When all candidates and elected officials are losers, how can America win?

Which way for winners or losers?
Which way for winners or losers?

A lot of discussion here on Capitol Hill Blue lately about partisanship, degrees of unethical or criminal behavior and whether or not one political party is better than another.

Some have suggested that I am trying to avoid alienating sources on either side of the fence by laying equal blame on Democrats and Republicans, liberals or conservatives or whatever term one chooses to use to describe their position or point of view.

Democrats, of course, say Republicans are to blame for the gridlock and/or myriad of problems that America faces.  Republicans claim it is all the fault of the Democrats.  Liberals slam conservatives and the other way around.

In other words, it is always someone else’s fault.

I come from a different point of view, one that suggests their is more than enough blame to go around and the answer may live within ourselves and not the other guy or gal.  Or, at the risk of name-dropping and quoting William Shakespeare, “the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

If this nation is truly a Democratic Republic — and that is a big “if” to a lot of people — then does the fault lie in the motley collection of voters who put the problem folks into office and vote again and again keep them there?

Some might argue that, given voter turnout in recent years, it is a minority of voters who put the majority of problems into office.  Yes, that is somewhat true but then does the fault lie with those of us who vote for the bad applies or does it lie with those who, for whatever reason, choose not to vote or to waste votes on populist candidates who never stand a chance of winning or even making an impact on the overall scheme of things.

It can be argued, for example, that a vote for three-time losing Presidential candidate Ron Paul was a waste of time or effort.  Those who voted for him argue otherwise, saying that their vote was either a protest ballot choice or one intended to “make a point.”

And what point was that?  That it is better to vote for losers than to find a viable candidate who can win and make a difference?  We can argue that point either way because such candidates have not existed in national elections for a long, long time.

Lets take a long, hard look at the list of candidates who ran in 2012.  Did, for example, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michaelle Bachmann or Mitt Romney have what it takes to lead this nation out of the current morass?  Was either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton up to the job?

Those, and others, were our choices and they were a pitiful lot indeed.  Obama, of course, won a second term and one that could go down in history as one of the worst lame-duck terms of any incumbent President.

Which brings back the original question:  Is either side better than the other or any candidate better than another?  Those who avidly support populists like Ron Paul will argue yes but the vast majority of voters did not agree.  If they had he would be in the White House today.

American politics, by its nature, is riddled with losers and until we find a way to find a real leader among that collection of misfits the problem we face will not only continue but will most like get far worse.

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Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue
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Homophobic Santorum calls endorsement of gay marriage ‘suicidal’

Rick Santorum: A GOP homophobe mouths off
Rick Santorum: A GOP homophobe mouths off

One of the Republican Party’s leading homophobes, former Senator and failed Presidential candidate  Rick Santorum, is carrying his stirdent anti-gay message even further, urging fellow Republicans to avoid what he calls a “suicidal” endorsement of marrige equality.

Even though polls show widespread public support for gay marriage, Santorum claims the trend if “only a fad” and could destroy the Republican Party is too many from the party of the elephant jump on board.

“The Republican Party is not going to change on this issue,” Santorum told the Des Moines Register in an interview.  “In my opinion, it would be suicidal if it did.”

“Santorum is wrong,” John Hartley, a GOP strategist tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “In today’s environment, it would be suicidal for Republicans to continue its opposition to gay marriage and other issues involving equality for gays.”

The rabid right wing of the Republican Party continues its virulent opposition to any equality for gays and will likely applaud Santorum’s homophobia, even though it is out of step with the vast majority of Americans.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee claims some conservatives would split from the GOP is the party goes moderate on gays.

Many think that would be a good idea.

“It’s time we got rid of the right wing flakes,” says longtime Republican Garland Watson.  “They’ve ruined the party and cost us too many elections.”

Former Congressman Newt Gingrich claims the right wing will “flake off” if the party as a whole supports same sex marriage.

A growing number feels that would be the best that could happen to the GOP.

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Rabid-right Republicans, as usual, resist long-needed change in hypocritical and bigoted ideas

040113bigotryThe rabid right wing of the Republican Party, less and less of a factor as time marches on without them, is still fighting to prevent the party from moving forward and joining modern times.

“Look, the Republican Party is not going to change,” former Senator and failed Presidential candidate Rick Santorum told Politico recently.  “If we do change we’ll be the Whig Party.  We’re not the Libertarian Party.  We’re the Republican Party.”

Mike Huckabee — another proud member of the Bible-thumping, hard-core religious right — claims the GOP lost the last two Presidential elections not because its candidates were too far fight but says they are too moderate.

Hmmm.  Weren’t tea party darlings Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan on the last two Presidential tickets as vice presidential candidates?

Doesn’t matter, Huckabee claims, saying the presence of John McCain and Mitt Romney at the top of the tickets kept too many conservatives at home.

Both Santorum and Huckabee think the rabid right turning out in force could have made a difference in 2008 and 2012.

If their beliefs are true, then the best thing that could have happened to America was the presence of a Republican moderate that kept the so-called “conservatives” at home and away from the polls.

Here at Capitol Hill Blue, most of us believe that the rabid right represents more of a threat to the American way of life than any turban wearing and Islam-spouting terrorist.

The right wing of the GOP is driven by hate, intolerance and power.  They don’t give a damn about what is good for Amercia — they only want a country fashioned by a government that controls what we say, what we hear and what we can do — especially in the privacy of our bedrooms.

They misquote the Bible, a book of wide-ranging contradictions — as justification of an effort to keep this country in the dark ages.  They claim less government is preferable, unless the government passes binding legislation imposing a hypocritical view of morality on a nation of victims of their perverted view of the world.

Their hypocrisy is astounding.  The rabid right pushes family values, yet Republicans like Newt Gingrich embarked on numerous extra-marital affairs, often ending marriages with former mistresses to united with a new one.  They condemn homosexuality but the party is riddled with closeted gays.

After two election losses, some signs of change have come to the party of the elephant.  The list of Republicans now supporting gay marriage grows almost daily and the party of intolerance and intransigence is close to a deal that will bring a long-needed overhaul of U.S. immigration laws.

Both changes, of course, are viewed with dismay by right-wing addicts like Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee.  We also still see examples of the old GOP.  Alaska GOP Rep. Don Young proved that this past week when he referred to Hispanics as “wetbacks.”  He apologized after coming under fire from his own party, including Speaker of the House John Boehner, who said:

Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds. I don’t care why he said it – there’s no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology.

Of course, neither Santorum or Huckabee joined other Republicans in condemning Young.

Too bad.

The world is changing.

Even the Republican Party is changing.

And troglodytes like Santorum and Hukabee may have no choice but to take their outdated hypocrisy, bigotry and racism back into a cave where such attitudes belong.

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Copyright 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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Failed ‘fiscal conservative’ GOP Presidential candidates face millions in unpaid campaign debts

Failed Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: Living large off other people’s money.
(AP Photo)

Failed Republican primary candidates for President — who preached fiscal responsibility throughout their aborted runs for office — face millions of dollars of debts from their now shuttered campaigns.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich‘s campaign owes creditors close to $5 million, according to his Sept. 30 filing with the Federal Election Campaign.

Gingrich, who used private planes and luxury hotels throughout his failed bid for the Presidency, managed to pile on another 50 grand in debt after his campaign ended, the reports reveal.

“Newt live large on other people’s money,” GOP strategist Al Waring tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “That has always been his style.”

The overdue bills from the Gingrich campaign bills include fees for advertising, ballot fees, event expenses, consulting, legal fees, telemarketing, travel and web hosting.   Gingrich also stiffed some states when his checks for ballot fees bounced.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, another self-described “fiscal conservative,” owes $1.13 million.  Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is $607,218 in the hole and Hermain Cain still owes $450,000 in unpaid travel expenses and loans.

In contrast, Texas Congressman Ron Paul ended his third unsuccessful Presidential campaign with a $2 million surplus which, is Paul follows his practice from previous campaign, will go into the foundations that support his various programs and employs members of his family.

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Romney took tough welfare line in Massachusetts

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

 

Mitt Romney, who is trying to gain an edge in the presidential contest with the disputed charge that President Barack Obama is giving welfare recipients a free ride, can point to his own record of pushing for tighter welfare rules during four years as governor of Massachusetts.

Romney fought to require single parents with children as young as a year old to work to get welfare benefits if they could obtain state-subsidized child care. He also opposed efforts to allow time spent in job training or education programs to count toward the state’s 20-hour weekly work requirement for welfare recipients, and pushed for a five-year lifetime limit on welfare benefits.

At the time, Massachusetts was one of only five states without a lifetime limit, instead allowing welfare recipients to claim benefits two years out of every five-year period.

Despite his tougher stand, Romney also tried to shield welfare benefits from budget cuts as the state struggled with sinking revenues.

“There are a number of areas where I feel significant cuts would be too difficult on such short notice. I did not cut welfare payments,” Romney said in a televised address in 2003 explaining his state budget proposal after just four weeks on the job. “In fact, the majority of state programs for the poor and elderly were not touched.”

While the Republican presidential nominee has been criticized for shifting his position on everything from abortion to embryonic stem cell research to health care, his stand on welfare has remained relatively constant.

Romney’s camp hopes to draw a sharp contrast with Obama on welfare. But despite Romney’s history of pushing for tighter welfare restrictions as governor, his campaign has come under increasing criticism for leveling what Democrats and many independent fact-checkers say are dubious charges against Obama.

Romney’s campaign alleges in remarks and TV ads that Obama is loosening welfare restrictions by ending a provision that requires welfare recipients to work. Romney has told voters again and again he’d restore the work requirement to the federal program.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum made the attack line a big part of his speech to the GOP convention, saying that Obama “showed us once again he believes in government handouts and dependency by waiving the work requirement for welfare.”

Yet numerous independent fact-checkers, including The Associated Press, have determined that Romney and his surrogates are distorting the facts.

The White House says the waivers Obama approved for states recently would only allow them to drop the work requirement if they can accomplish the same goals using different methods.

As governor, Romney clashed not only with Democratic leaders but also with advocates for those on welfare. Those advocates said some of his recommendations were harmful to children, particularly those requiring parents of young children, often mothers, to work up to 20 hours a week to maintain their benefits.

In a state with a liberal reputation, Romney’s tough stand put him at odds with a Democratic-controlled Legislature. Yet it also placed him in line with some of his GOP gubernatorial predecessors in Massachusetts.

Romney vetoed a proposal sent to him by the Legislature during his first year to allow welfare recipients to use time spent in training and education classes to satisfy the state work requirement. It later overturned Romney’s veto.

During his second year, Romney took another stab at toughening welfare requirements, again pushing to require more parents currently receiving welfare benefits to go to work.

By 2005, Romney sought to increase the pressure even more by proposing rules that would mandate welfare recipients with children as young as a year old to start working 20 hours a week to earn their state benefits.

In his state of the state address that year, Romney outlined his efforts to bring what he called “real welfare reform to Massachusetts,” saying part of his goal was to help get those on welfare back into the workforce as quickly as possible.

“People from both political parties have long recognized that welfare without work creates negative incentives that lead to permanent poverty,” Romney said. “It robs people of self-esteem.”

Throughout his term, Romney often found himself at odds with welfare advocates, who said his tougher line would ultimately hurt the children of those on welfare and make it difficult for recipients to find jobs that would allow them to support their families.

During his final year in office, Romney and Democratic lawmakers again clashed over the best way to overhaul the state’s welfare laws.

The House and Senate passed a bill they said would require more welfare recipients to work, but critics, including Romney, said the plan didn’t go far enough, jeopardizing millions in federal welfare dollars.

The Legislature’s bill would have required about 16,000 of the state’s 45,600 welfare recipients to work. Romney proposed a series of amendments he said would put more than 25,500 recipients to work.

Among those was his push to require women with children between 1 and 2 years old to work if they could obtain state-subsidized child care. Romney also wanted to require disabled welfare recipients to meet the stricter federal definition of disability rather than a more lenient state definition.

The Legislature ended its formal session that year without taking final action on the welfare overhaul bill.

Asked for comment on his welfare record, Romney’s campaign cited his remarks this month in Iowa, saying he pushed for tougher work requirements for those receiving benefits.

“People who receive payments from government are going to be required to work, not as a punitive measure, but as a gift. Work is enhancing. Work is elevating,” Romney said in Iowa. “I want more people working if they’re going to receive government assistance.”

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Miga reported from Washington.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press

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Political candidates preach financial responsibility while stiffing creditors

GOP Presidential wannabes like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich may preach financial responsibility on the campaign trail but they are deadbeats when it comes to paying their campaign bills.

Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House, owes $4.85 million in unpaid campaign debts.  Santorum, a former Senator, has stilled creditors for $1.69 million to date, according to campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Huntsman wrote a check for $1.5 million from his personal funds to cover some of his campaign debts after angry vendors hired lawyers and threatened to sue.  He stills owes more to others.

Bachmann owes more than $935,000.

A lot of the unpaid bills are held by small businesses who GOP candidates claim they represent.

Republicans aren’t the only ones who stiff those who provided services.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton still owes millions in debts from her failed run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.  Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, won two terms in the White House but still owes hundreds of thousands of dollars from both winning campaigns.

“Campaigns often stiff creditors,” one Republican consultant told Capitol Hill Blue.

Normally, the small business owners end up holding the bag.  Larger vendors, like telephone companies and airlines, demand huge cash deposits to hold against future bills.  Even then, campaigns run short.  Early in his 2008 Presidential bid, Republican contender John McCain had to make emergency phone calls when his campaign plane was grounded for unpaid bills.

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