Is that what's troubling you, Bunky?
Well, as the Democrats and the Obama administration struggle to find a way to present a single cohesive view of what they are doing for the public to understand while FOX News shoves their manufactured "truth" down everyone's throats loud and obnoxiously clear day in and day out until it sounds in its blathering repetition as if it were actually reality, maybe we in the blogosphere should take this bull by its horns and figure out for ourselves how to create the meme that can spread the message we need to send to every corner of this land.
And that message, quite simply, is this: when you look at the track records, why on earth would anyone who is not a millionaire vote Republican?
All we have to do is focus people on the real priorities of Democrats and Republicans, based entirely on their actions, instead of the messages that the party talking heads want them to hear and we're home free. This is nothing new, so we don't need to limit ourselves to the current administration, but for the moment we can start there.
What has Obama actually done in a year and a half in office?
Answer: Lots. And important stuff, too. As Rachel Maddow said:
A lot of the things that have happened in the less-than-two years of this administration are the biggest, or first, or most important in generations...The last time any President got this many things accomplished in his first two years of office, booze was illegal.
- Passed most significant Wall Street reform since FDR.
- Passed first national health care bill in United States history.
- Passed stimulus bill to help pull economy back from brink of second depression. (As Maddow pointed out, this bill included a $100 billion investment in national infrastructure--"the largest investment in infrastructure since Ike"--and a $60 billion investment in green energy sources.)
- Signed Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
- In the largest middle class tax cut in US history, cut taxes for all but the highest-earning 2% of Americans
- Negotiated START III agreement with Russia.
- Set up an international nuclear non-proliferation agreement.
- Passed the Hate Crime Prevention Act that had been stalled for years.
- Allowed the FDA to regulate tobacco.
- Dismantled the Minerals Management Service after many Bush-era scandals
- Overhauled student loans system to get banks out of the way
- Has ordered a 40% reduction in nuclear warheads.
- May well create more jobs this year alone than Bush did in his entire Presidency
Now let's see what accomplishments might be credited to his immediate predecessor in eight years of office...
- Passed two separate tax cuts affecting all Americans but benefiting mostly the upper 10% of earners.
- Passed unfunded mandates revamping education and senior citizens' prescription services.
- Increased the National Debt by a stunning 27%.
- Brought America into its two longest-lasting wars, neither of which has yet to end.
- Passed the PATRIOT Act allowing the abridging of Constitutional freedoms in the US.
- Allowed torture of captured war prisoners.
- Opened a prison camp in Guantanamo Bay which facilitated torture.
- Banned stem cell research.
- Established worldwide gag law regarding abortion information in health clinics.
- Established the President's Plan for AIDS Relief
- Banned partial-birth abortion
- Signed seven Free Trade Agreements.
In addition, Mr. Bush appointed to the Supreme Court radical conservative justices Alito and Roberts (after failing to get Harriet Miers past a stupefied Senate). He also withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol and openly invited energy company officials to help set energy policy, resulting in (among other things) historically high prices for gasoline, record profits for oil companies, and (yes) the BP oil spill. Among his more controversial appointments were Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, UN Ambassador John Bolton, and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, who presided over the near collapse of the entire economy at the tail end of Bush's second term. By the time of the 2008 elections, his approval rating had dropped to the historic low of 25%.
But this is too simplistic for a new meme, isn't it? It assumes that people are capable of putting aside their current personal biases, looking past what FOX tells them about Obama and Bush and (gasp) assessing things for themselves. I think that might be assuming a bit too much. If 42% of people are actually ready to vote Republican two years after Republicans nearly drive this country into a depression, then it is clear they are not thinking for themselves. They are not thinking at all. They are being led by the nose, to quote the Bard, "as easily as asses are."
So while we should certainly be aware of these stark differences and should be screaming Obama's real accomplishments at the top of our lungs, that is not the meme that will win this election. The meme that we need to get out there, the one that the GOP cannot counter and FOX cannot overcome with all of its liars working overtime, is this:
Look at the historical track records of Democrats and Republicans. Which of them are truly representing you?
And here is where it is extremely easy to distinguish the differences between the parties:
On the major issues of our time, where did (and/or do) the parties stand?
- Social Security: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Medicare: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Civil Rights: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Integration: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Health Care For All: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Middle Class Tax Cuts: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Equitable Tax Burden for the Rich: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Ending Corporate Welfare: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Right to choose: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Gay rights: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Protecting Civil Liberties: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Women's Rights: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Unionization: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Minimum Wage Laws: Democrats Yes, Republicans No
- Bipartisanship: Democrats Yes, Republicans No, No, and once again No
On the economy, Democratic Presidents other than FDR, who was after all trying to get us out of a depression, have incurred less of a deficit and added less to the national debt than their GOP counterparts. The two greatest offenders? Reagan and (by a landslide at #1) GW Bush, both of whom were wedded to the concept that Bush, Sr. labeled "voodoo economics" because it just doesn't work. As far as jobs are concerned, the eight years of GW Bush were a complete disaster. In eight full years under Bush, only 3 million jobs were created in this country. Compare that to 23 million during the Clinton years. Oh, you argue, that's unfair. Clinton did not have a recession to deal with. OK, how about this? Remember the last Democratic President before Clinton, the much maligned Jimmy Carter? Remember how he only got four years because no one liked how he was handling the economy? Guess how many jobs he created? 10.5 million. In 4 years. It's what Democratic Presidents do. And President Obama, who inherited a national job-slough-off of nearly unprecedented proportions, in the first eighteen months of his administration has turned it into a slow but steady increase, despite what FOX tries to tell you, and is on track to pass Bush's meager 3 million this year.
There is little that can be done with anyone who believes cries of socialism or birtherism or the ludicrous and so easily disprovable statement that Obama has raised our taxes (which apparently 64% of Tea Partiers believe). For these folks, logical argument is hopeless. Let them vote as they choose. But for anyone still capable of synaptic firing, we need to push this very simple, easily understood meme:
Republicans have been out of touch with America for almost all of this century, and today's Republicans are more out of touch, more out of the mainstream, than ever before.
Dwight Eisenhower could not be accepted as a Republican today.
Barry Goldwater could not be accepted as a Republican today.
Richard Nixon could not be accepted as a Republican today.
Ronald Reagan could not be accepted as a Republican today.
On every important social issue, the Republicans have said NO. On the economy, they have increased the deficit and destroyed jobs.
This party is lost. Don't get lost with it.
LOOK AT THE TRACK RECORD. Never mind what FOX or anyone else says. Who is REALLY on your side?
Democrats YES, Republicans NO.