Daily Planet, 10/2014

[details dated but ideas stand]

Why would somebody vote for Republicans in 2014?

This looks like a rhetorical question, where the intent is to make the reader think for a second before the writer gives his answer. A set-up question. The Apostle Paul uses this device a lot in his writings in the Bible – like in Romans 8:31, where he asks, “What shall we then say to these things?” He then goes on to say what we shall say.

The opening question seems like a rhetorical question because we know why people vote Republican. Much has been written on that. But it’s a real question. I don’t know the answer.

One group of people vote Republican because their family has always voted Republican. It’s like growing up Baptist or an Atlanta Braves fan.

Second, there are those who are, more than anything, against “liberals.” These people tend to watch Fox News and listen to talk radio – sources that have a big interest in dividing everything into “conservative” and “liberal,” for their ratings’ sake.

Third, there are people who have a deep interest in political theory. They believe intellectually in small government, low taxes and free-market capitalism.

Fourth, religious conservatives. They vote Republican because they are theologically “conservative” and Republicans are seen as conservative. And also, the GOP, beginning in the 1970s, has taken stances on social issues, especially abortion and homosexuality, that are in line with their beliefs.

Last but far from least, the Tea Party. These folks despise authority of all kinds.   They vote Republican when they can’t beat the mainstream Republican in a primary.

That’s why people vote Republican – in ordinary times.

And in ordinary times I wouldn’t be writing this. People vote Democrat and people vote Republican for their own reasons, and that’s cool.

But my opening question wasn’t about ordinary times. It was about why people would vote Republican in 2014. That’s a whole ‘nuther question.

You see, voting Republican in 2014 means voting for Mark Meadows for U.S. Congress – the guy who led the shutdown on the federal government last year and now says he regrets doing it. He thought he could juke Obama into shutting down Obamacare.   He’s an inept bumbler.

Voting Republican this year means voting for Michele Presnell, Tim Moffatt and Nathan Ramsey for the Legislature – the gang who can’t shoot straight.

These guys went to Raleigh and rushed through legislation that was written for them by the “deep interest in political theory” folks – eggheads in think tanks in Washington. The newcomers high-fived. Easy as pie, this passing laws!

But trouble was, THEY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT COMES NEXT. They were amateurs wearing big league uniforms.

They cut taxes, mostly on the rich and corporations, and crowed that jobs and prosperity would come trickling down.   Whoops! Didn’t happen. The tax cut resulted in a huge budget shortfall. The Raleigh News&Observer headlined:   “Budget disaster of gigantic proportions looms over North Carolina.”

Here’s the thing. The whole country has seen a rise in employment, and a majority of states are entering their new fiscal years better off than any time since 2008.   North Carolina had a shortfall of $445 million last fiscal year, with even worse news coming up.

If these guys had done NOTHING, we’d have a budget surplus.

It gets worse. The News&Observer wrote in July: “In last week’s budget debate, lawmakers were uncertain of basic numbers about the state’s projected revenue.” Not easy as pie, this making laws work.

Along with budget mayhem, the gang who can’t shoot straight also dragged our public schools down to the murky bottom of national rankings.

Whatever a person’s reason might be to vote Republican in ordinary times, they’ve GOT to wonder about voting Republican this year, voting for Meadows, Presnell, Moffatt and Ramsey, don’t they?

Don’t they?