Vail Daily letter: GOP heads in the sand
Ryan Summerlin December 11, 2012
As Republicans pick through the bones of their lost opportunities, many are not changing their chorus that a bunch of lowlife leaches stole the election from Mitt Romney. A population of irresponsible “takers” overwhelmed the righteous and sanctimonious.
A quote from a recent letter writer to the Vail Daily sums it up nicely. “Is it any mystery or wonder that the culture of want, reliance and dependence has led this nation to more insecurity, less prosperity, diminished liberties and the spawn that socialism, fascism, corporatism and collectivism have wrought.”
Let’s check the facts and see where they lead us. Exit polls have indicated that Obama carried sizable advantages with Hispanics, African Americans, women, and particularly younger women, and Asians. Yes, Asians. The advantage Obama had with Asian voters was almost as large as it was with Hispanics. As I view these groups, the word takers doesn’t come to mind. Fact: the biggest government program we have, Medicare, benefits a population that is 85 percent white. With what group did Romney have a very large advantage? White males.
In his commentary (“Who are those fools?”) on Dec. 7, Don Rogers notes that “the 10 best educated and wealthiest states voted for Obama and the 10 least educated and poorest states voted for Romney.” Actually, Nevada is among the 10 worst (No. 7) and it voted for Obama. Ironically, the source of this information is Fox Business. Rogers also observed that “recent studies found that Fox News watchers were the least informed of people who follow the news.”
I am familiar with one of those studies and guess which population was the most informed and by far the most knowledgeable about world events and world leaders? Listeners of National Public Radio (NPR) and its local counterparts such as Colorado Public Radio.
There is a measurement of takers and makers that is defined at the state level which compares federal taxes paid by state residents and federal benefits that accrue to that state. So if a state receives federal benefits equal to the federal taxes paid by that state’s residents, there is a ratio of 1 to 1.
Maker states have a ratio less than one (more taxes paid than benefits received). Taker states have a ratio greater than one (more benefits received than taxes paid). Using this measurement, The New York Times reported that the top 10 maker states all voted for Obama. The top 10 taker states all voted for Romney.
As might be expected, the top 10 taker states have a very large overlap with the worst educated states, and most are below the Mason Dixon line.
So where does the Republican Party go from here? Does it look forward instead of back? Does it understand that strong demographic trends make its current policy stances more untenable as time goes on? This can’t be about just changing the message which is just re-phrasing the lies and exaggerations. Policy stances derive from values and values derive from deep seated beliefs. I’m pretty certain that the letter writer I quoted earlier is not going to change his beliefs.
Do we want to return to a past of presumed happier times, more personal freedom, opportunities, liberties, and less government intervention in our lives?
Let’s test that by drawing from a commentary by David Frum, a Republican, author, CNN contributor and a special assistant to President George W. Bush during his presidency: “In 1962, the government regulated the price and route of every airplane, every freight train, every truck and every merchant ship in the United States. The government regulated the price of natural gas. It regulated the interest on every checking account and the commission on every purchase or sale of stock. Owning a gold bar was a serious crime that could be prosecuted under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The top rate of income tax was 91 percent. It was illegal to own a telephone. Phones had to be rented from the giant government-regulated monopoly that controlled all telecommunications in the United States. All young men were subject to the military draft and could escape only if they entered a government approved graduate course of study. The great concern of students of American society – of liberals such as David Riesman, of conservatives such as Russell Kirk and of radicals such as Dwight Macdonald – was the country’s stultifying, crushing conformity.”
Frum goes on to say, “To assume from the start that only certain ethnicities will contribute (to reassemble a new coalition for limited government and private enterprise), and that others aspire only to grab, is not only ugly prejudice; it is also self-destructive delusion.”
It’s time for the Republican Party to return to its roots. Enough of this neoconservative self-reinforcing echo chamber mentality.
Some final thoughts: There is only one house Romney couldn’t buy and it doesn’t have a car elevator. If a candidate threatens women’s choices, the female body has ways to shut that down. It’s called a vote.