Sunday, May 26, 2013


In the spring of 2012, some people believed that Mitt Romney might beat Barack Obama and Republicans might win both houses of Congress. What would have happened then? What will happen in 2016 if Marco Rubio wins the White House and has GOP majorities in both houses?

Well, Republicans took control of the entire state government in North Carolina in 2012, and The Washington Post tells us what's happening:
Legislators have slashed jobless benefits. They have also repealed a tax credit that supplemented the wages of low-income people, while moving to eliminate the estate tax. They have voted against expanding Medicaid to comply with the 2010 federal health-care law. The expansion would have added 500,000 poor North Carolinians to the Medicaid rolls....

Lawmakers are also considering proposals to reduce and flatten income tax rates while expanding the sales tax, perhaps to even include groceries and prescription drugs -- which some advocates see as a first step toward eliminating the state income tax.....

There are also measures pending to require drug testing for low-income people applying for job training and welfare benefits....

The North Carolina House has passed a law requiring voters to have a government-issued identification card, and legislators are considering bills to roll back the state’s law allowing same-day voter registration and to sharply limit early voting....
Republicans have two ideas at this moment in time: massively increasing income inequality and massively decreasing the participation in democracy of Democratic-leaning groups. That's why I cut President Obama and other Democrats quite a bit of slack, even when they flat-out refuse to bring the financiers who destroyed the economy to justice, or pursue Bush-like national security policies, or otherwise let us down. To me, the #1 political issue in America is how badly the poor and middle class are going to be screwed. When Republicans have their way, their answer is: the poor and middle class are going to be screwed as much as we can get away with screwing them. They are far, far worse than Democrats.

The GOP takeover In North Carolina happened in a curious way:
The victories were aided by the strong financial support of Art Pope, a multimillionaire who spent heavily in support of the state’s GOP candidates. The Institute for Southern Studies, a North Carolina-based research organization, said Pope's advocacy network spent $2.2 million on 22 legislative races, winning 18. Overall, conservative organizations largely supported by Pope accounted for three-fourths of the outside money spent in North Carolina legislative races in 2010, according to the institute.

One of [Pat] McCrory's first acts after being elected governor was to install Pope, a former legislator, as the state budget chief.
Oh, nice. And, of course, this sort of buying of elections is what the federal courts continue to ratify. (The IRS scandal will only make election-buying by rich right-wingers easier.)

The Post story claims that North Carolinians have mixed feelings about what's happening in their state:
Liberals may be up in arms, but North Carolina conservatives are applauding the new direction of the General Assembly. After the state Senate unveiled its tax reform plan this month, the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity released a poll that it said showed widespread support across the state. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said the state tax code is in need of reform, and nearly half backed moving to totally eliminate the personal income tax within four years.
An Americans for Prosperity poll? Seriously?

The results of a recent Public Policy Polling survey are, um, rather different:
48% of North Carolinians disapprove of the Republican government to just 41% who approve. Republican legislators score even worse at 37% approval to 49% disapproval. The General Assembly overall gets a 25% positive rating to 51% negative and 24% unsure.... Voters believe by a 45% to 31% margin that the General Assembly is causing the state national embarrassment.

Specific Republican proposals are extremely unpopular. Voters oppose the House and Senate tax plans by 41%-11% and 44%-14%, respectively. When told the details of these plans, opposition soars to 68%-13% for the Senate’s plan and 55%-21% for the House's. 81% of North Carolinians oppose raising the sales tax on groceries from 2% to 6.5%. Only 10% support it.
Oh, and here's public opinion on a the GOP's gun agenda, which isn't mentioned in the Post story:
Respondents stated by a 73% to 17% margin that concealed weapons should not be allowed in bars. They oppose allowing concealed weapons in parks and on college campuses. Voters want to keep guns out of parks by a 65% to 29% margin and off of college campuses by 69% to 25%.
Of course, the GOP is the honey badger party -- it doesn't give a shit what voters think once it's in power.

I know a lot of you think the GOP can never win another presidential election. I think that's true if Hillary Clinton is up for the race and is in good health and is as much admired as she is now. Otherwise, it's a toss-up. I don't think I've seen a single poll in which any other Democrat beats one of the GOP's marquee names.

A GOP sweep can't be allowed to happen. If the GOP really had its way unfettered, America would become a Cayman Islands for the business community and a Bangladesh for workers. I don't think we'd fall that far in one term under an all-GOP national government. But that's the direction we'd be heading in.


Victor said...

I'm not even gone 5 years, and the whole state's gone to hell in a hand-basket!

But I saw this when I lived there.

Even in Liberal areas, like RTP, and Chapel Hill, Conservatives were everywhere. And once you left the Raleigh, RTP area, excluding, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Asheville, the state's a South Carolina wanna-be.

The coastal area, except Wilmington, the home of the Good Ol' Boys.

But, hell, you could say the same thing about NY.

This country is divided between more Liberal and accepting urban areas, and the deeply Conservative rural areas.
And depending on the city, the suburbs are varying shades of purple.

And yes, it really is still about race.
The apportionment in the Constitution made blacks 3/5's of a person, to keep the more Liberal and accepting North, from dominating the deeply Conservative, South.

And that's what's STILL dividing this country.
And our Senate is over-represented by states with small populations, and the House has gerrymandered themselves into relative security.

We are in deep, deep, shit, if the Republicans win, and get control of the whole country.
Deep shit.

Ten Bears said...

The Rocky Mountains are quite easily rendered impassible.

We don't need no stinkin' wall. Just a monkey wrench.

No fear.

The New York Crank said...

Sorry, I don't buy into the lesser of two evils, theory. Either road leads first to hell, then to an eventual revolution. The only difference is, Obama is taking us there by inches. He lessens the misery short term, but extends it to the same point over time.

The sooner this country blows itself up economically and culturally, the sooner we can get back to some sort of sane nation, with a saner distribution of power and wealth.

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank

John Taylor said...

No matter who wins the White House in 2016 the looting of the economy will continue. The wealthy few won't be happy until they own everything.

Steve M. said...

The sooner this country blows itself up economically and culturally, the sooner we can get back to some sort of sane nation, with a saner distribution of power and wealth.

Under those circumstances, I think we'd be much more likely to have a far-right-wing theocracy -- basically Ayn Rand gene-spliced with John Hagee.

Peter Janovsky said...

My diary based on this post:

Examinator said...

I've been gone 18 months and I'm not surprised in the least.

the lunatics are running the asylum.

Ten Bears said...

Agreed. Forcefully. If This Goes On.

No fear. Caution, anticipation, but no fear

Ten Bears said...

That has long sat in the back of my mind, Obama as a band-aid ore a severed artery. For a number of years it was my conviction that Bill Clinton held the dubious distinction of being the last duly elected President of the "United States" of "America". Obama, having been both duly elected and duly re-elected, harbors the equally dubious distinction of being President of the Untied States of "America". Perhaps it would been better in the long run had McCain/Palin ascended.

We have reached a statistical point of saturation - the populations (note the multiple, not just human) have grown to large, to diverse, the varibles to many, the weighting factors to complex, over a geography to emmense for continued subjugation and exploitation by faceless Little Eichmenn three thousand miles away. Like a perpetual motion machine bound by the laws of nature to fail, it will fail. The questions are when, and how spectacularly - how much will we suffer. The longer it takes the more spectacular our suffering.

California will go first, it has the worlds sixth or seventh economy. Cascadia has Micro$oft. You don't think the International Bankers really run the world, do you?

Ain't nothin' east of The Rockies we need.

No fear.

Kathy said...

I saw this morning that the NC legislature also is considering an AZ/AL-style immigration bill. The bill's acronym is RECLAIM. Could the dog-whistle be any louder?

Steve, I'm with you. The Democrats aren't perfect, and there's way too much money buying influence, but the Republicans are terrifying. Hillary 2016!

BH said...

Same here, Steve. If the Senate goes red in '14, as it well may, we'll get a little stronger foretaste of what a full-GOP fed govt would be. And I fail to see anything besides wishful apocalypto-thinking/frustration in the proposals to just let the GOP have it all so there'll be a Great Depression-style collapse, ushering in the Workers' Millennium. For one thing, such proposals seem to assume that the massive human suffering the collapse would entail would be acceptable as, one supposes, collateral damage. For another, they assume that the response of the populace would be to essentially transform the US into Norway. I think it more likely that the response would be more along the lines of a transformation into Franco-era Spain.

Hillary would be just fine by me. So would Joe B. And personally, if Sherrod Brown wanted to take a run, I wouldn't mind either.

Ten Bears said...

It would appear that assumption yours in exclusive.. No where have assumptions of Norway or a worker's paradise or whatever been aired. Nor are there advocasies to just give it all up to the Nazis. The consensus as well as the post is the most likely outcome will be a Franco-like Fascist Theocracy, or as I alluded to with Heinlein's If This Goes On and Revolt in 2100 an "American" Messianic Theocracy not unlike Joseph Smith's asperations.

M g'da had a fifty one-ton Ford pickup with a manual wiper - one wiper, reach up and back and forth. Never used it. Said "see beyond the windshield, boy." Physics is everything (did I mention I am a Mad Scientist?), everything is physics. Wheels Coming Off implies momentum. Momentum implies anticipating where the wheels will go, an oft prudent if not pragmatic exersise.

No fear.

BH said...

TB-kindly scroll up to the third post in this thread. That is what I was referring to. I have some doubts about your theses as well, but they'll keep; reasonable minds can differ.