Friday, December 11, 2009

Registered and Tracked by the Republicans

Yesterday, I received a rather important looking envelope in the mail that demanded my immediate attention. In the upper right-hand corner, it said something about "2010 Obama Agenda Survey." A few years back, I made a donation to the National Democratic Party and ever since I've received tons of junk mail and spam from every liberal group you can think of, so I assumed this was more of the same. However, when I opened it, I found that it was a letter from Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. He begins by threatening me with:

"Your immediate action is required."

No hi, how are you? No how's the wife? Nossir, he needs me to hup-to it toot sweet! And what action does he need me to perform so urgently?

"Please read carefully and complete the enclosed 2010 Obama Agenda Survey which is REGISTERED in your name and affixed with a tracking code to ensure that it is accounted for in the tabulated results." (The emphasis is his, not mine.)

Leave it to a Republican to register me and affix a tracking code so I will be compelled to obey his command. He goes on:

"I am sending out this questionnaire to gauge where you and other grassroots Republicans stand on the critical issues facing our nation..."

Wait a minute. Mr. Steele is under the impression that I am a Republican even though I've been registered (in the League of Women Voters sense, not in the tracking sense) as a Democrat since I was 18 years old. It doesn't give me much faith in a political party when they can't even read a voter registration roll. Maybe that's how they messed up with that whole WMDs in Iraq thing.

Before I get too cynical, Mr. Steele informs me that "the Republican Party is not dead and we are not going away." Given the amount of hot air I've been exposed to from Rush and Glen and Fox News, I really had no doubt. Anyway, Mr. Steele wants me to fill out this survey so that I can have a voice regarding what he calls the "Obama Democrat Agenda." Earlier in the letter, he talked about "conservative principles" and Republican ideals and goals. Obama and Democrats have no such things, merely an agenda. The Democrat in me is beginning to feel like some evil communist from the Cold War.

He reminds me again that I am a "REGISTERED participant" and that "no matter what, do not discard or destroy your Survey. In order for our sampling of Republican opinion from your area to be as exact as possible, you must return your survey - even if you leave some of the questions blank."

Ya vol, mein herr!

The letter goes on for three more pages (even my best friends don't write me three page letters) about how the "ultra-biased media" is covering up "Obama's top priorities" such as amnesty for illegal immigrants, raising taxes, and nationalizing health care. First of all, this talk about some sort of liberal media conspiracy really has to stop. All news organizations are owned by massive corporations run primarily by rich old white guys who are primarily Republicans. Everyone knows that Fox News is a 24-hour mouthpiece for the conservatives, and the only real alternative to that is MSNBC, and they only jumped on the liberal bandwagon because there was a commercially sound reason to appeal to a liberal demographic. For the Republicans to act like a bunch of beat up chess club members is really absurd.

As far as their claims of Obama's top priorities, none of the items listed have ever been emphasized by Obama if mentioned at all. Amnesty for illegal immigrants was a Bush initiative, not an Obama priority. Raising taxes will likely occur, but only because of the massive debts started by the Bush administration and their tax cuts. There is no nationalized health care plan on the books. It's health care reform which is focused primarily on how insurance companies conduct business. Of course, the Republicans are totally against government intervention in the practices of big business. We've already seen how well deregulation worked with the banks, mortgage companies, and Wall Street.

I could go on and on about Mr. Steele's other claims, but you've probably heard it all before, and I want to get to this all important survey about Obama's agenda. You've already been set up to believe whatever is asked in the survey must be President Obama's and/or the Democratic Party's view, but they are completely out of left field (pardon the pun):

Do you agree with Barack Obama and the Democrats that taxes should be raised for the sake of "fairness," regardless of the negative impact it is likely to have on the economy?

I guess fairness is not a conservative principle. Sure, it's much better to tax the poor and middle class. They're just going to spend the money on frivolous things like food and shelter. And the bit about "negative impact" on the economy is an allusion to the ol' trickle down economy notion that by letting the rich keep more of their money, they will invest it in businesses to create more jobs and so forth. This was Ronald Reagan's guiding principle, so how did he do? When President Reagan took office, unemployment was at 7.6% before quickly ballooning to over 10%. By the time of his re-election in 1984, unemployment had drifted back down to 7.5%, pretty much the same as when he started. During his last year in office, the rate was down to 5.5%, but it soon went back up during the George H.W. Bush administration. And where was employment during Bush's final year in office? 7.5%. So much for creating jobs Republicans. Of course, the Dow Jones Industrial Average went from around 800 to 2,600 by 1987, but half of that was wiped out in the stock market crash, and we also remember the junk bond scandals and the savings and loan collapse which cost almost 100 billion of tax payers dollars. Who exactly was trickled on here?

Should English be the official language of the United States?

I know President Obama has really been pushing that Esperanto for America campaign lately.

Do you believe that Barack Obama's nominees for federal courts should be immediately and unquestionably approved for their lifetime appointments by the U.S. Senate?

When has any senator, Republican or Democrat, given up the right to question executive nominees. In the immortal words of Chad Ochocino, "Child, please!"

Do you support the creation of a national health insurance plan that would be administered by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.?

Again, this is not on the table and the Republicans know it. This kind of fear mongering is as bad as that stupid terrorist threat level bullshit (I believe it is fuchsia today).

Are you confident that new medicines and medical treatments will continue to be developed if the federal government controls prescription drug prices and sets profit margins for research and pharmaceutical companies?

Because, that's how the system works. All the profits made by the altruistic drug companies are poured directly into new drug research. Better let us charge whatever we want, America, or we won't make any more medicines and you'll die painful, agonizing deaths! Bwahahahaha!

There's more of this tripe, but you get the idea. Mr. Steele and his merry band of fear mongers are scaring the crap out of their core constituency so that they will cough up big bucks to the Republican National Committee. That's right, at the end of the survey is a contribution form so that you may contribute "$500, $250, $100, $50, or even $3o" to help them fight against the evils of Democrats and that half-breed foreigner Barack Obama. That's why this survey is so important that they have to REGISTER everyone who receives it and track their actions. They want their damn money and they want it now!

To soften the sell, Mr. Steele explains that he has to do all this because in the 2008 election, Congressional Democrats out-raised Republicans by 2 to 1. Here we go with the beat up chess club members routine again. The Republicans have a far wealthier base than Democrats, so it stands to reason that the Democrats were so successful because a far greater number of Americans believed in Democratic principles rather than Republican ones. Maybe we were fed up with eight years of an incompetent president and six years of a Republican Congress that never had the balls to stand up to him. Maybe the Democrats had ideas that were not tired and proven wrong over and over again. Perhaps the Democrats really did appeal to a broader section of the country. No, I'm sure Mr. Steele would explain that away as the lies of the ultra-biased media elite.

Since I am REGISTERED and I must return the survey even if I leave some questions blank, I think I will do just that with no questions answered. I will attach a note saying that I am a life-long Democrat and proud of it no matter how much they wish to demonize the "L" word. I'm really more moderate than liberal, and I recognize that the left uses similar tactics as the right, but when a national political party can't even send their propaganda to the correct constituency, I think it's time they reevaluate their ability to lead a nation.