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In the middle of a campaign for the most important position in the country, we should be talking about the global economy, tensions around the world such as problems in Iran, Syria and elsewhere. We should be talking about how to best prepare ourselves for the new economic circumstances our world now inhabits or how to overhaul our tax and entitlements systems.
But we are not.
The GOP presidential nominees aren’t talking about these things. They are focused on contraception and questions of “good and evil.” The Republican Party, seems intent on not returning our country to a more prosperous state but to a different era. It has become normal for politicians on both sides to wax nostalgic about “the good old days.” Those days seems always have been in the 1950s, when — by the way, the tax rates for the highest earners was at its highest level ever. But the current crop of candidates don’t think going back to even the 50s is enough.
I get why the Republicans feel the need to return to social and religious issues, their base loves it. Think about what they want to talk about: contraception, religious wars, gay marriage. Really?
Newsflash: It’s 2012, Women can vote and most use contraception. Gay marriage will be legal everywhere in the United States during my lifetime. Nothing you do will change either of those facts. Just to be as clear on this as possible — you are on the wrong side of history on these issues but that isn’t the real problem. History doesn’t care. The problem is by wasting everyone’s time on issues that won’t be changed at this level, we fail to talk about the policies that will. You cheapen the process.
All of this is great for the Democrats. And I want President Obama to win. But as good as this is for his reelection prospects, it is bad for the country. Presidential campaigns provide an opportunity to really examine and evaluate the state of the country and the best ways to deal with the challenges we face. These should be lofty conversations and debates not petty bickering about social issues that were settled years ago (not to harp, but nothing Rick Santorum can do will turn that clock back).
When President Obama took office, I characterized the situation he faced as his “Himalayan problem.” All problems were so large individually but it was hard to gage their enormity when clumped together. I misspoke, this was not his Himalayan problem, it was ours. By choosing to focus on issues that excite one base or another at the expense of those that impact all of us, the GOP is making molehills out of our Everest sized problems and that’s unfortunate.
Where to start this week?
Maybe I can start with the most disturbing story since Jerry Sandusky. WTF? Can we all agree that no one should abuse children? What thought process leads someone to think taking pictures of children with blindfolds, tape and/or mouths full of semen, which they thought was “magic candy” is appropriate? Apparently LA educator Mark Berdt thought that was just fine. I saw an official from the area say this on CNN, “They just thought they were being blindfolded and gagged as a game.” There is so much wrong with that statement that I am not sure where to begin. So, I’ll end my anti-child abuse rant there.
How about Mitt Romney’s compassionate nature? Recently he told a reporter, “I don’t care about the poor, there’s a safety net for that. If it’s broken, I’ll fix it.” I am sure the nation’s poor — and some estimates have that number as being as high as 42 million Americans — will be greatly relieved to hear that.
Why do we still care what Donald Trump thinks about anything? Rumor has it, he will endorse Newt Gingrich. Why do we care? Oh, right, we’re stupid.
(FYI, if you are not familiar with that quote it from The Wizard of Oz, a movie about which I have written before. Side note: has anyone heard the story of the suicide on the set that is supposed to be in the film? Used to scare the crap out of me. And I was in college when said scaring took place. Of course I am afraid of velociraptors, so clearly something is not right with me.)
“As you know, from my repeated and vociferous denials of every doing anything wrong, inappropriate or even less than brilliant — at any point, ever — that my candidacy for president has rattled some people. They remain desperately afraid of a black, businessman moving into the White House. They know I can win, and neither the Democratic machine, nor some of the other GOP campaign, can let that happen.
“Both my wife, Gloria, and I remain convinced that Herman Cain is exactly what the doctor ordered to lead this great country at this time in history. While the persistent rumors and allegations about me don’t bother me at all, as I know they are not true, the toll they are taking on my wife is another story. I don’t want to give in to these fear mongerers and mud slingers but after meeting with the joint chiefs of my campaign, we determined these attacks will keep coming so I am ending my current campaign for the GOP nomination.
“Herman Cain will be back. Maybe as soon as next year — I will base my decision to run as an Independent on whether I can get Donald Trump to run with me. If that doesn’t work out, he is unpredictable and not nearly the handsome rascal Rick Perry is — or that I am — this is not the last presidential run for the Cain Train.
“Thank you for your support, God bless you, God bless America and God bless Godfather’s Pizza.”