamp recipients has indeed risen sharply, but this rise began under President George W. Bush and is largely attributable to the recession. Food stamps are an anti-poverty measure, so it’s no surprise that enrollment should rise when large numbers of people are out of work (the number of recipients dropped last month as the economy improved). But recession isn’t the only cause. A Bush administration initiative begun in 2002 dramatically increased participation rates among eligible households, from 48 percent to 72 percent in 2009.
Couple that together with the fact that if he’s the Republican candidate, he would be facing off against the nations first African American President. Gingrich knew that the far right conservatives in South Carolina would eat it right up, and he went with it unfortunately. He’s not the first candidate to stoop to the racial politics of old.
The Jessie Helms “Hands” ad was one of the most memorable political ads of all time. It was both disgusting to watch, and sadly, very effective. The Republican Senator from North Carolina was in a tough re-election fight. His opponent was none other than up and coming Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt. Gantt was African American, and to Helms surprise, he was staying with him in the race. Helms had to drop a bomb, which he did. Racial politics was all too common in North Carolina at the time. Helms knew that he could play to peoples misconceptions about affirmative action, and use it as a wedge issue.
This next ad was unveiled by the Republican National Committee some years ago to attack Memphis Congressman Harold Ford, in his quest to defeat Republican Bob Corker in the Tennessee Senate race. Ford, like Harvey Gantt, was a young, ambitious African American politician that was on the rise. Ford came from a political dynasty, and though he was a Democrat, stayed moderate. This helped to position him to eventually run for the U.S. Senate, and he ran a very close race with Bob Corker. I believe the RNC aired this ad because they were afraid of a Harold Ford upset. Stoking some peoples hatred of interracial relations or dating seemed to be the strategy of choice for the Republicans. Unfortunately this classless tactic worked. Corker squeaked out a close win.
As the 2012 election nears, I only wonder what some of the Republican operatives have up their sleeve. They are very smart, and won’t present ads such as this unless the election seems to be extremely close. I think in 2012 it might be a little tough to produce ads that have such strong racial undertones. My prediction is that ads aired during the 2012 election will be a bit more discreet- just enough to not cause too much of an uproar. I’ll be watching, and analyzing.
One of my fraternity brothers asked me to present a comparison fo Democrats and Republicans. Below is a pretty good break down of how the partys differ on the issues. This is brought to you by ironduke of worldaffairs.com:
Republicans favor lower taxes and a smaller government.
Democrats favor higher taxes to pay for social programs to ensure economic equality.
Republicans are pro-business and are economic liberals. They favor free trade and free markets, are against tariffs and believe that employers should be able to freely set wages.
Democrats are pro-labor and conservative with regards to trade. They favor tariffs to protect domestic labor from competition overseas, support workers right to unionize, strike, and collectively bargain for wages.
Foreign and Defense Policy:
Republicans favor foreign and defense policies that is made largely independent from foreign pressures and influences.
Democrats favor give and take with foreign countries when making foreign and defense policy, favor humanitarian intervention, etc.
Moral Issues and Crime:
There is a large morally conservative wing of the Republican party, which is a relatively recent addition after Nixon’s Southern strategy of the 1960s and 70s. Anti-abortion, favors punishment over rehabilitation, supports the death penalty, faith-based initiatives, legislate morality with regards to media violence, pornography, etc.
Most Democrats are socially liberal, tend to be less religious, are pro-abortion, favor rehabilitation over punishment in criminal matters, against the death penalty, etc
This is just a simple breakdown, and some may not agree with all the comparisons, but for the most part it is pretty accurate.
Former President Bill Clinton made it back to his old stomping grounds on Friday. He held a joint press conference with President Barack Obama to voice his support for the recent tax cut deal that the President brokered with Republicans.
This was a very smart move by the White House, because this provides them another very credible surrogate to continue to trumpet the argument that this tax cut deal is the best that we could get, and actually a good compromise given the political circumstances. It may not do as much to mute the anger that many on the far left have over Obama’s compromise, but it should remind them that if the last successful TWO TERM Democratic president endorses this, then they would be wise to accept it and move on.
Below is the press conference for you to view in its entirety. It seemed as if Bill Clinton had not lost a step, and he was very comfortable addressing the media with ease.
There has been so much going on in Washington, that its hard to keep up with all of it. The negotiations on extending the Bush tax cuts have grabbed most of the headlines, which is understandable. What caught my attention today though, was the 9/11 health bill, and the fact that it has been derailed by Republican opposition.
The James Zadruga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would have provided $7.5 billion in healthcare and compensation for first responders, and survivors of the brutal 9/11 attack on our country. The bill is named after NYPD officer James Zadruga, who like many first responders, lost his life due to inhaling toxic fumes and dust near the 9/11 site. James Zadruga’s son Joseph put into words the pain and suffering many of the familys are feeling, as well as their frustration at Congress for their inexcusable inaction on the matter:
It could have been a good Christmas present for the first responders who are dying,” he said. “Every month we lose a couple. It’s going to increase as the time goes on.
Republicans refused to let the bill move to formal debate until the Bush tax cuts were extended for the wealthiest Americans. The final vote was 57-42, with all Republicans uniting in opposition to the bill. To me, it is unconscionable that Republicans could act in such a cold hearted manner, and refuse help to policeman, fireman, and other workers who risked their lives to save and protect those hurt in the twin towers because of the terrorist attack. I truly wonder what type of human being can make tax cuts for Americans who don’t know how many homes they have(as John McCain famously put it in 2008) a bigger priority than looking out for the brave workers that risked it all to keep America safe in its gravest hour.
This did not have to be a partisan issue at all. Osama bin Laden and the other terrorists did not distinguish between Republicans or Democrats when they decided to fly the planes into the building and cause the mayhem they did. Just as we came together as a nation after September 11th, warring politicians should be able to end the partisan bickering, at least for a bill like this. Sadly they missed the mark again.
I hope that many of you all were able to catch the historic vote on healthcare reform tonight. What stood out to me is that for once our elected officials actually did something constructive, and passed some meaningful legislation. I know many of the freshman Democrats from swing districts made some tough votes tonight, but it was morally the right way to go. Many of the members are wealthy already, so if they lose their seats, they will be fine in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure they are more concerned with assuring Americans can get affordable coverage than petty politics.
The courageous votes will go down in history. It seems as if for once our legislators voted their conscience, and stood up for the working class americans who are struggling with ever rising healthcare costs. In the end, I think that my party will end up on the right side of history.