For Republicans, the Glass is Half Empty

Paulie Brading

While President Obama was in Everett, Washington last week touring a Boeing 787 Dreamliner plant I was in Josephine County. Back in 2008 voters in Josephine County voted for John McCain over Barack Obama 55% to 41%, a whopping 14% spread. Poor Jeff Merkley received just 34% of the votes with Josephine County voters giving Gordon Smith 56% of the vote in the same election.

I parked my car next to a car with a Ron Paul bumper sticker. My car sports a 2012 Obama bumper sticker. I was meeting my nearly 88 year old father at the Three Rivers Hospital in Grants Pass to assist him on a round of medical tests. While he was being shuttled from test to test I sat in front of a flat screen watching CNN, pecking on my laptop, answering cell texts. I was half listening to CNN when I noticed a small crowd gathering behind and beside me staring at the screen. Obama was speaking. They were watching President Obama tout his efforts to change federal tax policy to reward companies like Boeing for keeping jobs in America. Obama was pressing to take tax breaks away for those companies that move work overseas.

I expected a whole lot of uncivil discourse regarding President Obama. Instead I heard resignation and quiet acknowledgement that 2012 will be Obama's second term. I heard a little muttering about a clown car. Obama has crept back to his strongest position in months. People seem more optomistic about the economy.

The Republicans have three fears: the economy, an unelectable Tea Party candidate and another term for Obama. More and more folks realize the Republican Party has run out of highly electable presidential candidates. Meanwhile Romney and Santorum are in a statistical dead heat in Michigan.

It's way to soon to predict victory for Obama. I do sense a serious shift in his political fortunes even in Josephine County.


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    Josephine County has been a right wing bastion as long as I can remember. I wonder how many of them in watching the Boeing visit realize that it was John McCain who wanted to give the contract to build the next fleet of military tankers to European Airbus and it's President Obama who gave it back to Boeing and kept those jobs as American jobs in the Northwest. But saving American companies and industries seems to a bad thing to the tea partiers.

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      Alas, the real question is why all candidates have to support this gigantic giveaway of borrowed money to the military-industrial complex when we can least afford it.

      And the purpose? To expand the capacity for still more worldwide US imperial adventures. We're in the decline, and how far off is the fall?

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        We are not going to dismantle our military any time soon. And while we have one, I would just as soon have the equipment be built by American workers. Maybe when the American Pacifist Party wins an election your kind of rhetoric will have some relevance. Meantime I am happy to have a Democratic Party president who will protect America while prudently downsizing troop and equipment levels, nuclear weapons, and overseas deployments. What you call "giveaways" are going to support Boeing workers and their families and fueling the economies where they live. They don't mind having a government contract, and I don't think any other American worker does either. They are proud to contribute to the national defense.

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          WASHINGTON — A retired Air Force general who became a Boeing executive did not have a conflict of interest when he took part in a war game involving an aerial tanker the company was vying to build for the military, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says. USA Today, 2/20/12

          Bill, Be careful about the term "rhetoric." Yours includes the slogans "workers and their families, protect America, contribute to the national defense, etc."

          The Boeing contract is a gigantic boondoggle, ordering way too many planes, among other things, and feeding quite a few corrupt double-dipping Pentagon generals on borrowed money to boot. You know all this--why doesn't it matter to you?

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            I know among some on the left it's popular to attack the military and industries that supply out troops. For myself, and for most Americans, and most Democrats, I want to have women and men who are going into harm's way to have the best equipment, and equipment made by American workers, benefiting American communities. Nothing to apologize about there. Unilateral disarmament is not a national security policy, it's suicide, and will never have any political support. We have an aging fleet of military tankers that need replacement in the coming years, and I want them to be built by American workers. Period.

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            Is it really a boondoggle to replace 50 year old tankers that are nearly as expensive to maintain and upgrade as to build at least some new technology aircraft, which can also be sold to our "allies"? Although I don't know off the top of my head how many next-gen tankers are scheduled to be built, that doesn't mean Congress will approve the budget for all of them, or reduce the number in the future. There are no really great solutions to our economic and military policy challenges, but some solutions, like this one, are a little less crappy than closing a large portion of a plant and putting thousands of employees and contractors out of work.

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    If it makes those Jo. County voters feel better, bat guano crazy Art Robinson is there for them, running for the fourth.

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    Unfortunately there is still too much T-Party Koolaid in that 1/2 glass.

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    Paulie, the president's relatively stronger position is partly due to his giving up the politics of conceding Republican terms of debate and then seeking to "compromise" within those as a matter of principle and pride, as he did most of last year on the phony deficit debate. Our counterpart fear to those of the Rs you cite ought to be that President Obama will revert to that form, under advice from the same bad advisors who have advised that kind of course in the past. Unfortunately they are still there.

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