Thursday, July 28, 2011

OP-ED: Can Sanity Prevail?

By: Andy Schmookler, 6th District  Congressional Candidate

Right now in America, insanity has its bold champions, and those who should defend sanity do not stand and fight.

Andy Schmookler

Violating Our Political Norms

Americans are suffering now–worried, angry, disgusted—from a wholly unnecessary crisis deliberately chosen by one of our two major parties. It was a choice by today’s Republican Party to break our nation’s established political norms: for generations, every other time that the debt-ceiling has needed to be raised, both parties have cooperated to assure that it gets done.

Only this time has a major political party used it to create a crisis, and the present ugly spectacle and American distress is the entirely predictable result.

No party that so willingly violates established norms can be regarded as genuinely “conservative.”

No party that deliberately inflicts suffering on the American people can claim that it cares about us.

No party that holds a gun to the head of the American economy and says, “Meet our demands or we’ll hurt America” can be said to put “Country first.”

No party that hurts the country for its political advantage can be regarded as genuinely patriotic.

But today’s Republican Party has done all of these. And its reasons are hardly more creditable.


Distracting Us From Our Urgent Needs


It’s not as though we lack for real crises. Millions of American families are hurting: the number of people out of work for more than half a year now is off the charts—way beyond anything seen in America since the Great Depression. But after campaigning on “job creation,” these Republicans have destroyed jobs and insisted that we deal instead with “deficit reduction.”

Who can believe that they’re really concerned about the deficit, when this is the same party that insisted last December that we add $700 billion to the debt to renew tax cuts, opposed by a large majority of Americans, for multi-millionaires and billionaires?

But, regardless, deficit reduction is not an urgent problem. Indeed, Ben Bernacke –the Fed Chairman first appointed by GW Bush—has cautioned that reducing the deficit now could prolong our economic slump. That could increase our problem of joblessness, and actually widen the deficit.

Yet while real issues go ignored, the Republicans insist we have this needless and bitter fight.

But it’s still worse.


Compounding America’s Growing Inequity


The Republicans insist the deficit be reduced entirely by spending cuts, adamantly refusing any increase in revenues. But the deficit is caused far more by plunging revenues –which are now at the lowest level as a proportion of GDP in sixty years—than by increased spending. Spending has not been “out of control,” but has only gone up as a means of reducing the pain of hard-strapped Americans, and as a means of preventing deeper economic collapse.

Despite the fact that the gulf between the richest and average Americans is the widest it’s been in living memory, the Republicans insist that the superrich, whose share of our national wealth has tripled, not sacrifice a cent. Meanwhile, at a time of great pain in the country, the Republicans attack the safety net and other programs that make America a more humane society.

Americans should see clearly what today’s Republican Party has become.

It is to speak the truth about this that I am running for Congress in Virginia. Our state of Virginia is particularly threatened by this unnecessary crisis, facing a possible credit downgrade and possible lay-offs of our many workers in military and government service.

I am running against a ten-term Republican incumbent, Bob Goodlatte. Mr. Goodlatte is one of those who have threatened the nation with disaster, have sought to gut Medicare, and have ignored the pain of the American people in the quest for partisan advantage. In his statements, Goodlatte has promoted the distortions and falsehoods of this Republican wrecking crew.


The Bullied Pulpit


It is from the man who has the bully pulpit that American most needs to be hearing these truths about what the Republicans are doing. These days, however, it seems more like the bullied pulpit.

From the outset he should have denounced –as the scandal it is– the use of the debt ceiling for political purposes, and in that way made the political costs of any extortion prohibitive.

He should have insisted that our national attention be directed toward meeting our real challenges, and not let the Republicans dictate this misguided focus of our national discourse.

He should have refuted the fallacy that government needs to be frugal when times are tough, when the truth is the opposite.

He should have shown Americans the truth about what has become unbalanced in our national finances and distribution of wealth.

But on all these issues, he’s given ground to those forces from which America needs to be protected, letting the teachable moments slip away, leaving important truths unspoken.

America needs leadership that will assure that sanity will prevail.

Andy Schmookler is an award-winning author, radio commentator, and teacher running for Congress in the 6th Congressional District of Virginia, challenging the incumbent Congressman, Bob Goodlatte. Andy has been a resident of Shenandoah County since 1992. He is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary, National, Politics

Tags: ,

Comments (29)

Jack Mcguire

July 28th, 2011 at 5:42 PM    

Schmook..your a schnook. You havent got a clue.
“teachable moments?”

You are making me ill. The old make the rich pay BS again. Hard to take nimrods like you. And you have the nerve to say reducing the deficit is bad? Not an urgent problem. Im sure they said that in Greece.


July 28th, 2011 at 6:45 PM    


Please try not to name call. I edited out your last sentence.

Jack Mcguire

July 28th, 2011 at 6:53 PM    

If you are going to edit my statements..remove it all. Typical left wing censorship! If bozo is the worse thing you ever hear me say, you are doin good.

Indian Jones

July 29th, 2011 at 3:32 PM    

Nimrod? Jack lives in a fantasy world. The only credible argument he could have for not taxing the rich is that they will hide their money or flee. But even that’s not credible. Those kind of rich are not patriots nor do their interests align with the people’s. They’re not even interested in providing decent jobs.

So Jack will just gwan barking till most everybody’s realized they’ve been had. Then maybe Jack, who will probably still not realize he’s been had, will go mute out of embarrassment.

Jack Mcguire

July 29th, 2011 at 4:19 PM    

If you really believe this guy, you have already been had. How do you know the “rich are not patriots” their interests dont “align with the peoples”.

Did you get that from the Communist Manifesto? Do you consider the rich the “bourgeoisie”..

Indian Jones

July 29th, 2011 at 5:16 PM    

Jack, Jack, Jack. Schmooklee’s got his delusions, or at least he claims he does, but the super-rich caused the problems we are in, they are going to cause more, and you’ve been duped to believe they should just be allowed to do what they do. Wake up, pardner.

I don’t need Schmooklee to tell me the super-rich are at fault. Course, there are all those dimwits who are not super-rich themselves but they believe super-richness is the solution to all problems. You’re not one of them, are you Jack?

Are the rich the bourgeoisie? Well, comrade, let me ask you instead: is every enemy of Wall Street rip-off artists a Marxist? Maybe that’s your problem Jack. Everybody’s a commie who against the crooks. Hmm?

Jack Mcguire

July 29th, 2011 at 8:50 PM    

Hey Jones, the government ARE the crooks. They ARE the biggest enemy you will ever face. Wake up and smell the coffee sonny.

Indian Jones

July 29th, 2011 at 9:14 PM    

So, you deny that the super-rich caused the banking failure (among many other problems)? You deny that they have wealth and the government, debt? I’ll make you a bargain. Let’s call it even if we get rid of the government and super-rich.

But then who’s going to protect you from all the Mexicans, pardner? Sorry, you sound like you’re noggin is kind of fossilized. The government is certainly corrupt, as is O’Bummer (one of Schmooklee’s delusions – he’s been O’s advocate for far too long – he still “blind”). But somebody is using the government to their advantage. And we have to have government. Anybody who thinks otherwise is a fool.

You are definitely one of Schmooklee’s targets. I hope he can help you get off that TP smack. Don’t you know who’s funding them, pardner? Those crooks don’t have your interests in mind.

Go cold turkey for a while and then listen to what Schmooklee’s got to say. Let me know if you can see his problems. I tell you, pardner, he sees yours.

Jack Mcguire

July 30th, 2011 at 8:21 AM    

There are 18 million illegals here, no one is protecting us from them. Yes we must have govt… but from local,to state to federal it has become a monstrosity in size and scope and needs to be drastically reduced in size, ala Ron Paul. That is the REAL change we need. The Tea Party is the best thing to happen to this country in years. People may fund events but no one controls the individuals in the Tea Party. They are average citizens who are sick of the direction this country is going. When they get in office they actually do what they say they are going to do. How refreshing. BTW I have felt the way I do about govt. decades before the Tea Party ever existed. The biggest threat to freedom in America is our own govt…

Indian Jones

July 30th, 2011 at 11:02 AM    

Ah! A root of agreement. WE MUST HAVE GOVERNMENT. And the government we must have is not the one we have.

The requirement, a drastic reduction in size of the government, allows calamity. Certain people will pay most for the sins of others. With that in mind, who do you think will profit from that loose specification?

“The Tea Party is the best thing to happen to this country in years” because “they do what they say they are going to do.” Well, look again, pardner, at what they are doing “for” this country.

Your country is not your monetary investment; others treat it that way but a patriot should not. Your family is not your monetary investment. Is your neighborhood, your city, …?

Absolutely, a government must be fiscally responsible. But it must be so in a manner that is just. This is why Schmooklee says the rich must pay more. The rich are loaded … but the jobs done gone, pardner. That “experiment” failed.

Do you hate your state government too? You do realize that Virginia is consistently in the top five states getting the most out of the Federal government, don’t you? And, “Last week, Moody’s Investor Services placed Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia under watch for a possible downgrade. […] Moody’s placed the group of five under watch because of their relatively large exposure to federal funding – from Medicaid payments to government contracts and the like. And any deal to raise the debt ceiling will likely include spending cuts.”

Now, since you were really concerned about fiscal responsibility, I suppose you have been on Virginia’s case for the last 30 years. What? You haven’t? Let me tell you, pardner, the !@@#$’s guiding the TP aren’t concerned about fiscal responsibility, themselves.

You’re welding your own cage.

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