Monday, February 20, 2006

The Mystery of the "Value Voter"

Consider this headline from USA Today today (I just love saying that!):

Drives to Ban Gay Adoption Heat Up in 16 States

And this headline from the Washington Post:

In N.C., GOP Requests Church Directories

Y'see, it seems that in many of the states that are considered big battleground states in the upcoming mid-term elections this year, there is a big push on to take even more rights from gays. And it seems that they are again going after church members, counting on their votes as loyal Republicans.

Excuse my language, but I can't believe they're pulling this shit yet again.

Back in '04, my state, Ohio, was one of the several states that had a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ban gay marriage. Of course it passed, as it did in every other state that had the same issue. This amendment, and the others like it in other states, were probably the biggest reason DUIbya (tm) won re-election.

These issues brought out the so-called "Values Voters", the ones who traditionally vote Republican--for what reason, I have no idea. I mean, all the Republicans have been doing for the last 5+ years they've been running things is work against families!


-New medicare drug plan, written by the drug companies, that increases the cost of medications for seniors (including my dad)

-Changing bankruptcy laws to make it harder for debt-ridden families to use bankruptcy to get out from under crushing debt loads

-Cutting medicare, medicaid, and other programs for the poor

-Passing the "No Child Left Behind" act, then failing to provide adequate funding for it.

-Allowing Oil companies to make obscene profits while Americans pay as much as $3 a gallon at the pump.

-Failure to increase the minimum wage for nearly ten years, despite the fact that its purchasing power is less that half of what it used to be.

And those are just a few of the ways the Republican-controlled government has worked to hurt families, not help them. And yet they continue to get the knee-jerk votes of these so-called "value voters" on a regular basis. And it continues to mystify me.

Al Franken repeatedly talks about how if you cut everything from the New testament that talks about how Jesus taught his followers to be kind to the poor and less fortunate among us, you'd have the perfect container for smuggling Rush Limbaugh's drugs in. It is one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity (and most of the other religions of the world) that you should be kind to the poor and less fortunate. And yet, supposedly religious people continue to vote for the politicians who have been continuously working to hurt those of us who are less forunate.

It is a contradiction that mystifies me to this day.

I guess the GOP figures that if gay-bashing and religious recruitment worked two years ago, it will work again. In fact, one of the Republican candidates for Governor of Ohio has been working certain church leaders religiously (no pun intended) for their support since the start of his campaign. And they have returned the favor, in spades, asking for volunteers from their congregations, openly campaigning for him from the pulpit, and other questionable acts. It has even gotten so bad a group of church leaders from other churches have requested that the I.R.S. pull the tax-exempt status from some of the more egregious offenders.

Don't hold your breath.

However, this year Ohio has joined fifteen other states and Washington D.C. to raise the state minimum wage. The proposed legislation will affect 446,000 Ohio workers. THAT is a very large block of voters that could easily tip the scales away from Republicans in the election.

In addition, Republicans in this state are suffering serious blowback from the Tom Noe scandal (just google "Tom Noe Scandal"--I got 133,000 hits). Governor Bob Taft is currently sitting on an approval rating close to single digits, and he is dragging his party down with him.

So I remain hopeful that maybe, just maybe, the GOP dirty tricks machine will run out of gas this November.

Because if the American people are seriously dumb enough to return the GOP to power for another three years, then there is truly no hope for this country.

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