Thursday, August 26, 2010


It's high time Democrats, liberals, progressives - whatever - stopped pussy-footing around letting the conservative Republicans and Tea Party extremists frame and dictate the politicial discussion. This is a CRUCIAL midterm election this year - one that will determine whether the country will choose to pursue a course of progress and enlightenment or will fall prey to the forces of darkness and regression. For that reason, those candidates on the left must come out swinging Harry Truman-style, to speak truth and common sense in this dangerous era of lying and foolish, extremist crackpot nonsense. I strongly urge all progressive candidates to present their case something like this:

Lots of people say there's not a dime's worth of difference between candidates today; that they and Washington don't care about you. I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE TYPES OF CANDIDATES. I come here today to seek your vote because I DO know what you're going through, and because I want to change that and make this country better for YOU and YOU PERSONALLY!

Conservative Republicans showed us what they were all about when they had total control of Congress and the White House and ran the country all by themselves from 2001-2007, not that long ago. By the end of 2007, their economic policies had led this country to a near-depression, and jobs were being lost to the tune of 700,000 per month. Even before that, they had supported so-called "free market" policies which had sent millions of good-paying American jobs overseas to cheap foreign labor markets. That caused hardship to many of you who either lost your job or were forced to take a different one at a much lower pay rate. The Republicans did this because it was very profitable for their wealthy CEO friends. But it wasn't good for America, and it certainly wasn't good for YOU!


Conservative Republicans have always been against any government programs that helped average working people make more money. Since the mid-1930s, they have hated and opposed labor unions, and have tried to weaken them ever since they came into being. The Republican hero, Ronald Reagan, seriously damaged unions in the 1980s, and we are paying the price for it today. Another of their heroes, George W. Bush, the WORST President in our entire history, continued this trend by encouraging the export of union jobs and the import of cheap foreign labor here. 25 years ago, a construction worker in Los Angeles made $19 per hour. Today, thanks to conservative Republican efforts, that wage has been cut by more than half. That is NOT progress. It's BAD FOR AMERICA, and it's bad for YOU!

Conservative Republicans who controlled Congress between 1995 to 2007 either voted down or tabled progressive attempts to raise the minimum wage rate for our lowest-paid workers nine times in a row between 1997 and 2006. They didn't hesitate to give THEMSELVES pay raises, though! They felt it was more important for wealthy corporate CEOs and privileged trust-funders to become even wealthier by giving them huge tax breaks than it was for our poorest workers to make a liveable wage. Like I said, Republicans hate ANYTHING that helps working people make more money and live better lives! THAT, too, is BAD FOR AMERICA and it's bad for YOU!

THAT is the type of conservative Republican record in the years 2001-2007 they want us to return to now, where corporate profits are constantly put before working people's needs. It wasn't good for America then, and it isn't good for America now. It wasn't good for YOU then, and it isn't good for YOU NOW or going forward!

The Republicans love to say "keep government out of the workplace," and "the free market will fix everything by itself." But you and I both know that this NEVER happens. Left totally alone, with no regulation or oversight, the market only takes care of the wealthy and actually steps all over working people like yourself. Their beloved "free market" is only free for THEM and the wealthy to set wages, prices, and rent wherever they can make the most money. YOU, on the other hand, have NO freedom to influence YOUR rate of pay!

Conservative Republicans love to talk about the government spending too much and taking too much of YOUR money in taxes. They cry about deficit spending, but only when THEY aren't controlling the spending, or when that spending goes to YOU rather than one of their wealthy corporate defense contractors. When THEY had control of the spending from 2001-2007 under Bush, they didn't hesitate to dole out BILLIONS of YOUR tax dollars in non-bid contracts to their wealthy corporate friends like Halliburton and Blackwater. They didn't cry one tear about deficit spending THEN, so long as their rich buddies were getting all the money. They didn't cry either when they CREATED record deficits by giving away BILLIONS in unneeded tax breaks to BILLIONAIRES! And when the deregulation policies THEY and their corporate pals were adopted, that's when you saw $4 per gallon gasoline and mortgage bank collapses. But the Republicans didn't care---the rich were getting richer, and that's all they wanted. Look who they've just nominated to be Florida's Governor---Rick Scott, whose former company, Columbia/HCA Hospitals was fined $1.7 BILLION for illegally bilking Medicare. All these people care about is more money for themselves, and they don't really care where it comes from! They don't give even one thought to YOU, and they won't after they get elected, either!

Tea Party members and conservative Republicans also love to preach family values. But what kind of value system places NO value on good paying jobs for all, or tries to block the government from creating them, or puts NO value on having a GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE in your home? These people don't understand or care about YOUR struggles! But we progressives DO care and understand! We know what it's like to worry about making the mortgage or electricity bill payment. We know what it's like to worry about paying for college or trade school for the kids! We know what it's like to worry about being stuck with high medical bills or paying ever-rising pharmaceutical drug prices! I and other progressives just like me want to use YOUR government as a positive force to help relieve these worries for YOU! All the teabaggers and Republicans want is for the rich to get richer and the government to go away!

As I mentioned, the conservative Republicans hate having the government do anything that stands in the way of the rich or that will help regular working people. They have deliberately held up unemployment extension benefits to out of work people whose unemployment benefits have run out. They have held up tax breaks for YOU because those breaks didn't include continued Bush tax cuts for the wealthy! Conservative Republicans like Senator Jon Kyl and Tea Party Senate candidate Sharron Angle say that giving people unemployment benefits is too generous and makes life so soft that they don't even try to get a job. Well, it's pretty clear that neither of THEM has ever been on unemployment, a so-called luxury that only pays you about HALF of your normal paycheck, and with no benefits! It might be a good thing for both of THEM to go on unemployment so THEY can learn that being there is no treat! You saw another perfect example of this hatred of helping regular people just a short time ago, in the middle of the disastrous BP Gulf oil spill. No sooner had the President called for BP to set up a $20 billion escrow fund to help fishermen, restaurant, and tourist industry workers whose incomes were slashed due to the spill, than Republicans Joe Barton of Texas and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota were loudly criticizing the President, siding with foreign-owned BP against the innocent Gulf victims. Barton called the President's action "a shakedown" and publicly apologized for it to BP. Can you believe THAT? A sitting U.S. Senator apologizing to a foreign-owned corporation about an action taken by his own President?! Bachmann said it was a sneaky attempt to "redistribute wealth." Republican Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour even called for more deregulation, as if government regulation were the main cause of the disaster! THESE, ladies and gentlemen, are the types of people you get when you elect conservative Republicans - people who put corporate profit way in front of human need or human suffering, and even in front of basic human justice!

We DESPERATELY need to move forward, my friends! Speaking of which, today's teabaggers and conservative Republicans are even opposed to THAT. They want the country to go BACKWARD, to a time of very limited government like in the days of Herbert Hoover. A time with no unemployment compensation, no 40 hour work week, no unions, no Social Security, no Medicare or Medicaid, no Workmens' Comp. They HATE Social Security and they want to turn it over to Wall Street billionaires, who will speculate your retirement funds away into the NEXT Wall Street crash and leave you with little or nothing! And they will succeed if you let them. You saw them all vote as a bloc against the President's stimulus package in 2009. They said and still say it was a failure, even though totals of 700,000 jobs lost each month were turned around into modest job GAINS a few months after its passage! And the truth of the matter is this: they don't care about jobs. All they care about is standing still and playing politics so they can prevent this President, whom they HATE, from getting anything done for YOU! Their standing still and looking backward is why jobs haven't been created as fast as they could be or should be! The reason more jobs haven't been created is NOT because the stimulus spent too much money, but because it didn't spend ENOUGH short-term! Because of conservative Republican pressure, President Obama has made the same mistake President Roosevelt made in 1937, during the Great Depression.

In 1937, Republicans started screaming about the possibility of inflation and this made Roosevelt cut back on spending - the very spending which had created jobs and which was slowly lifting the country out of depression. But once he followed the conservative Republicans' advice and cut spending, unemployment began to rise again. In Obama's case, this hasn't happened - YET - but it could and will if Republicans and teabaggers have their way and force cuts in spending before we're out of the mess they put us in!

Ten of the top economists in the country today say we need more stimulus right now to get our economy healthy again. But the teabaggers and the conservative Republicans loudly deny this, because they don't want the government helping YOU! Here's a PERFECT example of why we need MORE stimulus, and proof that it works! GM is on the verge of going public again! They have made PROFITS the past few quarters. This was possible ONLY because of the bailout stimulus that many Republicans and teabaggers said would never work. They were wrong about that, too! Because of that bailout, Americasn jobs are staying in America, and more are being created! A healthy GM is GOOD FOR AMERICA, and it is good for YOU! We also saw Republicans vote against health insurance for all citizens. They were afraid that eliminating insurance company discrimination and pre-existing conditions would lessen the profits of those companies. 47 MILLION OF US UNINSURED - 1 IN EVERY 6.5 OF US, AND ALL THE CONSERVATIVES AND REPUBLICANS WERE WORRIED ABOUT WAS INSURANCE COMPANY PROFITS! They lied, and stalled, and obstructed, trying to do anything they could to prevent the health care bill from being passed. But thankfully, with strong and steady leadership from the President and liberals and progressives, everybody now has access to health insurance!

Ladies and gentlemen, that is why I am addressing you today. We cannot let conservative Republicans and their misguided Tea Party allies act only for big business and the rich any longer. We cannot allow them to keep stalling progress! You must NOT elect my conservative Republican or teabagger opponent! I ask for your vote today to serve YOU and bring YOU benefit you have been deprived of and definitely deserve! I ask for YOU to make a positive step for the future by voting for ACTION from a government working FOR you instead of for Wall Street or big business. I ask for your vote so that I and other progressive-minded candidates just like me can help develop HIGH-paying work-relief jobs to rebuild our tattered infrastructure, improve our decaying cities, and create demand for new products and services! You and I both know this Tea Party and conservative Republican claim that government spending for jobs is bad because it adds to our deficit is a bunch of HOOEY, and so is their story about the free market fixing everything by itself. If the free market fixes everything by itself, why are our bridges and highways crumbling? Why hasn't the free market cleaned up our decaying cities? If the free market works so well, why are so many people unemployed, not paying taxes, and therefore worsening the deficit? Why are YOU making less than you used to? Since when did tax breaks for the rich ever reduce a government deficit? Since when did paying people less, so they paid less taxes too, ever cut a deficit or grow an economy? I tell you, this Tea Party and conservative Republican talk of support for free markets and getting government off our backs is a bunch of HOOEY, and they're insulting our intelligence with it! John Boehner loves to say that the government never created a job. John Boehner is a liar. The TVA created THOUSANDS of jobs in Tennessee at a time they were badly needed. There are thousands of beautiful parks and schools and office buildings still standing today that were built by government programs CCC and WPA in the 1930s. Look around you, people: Republican lies are being disproven everywhere!

With the job programs I and all of us progressives weant to pass, more Americans will make more money, and more will be paying taxes. Demand for products to supply these work relief programs will spur on private industry as well, And taxing the very wealthy a bit more will not only not kill them, but it WILL help kill the deficit! At the very least, these job programs we need will be paid for. And, at the very best, with enough job growth and enough wealthy people actually PAYING their FAIR SHARE of taxes, we will see job growth and prosperity like we saw 15 years ago, the last time the wealthy's taxes were increased.

I am warning you, my friends: staying home and not voting, or electing a teabagger or conservative Republican instead of me will be an absolute disaster for you! Think about it: did YOUR wages or buying power go way up after the Bush tax cuts of a few years ago? Of course not. They went DOWN. Only corporate CEOs' pay levels went up, and they shot through the roof as you or your friends' jobs and wages were cut back! Were millions more high-paying jobs created as a result of those tax cuts for the wealthy, as Bush and the conservative Republicans promised us they would? Absolutely not---the only jobs created were millions of them overseas, not here, and you probably lost yours or took a pay or benefit cut. But wealthy CEOs' incomes just kept rising. Feel cheated? You were, and the exact same thing will happen again even worse if you elect a teabagger or conservative Republican now. You burned your hands pretty badly on that conservative hot stove last time---are you going to put them right back on it again? THINK ABOUT IT!

So don't listen to any more Tea Party or conservative Republican babble about how we cannot afford more stimulus programs that put people to work, or that lowering taxes for the rich will create jobs. What we can no longer afford is more Republican obstruction and inaction! We cannot afford more tax cuts for the rich! The conservative Republicans talk about higher taxes for the rich being an unjust form of punishment for them. But, once their taxes were cut under Bush, and they sent jobs away and lowered YOUR pay while increasing their own, weren't THEY needlessly and unjustly punishing YOU? Practices like that are not good for America, and they are NOT good for YOU!

Ladies and gentlemen, I ask YOU to help build a better and more prosperous America by electing a progressive like ME. Let my conservative Republican opponent stay home and count his or her money. Voting for him or her will send you right back to the dark days of financial collapse, shrinking income, and increasing unemployment. Voting for the Tea Party or conservative Republican candidate will mean more money in corporate CEOs' pockets. Voting for progressives like ME will mean voting for good-paying jobs and FAIR TAXATION, and that means more money in YOUR pocket, the way it SHOULD be!

We cannot surge forward by taking conservative Republican or Tea Party advice and standing still or moving backward. Put your car in D by voting for progress that drives forward, not in R that goes backward! With help from YOU, we'll show these Republicans and teabaggers WE WANT PROGRESS AND WE MEAN BUSINESS! And once we put people back to work, with good-paying jobs and more money in their pockets, and with cleaner cities, new highways, new, stronger bridges, and cutting-edge technologies, THEN this country will prosper more than ever before! The teabaggers and conservative Republicans all say we can't afford to spend money on programs to help working people. I say we can't afford the teabaggers and conservative Republicans! They'll say no to every pro-worker initiative, and they'll keep obstructing and stonewalling. I say, they should get out of government where they're not doing any good, and go themselves over to private industry where they belong! Let's show all of them we know a thing or two about growing a prosperous economy, and when we do, WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THEM LIKE IT!!!


Jerry Critter said...

Great post, Jack!

Jack Jodell said...

Thanks, Jerry. It's high time we went on the offensive against those people!

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Jack, great post.

>>The Republican hero, Ronald
>>Reagan, seriously damaged unions
>>in the 1980s

This was, of course, after Reagan not only benefited from being a union member himself, but even served as a president of that union (the Screen Actors Guild).

Indeed, I think this is one reason why PATCO didn't understand that they were putting their jobs in peril by striking. They simply couldn't fathom that a former fellow union brother would stab them in the back.

But Reagan, like all Republicans, always lived by the credo: "I've got mine, so f*ck everyone else."

The damage to the nation's social fabric has never been repaired since the Reagan era.

Jack Jodell said...

Your thoughts mirror mine EXACTLY. Reagan was a turncoat to be sure, and he ruined this country by appealing to everyone's darker, more self-centered side. He was a self-professed lifelong admirer of FDR, but then he trounced everything FDR championed and out-Hoovered even Herbert Hoover in his pandering to the rich. Obviously, once his belly was full he didn't see the need for the government to help fill those of anybody else.

Your last two sentences sum him up best.

Tim McGaha said...

I think the "Worst President Ever" prize belongs to James Buchanan. It's still too early to slot GWB in definitively. But I reckon it works for a stump speech.

Jack Jodell said...

Thanks for stopping by. I believe Buchanan was a terrible President mainly because of his inaction on the issues of slavery amd the panic of 1857. That inaction boiled over into the Civil War, with much bloodshed and resultant poverty. George W. Bush, on the other hand, was terrible because of his actions: giving massive tax breaks especially to the wealthy while simultaneously conducting an expensive foreign war; conducting a needless war of aggression in Iraq which severely damaged our prestige and credibility throughout the world; allowing his belief in laissez-faire economics to turn his regulatory agencies into friends and mere rubber stamps for corrupt business interests; actively encouraging the export of American jobs and the import of cheap, often illegal immigrant labor in the name of free trade; and deliberately pitting Americans against each other in unnecessary culture wars for his own political gain. All of that plus the fact that he nearly spent us into bankruptcy with spending that did nothing to stimulate the domestic economy.

I think you're right to say that it's too early to totally measure GWB's disaster. But I think once the dust has settled, he and Buchanan will descend into the "Worst President" dugout together, where GWB will eventually get the cake. That's why I referred to him as the worst ever.

Jerry Critter said...

That's a great summary of the "Bush Legacy" and of the republican philosophy of governing. It is what we have to look forward to when they regain power.

Jack Jodell said...

We must do everything we can to avert that catastrophe!

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Tim,
>>I think the "Worst President
>>Ever" prize belongs to James

You may be right. But note that America survived the Buchanan presidency. It survived the Civil War. In fact, the nation went on to become a superpower and world leader in later years.

By contrast, America today is pretty much finished. The nation is broke and its best days are clearly behind it. Were it not for the trillions of dollars that the East Asian central banks are sending our way to prop up our Ponzi-scheme economy, the U.S. would essentially be like Mexico.

And the trillions we get from East Asia is unsustainable and will end some day. China is already making noises about reducing its dollar holdings.

In short, the U.S. is a Third World nation. We just don't know it yet.

Future historians will say the process of national decline began with Reagan. But Bush finished the job. In that regard, I consider him as a worse president than Buchanan.

Buchanan, like Bush, was a bumbling incompetent. But Bush was something much worse: he was a monster and a war criminal---a man who has the blood of 1.3 million Iraqi men, women and children on his hands, thanks to his illegal and immoral war.

Jack Jodell said...

Very well put. My sentiments exactly.

TomCat said...

Jack, may I complement you on a most excellent speech. You make it crystal clear that what I call No Millionaire Left Behind will destroy this nation, if not stopped.

Just one thing isn't saying "Conservative Republicans" a bit like saying "Catholic Popes"?

Jack Jodell said...

Thank you for those kind words. I guess I'm old fashioned: I still see the ultra-conservative Republicans of today as being an aberration. I yearn for that party's return to common sense, which would make it stocked with moderates and even a liberal or two, as it was in previous days before the Reagan/Atwater/Rove/Bush hijacking of it occurred. :-)

Lisa G. said...

Great speech but I have a few minor quibbles. More emphasis should be put on the following:
1. Regulation - this needs to be far more than it is now to protect us from businesses most nefarious practices.
2. Social Security - They didn't succeed the last time, but the next time they will.
3. Total control of Congress from 1995 -2006 (accuracy)
4. Deficit ceiling being raised 4 times in Bush's terms - the most of any president.
5. The unpaid for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - borrowing from the Chinese and contributing massively to the deficit.

Other than that, great speech. Send it to Alan Grayson, he has the balls to give it.

Jack Jodell said...

Lisa G,
I'm with you on all points except no. 3. Republicans controlled Congress from Jan. 1995-Jan. 2007, not 2006 as you say. Nov. 2006 was the election that booted them out of power, but technically, they still controlled Congress until the opening gavel/swearing in of new members had taken place in Jan. 2007. And I think I WILL send this to Rep. Grayson. Thank you for the suggestion! :-)