Monday, May 7, 2012

The Radical Right vs the Voice of Reason

I have been talking with a lot of Republicans lately, which is hard NOT to do when you live in Hamilton County, Indiana.  Those have been very interesting conversations with intelligent people who's viewpoints on some issues differ a little from mine.

But unlike a lot of the folks you may see on TV, these Republicans are different.  The candidates on TV, some of them anyway, rant and rave and promise to "never compromise".   Those are folks on what I think of as the Radical Right, some of them Tea Party adherents.  I don't even think the Radical Right folks meet the traditional definition of "conservative", it seems to me that they have gone so far as to be "regressive" and want to go back to 19th century Robber Baron policies, or even further.

But the folks I have been speaking with are not that way at all.  They are disturbed by gridlock in Washington, disturbed at the jobs situation, and want to do something about it.  They WANT their candidates to reach across party lines and compromise for the benefit of all.  They believe that the emphasis on lowering taxes, regardless of consequences, and on social issues is divisive and not helpful, and perhaps not even the primary job of government.

The problem is, these folks are QUIET about it.  The loudest of the Radical Right get all the attention.  Some of these more reasonable folks, many of them traditional conservatives, are actually frightened to speak up.  So their only recourse will be at the ballot box.

I like these kinds of Republicans, I can speak with them and have civil discourse and disagreement without anger, and we sometimes find common ground.  I hope the Republican Party has enough of these sorts of folks to keep their party that of Dwight Eisenhower, and not let it become that of Mike Pence, Richard Mourdock, and David McIntosh, radicals all.  I am not overly hopeful, but more hopeful than I was a few weeks ago, polls notwithstanding.

I guess we will find out more tomorrow.  If the Radical Right beats down the voice of reason, perhaps some rational Republicans can find their way to support some rational Democrats in November, and get our state and federal governments back to the real job of governing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Did David McIntosh commit voter fraud?

In a previous post, I had asked "Where does McIntosh live?", raising questions about the residency of Fifth District Congressional candidate David McIntosh.  Since then, McIntosh's opponents, mainly Susan Brooks and Dr. John McGoff, have relentlessly attacked McIntosh on this issue, as have others, including traditional and non-traditional media. 

McIntosh has claimed to live in Indiana, but otherwise will not answer questions on this issue.  When WISH-TV reporter Jim Shella, also the host of "Indiana Week in Review" on PBS, tried to question McIntosh on this issue, McIntosh, who knew the interview was coming, ended the interview and walked away.

The question that drove McIntosh into this unseemly retreat was about where McIntosh's wife and kids live.  McIntosh, an attorney, probably knew this was a hot-button question, as by all accounts, his wife and children live in their home in Arlington, Virginia, the children attend school there and his wife is registered to vote there. 

This is a Very Big Deal because of Indiana law about residency for voting purposes.  Indiana Code 3-5-5-11 provides:

The place where a person's immediate family resides is the person's residence, unless the family's residence is:

(1) a temporary location for the person's immediate family; or

(2) for transient purposes.

The only way McIntosh can claim residence separate from his wife and children, who apparently remain in Virginia, is to separate from them with the intent of establishing a separate, permanent, residence.  This does not appear to be his defense.  Otherwise, McIntosh legally remains a Virginia resident for voting purposes, and has never established a legal voting residence in Indiana. 

McIntosh is already under investigation for possible vote fraud, which as we learned in the Charlie White case, is a felony, both for false voter registration, and for falsely voting where a person does not actually live, both felonies. 

Voters elected Charlie White notwithstanding the ongoing felony investigation in 2010.  Will they do the same in 2012?   Frankly, unless David McIntosh comes forward with something other than silence and evasion, he may face the same type of criminal charges as Charlie White.  Our system cannot afford candidates who play these sorts of games. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A milestone - 5000 pageviews

My little project in political self-expression is apparently not so little any more.  I have just passed over 5000 pageviews since I started in 2010.  And over 1000 of that was in the last month! 

Thanks to all who follow my thoughts, whether you agree or disagree, and thanks for paying attention to what happens in our democracy. 

The Myth of Big Government

Conservatives are very vocal about the dangers of "Big Government" usually couched in the form of "taking away your freedom", although they seldom say exactly how this is done, or why it is attributable to "big government" as opposed to government generally.

I can see the fear of over-reaching government, and I am sure that we have all experienced some aspect of that, usually through some bureaucratic idiocy, but sometimes worse.  America after all was founded by a wish to be free of a repressive government that was far away and unresponsive to our needs. 

However, I personally am FAR more fearful of government becoming the exclusive tool of the extremely wealthy and of mega-corporations.  This is especially true in times governed by a Supreme Court decision that equates money with political speech and effectively gives corporate interests MORE power than real human beings. 

If government abuses you, there are tools to try to fight back, using the law, the Constitution, and the Courts, to try to insure that you are treated fairly.  It doesn't always work, and no system is perfect.  But the same defenses don't always work well against giant corporations.  They are not bound by the Constitutional protections against unfair and arbitrary treatment, or the guarantee of due process.  In so-called "Right to Work" states and "employment at will" states, the power of organized labor to try to balance the great power of the mega-corporations has been limited by sheer political fiat, in a political system bought and paid for by the corporate interests. 

Increasingly, we have fewer and fewer defenses against abusive use of corporate power.  The only possible institution to protect us from all sorts of abuse is the government, mainly by wise use of regulatory power.  But a recurring theme of "government is the enemy" has allowed regulation to be kicked to the curb, resulting in things like the 2008 recession and bursting of the housing bubble.  Attempts to recover from this crash have been hamstrung by nay-sayers who cry "Big Government!" and who do not see the real problem, or they are bought and paid for by corporate power. 

So is this going to be Government by, for, and of the People any longer?  Or is it going to be corporate government, for the benefit of those institutions only, and the People are left with the crumbs and an illusion of democracy?  As wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands,  I fear we are rapidly becoming the latter, aided and abetted by those who think they are supporting smaller government, but in fact are supporting an undemocratic corporate government. 

I fear for the nation my grandchildren may inherit.