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john burton

John Burton

That is what John Burton, Chair of the California Democratic Party, told the gathered delegates (including me) at the annual party convention recently in San Diego. And so…I will.

The Republican Party today is more extreme that it has been at any time since records were first kept in 1879, when Republican Rutherford Hayes (who stole the 1876 Presidential election in even more outrageous fashion than George W. Bush did in 2000) was President. The most liberal Republican in Congress today is more conservative than the most conservative Democrat, based on their recent voting records.

Who is to blame for this stalemate? Should the Democrats try to meet the Congressional Republicans half way, and negotiate a compromise on important pieces of legislation, so at least there is something that gets done? However, this is rarely successful, as the Tea Party Republicans elected to the House in 2010 take the position that it is “my way or the highway”, and with Grover Norquist now controlling the Republican Party with his tax pledge, no Republican can vote to raise revenues (also called taxes) without being cast out of the GOP, or at least denied reelection money in 2012.

Another interesting issue that has surfaced in recent months, as it did in the first half of 2008, is the substantial increase in gasoline prices, to an average of well over $4.00 a gallon, with crude oil topping $100 a barrel (versus a high of $147 a barrel in 2008). The Republicans, predictably, are blaming President Obama for this increase, but anyone who knows the real facts here attributes over half of the increase in the price of crude oil to rampant Wall Street speculation by persons who will never use a drop of the crude oil futures they have locked up.

The Dodd-Frank legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010 had provisions curbing such speculation, and President Obama has just held a news conference urging compliance with the law, but Wall Street has rolled out its big guns to challenge the regulations that need to be in place before the Dodd-Frank legislation has any real teeth to stop such rampant speculation. Wall Street's lawyers are also gearing up to challenge the legislation when the regulations are final, in a desperate effort to stop or delay the enforcement efforts until they have gouged the public enough and decided to take their obscene profits, as they did in July, 2008.

Today's typical Republican, I have said previously, is:

  • Extremely politically naïve, swayed by meaningless slogans that have little to do with his or her real economic situation, and believing in “creationism” and not evolution;
  • Extremely greedy, placing his or her economic interests above all else, even if the U. S. goes down the tubes in the process; or
  • A racist, mostly residing in the Old Confederacy; they used to be Democrats until after the mid-1960s (with the passage of the Civil Rights Act), when they became Republicans.

Or they are a blend of all three. And most of them are older white men. Women and Americans in their 20s are not Republicans, unless they fit snugly into these three groups.

Sexual Politics

An interesting study by the dating site analyzed the sexual politics of Democrats and Republicans. The study found that Democrats look for the following qualities in a mate:

  • humor;
  • respect;
  • independence; and
  • sexual openness.

Republicans, on the other hand, look for:

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  • shared politics;
  • shared religion;
  • shared ethnicity; and
  • shared values.

The study also asked which party is most satisfied in bed, and 51% of Republicans said that they climax almost every time they have sex v. 40% of Democrats.

Either the Republicans are lying, or they only have sex once or twice a month.

The Supremes

And then there is the Supreme Court, which could in the next few months strike down “Obamacare” in its entirety, leaving 50 million Americans without health insurance. The four-person conservative voting block is Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito (both confirmed on the Court after Bush v Gore, by a 5-4 vote, elected George W. Bush to be President in 2000), Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas, and they could be joined by swing Justice Anthony Kennedy to provide the 5-4 majority on the Court that would disenfranchise 50 million people.

Several years ago, this same voting block decided the Citizens United case, which has led to unrestrained campaign contributions in the 2012 election year by “super-PACs”, and could tip the balance forever in favor of the Republicans.

What will be next for them, doing away with Social Security and Medicare, and outlawing abortion? (Note: all five of this conservative voting block on the Court are Catholics.)

Several law professors at the University of Chicago Law School, from which I graduated, have labeled Justice Scalia (who once taught there) to be “unprincipled” in his recent Supreme Court opinions. And others on the Supreme Court, if they voted to dump Obama's healthcare law, would be violating the precepts of their own recent opinions, which have shrunk from finding standing to decide a case until there is actual harm (such as payment of the individual mandate charge). They would become the “activist” Justices they have long criticized the liberal Justices on the Court for being, and would be widely seen as abandoning judicial precedent to reach a craven political decision.

Chief Justice Roberts is so conservative that a person whom I recently struck up a conversation with, thinking me to be a conservative like him, remarked that his child had a kindergarten class with Robert's son, and he was struck by how conservative Roberts was, even in the context of a casual conversation between the fathers of kindergartners. Frightening.

And what to make of Justice “Long Dong Silver” Thomas, appointed by Bush pere in 1992, who neglected to include in his judicial disclosures his wife's long-term, extensive income from and involvement in an anti-“Obamacare” organization? He has refused to recuse himself from voting in the “Obamacare” case, and if he casts the deciding vote to overturn it, he should be impeached.

Under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, all civil officers of the United States, including Justices, shall be impeached and removed from office for conviction of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”. One might consider Justice Thomas's failure to disclose, and his financial benefit from, his wife's extensive financial rewards derived from working for the opponents of “Obamacare” to be a form of bribery.

ted vaill

So for the next nearly seven months it is total war, until November 6, 2012 arrives and we find out if America is to become an oligarchy run by Romney and his plutocrats in Congress, or remains a democracy under President Obama and the Democrats. This is truly a defining moment for our democracy.

If the Republicans want to play John Burton-style hardball, let it be so…

Ted Vaill

Ted Vaill is in his second term as an elected delegate to the California Democratic Party Convention from the 41st Assembly District, and is a lawyer and filmmaker in Los Angeles.