Mitt Romney

Who wants to buy your vote?

 

 

Whether you are a liberal or conservative, Democrat, Republican, or independent, I think there is one thing we can all agree on. We have had enough of the political ads!

If you live in a political battleground state as I do, you know how saturated the TV time has been with mostly negative ads for one presidential candidate or the other. I live in Ohio which many feel is the key state for determining the fate of the election. An NBC analysis showed more money spent on political ads in Ohio than anywhere else with $181 million so far, which is about one-fifth of the national total of $883 million. NBC is predicting the number will reach $1 billion dollars before the election is over.

In my hometown of Columbus, the capital and center of the state, we have been privileged to see 6,647 ads this month alone, or 333 a day! However, our friends in Cleveland are suffering even more as they are ranked as the No. 2 market in the state and Columbus is only No. 9.

Obama ads have been more plentiful but Romney isn’t far behind. During September the president and his supporters bought more than 800 spots in both Cleveland and Columbus markets according to the Wesleyan analysis. Since the beginning of October Obama’s campaign has spent more than $2.5 million with Columbus’s four main broadcast stations where Romney has spent less than $1 million; but the super PACs, American Crossroads and Restore Our Future, bought $800,000 in ads according to Federal Communications Commission data.

Negative ads saturate the airwaves

We have been inundated with ads all summer. Overall, there have been more than 915,000 presidential ads on broadcast and cable TV and radio since June. It seems that most of the ads are negative and the stats back this up with 91% of Romney’s ads negative compared to 85% for Obama. The Wesleyan study says that the tone of these ads is more negative than any other presidential cycle. It found that more than 60% of the ads were attack ads that appealed to anger, fear and even sadness more than enthusiasm and pride. Experts explain that polarization in this country has become so intense between the two parties that the candidates truly believe it is dangerous for the country if the other side wins and they feel they must point this out.

Results of Citizens United ruling

We have the Supreme Court and the Citizens United decision of 2010 to thank for this. Citizens United was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. This decision has been credited with creating the super PACs, political action committees, which make no contributions to candidates or parties and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, and unions.

However, it took another decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. In March 2010, the D.C. Circuit ruled that individuals could make unlimited contributions to Super PACs, which supported individual candidates. This opened the door to massive donations for advertising campaigns essentially funded by single individuals but shielded in anonymity behind hastily drawn up corporations.

During this current presidential campaign, the first presidential election held after the Citizens United ruling, we are seeing the results of this ruling. Jack Gillum of the Associated Press reports that $5 million has been donated by a mysterious company to FreedomWorks for America to support conservative candidates for federal office. Tennessee business records show that Specialty Group filed its incorporation papers less than a week before its sizable donation to FreedomWorks. The Specialty Group has no website or listed products or services. The address given is that of a suburban Knoxville home. If you think this doesn’t concern you, think about it. Someone in another state is spending MILLIONS to influence your vote, whether it is for a local or national office.

Citizens United opens a second floodgate

The Citizens United ruling opened another floodgate of which you may not be aware. The decision also lifted the ban on employers advising employees on how to vote. Just after the ruling the Yale Law Journal said this case could let employers “Hold political captive audience workplace meetings with their employees,” and may even be able to “compel their employees to listen” to their political views at those meetings “on pain of termination.”

This is exactly what happened in Ohio with the Murray Energy coal miners. Murray Chief Operating Officer Robert Moore explained to WWVA radio that they were forced to show up at the mine owned by Murray Energy, a big donor to Republican causes. The mine was then closed that day for supposed safety and security reasons on the day Romney visited the mine, then they were docked a day’s pay after being ordered to show up. Moore said, “You figure it out: Attendance was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event.”

Company owner Robert Murray told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Nobody was ordered to attend.” But he added, “Barack Obama is destroying their lives, their livelihoods. These people are scared, and they came out in droves to see Mitt Romney, and that’s what it was all about.”

Georgia-Pacific, which employees 45,000 people, is distributing an employee packet about civic voter information with a letter from the chief operating officer warning: “If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.”

However, not to appear too prejudicial, they added: voting decisions are “yours and yours alone.” Georgia-Pacific is owned by the billionaire Koch brothers. They have been funneling much of their own money and others and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat Obama.

It is reported that many other businesses, large and small, are sending similar letters to their employees. A guest blogger for the Hill, which covers Capitol Hill, said that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (which is closely tied to the Republican party) is encouraging campaigns to put political ads in employees’ pay envelopes. Romney has encouraged employers to “make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming election.”

It is good to know that in Ohio and some other states employers are not allowed to predict that “if any particular candidate is elected…work in the establishment will cease in whole or in part.”

Can Karl Rove and 17 angry white men buy the election?

Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, said, “My concern is that Karl Rove and 17 angry old white men are trying to buy the election. And that’s the truth,” Reid told the Review Journal. “You have Adelson (Las Vegas Sands casino billionaire), the Koch brothers (billionaires David and Charles). You have Simmons (billionaire) of Texas. They are literally trying to buy the election. Think about this. The day after the election, Karl Rove sits down and talks to…the 17 angry old white guys and says, ‘Hey listen guys, we just bought America. And we’re still rich.’ That’s the concern that we all have.”

All the above men are heavy contributors to super PACs supporting Romeny. Since the Citizens United ruling, individuals, corporations and unions are able to spend unlimited money attempting to influence the elections. This election alone they have spent $650 million.

Money equals speech

The Supreme Court said: “in our political system, money equals speech.” This appears to be the beginning of a very slippery slope where those with money can outright “buy” the election. It is up to us, the citizens, to trace the money trails and see who is trying to influence us and buy our vote. I don’t know about you but I consider myself an independent thinker and I look for the hidden agendas behind all the noise and slick advertisements. Study all the issues and candidates carefully before you enter the sanctity of the polling booth. Voting is a sacred right we Americans have so exercise your right and don’t let anyone buy your vote.

 

www.mediabistro.com/tvspy/category/politicalads

http://www.thenews-messenger.com/article/20121020/NEWS01/210200303/Buckeyes-see-more-political-advertising-than-ever

http://www.nationaljournal.com/hotline/ad-spending-in-presidential-battleground-states-20120620

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/track-presidential-campaign-ads-2012/

http://kuow.org/post/ad-watch-rematch-6-swing-states-1-half-hour-87-political-ads

http://www.npr.org/.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/sensing-saturation-ohio-house-candidate-cancels-advertising-buy/

http://www.citizensunited.org/index.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_(organization)

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-companies-can-now-advise-employees-on-how-to-vote-and-they-do-20121030,0,4157647.story

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/30/harry-reid-karl-rove-white-men_n_2042900.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/freedom-works-donation_n_2038099.html

 

 

 

Confessions of a reformed Republican

 

 

I have been a Republican most of my voting life. When I turned voting age I proudly marched down to my voter’s registration office and put my name on the rolls as a Republican.

I come from a long line of Republicans on my mother’s side and my father was the lone Democrat in a family of red-white-& blue blooded Republicans. I had the mistaken idea that Republicans were always right and the Democrats were so liberal they were almost communists. I don’t believe in voting a straight ticket but I had the philosophy of when in doubt vote Republican.

Disillusioned and disenchanted

The transformation was gradual and I’m not sure exactly when I changed, or if I did change. I don’t think I changed so much as the Republican Party did. The shift began sometime in the middle of George W. Bush’s reign term. The campaign and insistence of Bush to invade Iraq to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction had something to do with it. So did his “Mission Accomplished” speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 when, clearly, the mission was not accomplished and many years of war were ahead.

I became cynical when I saw vice president Dick Cheney pull the strings from behind the scenes and interfere in areas that benefited his company, Halliburton. Cheney was chairman and CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. He retired from the company during the 2000 U.S. presidential election but still received stock options and other payments from the company. During his term as vice president, Halliburton was allowed to bid unopposed on government contracts. Cheney is also responsible for the infamous Bush/Cheney loophole of the Clean Water Act. Halliburton is a prominent player in the relatively new fracking industry and Cheney was successful in eliminating a disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process. They claimed it prevented competitors from stealing their formulas but it also exempts these companies from having to meet strict EPA regulations and endangers the water supplies.

I became even more disenchanted when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. She is an embarrassment to the female population. She makes a good cheerleader but is ignorant of political and foreign affairs and basic fifth grade history.

Mitt the Twit

I thought the current presidential Republican candidate would be more intelligent and informed but it looks like he came out of the same mold as Palin. His trip abroad this summer, which was intended to showcase his foreign affairs savvy, only made him look more foolish. The Brits began calling him Mitt the Twit because of his blunders. Who in his right mind goes to our long-time ally and insults them by saying they are not ready to host the Olympics on the eve of its opening? He then went to Israel and insulted the Palestinians with a comment about their “culture”; and, as an equal opportunity abuser, he insulted the Jews by referring to a stereotype of the Jews.

Romney further exhibited his incompetency in foreign affairs by issuing a statement regarding the attack on our Embassy in Libya calling Obama’s handling of the violence “disgraceful” and accusing the administration of sympathizing with the attackers. He was too quick to jump to the party line of portraying the president as always apologizing for the U.S.’s actions and made a fool of himself in the process.

In addition to individuals within the party I am also upset with the Republican Party as whole for their stand on women, birth control, and no abortions in cases of rape and incest. The party wants to set back the women’s movement to the 1950’s when women stayed home, cooked, cleaned, wore house dresses with pearls (think Harriet Nelson in Ozzie and Harriet), and never had an original thought. In addition, the middle class and below is looked down upon as evidenced in Romney’s latest comments about 47% of the people not wanting to work or pay taxes and sponge off the government. The party has become the party of the 1% and the “wanna be’s”; that is, those who want to be part of the 1% and think that some of it will rub off on them if they vote Republican.

Mind polluting and propaganda spewing

And we can’t forget the plundering, pontificating, mind-polluting, propaganda-spewing duo of Limbaugh and Beck. Nothing more needs to be said about this Republican self-promoting tag team.

Compounding these issues is the Tea Party and the “religious right” who think they have all the answers and if you don’t agree with them you are not only wrong but also ungodly and un-American. The way the party is now I don’t understand how any middle-class American, woman, minority, or disadvantaged can vote Republican.

I looked around and thought, “What the hell is going on? This party does not represent who I am or what I believe.” At that moment I woke up and became a “reformed Republican.”

Reformed and rehabilitated

Yes, I am now a proud reformed, rehabilitated Republican. The party took a sharp right turn and left me in the middle of the road seeking my own path down the center between far-right Republican extremism and bleeding-heart liberal Democrats. I think I will start a third party called the RRA (reformed rehabilitated Americans). It is open to disillusioned voters of all parties who want to restore integrity and sanity to our government. Anyone with me?