Things Dumb Voters Need to Know
I watched another debate between the two Senators last night. I don’t really understand why I did, but I did. My friends think I am crazy. I have been a political junkie most of my adult life, but until the last few years, I really never had the time to indulge my habit. This may not be a good thing. I was shocked when they said they had debated twenty times. Have I really watched all of those? Watching two people that basically agree on everything debate twenty times must indicate some type of mental illness. Oh yes, I watched all of the Republican debates, too. Why? I keep waiting for someone to answer the dumb questions I have. So far, I have been disappointed. These are things us dumb, mortal voters wonder about and would like to ask Senators Obama and Clinton if we could just be Brit Hume or Tim Russert for a day.
Who are they exactly? They are obviously evil, but I have not been able to find a living, breathing soul that does not have an agenda, … er… special interest. Does that mean that we are all evil? Senator Obama says he does not take any money or allow special interests any access to the mountaintop (or is it a cloud?) where he resides. So Senator …those labor unions that endorse and support you with cash and other favors … are they not special interests? I could go on and cherry-pick your list of donors and supporters, but you get my drift. Please explain why their interests are just ordinary, not special. (and maybe a few words about why they are good, while other special interests are evil.)
Evil, Greedy Corporations
Who are they exactly? How does corporate greed differ from the greed of say, slip-and-fall lawyers like John Edwards? Was it greedy when John took 40% of the settlement for his injured client instead of say, 10%? That would have been thirty million or so less for him, but the injured person would have probably appreciated it more and put it to better use. If he’s not greedy, why did he not just give all but what he needed to maintain a lifestyle befitting royalty to charity? Is this type of greed different than corporate greed because most lawyers are now called Limited Liability Companies? Is that what defines greed—the I-n-c. thing? Is greed inside an LLC ok? I have a friend that runs a small business and I know he is incorporated. Does that make him greedy and evil? Just dumb questions. I really hate to ask them ... but I wonder about these things. I care about America.
To avoid confusion by us dumb voters, let’s leave out drug and other companies and focus on oil for now. You both say that you are going to limit the obscene profits oil companies are making. I apologize for being dumb, but it seems that in order to do that, you would have to nationalize the oil companies. Are we taking a page from Hugo Chavez’s playbook here? Where in the constitution does a president have the authority to say how much profit a corporation can make? How much profit is allowed before we cross over into evil territory? Who gets to decide? (I think I know the answer to that one, but just the same…) Senator Clinton says gasoline will drop when she is elected. How much will a gallon of gasoline cost after you take office? What’s a fair price? Two dollars, three? How much will we be allowed to buy each week under this dictatorship? (Excuse me. It just slipped out.) Democrats have already stopped exploration in our own country and the building of refineries, but what happens when oil companies don’t like your profit number and decide to stop producing oil and go into something where profit is not limited? I have found that people do things that are in their own self-interest. What happens when people stop buying oil company stocks because there are no gains or dividends? Will the economy tank? I know you have thought these things through thoroughly, but us dumb voters are worried.
You’ve convinced me. Let’s tax the hell out of them. Tax them all the way down to the middle class where they belong. Shame on them for being successful in America. We should all be the same, no matter how lazy we are or how hard we work. Look at China. Those people are really happy, right? And Cuba, where nine out of ten work for the government. Michael Moore has taught us that we need to model our system after theirs. We are just not so sure that Michael is that smart. We have sort of gotten used to something we used to call Free Enterprise. Those two words still sort of make me stand taller, but we don’t hear them much anymore. Think about it, Free and Enterprise. I looked up enterprise (just to be sure) and found boldness, readiness, adventurous spirit, ingenuity. Wow. You could use those in one of your speeches. Too bad you don’t buy into the concept. Having a nanny state sure sounds comforting, though. Who really wants to work that hard, anyway? I’m sure the benefit package is terrific.
You both say you are going to end Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. I find the rhetoric here very confusing, because I am a CPA. (sorry) Of course, I don’t pretend to understand tax law. I have only prepared ten thousand tax returns. I need at least that many more to understand the arcane IRS code. Obviously, you have found something in the law that I did not. You say that only the rich will pay more when the Bush tax cuts expire (and you will make them expire). Since virtually everyone who pays taxes had their taxes reduced under these cuts, how does it work that only the rich will pay more when they expire? It’s confusing, but I know you can explain.
You say that America could not afford the Bush tax cuts. This is really confusing. What happened to tax revenue when the tax cuts were implemented? I am obviously misinformed, but I thought revenue actually went up by historic percentages. We certainly can’t afford that. I read in a book somewhere that history tells us that tax revenue goes up every time tax rates are cut. How can that be? Surely revenue won’t go up when rates are cut. The book, oops … books must have been wrong. Please explain. Maybe it’s revisionist history. By the way, what percentage of all taxes do rich people really pay? It can’t be as high as I was told. What happens when these evil people take steps to avoid paying taxes when rates go back up? Sorry, but I think the evil folks will (remember what I said about those ten thousand tax returns). Will the economy suffer when the evil rich fat cats stop buying and selling stocks and bonds and making investments in real estate and businesses and creating jobs? Jobs? That leads to my next question.
I have never actually met anyone who worked in a job that was created by a president. What type of job is it that presidents create, exactly? What do these people do? Does the president pay them? Just curious, because I thought almost all jobs were created by small businesses. My coffee shop buddies and I might want to apply for one of those jobs. Do they pay well? What experience do we need? We bet the health insurance is better than what we have now. I am sure glad there will be so many millions more of them, but I just can’t figure out why I never met anybody who had one. Sorry, but dumb voters need to know.
Our Government and Foreign Policy
Try as I might, I just cannot understand your positions on Iraq and foreign policy in general. Senator Clinton, your last question in the debate was an opportunity to clarify this for us dumb voters, but you said you wanted to take back your vote to go to war in Iraq. You said you advised against it and thought it was a bad idea from the beginning. But you voted for it. Surely you can see how this confuses us mere mortals. Please explain.
Obama, who did not get to vote on the war, takes pride in having made a speech against it. Pretty clear. However, here is the question that keeps popping into my dumb mind. What exactly would you have done, Senator, after America was attacked on 9/11/2001 and three thousand innocent people were killed on American soil? I am sure you have explained this in your speeches, but I have a tendency to swoon and lose my train of thought when you speak. By the way, you need more EMT’s on hand when you speak from on high to rescue us fainters. In captivating rhetoric, you seem to indicate that you would have focused on Afghanistan. You also say that you would invade Pakistan if you had actionable intelligence. Those words sound familiar. Isn’t that exactly what we had when Hillary voted to go to war in Iraq and you said you were against it? Probably just my bad memory again.
So, as I understand it, we had three countries to consider after 9/11 since the terrorists were Muslim and came from the Middle East (Saudi). The four countries were Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. Two are allies, though shaky. (Saudi and Pakistan). All suppress women and freedom. One has a greedy and corrupt royal family that pays false homage to America while sucking up our money in exchange for oil (Saudi). One has nuclear weapons and we know it for sure but has a pseudo-democracy. (Pakistan). One has the toughest terrain on the planet for fighting a war and crippled a super power (Russia) that tried to wage war there (Afghanistan). One had violated fifteen UN resolutions, thrown out weapons inspectors, invaded two neighboring countries within the last twenty-five years, had used weapons of mass destruction (please don’t limit this to nuclear), was trying to enrich uranium and openly asserted its intention to acquire nuclear weapons, was a known sponsor of terrorism and paid bonuses to suicide bombers, hosted AlQueda training camps, and routinely maimed, tortured and killed thousands of civilians daily. (Iraq). Forgive the long narrative, but I needed it to lessen my own confusion. Here is the question for you, Senator Obama. Why choose Afghanistan and Pakistan over Iraq? Seems to us dumb voters that a good case might have been made for not going anywhere, but it is hard to understand why you would have focused on the two that you chose. Of course, maybe you would have done nothing and just told the barbaric terrorists that this behavior is unacceptable. (you mentioned that term in the debate) I am sure that would have stopped them right in their tracks—especially if you said it with your mesmerizing voice.
One more thing. This one really threw me for a loop. You said you would go back into Iraq (after you pull out) if AlQueda were there. Well, aren’t they there now? If not, who are those guys planting those IED’s and killing our soldiers? It seems that almost everyone thinks they are AlQueda. So if they are there now and we are there now, why would we pull out and then go back if they are still there after we pull out? Boy, that question confuses me more, but I am sure you can explain. Are you saying that they will leave if we do? Where will they go? Will they follow our soldiers home?
I know, I know—it is politically incorrect to talk about it. We are past all that, but both of you keep bringing it up and the mainstream media throw it in our faces by giving us racial demographics after every primary. Tim Russert brought it up in the debate Tuesday night in the visage of Louis Farrakhan’s recent endorsement of Senator Obama for the presidency or our great country. Although Russert’s liberal bias flashes off him like neon lights, he prides himself on asking tough questions, even of liberals. He gets so puffed up that his eyes bulge and he seems to be inflating like a balloon that is pushing him out of his chair to ask one of his zingers. He was in the middle of throwing out vile Farrakhan quotes about Jews when you, Senator Obama, put out a calming, restorative hand like you were parting the waters and stopped Russert in mid-sentence. Mesmerized by your almost holy presence, he never finished the terrible quote, curling up by your feet like a lap dog. (Ok, he didn’t really curl up, just panted.) He did manage to ask you to respond to Farrakhan’s endorsement. You smoothly disavowed Farrakhan’s teaching, but said you could not stop him from endorsing you—that he was justly proud of you because you are an African-American. Question. Why can’t you? Why can’t you tell him to never let your name escape from his mouth again, especially when he speaks in public. Maybe he won’t listen, but it seems to us country bumpkins that you could sure tell him that you want nothing to do with him or his teachings. I know it’s old-fashioned, but I am always more impressed more by what a man does than what he says. Maybe you could show us a letter you wrote him along with his response. He is after all, not only anti-Semitic, but also anti-white, anti-gay, anti-Asian and anti-everybody who is not black. Is this racism? I thought you abhorred racism in all of its manifestations. He is also head of the Nation of Islam in America.
Next question. Knowing all these things, why do you go to a church whose pastor endorses the teachings of Farrakhan and gives him awards? Is it true that you chose this pastor to perform your wedding ceremony as well as being your religious and spiritual leader? Maybe you could explain this. I am sure you have a better reason than “I don’t always agree with everything my pastor does.” Somehow, that just doesn’t explain these confusing things. Also, there’s the church doctrine. I tried substituting white every place where your doctrine says black and imagined what would happen to a white church with this type of doctrine. It would not be pretty. Is the doctrine of your church racist? Please explain why it is not.
Then there’s that college thesis your wife wrote where she says that the oppressed black must rise up against their white oppressors. I know we are just unsophisticated voters and misunderstand what she really meant, but that sounds sort of racist to us, too. Please explain that and maybe you could also tell us why she has never been proud to be an American. We’re kind of proud, ourselves. Always have been.
Government and Health Care
The final question for this evening touches on health care and your plans to nationalize it. Almost all of us recognize that health care in America is in need of help. We just don’t want to make it worse. Senator Obama, you say that health care will be cheaper when you take office. That sounds good. How does that work exactly? Will doctors and hospitals and pharmaceutical companies start dropping prices on inauguration day or will it be later? How much later?
Senator Clinton, my coffee and poker buddies want to issue a challenge to you. Please name two things that big government has ever done efficiently and well. Focus like a laser beam on both words. If you can come up with one thing, we promise to come up with fifty that have gone the other way. Fifty to one. Not bad odds for you. It should be easy. Here’s a hint. It seems to us that defense, the only real function of a government in America, is done well, but is hardly efficient.
Forgive me for this last comment. My poker and coffee buddies insisted that I ask it. It’s rhetorical and you don’t have to answer it. Are the two of you really that naïve about what made America great or do you just think voters are dumb and will swallow anything you say if you promise to give us handouts? Surely it is the latter. How could anyone run for the highest office in the land, to aspire to be the leader of the free world, and not understand how our country works—not understand the difference between socialism and a democracy, the law of supply and demand, and more importantly, not have read the constitution, especially those parts relative to the powers of the president?
Maybe it’s because both of you have spent your entire adult lives working in one those jobs that presidents create. It’s a mystery.
We were just wondering. We care about America.
© 2008 Jim H. Ainsworth