Gallery C

Ain't Actin' Right
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Ashamed To Admit I Was Once A Republican

By James Donahue

I grew up in a Republican environment. My father always voted down the party line. As a news reporter I was aware that most of the voters in my district voted Republican. In fact it was rare when there were local candidates running for office on the Democratic ticket. When they did appear, they never got elected.

When operating as a bureau reporter in Sanilac County, Michigan, a strong Republican region, I always covered the GOP county convention. People in the party got so used to me being there, one year I was accidentally voted as an alternative delegate to the state Republican Convention in Cobo Hall, Detroit. I talked to my editor about it, he suggested that I attend and if nothing else, get a close-up concept of what goes on at political gatherings like that.

Those were the days when Republicans were known as “The Grand Old Party,” and I felt some degree of pride in the fact that I was there to cover visits by well-known party figures like George Romney, John McCain and even President Richard M. Nixon.

It was President John F. Kennedy who excited me enough to vote Democratic Party when he was nominated for office. After that I started declaring myself “independent” when I showed up at the polls. I started noticing the dirty side of politics…the sneaky redistricting that favored one party over another after the high court issued its infamous “one-man-one-vote” ruling, problems with punch-card voting machines and various other games Republicans were playing to maintain their stranglehold on the folks in the district I was working in.

I liked Democratic President Jimmy Carter but I was suspicious of Democrat Bill Clinton, even though he left the nation financially solvent after his two terms were over.
Next appeared George W. Bush, a Texas governor who literally stole his office with the help of the Supreme Court gang. This Bush and the cluster of incorrigible characters that moved into office with him turned our nation into a fearful disaster area. The 9-11 attacks occurred just as two important events were beginning to find their way into the news; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced trillions of dollars of missing money from the Pentagon coffers one day before the attack, and some of the largest newspapers in the nation agreed to finance a recount of the Bush-Gore presidential poll in Florida that decided the election. After 9-11 the nation went into lock-down and we never heard about these two events again.

The Bush Administration shut down the nation’s environmental program, opened prime forests to logging interests, launched two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and left us so deep in debt that we went into depression mode. The nation is still reeling from the damage.
It was the Bush ineptitude that drove voters to the polls to elect President Barack Obama, a Democrat, into office. Mr. Obama has accomplished a few important things. It took him his first four years to get a national health care program approved by the House and Congress, but it was so riddled with holes by the Republicans, the program has had a shaky start and it is clear that it needs a lot of legislative reform before it becomes a workable document.
Obama promised change when he ran for office. But many of the projects he has tried, including rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, shut-down of the wars, investment in green energy programs and enhancing new business and industry to provide new jobs for Americans, have been blocked by a Republican controlled Congress.
The Republicans have blocked Mr. Obama’s appointments to fill empty federal court positions and even his own cabinet. And Republicans have been quick to blame him for everything that has gone wrong.

After watching that GOP Congress waste its time voting 50 times in an attempt to rescind the Obama health care program, but fail to act on the real pressing issues of the days, a lot of us concluded that the Republican assault on Mr. Obama was racial in origin. Those grotty old farts just can’t stand the fact that America has a black president in the White House.

Worse than this, Obama’s presence in office has given rise to a “tea party” movement of fuddy-duddy people who are taking such an extreme conservative stand they have been a strong influence on the way things are getting done in Washington. 

Lately we have seen signs of insanity breaking out in GOP ranks. Members are acting so peculiar they are getting arrested for criminal acts, shamed for sexual misbehavior, and laughed at for making the most inane statements either on the house floor or while speaking in public. They have outlawed collective bargaining in several states, passed voter suppression laws in over 30 states, and are making what one writer called “unrelenting efforts to deny women any freedom or access to reproductive choice.”

One critic wrote that the Republicans appear to be “on a zealous crusade to create a new country. Some say they are insane; still others have decided that they are possessed by demons.”

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote: “The GOP seems to have transitioned from being the stupid party to being the crazy party.”

Indeed, Krugman and others have pointed out that America has operated relatively well with a divided party, with members on both sides of the isle managing to work out their differences in political ideology and coming to terms on the complexities of government operations. But this Congress has succeeded in virtually shutting down our government and even trying to hold it hostage by refusing to pass budget issues and raise the debt ceiling unless Mr. Obama submitted to Republican terms.

California Republican Congressman Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher makes a case in point. A story in O. C. Weekly tells how Rohrabacher rented an immaculate 6,300-square-foot million-dollar house on Orange Avenue in 2010. When he and his family moved out two years later, they left behind “a shockingly horrific pigsty, a dump worse than a college fraternity house of unhygienic slobs unfamiliar with the most basic tools of cleaning.”
The damage to that home, during the two years Rohrabacher lived there, has totaled over $25,800.