July 22, 2015

As primary season approaches in America, it's hard not to long for the days of smoke-filled back rooms

MJ SheppardRebel Blogger

"There go the people. I must follow them for I am their leader."  Alexandre Ledru-Rollin

(CONTENT WARNING: Mature language.) The Republican primaries are turning out to be everything objective observers thought they'd be; ten pounds of stupid in a nine pound bag. Here's everything you need to know about America's coming decline and fall - the same very same people that have vowed to restore religious freedom unto the death are same people that have advocated any number of "creeping Sharia" laws. And they have a disproportionate voice in who the next president of the United States will be. 

Most of these people belong to the Tea Party, who I have my share of problems with. Most of them have to do with their dishonesty. When running in contested elections, Tea Partiers were fervent in their declarations that the only matters that were important to them were economic, rather than social.

Yet, almost without exception, as soon they took office, the first measures they passed involved medically useless trans-vaginal ultrasounds. They really do seem to enjoy hearing themselves say, "I'm from the government, Miss. If you'll just spread your legs for the man with the wand, we'll get you on your way just as quickly as we can." 

It's almost as if these people sat down and debated whether turning family planning into a trip to the airport was representative of small government. Of course, that's a foolish assertion, since as of January 20, 2009, Tea Partiers haven't stopped complaining about airport security. 

I broke from reflexively supporting the Republican Party in 2005, when Jeb Bush, his presidential brother and the entirety of the Republican congressional caucus decided that the concept of limited government included ignoring 4.000 years of legal precedent, "family values" and equal protection of the laws in their quixotic mission to raise the dead.

Texas and Wisconsin's have both recently passed abortion laws with a 20-week limit, which flies in the face of Roe v. Wade, proving nothing more than their willingness to waste a ton of money on losing battles that are almost certain to cost them more votes than they will win. 

Scott Walker is a special kind of stupid. Or, at least, he likes to pretend that he is. 

Just this past Saturday, he said that the next president might have to launch strikes against Iran the day he's inaugurated, displaying nothing if not a profound ignorance of how the military works. This followed a tour de force of stupidity last week, when he said that he didn't know if folks were born gay or not. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the underpinnings of conservative philosophy knows that the correct answer is, "Why should the President of the United States give a shit?"   

Look at poor John Kasich, who is probably the only current Republican I can imagine within about three blocks in the White House. He has dared use his Christianity to justify policy choices in opposition to a wing of the party that feels that doing such things is their job. I've followed Kasich for twenty years, and only a party that has lost its collective mind could declare him a screaming liberal, but that's precisely what's going to happen. 

In recent years, I've come to the conclusion that the politicians aren't the problem - the voters are. 

Democracy is predicated on the idea of an informed electorate, which is why the Founding Fathers excluded the slaves, serfs and troublesome women, who presumably had other things to worry about, from the franchise. But can you say that they weren't wrong when the only person on TV who isn't faced with credible allegations of rape, incest or both is the front-runner of one of the two major parties? 

I've come to miss the smoke-filled back rooms. It produced the presidents that made America what it is, as opposed to the ones that are looking helplessly on as it declines into a laughing stock. That I can say without any measure of irony that the United States hasn't elected a fully-formed adult as president since 1989 is nothing short of a tragedy. Twenty-six years is more than half my lifetime, and very probably more than half of yours, too.

The Democrats went through a similar period between 1968 and 1992, when they were the party of "Acid, Abortion and Amnesty", which most sensible people knew was a better recipe for a weekend than government policy. Then they decided that they wanted to win elections again, and subsequently grew up.  

Here's an interesting intellectual exercise. Draw up a list of all 43 Presidents of the United States (remembering that Cleveland was elected to non-consecutive terms.) Then draw a line right in the middle of it, the (roughly) first half representing those that weren't involved in popular primaries and the second those that weren't. 

You tell me which was better at creating an ideal America. 


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commented 2015-07-25 07:51:43 -0400
Am I your only reader?
commented 2015-07-23 04:45:58 -0400
Oh, and did you intend it to be ironic when you accused Scott Walker of stupidity for admitting that he doesn’t know “if folks are born gay or not”? Because his honest and rather disinterested answer seems to indicate that he does, in fact, have at least “a passing familiarity with the underpinnings of conservative philosophy”. He really doesn’t give a shit, and according to you, why should he?
commented 2015-07-23 04:29:32 -0400
MJ, I get what you’re saying about uninformed voters, I really do, and it is a source of great consternation for me as well. But what the hell do your examples have to do with this?
So you have issues with the Tea Party. Ok, I’d like to hear about them, but I’d still appreciate being presented with slightly more details than just your opinion about its members’ dishonesty. Further, do you really think state-funded medical procedures like abortion are purely social and don’t have any economic implications? Social goals aside, are you actually against requiring abortion providers to perform what you call “medically useless trans-vaginal ultrasounds”??? ANY physician would order an ultrasound before treating a pregnant woman, because they’re medically necessary. While trans-vaginal ultrasounds offer a reduced field of vision, they often provide far more detail than conventional ultrasounds and can be pivotal in diagnosing issues and complications affecting both the health of the mother and of the fetus/baby, whether the latter is destined for abortion or not. Hell, until recently, Canadian women were forced to get a pelvic exam and pap smear at least once a year just to obtain a prescription for birth control, even if they aren’t having sex and even if they have a history of normal pap smears. Thankfully, the guidelines for physicians have evolved to reflect current medical knowledge, and the annual requirement has been replaced with a 3-5 year requirement.
So again, just for the record, if women want a doctor to prescribe birth control, they have to submit to an invasive pelvic exam involving the insertion of a cold, metal speculum into their vagina, which is then cranked open like a tire jack to gain access to the cervix. The doctor then scrapes away at the surface to remove cells for testing. This is what I and many women had to go through every year in order to take control of our own contraception. In contrast, most of the men I know who grow moustaches for “Movember” adamantly refuse to undergo even so much as a single prostate exam. What’s more, they’re not forced to do so in order to purchase contraceptives.
Economic issues are at least as abundant and pressing in health care provision as social goals. True, conservatives are — very generally — more often pro-life than pro-choice when it comes to their personal preferences, while liberals tend to be the opposite. But that overly simplistic dichotomy obfuscates the many shades of grey that emerge when you throw in more complicated issues like late-term abortions and in what circumstances state-funding is or is not appropriate. The states that democratically passed legislation requiring pre-abortion ultrasounds be conducted made legitimate social and economic decisions concerning a woman’s right to know and fully appreciate the gravity and reality of her particular situation before making her own choice about whether to proceed with an abortion.
Like you MJ, I support a woman’s right to choose, but I also find a bit ironic when juxtaposed with your criticism of the uninformed voter. I wonder if you’re also in favour of the good old days of smoke-filled back-rooms in which panels of physicians and bureaucrats presided over a woman’s so-called “right” to abortion?
There is no absolute right to abortion, and neither Roe v. Wade nor R. v. Morgentaler stand for that proposition. Claiming that state laws limiting state-funded abortion on demand to 20 weeks flies in the face of the existing jurisprudence is simply false. Once again, you need to get your facts straight.
Finally, your reasons for moving away from supporting Republicans are your own. Clearly, you disagree with the basis for “Terri’s Law”, and that’s fine. But to equate it with "ignoring 4.000 years of legal precedent, “family values” and equal protection of the laws in their quixotic mission to raise the dead" is absurd.