It’s that time again. The circus is back in town. Until November, all the clowns will be doing their high-wire act in the state caucuses to see who gets to be Republican nominee for the Presidential election. You will be entertained with drama, comedy, and no doubt, magic tricks, sleight-of-hand, and a whole lot of blowing smoke. There may not be many camels or llamas, but you can bet there will be more ‘Bull’ than you can shake a stick at. Hurry, hurry, hurry to the 2012 US Presidential Election.
This election’s roster is short, but sure to be entertaining. A newcomer to presidential races is Rick Santorum, who has given us such intellectual tidbits as, “ I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts”, and has compared homosexuality with bigamy, incest, bestiality,….and the list goes on. Between charity scandals, and questionable PAC connections, he is sure to bring in some fresh air to the normally stale proceedings. Some of his accomplishments have been:
- Adding a provision to the 2001 No Child Left Behind Bill that would require the teaching of ‘Intelligent Design’, which would’ve set back American education 50 years or more. Luckily, the provision was removed by a committee.
- Introduced the National Weather Service Duties Act of 2005, which would’ve prohibited the National Weather Service from publishing free weather information, where private commercial companies did the same for profit. This was to benefit AccuWeather, Inc. , based in his home state, who donated $10,500.00 to his PAC. This caused a political watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, to list him as one of their “most corrupt’ politicians. The bill was defeated.
- Supports the so-called War on Terror, and “Enhanced Interrogation (ie: torture)” , and accused John McCain (a former POW) of “not understanding how enhanced interrogation works……” In June of 2006, Santorum declared that weapons of mass-destruction (WMDs) had been recovered in Iraq. He was the only one who knew about them…….
Next on the roster is an old favorite, Dr. Ron Paul. He is unique in that he is an MD, an obstetrician (delivers babies), and a former Flight Surgeon for the US Air Force. Dr. Paul is an old-hand at presidential elections, running in 1988, and 2008 (now, if he could just win one…). As a US Representative, and Senator, he has been a very outspoken critic of US foreign, and monetary policies, even butting heads with his own party at times. He is considered the “Intellectual Father of the Tea Party Movement”. Ron Paul is well-known for his unwavering Libertarian views on most political issues. Dr. Paul has had a very colorful career so far. Some highlights are:
- In 1980, as a representative of the Texas 22nd Congressional District, he continued to deliver babies on Mondays, and Saturdays. What a guy…..
- Ron Paul receives less than 10% of his political campaign money from Political Action Committees (PACs). Most of his contributions come from individuals, many of whom he brought into the world.
- He has proposed Term Limits many times since the 1970s, and opposed reinstating the Draft. He has also refuse to attend ‘junkets’ and registering for a Congressional Pension.
- In 1980, he proposed legislation to lower Congressional salaries by the rate of inflation It was defeated.
- Ron Paul authors more bills than the average politician, mostly opposing war, higher taxes, term limits and political shenanigans.
- Opponents of Ron Paul looking for scandals, or skeletons to use against him will be disappointed. The closest thing to a ‘scandal’ was when Dr. Paul was accused of writing racist statements in a newsletter. Investigations showed that Ron Paul did not author them, nor did he even know what was in them. They were written as tongue-in-cheek satire, by a third party.
Moving up the ladder, next we have Mitt Romney. Former governor of Massachusetts, a Mormon missionary in France, CEO of Big Business, and a Mormon minister, he has been credited with saving Bain & Company from financial collapse. He was also instrumental in bringing the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City, Utah. His career highlights are:
- As Governor of Massachusetts, he brought the state from a 650 million dollar deficit in 2003, to a 700 million dollar surplus in 2006. He did it by cutting spending, increasing fees, and closing tax loopholes. The spending that he cut was for Higher Education, forcing state colleges to have to increase tuition costs by 63%, state assistance to cities and towns, increasing fees for Marriage Licenses, Car Tags, Drivers Licenses, Gun Licenses, and a Special Fuel tax of .02 cents per gallon.
- Romney was instrumental in subsidizing health insurance for the poor of his state. Note- this was not ‘Universal Health Care’ but simply buying insurance for those who didn’t have it, with public money. The real benefactors of this policy are the Insurance Companies.
- While serving as Governor, he ‘switched’ his views on Gay Marriage (from pro, to con), and abortion (from pro-choice, to pro-life). Way to stand by your convictions, Gov…..
- One thing Romney is very good at is raising money. And he is not bad at keeping it, either. After a failed 2008 bid for the Oval Office, he kept most of the PAC money to pay the salaries of his staff, and for a proposed 2012 attempt at the Presidency. In the interim, he also served on the Board of Directors for Marriott International.
And lastly on the Republican side, we have political veteran Newton Leroy Gingrich, from Georgia, and known as ‘Newt’. Born to a teenage mother and adopted by a career soldier in infancy, Newt has definitely clawed his way up the food-chain. He has been in Congress from 1979 until 1999, and has served as the 58th Speaker of the House. He is living proof that in America, anyone can rise to the top, regardless of your situation, if you try hard enough, and don’t quit. Gingrich’s list of highlights is much too long to list here, but suffice to say he was the father of the Contract With America, and has led the Republican party through lots of hard times. There are a few things of note, however:
- He shut down the Office of Technology Assessment. Now the government relies upon self-interested lobby groups, and so-called ‘think-tanks’ for guidance on scientific issues like global warming, and the internet.
- Gingrich orchestrated the longest US government shut-down in history, to force President Bill Clinton to submit a CBO-approved balanced-budget plan.
- In 1990, Gingrich had ‘kited’ (wrote bad checks) 22 checks, including one for over $9000.00 to the IRS. For some reason, he was never charged formally.
- In 1997, Gingrich was charged, fined $300,000.00, and reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee for an ethics violation.
- The Republican Party’s attempt to remove President Clinton from office was very unpopular, and hurt the party in the next elections. Gingrich resigned as both Speaker, and from the House because of his perceived public liability to the Party.
And lastly, our Democratic Headliner, President Barack Obama. Born to a Kenyan father and American mother, he is the first black American to hold the office of POTUS (President Of The United States). He had been a Civil Rights attorney, and a Law teacher, before going into politics. His career highlights are as follows:
While a Senator in Illinois, he supported legislation for health care reform, ethics, and anti-racial profiling by police.
- As a US Senator, he supported several bills, many unsuccessful, and none of any real import. A few minor bills, such as Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, bear his name. This bill simply created a web search engine for government spending.
- As POTUS, he is credited with ending the war with Iraq, although it is hard to see how it was ended when US troops were still fighting and being killed years after this event happened.
- In April 2010, President Obama gutted NASA projects by canceling development on the Aries I, and Aries 5 launch systems, and the Constellation Project. He canceled all future manned flights to the moon. This sets the US back considerably in Spaceflight R & D.
- He signed the ridiculous 2009 Economic Stimulus Package, and instituted the Cash for Clunkers program, after bailing out Chrysler and GM. The federal government now owns 60% of GM, and Canada owns another 12%. The Obama Administration facilitated the sale of Chrysler to Italian car manufacturer Fiat.
- In 2010, President Obama signed a very unpopular Health Care Reform bill into law, many of who’s provisions have already been ruled unconstitutional, and which will most likely be repealed as soon as someone else takes office.
- And, the latest in his list of ‘accomplishments’, in 2011, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which now allows the US Military to arrest, detain, interrogate, and imprison indefinitely, citizens of the US, on US soil, outside the Judicial System. They can be sent outside the country, tortured and convicted without any kind of Due Process or oversight. Welcome to the Republik of Amerika. Now, if someone could just show me where anyone has that authority under the Constitution,…..
So, there you have it. These are the best that America has to offer. With the exception of Dr. Ron Paul, who has yet to seriously challenge any other Presidential candidates, the candidates all have histories of double-dealing, special-interest, and politics-as-usual. I can’t predict who will win the 2012 election,, but I can tell you who the real losers will be…..the American people.