Yet, the pitchforks and torches have not always yielded what everyone expected. In Pennsylvania, during a year even most Democrats are supposed to be going Republican, a former Republican lost the Democratic primary to a more traditional Democrat. In the recent special election in Pennsylvania between just one Democrat and one Republican the Republican lost quite surprisingly.
Although this should be a year for nothing but Republican pick up seats in Congress, perhaps there's more to the story than merely all things Democrat or Republican. Perhaps the problem is as Americans we are angry about something more than party politics. We've watched both parties disappoint and as there are reasons people are upset with Democrats right now there are also many reasons to be upset with Republicans.
Namely Republicans have not really reflected many of their promises over the last ten or so years. People from left, right and center have had cause to be upset. During the Bush administration the War in Iraq was something Americans from all sides became upset about. We were told 'no new nation building' leading up to the 2000 elections and in the wake of the Iraq War, among the numerous revelations that shocked the nation, we learned shortly after September 11th plans to Invade Iraq were already being drafted.
Moreover it was during that Republican administration the economy sunk and rapidly began rolling downhill. They took no real steps to stem the tide early on, and didn't even acknowledge we were in a recession until, oddly enough, three weeks after the 2008 elections (the ones in which the Republican candidate for president initially claimed our economy was strong). By the time they did we were in emergency mode to stem off not a recession, but the real prospect of a depression. The steps taken upset many Americans as we soon learned the emergency measures were meant to bail out the very people who caused the recession in the first place.
Not only was the country angry about fat cats being handed get out of jail free passes, but also the accompanying ton of cash straight out of the pockets of ourselves, our children and grand children. When's the last time some ordinary Joe not only got off the hook for something so egregious, but got some cash to help him get back on his feet for his troubles? Sure the basic measures were needed, but the image was bad. Something should have been done sooner, but oversight was, as we were to find out, comfortably lax - comfortable for the financial giants of course.
Then there were the scandals - namely the sex scandals. Sure there have been Democratic sex scandals like President Bill Clinton's intern scandal, and Elliot Spitzer's. But the Democrats weren't calling themselves the party of socially conservative family values. They weren't claiming to be the party that was the moral bastion of America. They didn't infer they were a party averse to the rights of gay Americans. They weren't pointing at President Clinton saying 'if you can't be trusted in your own marriage, you can't be trusted in public office.'
Yet as scandals unfolded, from that time right up to today, there have been just as many Republican sex scandals as Democratic. As it turned out during the time of President Clinton's scandal one of the loudest voices speaking up against the then president's deplorable behavior was Republican Representative Newt Gingrich. While he was excoriating the president (who deserved it) Gingrich was carrying his own affair out with a former subordinate and ended up divorcing his second wife to marry her.
Then there were the scandals of Mark Folley who was hitting on teenage Congressional pages, the married Sen. Larry Craig and his airport bathroom scandal, Mark Sanford leaving the country to cheat on his wife with a woman in another country and today we are going through another one in Indiana Rep. Mark Souder who is planning to resign due to his extra marital affair after years of promoting among other things - abstinence.
We have the RNC Chairman telling us first the Republican Party is going to get a "Hip Hop makeover" (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/19/steele-gop-needs-hip-hop-makeover/) then he tells us, regarding his fellow GOP members who are white, "I've been in the room and they've been scared of me" due to his race. (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29341.html)(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blaedHLcqbE) If this was true how exactly was this Hip Hop makeover, meant to attract young minorities to such a party after that statement? Which one was it? Were they ready for a big change or not? What was the message exactly?
Steele then, proposed a Republican candidate "litmus test" based on traditionally conservative Tea Party principles. Yet, the same chairman has been criticized for spending under his watch. "The expense report from the strip club in West Hollywood was not the first problem under Mr. Steele. There have been itemized reports detailing a pattern of lavish spending, including the use of private jets and limos, all of course in a very tough economy." (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125736586&ft=1&f=2&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NprProgramsATC+%28NPR+Programs%3A+All+Things+Considered%29) This is not exactly getting back to traditionally socially conservative roots as the litmus test was supposed to be promoting, but then again it's hard to picture a traditionally socially conservative Hip Hop GOP image.
The lies, half truths and confusing contradictions don't stop there. Recently, "the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday sought to lay blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill squarely at the feet of the Obama administration. 'All of the actions to ensure safety measures were put in place, have to be attributed to the Obama administration,' said Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.)." (http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/98627-mica-casts-blame-on-obama-administration-for-spill)
No doubt, there is a lot the Obama administration should have done, should be doing and damn well better get on the ball about regarding the catastrophe. But, of the three top people at the Minerals Management Service, Liz Birnbaum, Mary Katherine Ishee and Walter D. Cruickshank, Ph.D., the only person at the agency for a significant amount of time, Cruickshank, was assigned to his position in 2002 by the Bush administration. Further, when interviewed on the Larry King show one of the attorneys representing a group of people suing BP as a result of the tragic leak revealed who had given companies passes on certain safety equipment.
He stated, "what they are focusing now is the absence of a number of pieces of equipment that could have provided a fail safe for this operation, Larry. One, there apparently was no acoustic regulator device, which is a device that could remotely shut off the valve. There was a manual device, but the manual device was a button that was at the precise location where the fire started. So we don't know whether the men who were actually killed during the blowout were able to ever push that button.
"They did not have (an acoustic regulator) on this pipe. They were excused from having that during a 2003 meeting with Dick Cheney, in which he said -- which he absolved the oil industry from installing these safety devices in its offshore rigs." (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1005/03/lkl.01.html)
What is being said here is not that Republicans are any better or worse than Democrats, but that they need to be honest about what they stand for and who they are as a party. If they cannot be honest about whom they are and stand by those principles how are people to know why we should vote for them? What incentive is there to go back the way we just came running and screaming from when they cannot even make up their own minds about who they are? Why should we follow the party that claims to have moved away from the behavior of the Bush administration when they have yet to stop the same behavior?
What needs to be grasped by Republicans here is people are not voting for parties right now. They are voting for change. They have burned past hope and are angry now, yet that change is still the desired outcome. This is not about saying the right thing to please everyone as we are all beginning to see not just through the b.s., but are starting to vote beyond it. If Republicans have no response they can't expect the huge victories they have been trying to convince us all they have in the bag.
Though I don't agree with him on all his stances, one thing that can be said about Rand Paul is, like his father, at least he stands for what he says does. And he doesn't wiggle this way and that depending on which way the wind is blowing this minute. In case the memo didn't get through, that's precisely what the Tea party doesn't like.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.