Friday, July 17, 2015

Republicans Have Strange Fruit Running for White House, and One Believes Health Care Similar to Slavery

The Republicans this election cycle have some strange ones making a bid for the White House in 2016.

You have Scott Walker, the union-busting Governor of Wisconsin, who says that he wants to do for America what he did for Wisconsin. Among the items on his agenda? He wants to eliminate weekends. Yes, really. Oh, Walker says that God wants him to be  in the White House. Not surprisingly, he owes a lot - a lot - to the Koch brothers, who richly endorse his campaign. Most people by now have heard of the Koch brothers, and are aware of their political agenda, particularly the climate change denying agenda that they have. Not surprisingly, Walker has essentially promised that if he gets to be President, he will engage America in another pre-emptive war. Neat-o! He looks like he would be yet another George W. Bush. It's hard to see the difference between him and the former president, frankly.

Speaking of the Bush dynasty, you have Jeb Bush, who is still considered by some to be the front runner. His main thing is that his name is Bush, so he feels uniquely entitled to the White House. He has said that Americans do not work hard enough, and believes that they should work longer hours. Among industrialized nations, Americans already work longer than other countries, and receive less vacation time and benefits than their counterparts in other countries, as well. But Jeb apparently believes that the solution would be to scale down on these benefits even further. He has already had a couple of gaffes that got him in trouble already, knocking him out of what had been a clear-cut position as the front runner.

You have former New York Governor George Pataki. I know, most of you are asking, "Who?" Pataki is quite reserved, and among the current GOP field, he is actually quite well-mannered and relatively moderate. And while he pulled off some surprising feats in politics while being underestimated - most notably defeating the seemingly unbeatable Governor Mario Cuomo in 1994 - you get the sense that Pataki has an icicle's chance in Hell of winning. Currently, he is well below 1% in terms of overall support.

You have Chris Christie, New Jersey's own beloved Governor. One of his first acts was to cut 10,000 teacher's jobs. He followed that up by cutting thousands of jobs for policemen and firemen. When Exxon-Mobile had a spill and was sentenced to pay a fine in the billions, Christie negotiated a more favorable deal for them, so that they had to pay the equivalent of chump change instead, which should raise alarm bells as to what kind of an environmental record he would bring to the White House. He yells at people, that is his thing, his identity. Some people, myself included, feel that the man who holds the highest office in the land should hold himself or herself to a higher standard of conduct, but Christie is nothing if not a sign of the times. Oh, and then there is Bridgegate. Yes, there is that. Christie has repeatedly stated, rather emphatically, that he did not know. Still, he did take a helicopter over the GWB into Manhattan that day, which raised some eyebrows. But since he lives a life of opulence that raises the ire of many people, perhaps we should expect something over the top from this guy at every turn. Oh, and like Walker said about doing for America what he did in his state, Christie says he will do for America what he did for New Jersey. Just in case you are not aware, Christie's approval numbers in New Jersey have never been lower than they are right now. I suspect part of the reason for that is that Christie seems to spend so much of his time outside of this state, effectively campaigning for higher office. I think we all have gotten familiar with him by now, Too familiar, I suspect, for him to actually really have a shot at winning the presidency. Maybe he will take a job with FOX News, or something.

As of right now, the Republican who is leading in the polls might just be the biggest clown out there. That would be Donald Trump, he of the infamous toupee. Trump has earned his reputation as a brash, obnoxious loudmouth, but in the bid for the presidency so far, he has outdone himself. He has shown himself to be a blatant racist, stereotyping Hispanic immigrants. Yet, when asked if this might hurt his popularity among Hispanics, he stated that they love him. Polls show otherwise. Trump has been very critical of President Obama, and he was one of the most vocal birthers, demanding a birth certificate to prove that the President was actually born in this country. But Trump surely envies Obama for the office that he holds, and hopes that his fame and fortune will give him a real shot at the presidency. He says that he will be the greatest job creator in this country's history. Given what that has come to imply among Republicans, you can bet that many of these jobs will be low paying and part-time, and his own track record shows that, as well. He blasted the trend of cheap jobs in China taking away from quality American jobs, but somehow thought that the public would forget that many of these cheap Chinese jobs are thanks to him. Indeed, as promised, he was a job creator for them. But it was not Americans who were getting those jobs. It is hard to take this guy seriously, frankly. Yet what does it say about us as a nation, and about Republicans as a party, that Trump is leading the pack among the GOP?

Another fairly serious contender (so far) in the GOP field is Rand Paul. Paul, like his father, has a rather questionable past with seemingly racist, or borderline racist. He is a part of the whole Tea Party thing, which his father is often credited for starting. He and his father actually hold some different ideas than many other Republicans, such as opposition to the war in Iraq, which was a biggie! Still, they hold some bizarre ideas that could set this country going in an even more extremist direction. Paul is vehemently opposed to Obamacare, which certainly does not make him unique among Republicans. After all, most Republicans are opposed to Obamacare, and claim that the first thing that they will do once in the Oval Office is repeal it. Rand is opposed to any form of government-assisted healthcare, which again, does not make him unique among the GOP. Yet, Rand takes it a few steps farther, likening such a system (which every other industriazlied nation in the world outside of the United States has some form of) to slavery. Am I kidding? I wish that I was, but unfortunately, I am not. I originally say this on Sarah Silverman's web page (here's the link:

But it does not end there. Some people were questioning if Paul had actually said this, and made such a ludicrous comparison. Indeed he did. Below is what he said exactly, as well as the source, so that you can check it for yourself:

"With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have to realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.

"Basically, once you imply a belief in a right to someone’s services, do you have a right to plumbing? Do you have a right to water? Do you have right to food? You’re basically saying you believe in slavery. You’re saying you believe in taking and extracting from another person. Our founding documents were very clear about this. You have a right to pursue happiness but there’s no guarantee of physical comfort. There’s no guarantee of concrete items. In order to give something concrete, you have to take it from someone. So there’s an implied threat of force.

"If I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to health care, do you have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free health care would be. If you believe in a right to health care, you’re believing in basically the use of force to conscript someone to do your bidding."

So, there you go. I did not get every Republican running, and indeed, there are just so many, that it would be difficult to do. Maybe the one who eventually emerges will not come from the pack of Republicans that I focused on here today. Still, if this is the sampling from which we can gain our expectations of what a GOP ticket will look like next year, it is a pretty bizarre group from which to choose, and none too flattering for their potential ticket. I had assumed that the Democrats would automatically lose the 2016 election, after two consecutive terms with Obama in the White House, and the strong, negative reaction of this fact from conservatives. However, this weak field almost makes me question whether they will in fact win. Let's see what happens.

Here is the source of the quote:

Did Rand Paul equate a right to health care with slavery?  By Louis Jacobson on Wednesday, May 27th, 2015:

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