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Opinion

Opinion

Obama hasn’t hit Carter depths

June 3, 2010

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— “This is the worst,” a Democratic friend exclaimed over the phone on Tuesday, the first day back at work after the Memorial Day weekend. I knew without asking what he meant — the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that dominated television coverage and was into its second month with no quick solution in sight.

No, I told him. It’s not yet the worst.

They haven’t built a popular new television program around it — yet. No one has created a new media franchise for himself out of it. There isn’t a name for it that has become part of popular culture.

I was thinking back to when another Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, found himself stymied in another seemingly endless ordeal. Iranian militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 officials and workers hostage for 444 days, while the U.S. was helpless to free them.

Many of us recall the event by the name that became attached to it: “America Held Hostage.” That was the title ABC News slapped on its half-hour news update that aired each night, with Ted Koppel as anchor. The show later became the long-running program “Nightline.”

This is when you know you are truly harpooned, when your dilemma has become someone else’s meal ticket.

As sinister as the jet stream of escaping oil and gas looks via the underwater camera in the Gulf, Barack Obama has not yet moved into the category of the late-night patsy that Jimmy Carter became. The Iranians were more clever, or diabolical, in exploiting their hostages than the restrained BP executives or their enviro foes are in this situation.

Obama keeps popping up in new settings, sounding as if he is in command, and he has refused to be confined to the White House as Carter was by the hostage crisis. His good-guy Coast Guard retired admiral has not melted under the pressure and the BP execs we’ve seen on TV refuse to play cartoon capitalists, instead conveying the sense that they grieve over the accident.

As a result, this saga, painful as it is, has not yet become the simple demonstration of monumental futility and incompetence that the hostage crisis became for Carter, who let his personal frustration become the nation’s humiliation. When he finally mounted a rescue effort, and the helicopters crashed into each other in the desert, it was the final proof that he was cursed in anything he tried to do.

That truly was the worst. Today we’re not there — yet.

But we have seen this movie before, and we know how it ends politically. Somebody else shows up and says he can fix this. Or end it. Or make it come out right.

This is why Democrats are right to be very nervous as this Gulf incident drags on in its second month. We have endured about as much technical explanation of the rigors of deep-sea drilling as we can stand.

The chart talks demonstrating that we had figured out where the hostages were being held didn’t do Carter a lick of good when voters were aching to see the captives walk into their families’ arms.

Nothing is going to help Obama unless or until the engineers come up with a method for shutting down this gusher of pollution. He clearly couldn’t prevent it, and he was slow in signaling its severity. But he owns it now and until it is over, the man who aspired to be the next John Kennedy or maybe Franklin Roosevelt will have to hope he doesn’t end up as Jimmy Carter.

— David Broder is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group. davidbroder@washpost.com

Comments

SLOPOKE 3 years, 10 months ago

I think it's called BALL'S!! OOP'S I meant Batters , UP !!

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

Here is what is true: Under Obama unemployment has hovered around 10%. Under Obama, taxes on the "under 125,000" have gone up. The transparant governent that "the chosen one|" is sadly a Chicago back room politician joke. His idea of "fair America" is to take from from you and giive to them. Them will be voting in the next election. Are you of them?:

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

I've reminded of Mongol, in Blazing Saddles (movie). Mongol, just pawn in game of life. Rahm, just pawn in life too. Ha Ha Ha. Why don't you dummies just declare war on the U.S. and try to take over? Oh, because you already have. Oh, the American public? Oh, throw them a carrot and tell them how good off they are. You thieves are done, November 2010. MASSIVE FAIL!!!!

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

At best. A fair trial at lest. What ever fair is.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

Maybe Rahm will offer the oil well a cabinet job......

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

Bea, all your chest beatings, and all the horses mens, can't bring humpty dumpty down again. I really do appreciate all your panderings to do the same, but you must surely realize we are in an mell of a hess! This demagogue (and yes, it's deserved) of a president you've been backing is as paper a horse, as the the Trojan). Smoking he tells us to quit. Snarling, he tells us to quit our oil dependence. Emmanuel (sic?) Rahm is about to submerge with all of his misdeeds. Rea, the Chicago back court politician Good God, have you no sense? How can you condone these stupid mis-deeds? Are you without a brain? Traitor of America?

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beatrice 3 years, 10 months ago

Tom, what was it you said recently -- "White people have no power now." -- wasn't that it?

Yes, I think we know why you blame Obama.

Too bad McCain and Palin aren't in office now. They could have stopped the oil leak by getting all Mavericky and getting out of the way of big business. Yep, that would have worked.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

i say it's time to form our own party. One that doesn't like the fat cats, one that does understand the thin cats....I think our party should lobby against big government, which has never proven to be a solution for anything because of bureaucracy (we needed a French word to describe an American condition! - Sad Nice, we've gotten the "(Frog's} problem. Let's form a party of the people, for the people, since we don't hjae one now!

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c_doc77 3 years, 10 months ago

The president should have stuck closer to some of his Goldman Sachs homies. As "luck" would have it, they dumped 44% of their BP stock ($250 million worth) three weeks before the spill.

http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0602/month-oil-spill-goldman-sachs-sold-250-million-bp-stock/

This won't ruin Obama. If anything he'll be able to play hero with so-called energy legislation. How else did you think they were going to get the "cap and trade" bill to pass? Like Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, likes to say, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." This kind of crisis can only help Obama as long as he can use it to his political advantage. It may not give him the boost that 9/11afforded Bush II, but at least he has something to work with now. Things were looking grim with the economy and all. This will only make it worse in the long run and put even more of our tax dollars in the pockets of the international bankers, but they may be able to distract the dumbed down public with the appearance of progress, or "hope" if you like.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

By the way, in case you didn't get the news flash...I don't like the Repubs, either. They've become too self aggrandized, too full of themselves, and as greedy with the conumer filled till.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

Not likely. Remember, he's cash strapped (oh, by the way, his family is used to 500K > income), so what i expect to happen is a lot of "I don't remember" which is what the traditional democrats eschew.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

Will Blago go totally Sampson and pull the temple of Chicago corruption down on the heads for IL politicians?

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

heh. The lamesteam press is finally focusing on the problem. It's the idiot in Chief. The Chicago back room politician who spawned Blagoivich (or maybe the other way around), the community organizer, who much like Jimmy Carter, made people like him, and didn't let on that he hadn't a clue how to do anything much, except grow peanuts (not demeaning peanuts here, I've known a few goobers in my life) and hoodwinked a dumb public. I fear for our Republic, that puts more emphasis on what Brittney Dumbass trailer trash does, over what Fidel, or Iran's president (it was easier than saying it) . Our country is fast on the road to ruin, and no one is defending it. Except me. I don't want anything, need anything. I did it for me.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

How much more bad news can Obama and Dems take?

"Congressman Joe Sestak’s post-primary bounce appears to over, and he now trails Republican rival Pat Toomey by seven points in the U.S. Senate contest in Pennsylvania. "

Specter jumps ship and joins Dems to "get re-elected", Specter loses to Sestak, Sestak loses to Toomey? Then pay-to-play all over the map......WOW!

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/pennsylvania/2010_senate_election/election_2010_pennsylvania_senate

Obama is expressly not going to have fun if he loses one or both bodies of his beloved congress. LMAO!

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

can't. he can't control anything!

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

"Oh, a community organizer with strong ties to Acorn would be good to lead us", the left bleated. His HopeNchange will bring us through our darkest days. Jeremiah Wright says so, because he knows white people are evil and Barrack Hussein is the annointed "bent" one, since having a certificate of live birth from Hawaii! He is our messiah! He will take from the rich and give to the poor! He will heal all our afflictions! He is actually close to the second coming! Welcome to America...I think illegals better rethink coming here, this is fast becoming as much a slum as what they came from!

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barrypenders 3 years, 10 months ago

Poser will 'Attack' his brothers in Tehran in a couple of months and 'Sequester' all voting til the returning 'Mushroom' cloud from the 'Aryan' named state of Iran clears.

Stimulus, Bent Emotionality Logic, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

We'll see if Dear Leader goes into pout & sulk mode after the mid-term elections....

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

Can Obama and Dems withstand much more of this? Five months will be here and gone before you know it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/04/AR2010060401264.html?hpid=topnews

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Mixolydian 3 years, 10 months ago

Obama's economy keeps sinking and we're going to be nostalgic for Carter's malaise. At least back then we had WKRP in Cincinnati.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

Cait48, perhaps you are the one who needs to do some re-reading. I didn't say that Carter had "no executive experience." What I did say was that neither Carter nor Obama had the "requisite experience" to serve as President. In Carter's case, the experience he had had was very parochial, and it showed almost immediately after he took office. Again, in Obama's case, his executive experience was non-existent. He was nothing more than a petty radical leftist on a mission who moved to Chicago in order to connect himself politically with Chicago liberals; more often than not chose to vote "present" while in the Illinois legislature; nominally served a short part of a Senate term while actually running for the presidency; and became President of a country whose citizens knew less about his real background than anyone else who has held that office in the 20th century.

As for your denigrating Reagan, here's what you said to my comment that neither Carter nor Obama had the requisite experience to serve as President: "Oh and I suppose Reagan's experience as a state governor did. That's hogwash." You then went on to cite Obama's (short) experience in the U.S. Senate, demonstrating conclusively that you didn't know the difference between executive and legislative experience, and apparently still don't.

As for your comparison of Carter's and Obama's respective characters, I agree with you that Obama doesn't have to worry about being too honest to serve as President. The rapidly developing Sestak and Romanoff scandals are but one good example of same, and are somehow not quite consistent with the "transparency" promised by your anointed hero.

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Tamara Degner 3 years, 10 months ago

If Obama would start to lead, things could improve greatly.

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Tamara Degner 3 years, 10 months ago

If Obama would start to lead, things could improve greatly.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

After ignoring all your posts, (which i do an a regular basis), I've decided.....

Obama is exactly the President you voted for. You knew what he stood for before you voted for him. You know what he stand for know. Enjoy it!

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Bob Kraxner 3 years, 10 months ago

What in the fvck are you lying about now ? There can not possibly be any comparison between Jimmy Carter and this complete loser who now inhabits the white house by nothing more than default ! Carter was a president ! ! ! This half-breed motherfvckin piece of $hit is absolutely nothing more than a poser, for all you nigga- lovin americans to think that you might have somethin to believe in...

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barrypenders 3 years, 10 months ago

Carter had 'Billy Beer' to fall back on.

What kind of brotherly 'Beer' does Poser have to fall back on?

Stimulus, Beer Cigarettes Golf, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

beoB, will it take The Anointed One's full four years of his first and only term for you and other far-left loons to keep repeating "cleaning up W's messes" mantra? Will his unseating in 2 1/2 years be W's fault? Obama is rapidly approaching lame duck status....just a few more blunders and a flip in congress and he's just putting in his time at that point.....it is rapidly approaching. Fun while it lasted...not!

LOL!

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

Cait48, you apparently don't understand what the term "executive" means. Obama never had any executive experience, period. Moreover, you imply that Reagan's experience as a governor was not significant but Carter's was, so consistency is apparently not one of your strong points. Obama spent most of his truncated Senate term running for President, a fact that was emphasized strongly by Hillary Clinton and her supporters during the Democrat primaries in 2008. The bottom line is lack of executive leadership ability: Carter couldn't lead a dog out of a doghouse, and it becomes more apparent every day, especially to many of those who voted for Obama and now regret it, that he shares precisely that failing.

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Liberty275 3 years, 10 months ago

North Korea is obama's iran. Kim sinks one of our strongest allie's ships and barry is too cowardly to do squat.

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gogoplata 3 years, 10 months ago

This just shows me how silly partisan politics is.

Obama could go into a burning building and save a baby and there would probably be someone on the right finding fault in his actions. Same was true for the left when Bush was in office.

When are people going to learn it isn't the right vs the left. Its the people vs the government. The longer we fight each other the more crap the government gets away with.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

I have to hand to the idiot Broder really this time though for having the cajones to bring up the "C" word in relation to The Anointed One. Everyone is thinking it, but Broder had the nerve to come on out with it. Obama is a disaster; a disaster which has yet to fully be unveiled.

Wow!

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gogoplata 3 years, 10 months ago

I can't stand Obama, but how is this his fault?

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LJ Whirled 3 years, 10 months ago

They're all crooks -- GOP and DEM -- not a whit of difference.

The real issue: the Federal government has grown beyond all reason or control, there are no real standards and there is no accountability.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

There is really no debate. Carter was a much better prez than Obama. As a matter of fact, of late I must ponder whether or not The Anointed One will finish his term in the whitehouse or the big house.

Wow!

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

Mitt Romney was a decent candidate. Too bad he didn't pass the litmus test from the right wingers. We might have had a good debate on the issues.

I just saw the movie "W" for the first time (About George Bush, Jr.).

It really makes you wonder how these idiots worm their way into power. I guess it shows the power of the political parties to con the voters.

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MyName 3 years, 10 months ago

So does anyone recall what Reagan was polling at this point in his Presidency? How about Clinton? The answer: around 40% approval, and they both won reelection and did a decent job. I don't see how you can compare this Presidency to Carter as Obama is actually getting things on his agenda finished.

What you also have to realize is that the Republican party doesn't have a Ronald Reagan (or even a Barry Goldwater) up their sleeve to run against him either. Heck, Reagan would probably have been turned out of the party for being "too liberal" and Goldwater for being "not crazy enough" or maybe for stealing Rand Paul's thunder.

What the Republicans have right now is a bunch of losers that have virtually zero appeal to mainstream America, and that's a big problem if you're talking about trying to replace the current administration.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

This just in, Rahm's been offering Cabinet positons to caddies if they will allow unlimited mulligans to the current occupant of 1600 Penn Ave. Not wishing to be associated with the epic fail that is the present regime, they have been declining.

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Liberty_One 3 years, 10 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) replies…

"No, this is the government that is primarily the legacy of Reagan/Bush. The government that has been intentionally sabotaged so that the only things it can effectively do are subsidize major corporations and blow stuff up."

Don't forget, the republicans are part of YOUR plan.

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't think this tactic by the Repugnuts is going to work because most people have a very good opinion of Jimmy Carter these days and Americans are on to the political tricks these guys have used on us to get votes.

8 years of Bush has that effect on people.

I am not going to defend Jimmy Carter but there is no comparison at all to Jimmy Carter and anyone I know of that has been President. I voted for Reagan and liked the change. I just wish Reagan would not have made so many mistakes.

None of these guys is God and even God has his problems.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 10 months ago

This is facile.

The screamers here and across the county were comparing Obama to Carter before Obama even took office.

Obama is having a rough month, and the screamers are using this to support their presupposed claim.

If you notice, the point of Broder's article is that comparison to Carter is wrong.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

Cait48, what Carter and Obama have always had most in common is that neither had the requisite experience to qualify him for the presidency. In Obama's case, his complete lack of executive experience has been front and center since the day he took office, and has been confirmed on numerous occasions since then. This includes the frustrations he has encountered in dealing with his fellow Democrats, which have occurred precisely because of his previous lack of understanding of the practical aspects of the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government (and, I might add, the fact that D.C. is not Chicago, no matter how much Obama and his sycophants try to make it so).

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jd 3 years, 10 months ago

and this is the government you trust with your healthcare?

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jaywalker 3 years, 10 months ago

Not really sure what the President can do other than expedite requests from the Gulf for help with the sand berms. That is a tremendous blunder of red tape riduculousness, otherwise his hands are fairly well tied, in my opinion.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm wondering when Obama's approval rating will crack 40? Next week? July? October? Next January? It's when, not if.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

The left simply can not face the reality that the walls are crumbling down around the Obama administration. All the time I spend railing against the 'corrupt liberal media'.....well, I may eat my words. Even they are finding it increasingly difficult to defend this mistake (Obama's election). It's sort of like going out having a tremendously wonderful time, getting snockered, picking up the most beautiful woman of your dreams, sleeping with her and getting her pregnant----with sextuplets----just an unimaginable nightmare in other words.

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michaelmoore 3 years, 10 months ago

Even at his age, Jimmy Carter must be feeling a little lighter these days. He knows that Obama will replace him as the worst President in the history of this nation. The Annointed One continuously ignores the will of the majority of the people and governs according to his own ideology. He thinks he knows better than anyone else what is good for this country. He appears indecisive and reluctant to make decisions. He does not enforce federal law on immigration issues. Not even when Arizona citizens are in harm's way. A one termer for sure!

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 10 months ago

Comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter is such a right wing thing to do. It's apples and oranges. Ignore the truth, Tom, Cato, Snap. What happened to Carter was a perfect storm that no president could withstand. (Interesting to note that Katrina was part of what destroyed GWB. Well that and dragging us into an unwinnable war for spurious reasons.) You also completely ignore the contributions to statesmanship that Carter gave this country post presidency. The truth is Carter made a better president after he was kicked from office than when he was in it. I sometimes wonder what would have happened to this country had Carter been allowed his full eight years. Instead we actually bent to the will of the Iranian kidnappers and elected a president we may not have wanted just to get the hostages back. Bah! You all make me sick. The man's been in office for just over a year and all of you have been waiting with baited breath from the day he took office for him to make just one teeny little mistake that you could pounce on to prove your point. I saw a recording of the Glenn Beck show where he stopped just one inch short of calling him the "N" word. Your true feelings are obvious.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

Obama has become Jimmy Carter faster than Jimmy Carter became Jimmy Carter.

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sowhatnow 3 years, 10 months ago

Children. All of you. Only children think there is an absolute right and wrong - and that they know what it is...

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

The hysteria on the left knows no bounds. Why heck, now Mr. Albert Gore, Jr.'s divorce is being blamed on George W. Bush.

http://www.thefoxnation.com/george-w-bush/2010/06/01/gores-divorce-blamed-bush

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

Woo hoo! Iran/Contra reference! Gotta be at least two days since we've seen that. Way to go, merrill. Keep posting the same set of links. We'll all read them this time.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

UNDER THE REPUBLICAN FLAG SEE HIGH CRIMES:

  1. Watergate
  2. Iran Contra Weapons Deal
  3. Secret Energy Meetings in the White House
  4. Lying to the world about weapons of mass destruction which has resulted in thousands of innocent men,women and children being slaughtered
  5. Irag war ALSO taking our economy down the tubes:

Taxpayers in Kansas will pay $8.3 billion for total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided: 1,515,775 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR 159,122 Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers for One Year OR 191,066 Firefighters for One Year OR 1,006,145 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR 1,487,645 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550 OR 4,778,026 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR 1,282,319 Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR 1,853,544 Households with Renewable Electricity - Solar Photovoltaic for One Year OR 161,101 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR 4,942,785 Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

Hey Broder the repub party has a few blemishes you seem to forget.

Think about it. In the past 30 years the repub tea party has been in involved two major home loan scandals that effectively took the USA economy down the tubes. One is too damn many but twice represents repub economic policy. Wreckanomics is a failed economic policy. In fact wreckanomics is beginning to smell like well planned crimes.

The republican tea party have become masters at putting millions upon millions upon millions of people out of work. AND stealing taxpayers retirement plans along the way.

What Tea Party Repubs do with a remarkable degree of consistency is wreck the economy,initiate huge movements of shipping jobs abroad aka the Reagan-Bush Global Economy and try to wreck social security and medicare.

Is there a definite pattern? Absolutely!

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Savings and Loan Heist ( A REPUB ENTITLEMENT) http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  2. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers ( A REPUB ENTITLEMENT) http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  3. What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the $700 billion of bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  4. Why did GW Bush Lie About Social Security?( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion,place taxpayers insurance money at risk and wreck the economy) http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

  5. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

  6. The "tea parties" BTW are part of the wreckanomics program funded by the Koch Brothers... well known oil billionaires. These thinkers back a tax payers bill of rights which is another scheme to reward the upper 1% which is designed to wreck local and state governments.

The Other ENTITLEMENT Program for the Wealthy http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

All of the above displays reckless economic behavior that which drains the cookie jars.

What do Reagan,Bush and Bush tea party republicans plan for 2010?

Start the typical repub character assassination campaign which in essence is a massive cover-up scheme for the financial disasters that illustrate how the repubs are NOT the financial giants of our time.

Look for Repubs to meddle in other peoples sex lives to distract voters from the issues!

Repubs are NOT good about minding their own business!

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

Just to clarify, Parker Griffith-AL switched from Dem to GOP and was soundly defeated by the tea party candidate, Brooks.

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barrypenders 3 years, 10 months ago

Poser does not give a 'Rats' behind if he wins or what he looks like. His next 'Jihad' will be to 'Appoint' himself as 'Dictator For Life' posthumously.

Stimulus, Bent Dreams, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

Is this a surprise? Obama will replace Carter as >>>>>THE<<<<< worst president in the history of the US. This fall, in exactly 152 days, disaster will befall the Democratic party, and two years from then, we can finally put this mistake (electing Obama) behind us. In Alabama, GOP-jumping Griffith just lost the primary to the tea party candidate, just like in KY. Looks like people are fed up with Dems who have been hijcaked by the far-left.

May God bless.

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