Monday, April 23, 2012

Why Obama Should Woe Our Southern States

...or not.

A new study* that was just released by Bud Meyers has just confirmed what he's always suspected after three years of intense research. He's concluded that about 1/3 of registered American voters consistently vote against their own best interests, and that the majority of that group consider themselves to be Republican.

One reason he gives is that the Republican leadership uses psychology to promote fear and loathing. Mister Meyers also cites Fox News for using propaganda techniques that were first developed in the United States, and then later used by Joseph Goebbels, to mislead their viewer audience. He also notes how Media Matters has caught Fox News misleading its viewers with questionable graphics of Rasmussen Reports, and skewing already disingenuous studies done by the right-wing advocacy group, the Heritage Foundation.

And Mister Meyers also blames the lobbyists on K Street, who are paid by the same corporate interests that pay to get Republicans elected to office.

The vast majority of the most conservative of this group of Republicans are from Southern states, where many people live in rural areas, and where the media is dominated by conservative news stations and a strong evangelical influence, derived from prejudices and opinions dating back to the pre-Civil War era.

"It's not that these people are any less intelligent than anybody else from other parts of the country, they're just a lot less informed," Mister Meyers wrote in his report. "People in the south still harbor the same beliefs today that they did in the 19th century, due to the familial passing of those beliefs, passed down from one generation to the next."

He goes on to say that, for a minority of whites who might otherwise agree with President Obama, it is very difficult to break from the pack, lest one be ostracized from their friends, family and neighbors. "You wouldn't want to walk in to a local bar in states such as Georgia, South Carolina or Alabama wearing a t-shirt with a black man on it. That would be asking for trouble."

Northern and Western states (and most major metropolitan areas) have historically been more tolerant of blacks and other minorities, and are usually more diverse by choice; whereas the Southern part of the country opposed the Civil Rights Act.

2008 Election

When Obama ran for President in 2008, about 131 million people reported voting in the presidential election, an increase of 5 million from 2004.

"The 2008 election saw a significant increase in voter turnout among young people, blacks and Hispanics," said Thom File, a voting analyst with the Census Bureau.

The total number of voters reported to be eligible and registered for the 2010 mid-term elections was nearly 187 million, a decrease of more than 3.6 million from the 2008 elections. In several swing states, for registered voters by party, Democrats' registration was down by 800,000, Republicans' was down by 350,000, and  Independents gained 325,000.

In a recent swing states survey, Obama led Republican front-runner Mitt Romney 51%-42% among registered voters (The swing states surveyed were Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.)

According to USA Today, registered Democrats still dominate the political playing field with more than 42 million voters, compared to 30 million Republicans and 24 million independents. But Democrats have lost the most — 1.7 million, or 3.9%, from 2008.

Rasmussen reports it differently, saying that more Americans considered themselves to be Republicans (36.4%) than they did Democrats (33.4%), leaving 30.2% as Independents. But Nate Silver of the New York Times concluded that Rasmussen's polls were the least accurate of the major pollsters in 2010 and had a pro-Republican bias. TIME magazine has described Rasmussen Reports as a "conservative-leaning polling group" (citation needed).

Bud Meyers also disagrees with Rasmussen, saying "Wouldn't most Republicans prefer watching Fox News? In my post Fox News Most Distrusted Name in News I pointed out that according to a most recent poll, most people actually prefer watching "mainstream" TV news stations [cable or not] rather than Fox News. And that's just but one reason why Republican voters are so misinformed."

Mister Meyers, who wrote the political diatribe Why I Hate Republicans and the Fox News Channel, admits that for 30 years, he too was a staunch Republican supporter, until one day he finally saw the light.

"My father was born and raised on a farm in the south. As I was growing up, I visited his home town and all my extended family. They're all good and wonderful people, but sadly, I have to admit, many are a little backwards in their world view and political thinking."

He goes on to say that his father had spent almost 30 years in the military, traveling all over the world, before finally retiring. But all his life, he still clung to all his old beliefs about the African-American community (a by-product from the days of slavery in the South, although his grandfather was an immigrant from Germany who didn't settle there until after the Civil War.)

"He wasn't a racist, but he was bigoted. That's just how he was raised. He was just set in his way of thinking. People in the south still feel that way today, and it's passed down from one generation to the next; but it's almost impossible for them to admit this. For some reason, they just feel insulted when confronted on the issue. Is it guilt?" 

Mister Meyers goes on to explain why southern Republicans consistently vote against their own best interests in almost every election cycle:

"It starts at home, and then continues in their schools. While they're growing up they're indoctrinated into believing that anybody who disagrees with them is either a sinner or a communist, or both. There's little tolerance and little will to see any progressive ideology as anything other than an enemy of their Christian and moral beliefs. It's a form of extremism.

And then you have the Republican politicians, deliberately keeping their constituents 'dumbed down'. I hate to say it but, have you heard them being interviewed on Fox News? Those politicians really do sound like the typical stereotype of  "dumb red-neck hicks". They remind me of mayor Boss Hogg on the Dukes of Hazzard. And they keep repeating the same old garage and they keep saying the same thing that everyone else is saying in the GOP. They all sound like they came from the same Mike Huckabee cookie cutter. Be original! It's as though most of them don't even have a single individual thought of their own. And look at all the ridiculous legislation they tried to pass since winning the 2010 elections. They are totally off the wall."

Bud Meyers says Obama could be another Franklin D. Roosevelt, and do wonders for the country, if he could only get some co-operation from the stubborn and near-sighted Republicans, especially those in Southern states.

"Just as one example, look what FDR did for the Tennessee Valley with the TVA." Then he notes the 1944 presidential election, where the Southern voters thanked him, and voted him in to his fourth term in office. This was the last election where a Democrat carried every Southern state (FDR was a Progressive Democrat, but today Allen West would call him a Communist.)

1944 Election (Note: Sarah Palin's State of Alaska and the State of Hawaii wasn't yet in the Union.)

The South has suffered harder and longer since World War II than any other place in the nation. They have had the highest rate of poverty and economic decline, and the most low-paying and minimum wage jobs than anywhere else in the nation. And their "social safety nets" rank at the very bottom.

"Another thing that bothers me very much is how the Republicans continue to tell the American people that we have 'big government' and that 'the government doesn't create jobs, that only the private sector creates jobs'. That's a total lie."

Bud Meyers says that the federal government is, and has almost always been, the nation's single largest employer since the Great Depression and World War II. And they also pay better wages than the private industry does now, but not because they're being paid too much, but only because unions for the public sector have negotiated cost-of-living raises for them throughout the years...while union membership and wages in the private sector have remained stagnant or declined over the last 40 years because of Republican union busting. The Northern state of New York had the highest unionization rate of any state at 24.2 percent; while the Southern state of North Carolina had the lowest rate at 3.2 percent.

"Under George W. Bush the federal government employed 2 million civilian workers, and that's not counting the military and intelligence services. Wal-Mart is the second largest employer and only employs 1.4 million Americans in the United States, while McDonalds, the third largest employer, has 700,000 workers. These are the type of jobs that the Republicans have been pushing on American workers...part-time low-paying jobs without benefits. Meanwhile, under George W. Bush, we lost 52,000 factories with good paying jobs to places like China where these corporations can pay $1 an hour to their workers [slave wages] and not worry about worker safety or the environment."

Then he adds, "And the Republicans encourage this by their anti-union philosophy. Take Boeing for example, who recently built a factory in South Carolina, just so they could pay their workers less than they could in Boeing's home state of Washington. It was touted as 'jobs', but the large corporations always get the states to fight for their business like two dogs over a bone. Boeing didn't need to do this, they're making huge profits while they're dodging taxes."

Mister Meyers also rails about a Southerner's math skills as well.

"Take for example any of the Republican's tax and budget plans. They're all a farce, just to pour more money into the pockets of the very wealthy and the upper income earners. And to pay for this, the Republicans want to cut programs like Social Security and Medicare. And it's all being done under the guise of 'smaller government' and patriotism. And all those misinformed people believe all that horse manure. It's very sad, sad for the country, but mostly sad for those who live in a southern state."

And besides just the poor inner cities (and the rest of America), the South also needs good public schools, unless you can afford to send your kids to private schools. The Republicans want to cut funding for this as well, or pay their teachers like Wal-Mart or McDonalds employees; but Republican governors, who are also paid by the taxpayers, never offered to cut their own salaries.

Then Mister Meyers says, "Just ask Miss Teen South Carolina where the United States is on a map. The south has some of the most beautiful women in this country, but I fear for their academic futures and political inclinations."

Either way, Obama could be very hurt by many new state voter ID and registration laws that the Republicans say were "designed to fight voter fraud." But the laws specifically target young, low-income, African-American and Hispanic voters, and college students - the groups that have backed the Democratic president by wide margins in 2008. The GOP was also successful in de-funding ACORN, which registered more than 1 million mostly low-income voters in 2008.

The GOP doesn't want to play on a level playing field, so they try to influence elections, just to keep the party in power, who has the support of the biggest corporations and banks.

Many registered voters from both political parties have become disillusioned with their choices (especially in congress), and both parties have lost registered voters, who now consider themselves to be Independents. The key for Democrats appears to be the same in 2012 as it was in 2008, to win the young, minority, and Independent voters.

"If more voters in the Southern states had better access to progressive information, and could step outside their small circle and have an open and honest debate on the issues, and leave the bigotry and hostility somewhere else, maybe this country wouldn't be as divided today as it was during the Civil War. The 'South will not rise again', nor will any state secede from the union, so get over it already. And nobody is trying to take your guns, so chill out."

Mister Meyers also condemned Ted Nugent (who's a Yankee) for his outrageous remarks when he said, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” 

Ted Nugent, like Michael Moore and Mitt Romney, is also from Detroit, Michigan...but a world apart. (Mitt Romney was raised in the very exclusive and wealthy nearby suburb of Bloomfield Hills). Although it is odd how Ted and Mitt hate the fact that Obama saved so many jobs in Detroit. Why?

But even as hard as the GOP has been trying to lose the 2012 election, the Democrats still have to get people registered and get them out to vote, no matter how popular Obama might be in the polls...Rasmussen's poll or anybody else's.

If Obama and the Democrats can't get out the vote in the South, then maybe only the bigots, the Dixiecrats, the Tea Party crazies, the hypocritical evangelists, the Fox News followers, and all the idiots like Ted Nugent** will carry the most important election in our lifetimes, and take us back to the days of the Civil War. I hope not.

Obama once said, "We are not a collection of Red States and Blue States — We are the United States of America." If only it were true. 

Don't vote white or black. Don't vote red or blue. Just vote for someone who has your best interests at heart, and not their own.

* * An interviewer from the British newspaper The Independent questioned Ted Nugent about a 1977 interview in High Times magazine in which Nugent allegedly detailed elaborate steps taken to avoid the Vietnam draft. Bud Meyers' father, a Democrat, volunteered and served two tours of duty in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. Ted Nugent is no more a patriotic American than any other Democrat. An Army base in Kentucky recently cancelled Ted Nugent's appearance this coming June. Commanders at Fort Knox have decided against allowing the “Motor City Madman” to take the stage at the base because of his crazy remarks about Obama, our President and Commander-and Chief. We will be waiting this time next year to see if Ted Nugent is nothing but hot air after Obama is re-elected.* There was no "official" study, but was written after 56 years of observation and opined on.

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