Resistance Begins at Ohm!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is it about independent voters?

I caught a few interviews last week that just show me they don't get it.

One was a discussion among representatives of young republicans and young democrats. Another was with a lady who works for rock the vote. Another was a pol-dit who was commenting on independent voters and what they want.

The young democratic view seems to be be something along the lines that young people are looking for a leader who will articulate a way forward. No one now has a plan. The guy talking about independents wanted to paint with a broad brush in tea party terms.

My y-gen kids are thoughtful, politically informed and astute on the issues. Yet they are not represented by either of the young groups that were talking - not even close. And they say that their friends ranging from late 20s to 40 are of similar views, if not as well as informed. But they would be the first people to tell you (to paraphrase the Cheshire cat) if you don't know where you are going, any path will do. They aren't looking for some path.

I personally took umbrage at the guy who thought he knew what independent voters are all about. First of all, I don't believe they like to be painted by anyone's brush. Let me explain like our president - if I just say it slower and louder:  in-de-pen-dent. Meaning I don't ascribe to the political ideology of any group. People have different priorities and different visions on a variety of issues. You can't put everyone in the same bucket and start making assumptions on what motivates them. Unless of course, ideology is what motivates them, whether political, cultural, familial or (egad) facebook. Lack of ideology seems to be perplexing to these nanos. We don't need someone to tell us how to think.

The other strawman that was set up is that independents are just mad about liberals, progressives and democrats who are in power. That whatever the democrats want or do is somehow the issue. Nope, missed the point, we don't like what the republicans want or do either. That's why we threw them out in - get this - 2006. That was two years before Obama.

And I don't think people are looking for a way forward. I think they see very clearly where the current path is leading and this is a categorical rejection of the destination. Hope and change isn't a way forward, it isn't a goal, it isn't even a measurable objective along the way. Change is not progress if it is just motion. If you take bit broader perspective and remember that people weren't happy in 2004 either, picked a different crew in 2006 and kept "throwing the bums out" in 2008, then you can't simply say that it is about the current administration or agenda. What I see as consistent across the half-decade is a dissatisfaction with having a more and more intrusive government that appears to be more and more incompetent and disconnected from the people they work for. My small group of boomers have been talking 3rd party for 6 years. And the heat went up a lot as soon as Bush was re-elected. We didn't want Kerry, what an elitist, lying fool. But we didn't like Bush and especially pork ear marking Congress.

We don't like the prices we are paying for healthcare. But we know that requiring even more be spent isn't an improvement. We didn't like medicare part d, either, remember? We like choices and medicare advantage offered options that fit our locations, our lifestyles and our medical needs. Taking away advantage to pay for someone else's free health insurance wasn't a good idea. The people on medicare have been paying for the plan for years and years. It was a stupid idea and it is an insult to make it law and then exempt the state of Florida.

We are really, really pissed that wall street, banks and market traders were rescued when it was our money that they bet and lost in the first place. If anyone needed to be restored, it was the people who got ripped off. We don't believe Goldman, Citibank and the like needed taxpayer money. We really don't like screwing us by giving our GM stock to the unions and giving Chrysler to the Italians. And then tell us that we have to give more while congress keeps adding more and more to their pockets and budgets and giving more and more to their friends.

At this point, we really just want the federal government to leave us alone. What has government done right?

  • Let's see, they promised us social security and then stole the money and pissed it away on things like "511," pointless "scientific" studies and memorials to elected officials, living and dead.
  • When they ran out of $ocial $ecurity, they promised us affordable medical care in our senior years, and then stole that money. And then stole some more and plan to give it to people who aren't frankly productive.
  • They promised us energy independence and then stopped us from actually increasing any access to energy. Now they are closing down the oil wells we have, and subsidizing Mexico and Brazil to drill in the very same places. On the grounds that the environment is going to be destroyed unless we start living like the Taliban.
  • But wait, didn't they tell us if we just gave EPA more money than transportation, made cars more fuel efficient, spent a bunch on solar, wind and dams, taxed the hell out of everyone associated with energy or chemicals that they would fix pollution and restore our environment? And before that, if we just created the dept of energy, we would have endless clean nuclear? How many bazillions have we wasted and EPA and DOE? And now the sky is indeed falling and we are going to kill the earth unless we pass a carbon trading scheme? Yeah, that worked out really well, too.
  • Education - we need a better educated populace in order to compete with the rest of the world (which is where the jobs went when we priced ourselves out the manufacturing business with health care and retirement benefits). So we'll just create the Dept. of Education. And 30 years later, our youth score well worse than their peers in most other modern countries or even developing nations like India and China. Our local schools are powerless to define a locally relevant curriculum, and we are forced into having the federal government define all "social norms" from this point forward. It's all relative, after all.
  • The only way government can figure out how to keep terrorists off of airlines is to strip search the passengers? But you can't ask someone in Arizona to produce a drivers license if they are driving??? Screw it, just give them a ticket to somewhere and lock them up at airport security.

Now do you understand what it is all about? The stewardship of the US Government is a total failure. Democratic capitalism doesn't work when only a few unelected people are in charge of all the capital and the executive branch makes all the rules. Our Congress is so freaking incompetent that they write things into laws that prevent Congress from changing those laws in the future. And they give all authority over to agencies that are not accountable to Congress, the President or the people they are supposed to be protecting - from whom? You yourself, evidently because the consumer protection agency that is supposed to protect you from evil bankers will have access to your bank accounts, credit transactions, loans and mortgages, but for what, how and why Congress won't say. The agency gets to figure it out themselves. I have a sneaky suspicion it could well decide when you have reached your credit card limit, or how much at any given moment you need to reserve in your bank account for --- mmmm lets say the next medical copay you might have.

Did you know you will be able to get a mammogram and colonoscopy without having a copay under the new health insurance requirements? I guess that's to make sure you get your share of the squeeze and... OK, I'm going to leave the other end up to you to envision. Hope you enjoy them.

Here are a few thoughts to ponder
RCP Connected by Disconnect
RCP Taming the Tea Party
Friedman on Third Party Rising
Reynolds: Tea Party Dominance was Inevitable
PittsReport: America on the brink of a second revolution

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