What we have in this country is the ultimate battle. After years of petty arguments and vague differences, crystal clear battle lines have been drawn: the party of abject evil, the Republicans, has declared war on the party of abject stupidity, the Democrats. As a nine year old in 1956, I can remember watching the presidential campaign between Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. As a "nice Jewish boy" in a parochial school, I was actually exposed to diverse political opinions at school. We had no television at home, but during lunch, the school actually showed the candidates on their television. They did not tell us how to think, but there was a distinct bias toward Stevenson in my home. My mother was a Republican, my father a Democrat, but they both clearly preferred the Democrat. "Why?" I asked them. Their answer, more than anything else, reflected their commitment to education, social equality and growth of something they called a "middle class." In all honesty, I didn't know exactly what they meant by "a middle class," but I did get the message. What I didn't realize, at the time, is that General Eisenhower and many Republican leaders also had respect for those same things, just not quite as much as Stevenson and his more liberal supporters.
After losing two elections to General Eisenhower, Democrats took a turn for the better, running a moderate Democrat, John Kennedy for the chief executive position. His narrow victory over the moderate conservative, Dick Nixon, marked a resurgence in education, technology, social equality and economic vitality. Despite his untimely death, great strides in these areas continued to be fulfilled as Democrats and Republicans reluctantly cooperated with each other "for the good of the country." Through the tumultuous times of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, a moderate Democrat and a moderate Republican, despite a divisive war, the economy survived and Republicans and Democrats treated each other with relative respect. The moderate Jimmy Carter's mediocre presidency was followed by the moderate conservative Ronald Reagan whose first four years brought excitement and an end to the cold war. It was, for a moment, as if the excitement of the end of World War II had been recaptured as Reagan uttered the famous exclamation: "Tear down this wall!"
Unfortunately, as the Berlin Wall was torn down and President Reagan began his descent into the ravages of Alzheimer's Dementia, the voices of gentle men like James Baker, Bob Dole, Gerald Ford and the Senior Bush were muted by the harsh indifference of the Cheneys, Rumsfelds and Wolfowitzes. As unmitigated greed took hold of the Republican reins, the economy faltered, the savings and loans were brutalized, banks sacked, looted and sold to bank examiners' cronies and every government function that could be privatized for the personal benefit of the neoconservatives was appropriately pilfered. The Democratic solution was to retreat into the warm bosom of totally irrational ultraliberalism. Running candidates like Dukakis, McCarthy, McGovern, all good men, divorced from reality, Democrats created a legacy of ineptitude that would be unrivaled until the candidacies of Al Gore and John Kerry.
Temporarily saved by the Senior Bush, under the guidance of James Baker, Republicans and Democrats would work together again. By modest increases in taxes and cuts in spending, Bush managed to begin to stem the tide of the giant growth of the national debt. Following his lead, the moderate Bill Clinton continued Senior Bush policies and, for all intents and purposes, balanced the budget for the first time in many years. The price he paid, however, was brutal. Not only was he impeached, but for the first time, Republicans like Newt Gingrich and other mentally ill fundamentalist neopsychotics would abandon all universally accepted morality in a massive effort to enrich and empower a small group of oligarchs. Their goal: The wealthiest Americans would pay no taxes. The United States would be reduced to exporting one product, munitions. All other industries would be tranplanted to other countries where the cheapest labor could be found. As long as the oligarchs could prosper and not pay taxes, as long as the U.S. government could subsidize them, deranged Republican leaders felt invulnerable. They had finally achieved their ultimate goal, the dumbing of America. They had finally reached their pinnacle: they had become "the party of abject evil!"
Not to be outdone by this outrageous display of disdain for American citizens, Democrats responded with what they knew best. Appointing inexperienced campaigners, they ran absurdly bad candidates who could not speak intelligible English (Al Gore and John Kerry) and did not have that one ingredient that winners have, the will to win. Worse yet, despite running against the worst candidate since the fiddler, Nero, both candidates and their handlers did no homework at all with regard to their opponent. No one mentioned Mr. Bush's campaign in South Carolina in which voters were asked whether they would vote for a candidate (McCain) who had fathered a "Ni---er child by a Ni---er prostitute" and who was a homosexual as well? This was in reference to the beautiful child the McCains had adopted from Mother Theresa's orphanage in Bangladesh.* Meanwhile, the inept John Kerry, at the insistence of his campaign cabal, failed to respond to chicken hawks Bush and Cheney's accusation of cowardice and, worse yet, campaigned on relatively less relevant issues like abortion and gay marriage in states like Michigan, Ohio and and Pennsylvania instead of issues like jobs and the economy. Instead of picking a sure winner such as Bob Graham as his vice president, Kerry did his best to insure defeat by choosing the only person on the planet capable of losing a debate to Dick Cheney, the fool, John Edwards. Actually, both fools, Kerry and Edwards "believed" Bush and Cheney when they swore, against all evidence, that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Come to think of it, why would anyone vote for a candidate either that foolish or that unpatriotic?
To further insure defeat, Kerry's bogus handlers repeatedly turned down assistance from Paul Bagala, experienced and successful campaign expert until it was too late. Perhaps he would have noticed that there was fifty million dollars left in the Kerry campaign in Ohio, not the reported eighteen million. At least that was DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe's claim during a post election interview on C-SPAN II. McAuliffe, a dedicated Democrat and phenomenal fundraiser, apparently has a habit of not following a dime of the money he raises. He had no idea where the extra thirty two million dollars had come from or where it had gone. Perhaps, heaven forbid, someone in the Democratic party ought to question Kerry's unbelievably inept campaign advisors?
After the most disastrous six years in presidential history, under the expert guidance of Governor Howard Dean and Rahm Emanuel, Democrats ran moderate candidates and won majorities in both Houses of Congress. Inexplicably, House Democrats, their minds numbed by too many years of ultra left wing losers made another fatal mistake and elected Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Pelosi, a shrewd politician, but a left wing zealot, shared the same lack of understanding of basic mathematics that had afflicted Junior Bush. With less than thirty percent of eligible voters supporting her party, she claimed that she enjoyed a mandate! Now she felt that she could pass anything she wanted. As for those useless moderate Democrats, "screw them!" she thought. Any Democrat that disagreed with her was a traitor to the party. With the next election of even more moderates, she still didn't get it! She was an "ultra left wing nut" and the country was "moderate."
With bated breath, the Speaker rammed through a fiscally absurd healthcare bill. Everyone, Democrat and Republican, knew that, despite the best intentions of ultraliberals, they had failed to do their requisite homework over the past eight years. Wishing and hoping could not make up for their lack of patience, for their lack of preparation. They totally failed to address billions and billions of dollars in obvious Medicare fraud, both legal and illegal. They failed to adopt portability of insurance across state lines. They failed to address even token tort reform, corruption of state insurance commissioners and the difference between appropriate and inappropriate antitrust exemptions for insurance companies. Worst of all, they mandated purchase of private health insurance without the existence of even a mediocre health insurance product to purchase. It was obvious to virtually all waking human beings that forcing someone to buy a really poor insurance product just to avoid punishment is the virtual definition of "protection racket." Unfortunately, as usual, ultraliberals were asleep at the wheel, especially the House Speaker. Essentially, there has to be insurance for everyone, before everyone can be made to obtain insurance. Worse yet, unless the insurance is paid through taxes, it will be illegal. In their eagerness to pass their fiscally incompetent bill by reconciliation, ultraliberals arrogantly "forgot" to separate mandatory health insurance from the rest of the bill.
Republican secretaries of state, all basically in favor of racketeering anyway, claimed that federal law (commerce acts) reserved insurance racketeering to the states. Congress, long ago, foolishly ceded licensing of insurance entities to the states. Thus the only question was whether or not the protection racket's illegality would render the entire bill illegal. While the legality of the healthcare bill would have to be decided in the courts, it was difficult to see how the thousand and one idiosyncrasies of the bill would ever pass the "smell test" anyway. It was obvious to Republicans and Democrats alike that, ultimately, private healthcare insurance would bankrupt the country. With steadily increasing consumer costs, in light of the huge unconscionable profits the insurance companies were used to making, in short order, noone but the very rich would be able to afford health insurance. Businesses, currently assessed huge healthcare taxes for employees (known as "premiums") simply would not be able to compete with most other civilized countries which provide socialized medical care. The extra cost for the average automobile in this country may already average as much as two thousand dollars per vehicle. This goes for foreign owned companies in Alabama or Tennessee just as it does for domestically owned companies in Detroit.In the end, of course, no matter how Republicans try to honestly delay the demise of private healthcare insurance, they know that just as in the case of homeowners insurance, private companies can only live from one natural disaster to another before begging for federal assistance. Health insurance is no different. Private insurance cannot handle pre-existing illnesses or uncapped expenses without government assistance. Sooner or later, the country will have to have socialized medicine. Abjectly evil Republican leaders would like to service the rich with private medical insurance and help everyone else, including seniors, to the same quality insurance "enjoyed" by Medicaid members: lack of primary care providers, orthopedists, dermatologists and other specialists. The fact that seniors have already paid hundreds of billions of dollars for their healthcare doesn't seem to bother abjectly evil Republicans or abjectly stupid Democrats, nor does the fact that both parties are responsible for the three trillion dollars stolen from the Social Security Fund.
Now we come to the real "nitty gritty." What about those three trillion dollars stolen from the seniors' payroll taxes specifically to bankroll the Bush tax cuts, the munitions industry and two hundred thousand carpetbaggers in Iraq and Afghanistan? In a gesture of massive stupidity, President Obama and his incompetent Democrats forfeited the only thing the Republicans really valued more than the lives of their firstborn children, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. In return they received nothing! They could have secured the Nuclear Treaty, unemployment insurance and many other concessions from desperate Republicans without giving up the tax cuts. The trouble with abject stupidity is that it is so severely exacerbated by forgetting to do ones homework. Worse yet is the fact that, historically, in the end, "evil" usually triumphs over "stupidity."
First, it is necessary to separate legitimate or Libertarian Tea Party members from evil Republicans. Ron Paul and his "bloc" certainly do not care about religious and social riders on economic bills. In fact, it was Mr. Paul, along with Barney Frank who tried to cosponsor bills to cut useless military programs. Besides the obvious necessity to pull our troops from Afghanistan, Democrats need to support huge cuts in military programs and contracts. Libertarian Tea Partiers would rather cut military spending as opposed to arbitrary Medicare and Social Security cuts of funds already paid in by unsuspecting seniors. Actually, the natural alliance is one made up of Libertarian Tea Party purists and "bluedog " Democrats. If Mr.Obama could pry his own party members from the clutches of the munition lobby for just a few minutes (impossible thus far) and propose massive military spending cuts and competitive bidding instead of profligate spending for Medicare "s Part D, it would not only fracture the delicate balance in the Republican Party, but he might inadvertently address what has thus far proved to be his lowest priority issue, the federal deficit.Allen Finkelstein, D.O.