Republicans: Distracted from the Real Issues

Right From the Start

If the Republican Party thinks it is going to defeat Pres. Barack Obama, it better get its act together. Right now it is being led around by the nose by America’s mainstream media (a group that overwhelming supports Mr. Obama) and they are having a field day – particularly during the televised “debates.”

Every national poll indicates that “jobs and the economy” are the most important issues on the minds of America’s voters. But the Republican candidates – at the prompting of the mainstream media and with the support of the hallelujah chorus of the Republicans’ pockets of single issue voters – have virtually abandoned serious discussion of how they would fix the economy and remove the barriers to increased employment. Instead they seize upon the nuances of “social conservatism” to beat the hell out of each other and to pander incessantly to those who are waiting to be offended by the innocent remarks of others.

The latest incident of this is some backwater bigot from Florida – who supports Sen. Rick Santorum – has stated that 22 percent of Americans will not vote for Gov. Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. Apparently that figure is derived from a Gallup Poll conducted in June of 2011. Of course, the national media and Mr. Santorum’s supporters, focus on the 22 percent who indicate they would not vote for a Mormon instead of the 78 percent who say that they would vote for a candidate who is Mormon.

But here is the rub – and a critical fact that the mainstream media chooses to ignore – there is a critical difference in the resistance to Mormons based on political ideology. The June 2011 Gallup Poll indicates that when you look at the political breakdown of those opposing Mormons you find that among Democrats the figure is 27 percent while among Republicans it is only 18 percent. Religious bigotry among Democrats is fifty percent higher than among Republicans – so much for tolerance among Democrats. (Independents are much more aligned with Republican values on this issue at 19 percent.) Here’s the important part of this. The twenty-seven percent of knuckle dragging Democrats who wouldn’t vote for a Mormon wouldn’t vote for a Republican regardless of his/her religious persuasion. And the eighteen percent of Republicans who wouldn’t vote for a Mormon, aren’t going to vote for Mr. Obama whose religious commitments – according to them – range from Muslim to the antichrist with few stops at Christianity

Just as a side note, when the June Gallup Poll is compared to a December 2007 Gallup poll we see that the opposition from Democrats to a Mormon has grown from 18 percent to the current 27 percent – further proof that “concern” about Mr. Romney’s faith is more about politics than it is about religion.

And one of the more bizarre turn of events in this mudfest over trivia is that many of these social conservatives turn toward Rep. Ron Paul as their preferred choice – apparently unaware that Mr. Paul supports abortion on demand (just so long as the government doesn’t pay for it), abolition of drug laws (just so long as the government doesn’t pay for it), and gay union (just so long as the government doesn’t pay for it).

The fact of the matter is that there is very little difference amongst the Republican field of candidates (with the exception of Mr. Paul) on social issues. All of the candidates would reinstate the ban on taxpayer funded abortions. All of the candidates would effectively dismantle Obamacare and work for its repeal. All of the candidates oppose gay marriage. All of the candidates oppose legalization of drugs. And most importantly, all of the nuances surrounding these issues disappear when any of the candidates are compared to Mr. Obama.

And finally, the polls conducted on issues such as this assume a wide and hypothetical field of choices amongst the respondents. Assuming that there is no significant third party challenge, the choice this November is between two people – Mr. Obama and the Republican nominee. So while all those single issue voters wring their hands over whether Mr. Romney is a Mormon, whether Speaker Newt Gingrich was faithful to his wife, whether Rep. Michelle Bachmann was a submissive wife, whether Sen. Santorum stands for aspirin for contraception, or whether Rep. Ron Paul would leave America’s military might constricted – oops, that is a real issue – the real issues remain jobs and the economy. And on those particular issues Mr. Obama has an abysmal track record.

Despite the focus of the mainstream media on the unemployment numbers in an effort to boost Mr. Obama’s standing on the economy, the fact of the matter is that the unemployment numbers are virtually meaningless because of the significant number of people who have given up looking or who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. The real data on economic growth tracks the number of jobs created and by any measure at any time during Mr. Obama’s three plus years in office that number has either declined or failed to keep pace with the number of new entrants to the job market. The economic recovery remains anemic, the national debts continues to increase at a staggering rate and the only reason that the inflation numbers remain modest is because they refuse to include the price for gasoline or food. It is time to focus like a laser on these issues and these issues alone.

It is way past time for the Republican candidates to continue to curry favor with the mainstream media by pandering to questions and issues that remain divisive amongst Republicans. One only has to remember Sen. John McCain who gained media popularity because of his willingness to stab Pres. George W. Bush in the back at the drop of a hat. But when the race came down to Mr. McCain and a Democrat – any Democrat – those same media personalities turned on him like the biased jackals they are.

I recognize that the Republican candidate’ stump speeches focus on the differences between Republicans and Mr. Obama, but the media attention to the social issues – and the candidates willing participation – has distracted voters from the real agenda. The accusations – real and perceived – on social issues dominate the headlines. The Republican candidates would do themselves and all of us a favor by simply refusing to respond further to these questions and turn the conversation back to what is really important – jobs and the economy.

If Mr. Obama is re-elected, the blame lies largely with the Republican candidates for having let the mainstream media manipulate the agenda.


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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2012 Presidential Election, Economy, President Obama, Religion, Uncategorized | 43 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Rupert in Springfield

    >If Mr. Obama is re-elected, the blame lies largely with the Republican
    candidates for having let the mainstream media manipulate the agenda.

    So true. With BO’s approval numbers being a constant low, the staggering unemployment and the general sense of hopelessness, this election should be the Republicans to lose. The only way to screw that up is to let the opponent set the agenda. That is what Republicans are doing right now, and largely have done for most of the past year.

    Republicans need to look to when they were successful. The two major examples of this would be the election of Ronald Reagan and capturing the House in 1994. Both went done by going directly against the grain of both the press and establishment Republicans. Essentially a GOP version of Juche, “up yours”.

    Reagan was hated by the Republican establishment for being insufficiently nuanced, too blunt, immoderate. Newts idea of nationalizing congressional races, particularly with the Contract for America, violated every dictum of political strategy, particularly O’Neill’s dictum that “all politics is local”.

    How did they do this? They did it by speaking bluntly and ideas the press, moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats thought were outrageous struck a chord with the public as sensible.

    Reagan straight up called the Soviet Union and evil government, he was right, but nobody would say it, and when he finally did it drove people to him because by comparison those who wouldn’t say it suddenly looked in denial of the obvious.

    Newt did the same thing with the Contract with America. What that document and the 94 campaign were about was simple, honest accounting of the federal budget and making the laws congress passes apply to themselves as well. Suddenly you had Democrats standing up and saying equal employment laws shouldn’t apply to them because representatives should be able to pick who they work with. The elitism was clear and Newt was successful.

    Were Newt and Reagan loved by the press? No. Did they get side tracked into an agenda set by the press and Democrats, such as what BO is trying to do with this idiotic contraception issue? No.

    The math is simple, if Republicans accede to the agenda set by BO and the press, they will lose. If they follow what has worked for them in the past they will win. Considering Republicans lost the last presidential race with a media darling and did so by the widest margin in a while you would think this would be obvious. Of course to “the stupid party” it clearly needs some “splainin”.

    • valley person

       “With BO’s approval numbers being a constant low…”

      Uh…no not exactly. He is 4 or 5 points up over the last 3 months, and is hovering just under 50%.

      “the staggering unemployment and the general sense of hopelessness”

      Or the rapidly declining unemployment and return of hopefulness.  Depends on ones perspective.

      “The only way to screw that up is to let the opponent set the agenda.”

      There are plenty of ways to screw it up. One is to keep crying about how bad things are when just about anyone can see they are improving. Another is to nominate a religious nut to carry your flag. Another is to nominate a guy nobody but his family likes. Another is to nominate a megalomaniac philanderer. Take your pick.

      “Republicans need to look to when they were successful. The two major
      examples of this would be the election of Ronald Reagan and capturing
      the House in 1994.”

      So you have to go back nearly 20 years to find a time you were “successful”? What happened to the Bush years? No “success” there? He was elected, sort of twice. He had Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Granted, his presidency was a disaster, so I guess going back makes sense.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >So you have to go back nearly 20 years to find a time you were “successful”?

        Nope, I just gave two examples. I could have also cited 2010, but that was due less to any notable Republican strategy than disgust with BO policies.

        What is it with liberals where someone gives an example or two and you guys instantly jump to this losing strategy of thinking an example or two is meant as an exhaustive survey of the issue?

  • Bob Clark

    Sexual matters like affairs and religious beliefs have a long history in our elective processes, like it or not.  Obama made a decision here most recently to push the debate away from the economy and its sorry underperformance even during recovery phase.  So, he goes and stabs the Catholic Church and others in the back with his push for immediate inclusion of birth control and some forms of abortion in their healthcare activities (even if under the guise of it being indirect).  [What happen to Obama’s promise you could keep your health plan just as is if you wanted.  Like so many things this blowhard says it only has a shelf life of a day or two, when his entourage blows into a new town or onto a new stage.]

  • Anonymous

    I would disagree in blaming the mainstream media. The media can get it right for the most part religious conservatives shifted and died off around 1998. Most are packing moralist dietism and political ambiguity of Rick warren and Jole Osteen. The rest of us woke up and realize there no political mandate for the US in the Bible and goes on to preach Christ and him crucified for our sins.
    I would say  the problem lies with domination conservative media over the issues. If one does not tow the populist line one is branded as a neocon or RINO.  Forbid if I  dare take  the position perhaps we need open border and allow the employer to hire who they want. How gay marriage, ok it sin,  but I do not think it need to be a government institution, in fact gay marriage along hostility of Christan values in public education are fine example why government institutionalization of marriage and education are a bad thing and a threat to liberty. The last thing I want is more government contiol.

    Now saying this I am a rino to the (false) conservative  gods of Taff, Limbaugh and  Larson.

  • valley person

    The title of this post should be: Republicans, Distracted From Reality. Let me count the ways:

    1) The national economy is rapidly improving, unemployment is dropping, the stock market has recovered it lost value.
    2) Deficit spending (short term) is necessary for it to continue to improve
    3) The US is not Greece, and we only default on our bonds if we decide to.
    4) Americans don’t want government in our bedrooms
    5) Americans (98%) actually think birth control is a good idea
    6) The earth is warming due to fossil fuel emissions, and most Americans agree
    7) Most Americans care about the condition of the environment
    8) Obama is well liked by the American public
    9) He is not a secret Muslim, was born in the US, and is not a socialist
    10) Most Americans support public education
    11) Most Americans are not rich, and support taxing rich people at higher rates
    12) Fossil fuels are called that for a reason. (Hint, supply is limited).

    There are actual problems that need to be addressed. Global competitiveness, improving education outcomes, getting people to save more for retirement and emergencies, transportation, energy, housing market recovery, manufacturing, preventing another financial meltdown…..

    Now if Republicans accepted the above as reality, and focused on actual problems, they could construct a conservative leaning politics that responds. This would lead them to nominate someone with workable solutions to real problems that don’t necessarily mean top down government, but that sometimes do mean that. In other words, pragmatism over ideology.

    • JoelinPDX

      What are you smoking VP, I bet it’s strong stuff.

      1) The national economy isn’t improving. Housing is still underwater and unemployment is understated by a factor of about three. The stock market has absolutely no bearing on what’s happening on Main Street. It is approaching three-quarters institutional investors.

      2) Your opinion. You have nothing but your liberal beliefs to tell you that deficit spending is necessary.

      3) Cute…but we shouldn’t default on our bonds whether we want to or not.

      4) Santorum may think the government belongs in the bedroom but Santorum isn’t the entirety of the Republican Party.

      5)  See point 4.

      6) More and more scientists are looking at the facts and deciding that MMGW is untrue. According to Pew 49 percent of us believe it is natural or not due to man made causes while only 41 percent believe it is man made. Sorry VP. looks like your opinion is wrong on this one.

      7) Who doesn’t care about the condition of the environment? Stupid statement. As covered in point 6, Americans don’t blame man for environmental problems with the atmosphere.

      8) Yes, Obozo is personally well liked but politically he is still under 50 percent and as gasoline prices hit four or five dollars a gallon this summer, I’m guessing his political likes will drop back below 40 percent.

      9) Yes, Obozo professes to be a Christian (his problem) and only Orly Taitz still believes he was born in Kenya. As for being a socialist, he does keep showing his love for European style socialism and government.

      10) Supporting charter schools doesn’t make you a foe of public education. In fact, last I checked charter schools are public schools. As far as tax credits for private school tuition are concerned. Firstly, students attending private schools save public schools the cost of educating them and, secondly private schools are popular among the minorities in the big eastern cities because they provide kids with a better education than they get in the public schools.

      11) Yep, absolutely true but Americans also believe unequivocally that we should reduce the size of the federal government and the federal workforce. So, basically Americans are torn on the issue, they believe that someone else should pay the taxes and that taxes shouldn’t be raised to fund federal overspending.

      12) We have a 100 year plus supply of natural gas and a 100 year supply of domestic oil (when you count Canadian “fracked” oil and ANWR and this doesn’t include the oil in the upper mid-west where estimnates go as high as a 100 year supply.) So, to say the supply is limited is just a bit disingenuous. What it does say is we have 100 years to develop an electric car that, unlike the Obozo funded Volt, doesn’t self-immolate and goes more than 35 miles on a charge.

      Yes, we have problems that need to be addressed chief among them the economy and unemployment. But I notice you conveniently omitted those problems. Probably because Obozo, Harry Greed and Nancy Pelousy have no solutions for them. It’s time that we gave someone else a chance rather than the inept Jerk-in-Chief.

      • David Appell

        Canadian oil is in tar sands and doesn’t require “fracking.” Only 10% of it is recoverable at current prices, which is 170 Bb or 10 yrs of US consumption. And it isn’t ours, but sold on the world market. 

        Last month the NHTSA said that “based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.”

        • JoelinPDX

          So, David, essentially what you are admitting is that Canadian oil covers US needs for 100 years, regardless of the price. The Canadian oil would be ours if Obozo hadn’t put a stop to plans for the Keystone pipeline. Excuse me for confusing fracking and tar sand retrieval…but it doesn’t change anything. I saw a guy on TV recently discussing the Keystone pipeline and he referred to fracking.

          NHTSA is a government agency. Of course NHTSA says the Volt is okay…it has to back Lord Obozo who funded the Volt. There  have sure been a lot of Volt fires considering there are only a few thousand of them on the road

          • David Appell

            The economically available oil in the Alberta tar sands belongs to Canada and is not “ours,” and its total supply is equivalent to 10 years of US consumption, not 100 years. All oil is sold at world market prices and is not reserved for anyone; this includes oil produced in the US.

            Not everything you hear on television is correct. Alberta tar sands oil is not “fracked.”

            If you have evidence that the NHTSA is wrong, present the data. How many Volt fires have there been? Dismissing a study just because it comes from a government agency is mindless.  

          • JoelinPDX

            Not with Obozo in the White House it’s not. The Obozo Administration is so totally corrupt that nothing that has the administration taint on it can be believed.

          • David Appell

            In other words, you don’t have better data, or any data at all, just bluster. 

            Why am I not surprised?

          • Ramalama


            It’s the way things go in Right Wing World: 

            They believe what they believe because they believe it, and no amount of evidence is necessary for them to continue to believe it, nor is any amount of evidence sufficient to stop them from believing it.

      • valley person

         When you come to grips with reality Joel, you and your party can start to think about forward thinking solutions.

        • Ramalama

          VP, people will be ice skating on the River Styx when that happens.

          • JoelinPDX

            CramObama, the River Styx is a myth. That makes it kind of tough for ice skating or water skiing, for that matter.

        • JoelinPDX

          So, I refute every point you make but I’m the one who needs to come to grips with reality? VP, you really should go back and finish high school…maybe, just maybe, you can learn how to reason effectively. 

          • valley person

             Joel, one can’t refute facts with opinion. One can counter an opinion with a different opinion. Your core problem is that you confuse a factual statement, like the economy is improving, which it is by every statistic in use, with opinion. Then you think you have refuted it by claiming it isn’t improving.

            Of course that is just my opinion about you.

  • Bored

    Message to candidates – It’s the economy stupids.

  • HBguy

    The media talks about it because it’s what the candidates talk about. It’s what the candidate talk about because they have very smart consultants and pollsters who have told them that it’s what moves republican primary voters.

    Now, I don’t know that the social issue nonsense is reflective of the majority of the republican primary voter, but it apparently is what can switch votes among those willing to switch.

    Romney is as frustrated as you. I think he’d prefer to talk the economy. But he’s losing in the polls when he fails to respond to Santorum’s cultural agenda. So I don’t think the media has much to do with this. But is simply informative of the a large part of the republican party voters.

    But, there is going to be big trouble in the fall. Romney will still likely win the nomination, but if the financiers of the republican party become convinced in the next 30 days that he can never win in November, they will quit spending money on the presidential race, and focus in the Senate. In which case, a weakened and compromised Romney, (or a sure to lose Santorum) will face Obama in the fall without the financial resources they need to compete.

    The problem isn’t the media, or the candidates. It’s the republican social swing voters who are moved one way by anyone willing to engage in a culture war of words. Both Gingrich and Santorum (and Perry and Bachman before) have been willing to engage in that war. There is a reason why so many candidates have been way up and way down. It’s not the candidates. It’s the voters.

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