Why I left the Republican Party

I made the following comment on Jeff’s blog which asked the question why would someone vote Republican? I have made some edits for clarity.

When I left the GOP around 2008 to become an independent, I had three principal reasons:

-the stance on climate change
-the unhealthy embrace with evangelicals and NRA
-the greater propensity to make things up

Republicans would typically see the last one and say both sides lie and they are right. But, it is not a normal distribution, being more heavily weighted to the right. And, in the age of Trump it has only gotten worse. I can argue policy with Democrats, but with Republicans I have to correct their misinformation (and sometimes disinformation).

I said this about ten years ago, but most Republicans are voting against their economic interests and have no idea they are. Poverty is not restricted to urban areas nor is it restricted to non-white voters, with more people in poverty being white. As an example, if the ACA was done away with, Republican voters would be harmed in great numbers. A picture pairing two sets of GOP voters speaks volumes. Note the picture refers to a wealthy GOP donor thanking the less wealthy and educated GOP voter who has been lured in by a values proposition.

And, what I find funny is the GOP is making such a big deal out of election protections based on the Big Lie perpetuated by Trump and his sycophants. Looking back to the Voter ID and gerrymandering bills that got passed in state legislatures since 2010, the GOP cheats far more than the Democrats do, although they both are prone to game the system. I have witnessed this first-hand in North Carolina with laws that were deemed unconstitutional and then rewritten to a retreating line in the sand level of acceptable cheating.

Yet, the issues that concern me are not getting enough airplay, as the focus is on perceived value propositions. If people are concerned about climate change, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned with civil rights, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned with healthcare access, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned about voting rights, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned with the environment, please do not vote Republican.

My former party used to tout being the party of values, law and order and fiscal responsibility. They do not check any of these boxes anymore. Lying is not a value. Rationalizing an insurrection caused by a Republican president is not lawful. And, increasing the debt and deficit just as much as Democrats do is hypocritical. But, in short, when the truth tellers are vilified and the liars are aggrandized in the party, that shows the party is untethered to the truth.

Democrats are not perfect, but I do not see the same level of lying and malevolence as I do under the GOP. Until the party leaders are told the truth matters and held to account, this won’t change. We must make them rethink this. Some of my Democrat friends disagree with this statement, but we do need a viable Republican party. What we don’t need is whatever this thing masquerading as the Republican party is. Truth must matter.

Misinformation is a tactic says Senator to aspiring medical students

Misinformation is as old as the spoken word. Especially, as it relates to obtaining or keeping power. I was made aware of the following reference from a speech made by a current US Senator that is as good example of why we must demand the truth as reported in a Newsweek article by Aila Slisco, earlier this week:

“Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that ‘misinformation’ could be a ‘great tactic’ during a speech to a group of medical school students in 2013. In a video shared to Twitter by epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding on Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican can be seen telling students that ‘misinformation works’ during an Aug. 22, 2013, lecture at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.”

Sadly, the Senator is correct. But, he should not be. We must demand more from our elected officials. It is hard enough to govern with facts, but nigh impossible when we ignore them. What I also find appalling is the Senator shared this with medical students who take an oath before becoming doctors to do no harm.

We also must demand the truth from our news and pseudo news sources on various cable and radio shows. Some actually parrot disinformation, misinformation’s more evil twin. Since it is unlikely we will hear a consistently truthful message from some of these folks, our best bet is do what Fox News management said in court about one of its stars, Tucker Carlson. In essence, they said Carlson is not part of their news team, so his opinions should not be considered as news. I would agree with Fox management on this statement.

The truth matters. Misinformation is not the truth, in spite of whether it is a good tactic per Senator Paul. Taking this a step further, it means the Senator has just informed us it is OK not to believe him.

“It was obviously a mistake” is an oft repeated theme

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems to be in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons these days. It does not bode well for the PM with people calling for his resignation. The latest challenge for him is the revelation he socialized with gatherings of people on a couple of occasions during a country-wide lockdown for COVID. Things have gone so poorly for him with Brexit advisors quitting, that he is probably glad Prince Andrew’s alleged philandering is stealing his headlines.

“It was obviously a mistake” is an oft repeated theme. This quote actually comes directly from US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Cruz uttered said remark after vacationing with his family in Cancun, Mexico during a winter storm in 2021 that left millions of Texans without power and water. This was not the best of times to go out of the country with constituents down on their luck.

Cruz should have learned the lesson from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who decided to proceed with a vacation in Hawaii at not the best of times back home. Some severe and large wildfires were burning with people losing their homes, animals and lives as he put more suntan lotion on to keep from burning his skin on the Hawaiian beaches. The press was none to kind. The fact that Cancun and Hawaii are exotic locations did not help their cause.

These stories rival the former US president who had several pep rallies during the COVID pandemic in 2020 where people got sick. In Tulsa, six of his staff members had COVID and it is believed former presidential candidate Herman Cain contracted it there and died. In the fall, the former president had a party in September where he himself may have contracted the disease among several others. But, the worst example is having pep rallies in February of that year without telling his biggest fans they were in danger, as he later confirmed he was aware of in an interview on February 7. Not only that, he naysayed the pandemic calling it a “Democrat hoax.”

We all make bad decisions. Yet, politicians are supposedly skilled at PR or have PR people to advise them not to do stupid things. To me, the worst examples are the last ones with the former US president as they were repeated offenses. And, they each trace back to assuaging a fragile ego with praise, in my view. He was tired of being criticized in Washington, so he wanted to bask in the glow of his biggest fans, who he placed at risk to hear their applause. Think about that.

As for the first three, these folks would crave a do-over. “It was obviously a mistake” is not something politicians like to utter.

Please remember a few things

On the anniversary of a horrendous day in America which occurred last year, we need to remember a few common sensical things. We can never let this happen again, especially when it appears a few lawmakers aided and abetted the efforts of the insurrectionists out of loyalty to a former president who has a well-documented history of being less than truthful.

  • when people who are in the know tell you not to look at the man behind the curtain, make darn sure you look behind the curtain.
  • when people who are decrying the investigative House committee is a sham, please remember two very important things – the same people voted down a proposed independent commission and nominated at least two people to be on the committee who are actually suspects in aiding and abetting the efforts, which at best is conflict of interest.
  • when people have gone out of their way to tell you what happened did not happen that way, in essence saying don’t believe your own eyes then you should be skeptical of those efforts.
  • when people who beat on their chest about law and order belittle the Capitol police force who testified under oath and at great consternation, what does that say?
  • when people seemingly ignore the former president’s inability to prove his false election claims after over 65 court cases (winning one small one in PA) and losing several recounts, reviews and audits in spite of all of his financial resources, you think these conspiracy minded people may begin to realize the REAL CONSPIRACY is being propagated on them by the former president of the United States.

As an old fart who once was a Republican and Democrat and is now an Independent voter, I am an American first. Our democracy is being further threatened because a seventy-year old person is pitching a hissy fit because his fragile ego cannot take losing. It truly is that simple. His niece Mary said her uncle “will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” She said this just after the election and well before January 6, 2021.

We need a healthy dose of political courage in this country, especially in the Republican party. They must stop vilifying the truth tellers and start being critical of those who are not shooting straight with us. Republican Congresspersons Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Pete Meier, et al are getting death threats, yet are still speaking up. Why is that?

Most people I know do not like being lied to. Please ask more questions of sources and think about the statements above. What happened on January 6 started well before that date and we need to see that clearly to stop it from happening again.

Being silent is not enough

The courageous few Republicans who are among the truth tellers in their party are strong in principle, but seem to be standing alone or in small groupings way too often. For their truth telling, they are knowingly vilified and some even receive death threats by fans of the former president. Yet, they do it anyway.

Most of the elected officials in the party are keenly aware that Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s question of is the Republican party going to be the party of truth or party of Trump a more than fair question. Yet, they have chosen to be silent. In essence, they are saying to themselves “Don’t poke the bear.” They want to avoid being highlighted by the former president and his bullying and untruthful bent, whose followers will join in the fray.

This spineless tactic is not new. Back in the heyday of the Communist witch hunts and Senator Joe McCarthy, the populist candidate had a huge following. The Republican even rivaled the popularity of President Dwight Eisenhower. From Jon Meacham’s book “The Soul of America,” the historian points out Eisenhower detested McCarthy for his baseless claims that he frequently made up on the spot. Yet, Ike would not publicly demean McCarthy for his claims, only to offer mild comments from time to time.

He and the other Republicans tolerated McCarthy. They remained silent. It was not until the most respected TV journalist Edward R. Murrow exposed McCarthy for what he was that his impact began to ebb. But, the impact of McCarthy’s baseless accusations lingered on for years. The famous question asked by a senior Army official of McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” could be asked of the most recent former president, another populist who tends to make baseless claims.

I encourage all of you who agree with the purpose of this post, to consistently let elected Republican and other officials know you appreciate their political courage for pushing back on the incessant and well-documented untruthful actions and words of the former president. And, let your Republican Senators, Congress person, and GOP leaders know you are concerned about this untruthful path the party has taken. The GOP has lost any veritas it had left. I even let them know how much I admire the courage of the truth tellers and it is a shame they are getting death threats.

The accusations of sedition toward the former president tend to focus more on what he failed to do last January 6. In my view as an Independent and former Republican voter, his consistent baseless claims of election fraud, which he has tried to prove and failed miserably in courts, audits and recounts, are what greased the skids for what happened on January 6.

As his niece said, “My uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” I knew he would act this way, but what makes me more frustrated are the sycophants who publicly cover for his Big Lie and the too silent many in party leadership who are letting him do it. And, what they fail to realize based on previous history and current actions, the former president will throw them under the bus in a New York minute, even placing them in physical danger with targets on their backs if they do not play ball with him.

Retired General urges folks to stop listening to baseless election fraud claims (and the MyPillow CEO) in CNN interview

While Congresswoman Liz Cheney got most of the press yesterday saying it is time for Republicans to choose between the truth and Donald Trump, another retired military person has shared his concerns about the baseless election fraud claims of the former president. Per a summary of a CNN interview, here are few excerpts.

Retired Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson urged Donald Trump supporters to stop listening to baseless claims about 2020 presidential election fraud and suggested measures to avoid a potential insurrection in 2024.

The former general spoke with CNN host Pamela Brown about solutions that would address the ‘extremism that has gone on within the military.’ He also warned against listening to conspiracists among many Republicans promoting baseless claims of election fraud, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

‘We need to do what we can do now to identify those people [within the military], get them out of our ranks, and train the rest of the force on civics one on one about how our country is supposed to work, how elections work, stop listening to the pillow guy [Lindell] and start learning about our country and how it’s actually supposed to run,’ Anderson said during his recent interview with CNN.

There is a threat within [the military]. We’ve got some people that just haven’t been educated. They haven’t been found out, and they’ve grown in power through perhaps inaction on the parts of some of our key leaders,’ he added.

What continues to bother me is the open attacks on the truth tellers in the Republican party who are calling out the overt lies of the former president, while those covering for the ex-president get elevated status in the party and media ranks. It should matter that these folks know they would be vilified,yet speak out anyway. Why is that? These lies led to an insurrection against a branch of government and people died and many were in danger.

We can never forget what happened leading up to that day a year ago and the fact the former president continues what his former attorney general William Barr told to his boss’ face – the election fraud claims are BS.

Holiday wishes for politicians, candidates and voters (ten years later)

Happy holidays to all. I wanted to close the year with a few holiday wishes to various constituencies – politicians, candidates and voters – as we move into a full campaign year. Please note this piece was written ten years ago, but still holds true.

For all parties, I strongly encourage you to read “That Used to be Us” by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. The subtitle is ” How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We can Come Back” and I think it should be required reading for all politicians and candidates. The voters would be benefit greatly as well as it will help us keep the first two groups honest and focusing on the right things.

I wish for politicians and candidates to focus on things of import and less on platitudes. The 2012 Republican presidential debates have tended to focus on less important things and we need to ask tough questions about where we are as a country and how do we do what is needed on the major issues of the day. We have tended to dumb down the debates about issues that have been decided (abortion) or that run counter to what is actually happening (global warming). It is hard for me to take someone seriously who wants to do away with the EPA or will choose which judicial rulings he will obey.

I wish for politicians and candidates to think more before they speak. Our problems are complex and deserve well thought out answers. Herman Cain was toast long before his personal crises, as he had not done any homework in preparation for the most important job in the world. I also wish for politicians to tell the truth or use meaningful information to support a cause. Not all data is equal and biased survey data needs to be identified and ferreted out. I have taken a survey gleaned by Newt Gingrich’s team and, frankly, it was biased from the outset and I told them so.*

I wish for politicians and candidates to collaborate with others. They do not have all of the answers and some don’t have a good hand to begin with. So, it is imperative they collaborate with others across all spectrums. This is a major reason I am an independent voter. Collaboration is the key to our success.

I wish for voters to take everything a politician says with a grain of salt. With the infamous words uttered by Senator Kyl earlier this year when he was caught in a lie, “please don’t interpret my comments as being factual,”  he gave us the proper advice. Senator, we will take that advice to the bank. We will not believe anything you say from this point forward. The Democrats should not gloat as they have tended to misrepresent a fact or two, as well.

We voters also need to keep the politicians and candidates between the white lines. We should consider all portrayed facts or survey data in the right context. Who conducted the survey? Where did the facts come from? Does this person have a history, both good or bad, with the subject? Some congressman are supported by lobbying groups and they will vote 100% of the time on issues in favor of the lobbyist’s cause. Their opinions should be discounted as being overly biased.

Our problems need serious people and serious discussions to address them. Going back to the book noted above, we have wavered from our mission, but we can rectify our problems if we think long term and approach our problems together. If we continue our partisan bickering, we will likely fail in these endeavors.

Thanks for reading. I wish for each of you and all of us, a prosperous New Year.

*Note: Herman Cain, the pizza chain tycoon, got early press in his presidential candidacy for his simple 9-9-9 tax plan, as he called it. The problems started appearing when he could not explain what it meant and he started contradicting himself. Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, started out strong in 2012 in his presidential run, but he fell by the wayside when his over-confident manner rubbed too many the wrong way. People forget his own party removed him as Speaker for similar reasons in the 1990s.

Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows voted in contempt of Congress (letter to the editor)

Earlier this week, the US House followed the recommendation of the House Select Committee to vote to hold Mark Meadows in contempt for defying a subpoena. My newspaper ran my letter to the editor this morning on my sentiments as an Independent and former Republican voter.

“Meadows vote

As an independent and former Republican voter, it is disappointing that only two GOP House members voted to hold former chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt for defying a subpoena concerning the Jan. 6 insurrection.

It matters not which tribe people represent, we Americans must get to the bottom of what happened on that horrible day in our history when members of Congress from both parties were in danger and other people died in the protest.

Those who are blocking the House select committee’s efforts are trying to mask what happened. Regardless of culpability, we cannot have people blowing off subpoenas made by Congress. It sets a horrible precedent for governance.”

Please feel free to modify and use if you agree with my sentiments.

Chris Wallace rides off into the sunset

Chris Wallace’s leaving Fox News is telling and should raise more than a few eyebrows. Yet, we should not forget last month Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hays left Fox because of the Tucker Carlson supported false flag documentary of the January 6 insurrection.

And, we should not forget the former president having Shepard Smith fired by Fox as he had the temerity to be critical of the then president. William Barr met with Fox executives and Smith was gone the next day. Smith, like Wallace, were actual news people. And, Goldberg and Hays had a lot of crediblility. Carlson, Hannity et al are just opinion hosts who look to sensationalize not report. 

In an article called “Fox news host confronts Lindsey Graham over backing tax cuts that add $2T to deficit,” by Jason Lemon of Newsweek, why Wallace will be missed is in evidence as he put Senator Lindsey Graham on the spot.

“Fox News anchor Chris Wallace confronted Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, on Sunday over supporting former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts—which are projected to add some $2 trillion to the national debt—while criticizing Democrats for pushing forward legislation that is not entirely paid for.

Graham, along with other Republican lawmakers, has strongly criticized President Joe Biden‘s Build Back Better Act, raising alarms that it will add hundreds of billions to the deficit if passed into law. Last month, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the social spending package ‘would result in a net increase in the deficit of $367 billion over the 2022-2031 period, not counting additional revenue that may be generated by additional funding for tax enforcement.’

Wallace pointed out to Graham during an interview on Fox News Sunday that he supported Trump’s signature tax cuts in 2017, despite CBO estimating they’d add some $2 trillion to the deficit. When those tax cuts were passed, Republicans claimed that the tax cuts would pay for themselves, despite the CBO scoring.”

A link to the full article is below. The above is just one example of what Wallace does. He was an outlier at Fox News, but now he is not even that. This is telling.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/fox-news-host-confronts-lindsey-graham-over-backing-tax-cuts-that-add-2t-to-deficit/ar-AARK0U6?ocid=msedgntp

Letter to columnist George Will

George Will is one of the patriarchs of conservative leaning columnists. While I do not agree with much of what he says in terms of degree, he is worth reading (and listening to) to get an informed view of conservative thought. In his recent editorial where he speaks of Donald Trump running again, he notes Chris Christie will be there to compete against him.

Yet, one of the things I take issue with conservative columnists rehashing the Trump term as president is they shortchange the length and breadth of his poor decisions and leadership to contrast the few good things he did for conservatives. Here is my letter to Mr. Will.

“Thanks for your recent editorial. As an independent and former Republican, I must confess my concern when Trump’s presidency is boiled down to a few good things he did for conservatives vs. his terrible behavior. It overlooks a great deal of policy and execution failures in my view.

His mishandling of the pandemic is high up on the list, where he endangered many Americans, including his most ardent base and more died as a result.

His roll out of the first travel ban was so botched it had to be pulled in two days. It served as a metaphor for other failures of his “chaotic and incompetent White House” as conservative pundit David Brooks called it. There is a reason his White House had the most turnover.

His transactional focus on dealing with other countries spit in the face of relationships built over time. These  relationships make us safer and, per the Nash Equilibrium, make the global economy better, including ours. Plus, tariffs hurt the consumers and disrupt established supply chains.

Announcing the exit from the Paris Climate Change Accord came the day after Exxon Mobil shareholders voted to require management to inform them on actions to combat climate change. We must be at this table and I am delighted Biden got us back in.

These are just four examples. His enfant terrible behavior is only a small part of why he should not be president. Then, there are the seditious and deceitful actions which should not be overlooked. It bothers me greatly my old party is rationalizing and white washing his bogus election fraud claims and the January 6 insurrection.

His running again concerns me greatly, as he could win again. What my Republican friends need to realize, he should not be allowed to be in a position of power ever again. Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan, et al he is not.”