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November 11, 2009

Do You Agree?

By Elaine Viets

The Republican National Committee and I rarely agree. But this time we are in complete accord:

The RNC made a mistake when they sent me their 2009 Obama Agenda Survey.

What am I doing on a Republican mailing list?     Flag

Now there’s a mystery. I am a devout Democrat.

To me, political parties are like religions. Logic doesn’t work when making those choices. No one ever said, "Elaine, if you want to get ahead, you should be an Episcopalian. The best firms and country clubs are Episcopalian."

Nor did anyone say, "You sing beautifully. You should be a Baptist."

Nope, Democrat was my family’s religion and I stayed faithful. I knew when the Dems were in power, my people would be in heaven – or at least we’d have more money than we did under the other guys.

Bus1 One of my uncles got rich and betrayed his birthright. He turned Republican and voted for Nixon. I still remember the day. My grandfather rose up from his plether recliner like an Old Testament prophet and thundered, "Roosevelt fed you during the Depression! This is how you repay him?"

The family has tried to recover from the shame. I voted Democrat whenever I had the chance, but I could never atone for my uncle’s sin.

So why in the hell is the RNC sending me their Registered Obama Agenda Survey? They want me to "indicate the answer you feel most appropriate by checking the corresponding box, sign this document and return it in the postage-paid envelope provided along with your contribution.

"To ensure this Registered Survey is properly accounted for, we ask that you sign and return this document regardless of whether or not you answer every question. Thank you."

No, thank you, RNC. I’ve always wanted to tell you what I thought.

The fifteen survey questions have a registration number, an ID number and a request for me to send in $500, $250, $100 or so.

Gee, RNC Chairman Steele. I’d like to do that. But after eight straight years of your party being in power, I DON’T HAVE ANY FREAKING MONEY.

But you can have my opinions. Here are a few:

RNC Q: "Do you agree with Barack Obama’s budget plan that will lead to a $23.1 trillion national debt over the next ten years?"

Me: Yes! Hell yes! How come the RNC never worries about the budget when the Republicans start a war in some god-forsaken place like Iraq? Why are you having a sudden attack of fiscal responsibility?

RNC Q: "Do you support amnesty for illegal immigrants?"

Me: Yes. They’re doing most of America’s dirty work for less than minimum wage. (Why does your party like wage slaves?)

I don’t believe in total amnesty. I want these immigrants to have background checks. If they have criminal records in the US or their own country, then ship them back. Otherwise, legalize them. Make them taxpaying citizens. That way, there’s more money for all of us.

RNC Q: "Do you believe that the quality and availability of healthcare will increase if the federal government dictates pricing to doctors and hospitals?"

Me: Yes! And I have $30,000 in medical bills under this so-called free market system to prove your way doesn’t work. Oh, and those bills are after I had two quality healthcare insurance providers.

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

A: Yes! I would support a national health insurance plan administered by the devil to get away from the current companies.

Better yet, I’d support Canada’s system, where some of their citizens pay about $500 a YEAR for health care. Then if I wanted a procedure that wasn’t covered by national health, I would be able to afford it as a private patient.

The RNC told me, "By using your own first class stamp to return this envelope, you will be helping us save much needed funds."

Hah. It’s time you fat cats paid your own way. Am I going to let the RNC pay the postage for this shoddy survey?

In the words of a prominent Republican woman,

"You betcha!"


A special thank you today to the men and women who have fought for our country, so that we have to freedom to debate and to vote.


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Amen..........I always seem to be saying that to your posts Elaine.......your words do say it all.

Right on, Elaine! The GOP knows that if we get national health care, it will become wildly popular and, like social security/medicare/minimum wage, will become untouchable forever. And then they will forever be the shmucks who tried to prevent it.

Here's my current thinking: The two party system keeps us all honest. Well, okay, maybe there's no way to keep politicians honest, but we need checks and balances, and two opinions make a debate. (Unfortunately, we've all gotten too hot and debates break down into rants.) My own city has been a Democratic haven for decades, but we're a financial and social mess, so maybe listening to a dissenting voice now and then would have prevented some of the disasters. (If you send me $250, I'll keep talking.)

Nancy, I think America benefits with two strong parties, each trying to communicate and offering new proposals. It's not good for the Democrats or the Republicans to retreat into "We're going to stop your projects." We need serious debate and we're not getting it.
This polarization makes me sad and angry at the waste.

I think this country would be better served if the two parties stopped scrabbling to their respective outer limits, digging themselves into a hole, and howling at each other. What ever happened to reasonable discussion and compromise, for the good of the people? Instead we're treated to a bunch of loud fanatics.

It is shameful that the U.S. offers such pathetic health-care options, and that statistics such as infant mortality reflect our overall lack of concern. If other countries can make it work, why can't we?

Elaine, you hit the nail on the head with your comment about "I'm going to stop your projects". For a long time in this country if you were a Democrat that was equated with being a "liberal", and ergo, the "devil". The hysterical rhetoric by some who will remain nameless (unless someone else brings them up) has caused much of the rift. When you hear yourself being screamed about as though you ate babies for snacks you're tempted to wonder about your own ideals, let alone those who don't take the trouble to ask you what they are, exactly.

The truth of the matter is that most Americans fall neatly into the center, including most presidents who have been elected. At least that was their game when they were running for office. Bush Sr. and Clinton were almost exactly two sides of the same coin; they were equally close to having centrist views, just slightly on either side of the middle. Bush Jr. was the game changer. He ran as a moderately right centrist then immediately veered to the right almost as far as he could get. What the?

There have always been divisions along party lines, but it's gotten so much worse in the last 20 years. As a centrist Democrat, I miss the old Grand Old Party.

i agree with elain completely

Amen, Karen in Ohio. Two strong parties encourage sharper thinking and (we hope) good solutions to our nation's problems.
Even lifelong Democrats like me do not want one party.

Right On!

And yes, Obama will have a huge deficit. He had a great big running start from GW. What was the deficit on W's first day? Now I remember, zero.

Because this is a blog for people who love words, I have to point out the verbage of these questions - wtsh? (I am trying to use What the Sam Hill instead of wtf)

Loaded much? Leading the witness, perhaps? What a joke. Totally defeats the purpose of a survey (if, in fact, that was the purpose, rather than raising money).

You could draft a survey that would have people agreeing it would be best if we all killed our own kids with this kind of manipulative language. It's not just the RNC who is guilty, either.

Maybe one reason we are so polarized is that we have forgotten how to communicate without hyperbole and vitriol.

Meanwhile, we have more people joining the ranks of the homeless every day.

I'm what they call a Fiscal Conservative/Social Liberal. (I've always been too conservative for the Dems & too liberal for the Repubs) I want to make sure we don't spend anymore than we have to and make sure we get value for our money. But stay the hell out of my personal life. If I'm not hurting anyone (and that SOMETIMES includes myself), mind your own damn business. I'm all for taking care of those who can't take care of themselves and helping those who need it and giving a friendly push...er, encouragement to those who require it.

If I was old enough to vote, I would have voted for Nixon the first time. (Elaine, St. Charles County, what can I say.) In spite of his paranoia and disregard for the Bill of Rights, he was an excellent foreign policy president. But Watergate? WTF??? I even voted for Reagan the first time. But when Dear Hubby & I both got laid off & the bosses got richer in his first term, I went the other direction. When Bush Sr. ran against Reagan, I was all for him. But when offered the VPship & flipped on a lot of the social freedoms he was for, that was it for me with the Bushes. And we know what the previous 8 years were like.

I will not vote for a Republican National candidate until they get away from the fringe group that has all but destroyed the party.

My husband received one of those repuglican surveys and filled it out as you did. We figured it would never be read by anyone because there was no donation enclosed. In fact, he circled the $500 amount and wrote "Thanking you in advance, I can really use the money. You have my address."

Need I say we're still waiting for the check?

Hmmm, could we send the RNC a copy of those questions that Elaine quoted above and answered them in a similar vein? Place an initial paragraph about how we understood that the RNC wanted to know how the people felt about these issues and we are happy to answer on our own -- even supplying the stamp!

Alan, that's not exactly true. There was a deficit, but Clinton was working towards not only balancing the budget, but also working off the national debt. They go in tandem, and even though the deficit gets the press, the debt is the real indicator of fiscal health.

There's a difference between a deficit and the debt. The deficit is just the difference between what is budgeted and what is spent, if more money is spent than budgeted for. The national debt is how much the country owes.

When Bush took office there was a $4 million debt burden. When he left office there was nearly a $10 million national debt, which means that during his eight years in office he was responsible for more than double the amount of debt incurred by the US in its entire history. That's pretty damned big, and something the media rarely points out.

Prior to the Reagan administration the GOP would never in a million years have done what it took to get the debt this high. They have strayed far, far away from their truly conservative and fiscally responsible roots in the last 20 years or so. That's one reason I'm so sad about how they roll these days. It used to be that the conservatives were all about putting the brakes on the Democrats when they wanted to give everyone a handout. Not any more. The handouts are fine, just as long as they go to a lobbyist, or a corporate hog, or to the rich. Screw the little guy.

I love this blog. We don't agree on everything, but we politely discuss the issues and listen to one another.

I too remember that Clinton handed a well-balanced, deficit free government to someone who spent funds like water. So talk talk deficit to me. My memory is too long. I've not ever gotten a survey like yours, Elaine...but I would answer in the same vein. Frankly, if both parties would take into consideration the benefits of a cooperative Congress for their constituents(you know, the people who voted them in?) instead of sticking to 'tried and tested' policies that don't work, this country would be in better shape. This spoken by an independent, who strayed from party lines a while ago. We're already in the throes of "Vote for ..... Stop the corrupt machine" in the gubernatorial primaries for 2010. I'd vote Green Party if I thought the candidate could do the job. :o)
Thanks to all the vets who've kept this country free so we can have these discussions.

Just the other week, I got a call from the RNC. They just don't mention that as they ask for your opinion on political matters.

A few pointed questions to make themselves look better, with me doing a 'neither' or 'no' finally convinced the dude that he should check the political affiliation of the household next time. Both my father and I are long-time registered Dems. And neither the dog nor cat can vote.

Debby, that's called a "push poll", where they ask leading questions to get answers to fit their agenda, so they can justify it to the public.

It's all become such a game, and aren't we all tired to death of it? Especially with the dearth of good reporting today, all we get to hear or read is the manipulated results of so-called public opinion.

And in case we forget: Bush 2 ran his two wars without accounting for them on the federal budget -- first prez in history to try that little bit of financial wizardry.

Don't get me started...

I got one of those surveys. I am a registered Republican. My family is like yours, Elaine, except my grandmother who was a yellow dog democrat until the day she died. Unless of course, they are right about the cemetery vote and then she is still voting Democrat and probably darn happy about it in Heaven.

Anyway, I didn't take the time to fill out the survey. Yes, all the questions were VERY leading and the asking for money part annoyed me. I hate it when politicians, any politician, ask me for money!

I, for one, think kindergartners behave better than the politicians.


Nicely done. Hope whatever teabagger they have in the office opening letters can read it.

Well said, as always, Elaine.

And I too want to point out that this is the most civilized bunch of bloggers I've ever encountered. How nice to not resort to name-calling when expressing dissenting opinions.

Oh Elaine! A postage paid envelope? Have you forgotten when they were pushing for 'right to work' in Mo.? The union people were very creative
(tho some things they put in the envelopes are probably considered hazardous now, like used toilet paper) A lot of guys taped the return envelope to bricks tho!

Great blog, Elaine.

I think that SASE like that should ALWAYS be returned...empty.

Don't tell them to take you off the list, Elaine. It's good to know what the other side is up to...

Repuglicans? Teabaggers? Maybe I am even more out of touch than I realized, and these terms are now considered polite and civilized?

But, on topic, the RNC is missing the point, obviously. Using those types of push poll type surveys is pretty well guaranteed to offend anyone who is capable of thinking.

Holly G. just brought this to my attention. (Thanks, HG.)

When Bush took office, the national debt was $4 Trillion--with a "t"--and when he left it was nearly $10 Trillion--with a "t".

The wars have added an undue burden, too, and then when the stock market collapsed we added on yet more debt. What a mess. If we had been reducing our debt, instead of piling on more, the world market collapse would not have affected us as badly. In fact, it might not have even happened. Who knows?

And Bea, you have a point. Calling names doesn't help either side.

I agree, Karen. It is a mess. What scares me is that China has a surplus and they are investing in the US. I fear we are turning into a second-rate power, mostly due to our greed and laziness.

Well-done, Elaine. We have to take some action from time to time to keep from getting totally discouraged. I have a Republican ex-boyfriend who e-mails me stuff, and I think it's good to know what they are up to, even though his posts can be disturbing (for example, nude photos supposedly of Obama's mother -- who does stuff like that?) I wish we'd all play more nicely . . .

Just watched Rachel on Jeapordy -- Wow! such intelligence and poise! . . . and they were courteous to each other, too, such good examples they are setting for us.
There was an article in the Post about high school friends supporting a friend: Metro High School Junior Kennedy Stomps, 15, appeared on the 2009 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament. Her classmates showed up in the school auditorium to cheer her on as they watched the episode on Tuesday.

That article brought me to tears, Mary. More good news about kids!

A phrase I haven't used in quite a while, Elaine, springs to life when reading your post: Right on!
I came from a family that had both sides of the aisle for a while, passionate Democrats, paranoid anti-communist Republicans (no, I'm not saying all Republicans are paranoid anti-communists! But certainly the ones in my family were/are). But I was pushed further and further into the Democrat/Independent camp as the Republican contingent became less and less reasonable, more and more prejudiced (they would seriously throw all people of color, gays, anyone named Clinton and anyone named Obama under the bus without a second thought), and worst of all in my personal rule book, downright RUDE. I can't count the number of times they've aggressively attacked my beliefs, my visions for what could be, my interest in intelligent and balanced leadership.
My stepfather was a lifelong Republican who was a gentleman right down to his toes (thus, had little to do with the paranoid ones), and made his last political business in this life surviving long enough to vote for William Clinton as a gesture of not only support but also repentance, as he saw the shambles that the Republicans were becoming. He would be cringing in shame at the Rovians and their colleagues and antics.

Given my political motives,
my party called me for a survey.

I was asked questions that were quite similar to the questions that Elaine wrote about. I finally stopped the questioning and said,

"You know, the problem with the party is that they do not listen to me. In fact, it seems the only time that I hear from you is when you want money."

The response I received was this;
"Oh, would you like me to take you off the

On another subject-- I just finished "The Fashion Hound Murders" and I enjoyed it. But I think you may have left many of your readers with the impression that all purebreed rescue dogs at shelters and purebreed rescues are mill dogs. They aren't.
I have been volunteering with Boxer Rescue of Los Angeles (BRLA) for 19 years. BRLA is among the largest single breed rescues in the country. We placed 839 boxers last year. Most were probably back yard bred, a few could walk in to any show ring in the country (if we did not spay or neuter before placement).

Even in a good economy dogs end up in shelters or rescues for many reasons. Their owners move, go to college, get a divorce, didn't understand the responsibility and make a dog's lifetime commitment. Many fall for a cute puppy and before they know it they have a dog and one they haven't bothered to socialize or train.

In this economy, the number of owner turn ins has risen dramatically and here in the Inland Empire of California some are being killed immediately at city and county shelters whose budgets and staffs have been slashed. They are bursting at the seams with two or three times more dogs coming in than were turned in 2-3 years ago. BTW Strays in California must be kept for several days in case they have owners looking for them. No one is looking for the dogs whose owners have turned them in.

Many are young dogs whose owners bought houses and aquired a dog. They lose the house they lose the dog. We are also seeing many more dogs in need of medical treatment-- among other things, boxers are not afraid of cars, we fix a lot of broken legs. In this economy,and with so many jobs lost, owners cannot or will not pay for medical care.
The majority of the dogs we see are young, healthy or potentially healthy dogs and as they are boxers, they are almost all happy dogs. A few would break your heart. But very, very few are mill dogs.

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

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