It’s been two weeks since our 2014 predictions, and while it’s still to early to determine how close to reality we came, some new stuff is happening worth commenting on.
On top is that Americans’ love affair with the old wild west is continuing unabated, considering that no less than two shootings made national headlines within the first two weeks of the new year. The first was a 71 year-old ex-cop from Florida who decided to shoot a fellow movie-goer with a .380 pistol in a theater in a Tampa, Florida suburb because the victim was texting on his cell phone during the previews. Granted, texting is rude and inconsiderate and annoying to anyone seated nearby who can see the light coming from the cellphone. Also, the guy doing the texting threw his popcorn at the ex-cop after a shouting match ensued. But to be shot for it?? Yep. Because this is America, where everyone has a right to a gun, even in a movie theater.
The second shooting incident occurred in a Roswell, New Mexico (Yep! Of area 51 fame!) middle school gym, where a 12 year-old boy came to school with a 20-gauge shotgun with a sawed-off stock and just started shooting at fellow students. The reason? No one knows yet. But did he really need a reason? After all, this is America, where everyone has a right to a gun, even if they’re crazy. Just ask the senate republicans, who filibustered a bill that would have extended background checks, including mental health checks, to gun shows and internet sales.
The other event, or non-event to be more accurate, is that as of this late date, the senate has yet to pass an extension of the long-term unemployment benefits that ran out for 1.3 million long term unemployed and their families on December 28, 2013, because senate republicans want to squeeze extra spending cuts out of the democrats that they could not get in the bi-partisan budget deal agreed to a couple of weeks ago. As a result, they’re going into a “cooling off” period, then they’ll go on a one-week vacation (after being off for several weeks during the Christmas-New Years season), and then MAYBE when they return they’ll try to work on a compromise.
And while these millionaire (yeah, really! Most are MILLIONAIRES!!) politically conservative republican congressmen and senators who are blocking those unemployment benefits for the needy return to their homes districts in the dead of winter when nothing is really demanding their attention back home (or perhaps spend a week in St. Thomas studying how they make rum), those chronically employed may not be able to heat their homes, or may have to choose between eating food, or buying medicine.
But rest assured: republicans care about you and the economy. That’s why they’re fighting to keep the democrats from raising taxes on the wealthy. If they can just cut spending where it really needs to be cut…in food stamps, heating assistance, meals on wheels, unemployment insurance, Obamacare, school lunch programs, education, pre-K programs…and eliminate useless agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency…just think of all that extra money that could be saved to reduce taxes even more for the job creators. and then EVERYONE could have a $7.25 an hour job!
Except for one inconvenient truth:
This doesn’t work.
Even republicans are learning that most Americans aren’t buying what they’re selling anyone. That is why the GOP latched onto Obamacare as the ISSUE OF THE MILLENNIUM, because they knew that none of their own agenda items were maintaining traction with Americans. The latest polls demonstrate it clearly:
Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage but 71% of Americans support it. Republicans oppose unemployment benefits, but 58% of Americans want them extended. (source: Quinnipiac)
When people were asked their party affiliation by Gallup this year, only 24% identified as republican, while 29% called themselves democrats. The rest claimed to be independents, of which 5% leaned left and 5% leaned right.
This means that on its best day, the GOP can only depend on 29% of the vote. Therefore, to win an election, the rest of their support MUST come from winning independent votes on the issues, and the GOP is doing a terrible job of that. Do they really think that the rest of America didn’t notice when senate republicans filibustered the gun background check bill last year, even though 90% of Americans were in favor of the bill?
Additionally, the GOP has done NOTHING about the “American 21st century cowboy shoot-‘em-up culture” and NOTHING about solving the toxic class division and divided economy of have’s & have-not’s it helped to create by allowing the corporate conglomerates to run amok during the first eight years of the 21st century.
Since then, GOP has done nothing but attempt to block every single attempt of the democrats and even moderate mainstream republicans to mitigate all of that damage and rebuild the jobs market and the middle class economy.
Do the Tea Party republicans really think that the rest of America doesn’t notice?
Maybe they think they’re invisible??