Republicans

Report Shows Tea Party Hypocrisy

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Oklahoma has come in third in a recent hypocrisy report that measures how much money states get from the federal government compared with how many of their residents identify as Tea Party supporters.

The Daily Beast, using polling data, recently reported that 34 percent of Oklahomans support the Tea Party, a movement based on anti-federal government ideology. The state received $7.8 billion in federal funds in 2009, the report states. That’s $2,123.13 per person. This makes the state the third “Most Hypocritical State,” according to the report. (Thanks to Alternative Tulsa for first reporting the information locally.)

Wyoming was ranked the number one most hypocritical state. Louisiana was second. New Mexico, Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, South Dakota, North Dakota and Utah round out the top ten.

According to The Daily Beast:

. . . for all the braying about the government’s overspending, many states where Tea Party support is strongest coincide with states that suck up the greatest number of federal dollars per capita.

This survey is similar to the 2006 Tax Foundation report that showed Oklahoma receives an average of $1.48 back from the federal government for every dollar it gives it. According to the Tax Foundation, “ . . . many states that get the ‘best deal’ are lower-income states in the mid-west and south with expansive rural areas that tend to vote Republican.” Those states that pay more to the federal government than they get back more often support Democratic candidates, according to the report.

The contradiction here is evident. As Oklahoma Tea Party supporters and those politicians who want their votes decry federal spending, they omit crucial information. Without the extra financial help of the federal government and donor states, Oklahoma would be like an impoverished Third-World country or not a viable government entity at all.

Meanwhile, as the midterm election approaches, the state and country seems poised to give control of the government to people who want to reward wealthy people and corporations with tax cuts even as they pose as populists to manipulate voters.

The New York Times columnist Frank Rich put it this way:

Even as the G.O.P. benefits from unlimited corporate campaign money, it’s pulling off the remarkable feat of persuading a large swath of anxious voters that it will lead a populist charge against the rulers of our economic pyramid — the banks, energy companies, insurance giants and other special interests underwriting its own candidates. Should those forces prevail, an America that still hasn’t remotely recovered from the worst hard times in 70 years will end up handing over even more power to those who greased the skids.

The Old Pledge

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The GOP’s “A Pledge to America” is the same dead, ideological junk the Republicans have been peddling for decades.

The 45-page document, which was released by the GOP leadership Wednesday, supposedly contains ideas that will solve the country’s economic problems, but it’s really just a pledge to return to market fundamentalism. That means tax cuts for rich people and cuts in government services. The free market will determine our realities.

Of course, the faux document is simply part of some political theater enacted right before the midterm elections, but its empty language and retro-inspired pledges should make even Republicans yawn.

Here’s the pledge on taxes:

We will help the economy by permanently stopping all tax increases, currently scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011. That means protecting middle-class families, seniors worried about their retirement, and the entrepreneurs and family-owned small businesses on which we depend to create jobs in America. “significant” and costly that it may harm job creation, Congress should vote on it first.

Translation: This means that the GOP wants to extend tax cuts to the country’s wealthiest citizens. Democrats have already floated a plan to keep tax cuts for the middle class, but eliminate them for the rich. This plan would help reduce the deficit, but the Republicans want to make sure rich people retain their tax cuts.

Here’s the pledge on health care reform:

We offer a plan to repeal and replace the government takeover of health care with common sense solutions focused on lowering costs and protecting American jobs. We will enact real medical liability reform; allow Americans to purchase health coverage across state lines; empower small businesses with greater purchasing power; and create new incentives to save for future health needs.

Translation: The Republicans want to continue a health system that is dominated by health insurance company profits. This is market fundamentalism in its most pure and reckless form. The market will determine if you can get medical treatment. The market will determine the quality of health care. The new rules that prevent health insurance companies from rejecting children with preexisting conditions will be discarded because, well, that’s just unfair to corporations.

In essence, the GOP pledges to get the country back on track by using the same economic models and ideology of former President George W. Bush, a Republican whose fiscal policies and deficit spending helped create the Great Recession. There’s nothing new here

Republicans, if empowered in the midterm elections, will make things worse economically. I know that’s not necessarily a winning campaign slogan, but then the truth often doesn’t make for good bumper stickers.

Poll Shows National GOP Decline

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All those Oklahoma tea baggers and town hall protestors who think they’re part of a growing, national Republican resurgence should take a second look at a recent ABC/Washington Post poll, which shows the GOP still in decline.

Of those participating in the poll, only 20 percent identified as Republicans. The poll also shows that 57 percent of Americans support a government-run public health insurance program, which is opposed by the Republican Party.

According to the poll:

Only 20 percent of adults identify themselves as Republicans, little changed in recent months, but still the lowest single number in Post-ABC polls since 1983. Political independents continue to make up the largest group, at 42 percent of respondents; 33 percent call themselves Democrats.

The news here is this: Although President Barack Obama's approval ratings have fallen, the GOP has failed to rebuild its broken infrastructure after a stinging defeat in the 2008 elections. The numbers also show the GOP remains out of step with the majority of the country. Unless it can offer more to people than anti-Obama hatred, the ludicrous claims of “socialism, communism, fascism,” and borderline violent rhetoric, the party will probably remain in the minority on a national level after the 2010 elections.

Oklahoma, which has a growing Republican political base, is a bastion of the anti-Obama movement. If the GOP tanks again nationally in 2010 and Oklahoma Republicans make big gains, and this is a real possibility, will the state be further isolated from the national discussion over important issues?

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