Attacking Root Cause Of Political, Economic And Social Problems: Elected Officials

First it was ‘Divide and conquer’. Now it’s Divide and rule: “Gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy:” The most often used and effective strategy used by dictators, leaders and wannabe leaders to rule over others throughout the history of mankind. Such is the case in America today.

Until the legitimate “We the People” literally force our federal, state and local politicians to serve in the majority’s best interest, no important issues – ideological, economical or social – will ever be resolved. I spoke about this more than a year ago. If we don’t attack this problem and this problem alone, all else is doomed. It doesn’t matter if you are a moderate conservative, radical conservative, Democrat, moderate Democrat, liberal, radical liberal, progressive, so-called centrist, Libertarian or any other political persuasion, you are directly – and adversely – affected.

Of those different political persuasions mentioned, only one wins under a divided “We the People”. Therefore, “We the People” must bring to a quick halt our attacking one another before we lose the country altogether. But if we insist on the status quo, we will all loose and only the politicians and the upper crust will win. And their “win” will result in our end, and the demise of a Democratic Republic. We can debate lessor issues later but only after the bigger problem is solved. And the only solution is to treat the root cause of the problems.

(Click image for larger view)

Root Cause Tree

 

Status Quo – An Imperial Death Grip on Democracy

Occupational Background of Elected Officials
Occupational Background Senate

See each Congress chart for both Chambers since 1965

Our politicians have had great success in convincing tens of millions of our well-intended citizens that governing solely for corporate America, Wall Street and the wealthy is indeed good for “We the People”. But it doesn’t take an Albert Einstein to realize that this 30-plus year experiment has failed, and will never work for “We the People”. Relative to the three groups mentioned, simply ask yourself these questions:

  • Has my wealth and income risen on an equal percentage?
  • Has my life, health and wellbeing been equally blessed?
  • Do I enjoy the same rights (i.e. access to government, tax advantages, etc.)?
  • Have my social advances been on equal grounds?

Since 1988, the income of an average American taxpayer has dropped $400

Another death knell for the middle class

 “While many American families enjoyed rising prosperity in the decades following World War II, those wealth gains have eroded, leaving the middle-class poorer than anytime since the 1940s.”

Now ask yourself how well politicians have fared compared to those three groups.

Top 10 Richest Members of Congress Collectively Worth $1.05 Billion Dollars

Then consider this from 1990:

“During the 1980s, wealth in the United States was redistributed upward. The middle class wound up with marginal gains on federal income taxes but higher state taxes, much-increased Social Security levies and a collateral squeeze on everything from health insurance to tuition. Meanwhile, the number of millionaires tripled, stock markets soared, financiers got rich on everything from junk bonds to now-defunct savings-and-loan institutions and federal data show the top 1% of Americans banking their highest share of national income since the pre-Depression Roaring ‘20s.”

And this 22 years later:

“Since 1980 the distribution of wealth in the United Sates has changed dramatically. The rich have gotten richer, and the poor have gotten poorer. A recent study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities indicates what is widely acknowledged to be true: that we are more unequal as a nation today than at any time since before the Great Depression. The data of The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in its “The State of Working America” analysis shows that between 1983 and 2010 the top 5 percent of income earners increased their share of the pie by 74.2 percent, while the bottom 60 percent of us had our share of national income decrease. In other words, the redistribution of national income went from the bottom to the top and not, as the right fears, from the top to the bottom.” [Bold added]

If you like, here’s some easy-to-read graphics about this upward redistribution of wealth over the same period.

But the next graphic is the only one you really need:

Ten people are locked in a room. A pizza cut into ten slices is order with everyone paying an equal share of the cost. When the pizza arrives, one person takes nine slices for himself leaving only a single slice for the remaining nine. That’s the current status quo in America.

9 and 1 Pizza


Wall Street’s Secret Weapon: Congress

Scientific Study Shows Just How Far America Is From a Democracy

Watch The 1 Percent Gobble Up The Country’s Income

How Big Government is Getting Away With Coddling the Rich and Handing You the Bill

 

Corporate WelfarePoliticians’ Giveaway Program to Corporate America

Time Mag Cover

There are many who deny that corporate welfare exists. Unfortunately they’re wrong. Of all the industries on government welfare, let’s began with the most profitable: The oil and gas (and coal) industry.

Oil companies have set record profits over the past dozen years and are at historical highs today. Yet our politicians expect you and me – the ordinary taxpayer – to continue subsidizing the oil and gas industry to the tune of $4 to $7 billion each year, even as their annual profits reach $93 billion. If you want to add the coal industry, that subsidized number grows to $10 billion per year. That’s just part of the $100 billion each year in corporate welfare.

Big Oil Welfare

Having spent 30-plus years in that industry, there’s one unwritten, but often spoken, policy that never leaves my mind — ‘we plan for 30 percent of our employees to be non-productive, contributing nothing to our bottom line’. As a company, how wealthy do you have to be in order to absorb that kind of loss?

But the worst of these corporate giveaways falls under the category of “tax expenditures”, which is basically code for allowing corporations and special interest to pay a zero or near-zero percent tax rate, as well spending tax money already collected and/or future collections (CC charges) on these entities. This welfare for corporations cost taxpayers between $800 billion and $1.2 trillion each year – and that’s just at the federal level.

States also have their giveaways to corporations and the wealthy which cost taxpayers more than $770 billion each year. That means, on average, your state is giving away more than $15 billion each year which you, the taxpayer, has to make up. Prime examples are taxpayers subsidizing billionaire sports owners and college basketball arena’s while laying off 2,100 school employees.

90 Reasons We Need State Corporate Tax Reform

Our governing officials will tell us that these tax expenditures are a good investment because they will create jobs in our state and across the country, thereby paying for themselves. This idea is known as ‘trickle-down-economics’ or, after the former slogan became toxic, ‘supply-side-economics’. However, after a 30-plus year experiment with this ideological boondoggle, reality has shown it simple does not work.

Tax cuts and subsidies never pay for themselves (the study in PDF). In most cases where actual jobs are created, they cost on average is $456,000 per job, with some costing as much as $2.3 million. If you go with the lower number, it would take 14.5 years for a $15 per-hour worker to earn that much. If he paid 10% of his earnings in taxes, it would take 145 years to pay for the cost of the job. Imagine how long it would take to pay for the $2.3 million job. There’s even been one case where a single job cost $3.1 million.

The fact is that states who don’t offer “deep tax cuts” grow jobs at three times the rate of states that do.

Then there’s the greediest of them all on corporate welfare: Wall Street Banks. “We the People” provided them with $24 trillion in capital within the first year after the 2008 Wall Street meltdown (some of which was never returned) earning them $13 billion in profits. In addition, the Federal Reserve keeps the banks and stock market constantly propped up with trillions of dollars in printed money. Meanwhile Wall Street CEO’s get paid top dollar while destroying their company.

With government subsidies, Wall Street banks are the epitome of “privatized profits, subsidized losses”.

Thank you, corporate America-elected government!

(The Cato Institute, who often leans to the political-right, produced a study on corporate welfare back in 2007. It offers a trove of information and details on the subject.)


House Tax Writers Vote to Make Offshore Loopholes Permanent

Airport that hosts Walmart’s 19 corporate jets gets a special tax subsidy

 

Campaign FinanceThe Disease of American Democracy

 

Campaign Finance

Besides a selfish, greedy ulterior motive to govern for Wall Street, corporate America and the wealthy, elected officials do so because the former is the source of their campaign funds. Those candidates who are filthy rich and willing to spend big parts of their own fortune to be elected – like Governor Rick Scott of Florida – do so in order to pass or rescind laws that will benefit them and their friends. As such, campaign funding is out of control, thanks in large part to the GOP’s Supreme Court.

$14 billion has been spent on elections over the past three cycles: $4 billion in 2010, $6 billion in 2012 (including Presidential) and $4 billion for 2014. (You can find the breakdown of those spending’s here.)

So-called ‘special interest’ groups are the biggest contributors. But one has to be careful about these organizations. A large majority are financed primarily by big corporations and/or very wealthy people. And then there’s the outside spending.

The Koch brothers are the primary funder for dozens of outside spending groups, funneling 80% of hundreds of millions to right-wing organizations. Most of this money is referred to as ‘dark money’ meaning it is not disclosed to voters prior to an election. The reason is obvious: They don’t want you and me to know whose buying the election.

Nothing really compares to the Koch brothers’ political empire. They spent more on the 2012 election than the all Presidential candidates spent in 2000. Take a look at the following graphic, and you can see just how vast their political empire is.

(Click on graphic for larger image)

Kochs Maze of Money

So far, in 2014, they have funded 44,000 political ads, with over $6 million more planned between now and Election Day. And every single one has been promoting conservative candidates. They’ve spent more this year than double what the top ten unions have spent.

The ultimate goal of the Koch brother’s is to take over the entire government. And they have a pretty good start: They’ve become the nations’ third biggest party. And they’ll use any means necessary such as sending out fake voter registration as they did in North Carolina and to dead people in Illinois in order to stifle the vote.

BTW; that American ‘patriotic’ tea party? Created and funded almost solely by the Koch brothers, as confirmed by tax documents.


How Dark Money Is Taking Over Judicial Elections

Big Money Playing an Outsized Role in Primary Elections

Billionaires Speak On Big Campaign Donations: ‘It Gives You Access’

GOP Rep. Acknowledges That Members Expect Donations For Votes

Looping Big Money around democracy’s neck

State Parties Flooded With National Funds

Boehner Announces Select Committee On Benghazi To Satisfy Restless Donors

Political chemistry: The legal magic that makes corporate donations disappear

Secret Money Is Now Swaying State Judicial Elections

GOP Gov. Association Accidentally Leaks Secret List of Corporate Donors and Size of Their Checks

 

Lobbying and Lobbyist Writing LegislationThe Government Listens To Lobbyists And The Wealthy, Not You And I

Lobbying

Once the mega-millions of campaign money and perks has done its job, Wall Street, corporate America and the wealthy line up their lobbyist to head over to Capitol Hill for their payback. Naturally they were expected by the newly-elected politician, so when they knock on the door they are welcomed with open arms. It usually doesn’t take long to conclude their business. Many of them bring along expected prepared document(s), easily transposed into a standard bill to be pushed through congress. Deals among lawmakers are quickly made: ‘You vote-for-mine-and-I’ll-vote-for-yours’. Before you know it, the mega-million donors have a huge return on their investment.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is, by far, the biggest name in writing legislation for lawmakers. They certainly influence and work with Washington lawmakers on national issues, but are much more involved in states where they write state laws to be passed – so much so that we’ve practically become the ‘United States of ALEC’. If you Google up “ALEC writes our laws” you will get more than 1.5 million pages on their activities. For example, ALEC wrote similar bills for several states that benefit the oil and gas industry: The legislation “cover[ed] a wide range of issues from energy to taxes to agriculture”.

Lawsuit: ALEC-Tied Legislators Stripped Important Passages From Renewable Energy Bill

So, under the current status quo, you may have marked your ballot at the pols for certain lawmakers but once elected he / she no longer works for you.

BTW: Who’s America’s top corporate lobbying group? Answer: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce holds that title, but it’s with the U.S. Supreme Court. And they often get what they want, winning 77 percent of the cases they bring before the court.


Study shows elected officials respond only to rich people’s problems.

A Study in Plutocracy: Rich Americans Wield Political Influence, the Rest of Us Don’t

GOP Whip Reportedly Relied on Lobbyist to Hire Staffers

Amid Protests, ALEC Launches New Spinoff to Influence Local Governments

GOP-led House quietly eliminates annual disclosure requirement for lobbyist-sponsored travel

 

The Revolving DoorRevolving Door: Methodology

Revolving Door

So, when a lawmaker decides he’s had enough of “public service”, what is he or she to do? In most cases, it on to the road-to-riches. It’s called the ‘Revolving door”. And it often spins more than once, with many passing through the door several times: From public service to private sector then back to public service, with some going right back to the public sector. And they get paid top dollar.

There are 419 former members of Congress who have walked through the revolving door, with most taking jobs where they can use their influence on Congress to benefit their new employer. Hundreds of former staffers do the same thing. Dozens of current staffers came through the revolving door from public service.

Maybe the most famous for this was Representative Billy Tauzin (R) of Louisiana who, with the drug and insurance industry guiding him, wrote the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 when George W. Bush was President and Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress. It was this act that brought about Medicare Part D, a prescription drug plan, for those on Medicare – which included the infamous and hated “donut hole”. The bill became known as a “sweetheart deal” for the drug industry because of the giant windfall they’ve enjoyed from the law.

Two months after the bill was signed into law by Bush, Tauzin resigned from Congress to accept a job as President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Salary? $2 million a year — his “reward” for being such a ‘faithful servant’ while an elected lawmaker.

Many in his own Party were shocked that Tauzin pulled such an obviously-planned stunt, and expected a vicious backlash from the public. They braced for the impact, but — — — nothing happened! Hardly a ripple. Probably because the main-stream media totally ignored what Tauzin had done. It was detailed on some websites, but that was it.

That ‘care-less, do-nothing’ attitude was received as a big, giant green light by elected officials on both sides of the isle. So the revolving door grew bigger, in the comfort that the media and constituent just did not care. GOPer Eric Cantor, former House Majority Leader, is the latest.

A small glimmer of hope surfaced earlier this year when a junior Democrat from Colorado, Senator Michael Bennet, introduced a bill to kill the revolving door. But don’t hold your breath; it’s given only a 3% chance of being enacted. The Old Man gives it a zero percent chance: Lawmakers are not about to pass a bill that takes away their ‘entitlement’ to a ‘just reward’ for serving their masters.

You should also be aware that state officials play the same game. Simple Google up “state officials revolving door”.


From Wall St. To Washington: Famous Moments In Revolving Door History

The Reverse Revolving Door: How Corporate Insiders Are Rewarded Upon Leaving Firms for Congress

How Did These Five Lobbyists Become Congressional Staffers?

After 13 Years Of Fighting For Wall Street, Eric Cantor Will Make Millions At An Investment Bank

 

Unelected Biased Media / Pundits’ InfluenceObama says Republicans privately tell him they’re scared of Rush Limbaugh

4 Branches of Gov

None can deny that politicians flock to media outlets that share their own ideological views. Democrats head for MSNBC while Republicans make a beeline for Fox. They go to a lot of effort to avoid those who they think might ask the tough questions. They seek out only the ‘friendlies’.

For example, Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst of Iowa shunned the press in her own state, but was very happy to appear on Fox. That isn’t the democratic way, but in today’s world, it’s what we’ve come to expect. However, when elected officials start allowing those same unelected people to set agenda and make policy, it’s time to step in.

In January of this year Sean Hannity announced he was going to outline the conservative solution agenda for America. In other words, he was going to instruct elected officials on how to govern (to hell with the voters), and, using the power of his television and radio show, he intended to make life a living hell for anyone on the right that didn’t conform to his demands. Hannity also played a huge role in pushing elected officials to shut down the government last year. That was okay with many conservatives across America, but they wouldn’t have be too happy if Democrats played by the same rules.


Meet The Fringe Right-Wing Commentators Who Met With Top Republicans To Push For A Benghazi Special Committee

Hannity Announces Plan to Outline the ‘Conservative Solution Agenda for America’

Hannity Encourages GOP To Shutter Government For Two Months

Ann Coulter Pushes GOP To Shut Down Government Over Obamacare

Hannity: “I’m Not Gonna Support Anybody That Doesn’t Vote To Defund Obamacare”

These are the major contributors to our political, economic and social problems. There are others; however once we force our elected officials to govern for “We the People” rather than the select few, most other problems will simply fade away. Wall Street, corporate America and the wealthy deserve representation — but they most certainly do not deserve 101 percent of the representation.

You can check out some additional headlines that support this post which you may find interesting. But before you leave, you will certainly want to read about another root cause: The bunker protecting our corrupt elected officials: The News Media.


lemming


Charlie Crist And His Departure From The GOP – Under Duress

charlie-cristTonight there was a live televised debate between current Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida and former Florida Governor, Democrat Charlie Crist. Both are candidates for the governorship of Florida in this election cycle. Crist served as governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican. And it was during those four years as governor, along with his bid for another office in 2010, that Crist realized the GOP had abandoned their core beliefs in favor of the crazed tea party agenda; in essence, and in Crist’s own words, abandoning him.

It was during the latter campaign that Crist was hit the hardest by the rapidly-changing GOP. Having been a devote Republican since his early teens, he could not believe how mean, hateful and unaccepting the Party was quickly becoming under the spell of the minority tea party crowd. To him, it was as though the Party already felt that way and was just waiting for some sort of leadership which the tea party provided. This realization was the most hurtful of all to him.

Crist decided he just could not accept the GOP’s extreme far-right agenda any longer. They now stood for almost everything he had been against all his life and against everything he had always believed in. In addition, with his insider knowledge, he knew the tea party was controlled not by the so-called self-appointed ‘patriots’ of America, but by the mega-donors with their own personal agenda such as the Koch brothers. That’s when he officially left the Party and became an Independent. Later, his ‘slogan’, if you will, would be “how the extreme right hijacked the GOP and I became a Democrat”. You will find that on the cover of his book “The Party’s Over”.

Crist became a Democrat when he realized he needed the backing of a major political Party to be successful. So after serious consideration – along with a lot of internal debate and conference with many of his true friends – he became convinced that the Democratic Party’s core beliefs were now more aligned with his – which had never changed – than the tea party-controlled GOP. Therefore he decided to leave his Independent status and join the Democratic Party.

I finished reading Crist’s book a couple of weeks ago. Yes, the book is in his words, but there’s ample evidence to support his assertions that anyone can obtain should they be interested. And to tell you the honest truth, the book left me more fearful of where the GOP wants to lead my country than before. The extent of the hate, meanness and unacceptance is enough to scare anyone in their right mind.

Crist was first elected as a Florida state Senator in 1992. He had run and won on a pro-education, pro-environment (smart given Florida’s main industry is tourism), and anti-crime agenda. But he first tackled crime and criminals since he had personally lived with the runaway crime during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. One of the first things he did was sponsor a bill to ensure convicted criminals such as murderers served at least 85% of their sentence. Before they were being set free after serving only 20 – 25 percent of their sentence. The bill flew through the Senate and Democratic Governor Lawton Chiles immediately signed the bill into law.

As Senator, Crist also pushed through a bill to reinstate the chain gang in Florida with the help of Democrat Senator Robert Wexler. These two acts brought him great praise from the GOP, with some saying “Your political career is set, son”.

Maybe the only thing Crist was against that his party seemed to be for was the issue of abortion. As Senator, he opposed a bill requiring a mandatory, 24-hour waiting period for an abortion. He saw no medical or practical justification for it, so he voted against his Republican colleagues. While he was personally against abortion, he did not believe it was the governments place to become involved in such a personal medical issue. He said “I believe in individual rights and freedoms. That’s why I’m a Republican”. It was because of this issue that he became acquainted with “the look” from the GOP, which he got anytime he did something that wasn’t from the “Republican playbook”.

Some other things Crist championed as state Senator (that Republicans opposed):

  • Teacher salary increase.
  • Helped raise funds for the conservation of the Everglades.
  • Challenged the abrupt and excessively high electric rate increase.

It was the latter that got him in the most trouble with the GOP. Crist actually sued Florida Power over the increase but not as a Senator. He did so as a private citizen. Some Republicans actually challenged him saying “What are you doing? These are our friends!” Crist responded by saying “They’re being unfair to the people who elected me, and I can’t let that stand”.

After losing a bid in 1997 for US Senator, Crist later held a couple of appointments under newly-elected Governor Jeb Bush, and elections to lower-status jobs, where he learned a lot more about what was going on in Florida. Maybe the biggest lesson was the 2000 Presidential Election fiasco where after 35 days the US Supreme Court awarded George W. Bush the win, even though the majority of the popular vote went to Al Gore. Crist saw a real Democracy problem with the way the voting went and how the winner was eventually settled.

In 2003 Crist ran for and won the job as state Attorney General. His first act as AG kind of pissed off many of his Republican friends. Crist refused to immediately fire everyone in the AG office simply because they were Democrats. He did let some go, but he kept others after getting to know them and what their qualifications were. As AG, not everything Crist did was to the delight of the GOP. But he followed his heart on what he knew was right and wrong for the people of Florida.

More things Crist did as state Attorney General:

  • Sued a major Florida hotel because they refused to let African-American guest use the hotel pool.
  • Sued phone companies in Florida for all the add-ons they were slipping into consumer’s bills that did nothing for the consumer. (Again, he was reminded by other Republicans that “These are our friends”.)

It was during his time as AG that the Terri Schiavo case came up in Florida that lasted for 15 years – a case that threw the entire country’s GOP, including President George W. Bush, into a temper tantrum. Crist could not believe, even in his wildest dream, the entire Republican Party became so involved, eventually bringing in the US Supreme Court. As Florida AG, Crist refused to involve the Attorney General’s office in the case.

After serving as a state Senator, education commissioner and Attorney General, Crist decided it was time to run for Governor in 2006. It was during this campaign that Crist would have his biggest falling out to date with the GOP.

George W. Bush was President. He wanted to come to Florida on the day before Election Day for a campaign rally; a trip that was obviously planned a day or two before. But Crist had already locked-in a rally which was scheduled with Republican Senator John McCain, a big Crist supporter. Other appearances around Florida were also scheduled, so Crist could not be there with the two Bush’s. Although it was not ‘a mistake’ on his part, Crist was crucified by his Party.

Karl Rove, who was President Bush’s senior advisor, called Crist the next day – Election Day – just as Crist was about to go out and vote. What Rove said to Crist was unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

“You chickensshit! I can’t believe you didn’t show up last night to be with the President! What a chickenshit thing to do! You were going to get elected anyway! I can’t believe you did that! Who do you think you are?”

Although he didn’t realize it until later, this was Crist’s first revelation that the Grand Old Party was destined for irrelevance.

Crist did indeed win the election. He governed with the people of Florida in mind, just as he had done in his other public jobs. In his later reflections, he would remember several of “the look’s” from some GOP members over a few things, but didn’t give it a lot of serious thought at the time.

Some of his accomplishments as governor were:

  • With the Florida economy in the tanks and sinking further, homes being foreclosed on and thousands of jobs being lost, Crist decided that it simply would not be the right thing to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on an Inaugural Ball. So it was canceled, but not without overwhelming criticism from his Party members.
  • He worked with several Democrats along with Republicans in the legislature to get his agenda passed.
  • With Florida – a state highly dependent on their beaches to draw tourism – being greatly affected by the changing climate, Crist held a climate change conference in his state.
  • After the conference, Crist signed executive orders limiting greenhouse-gas emissions, stricter limits for cars sold in Florida and insisting utilities generate at least 20% of their electricity from renewable sources.
  • Made a deal with United States Sugar Corporation, one of the biggest land owners in Florida, to purchase nearly 200,000 acres of farmland from them in order to keep them from killing the Everglades, negotiating the price down from $2.5 billion to $1.75 billion.
  • Cut property taxes by doubling the homestead exemption.
  • Pushed back insurance rates for his state which had the highest in the country.
  • He worked with Democrats and created an aire of civility.
  • He brought teachers, minorities, union members, women and Democrats back into game of government.
  • By accepting the stimulus from Washington, tens of thousands of jobs were saved, mostly teachers, policemen, and firefighters. Unemployment had dropped to 9.7 percent.
  • Vetoed a teacher’s bill that he first supported but by the time it got through the Republican-controlled legislature, it had turned into a windfall bill for special interest, stripping most all the pluses for teachers.

In the 2008 Presidential election, Crist eventually endorsed Senator John McCain. Lots of other candidates were very unhappy with Crist, but it was Rudy Giuliani who was the most upset even though Giuliani knew he never had a chance with or without Crist’s endorsement. But even McCain eventually let Crist down.

After becoming the presumptive nominee, McCain has so much pressure placed on him by the extreme right – Rush Limbaugh, Shaun Hannity, Glen Beck, and the likes – that he too turned to extremes. (On a personal note here, I too was leaning heavily toward John McCain. But in May of 2008 I dismissed him entirely due to leap to the dark side.)

Crist got a good taste of where the Republican Party was heading during the 2008 Presidential campaign. As Vice-President nominee, Sarah Palin came to Florida to campaign. Palin’s campaign asked Crist to travel and work with her, which Crist gladly did. He was fighting for a win for his Party. But by the time the tour was over, Crist realized that Palin held completely different views. Everything Crist and John believed in, Palin was against and vice versa.

“She was a member of the same Party John and I were, but our world views couldn’t be further apart. Here’s the scary thing I hadn’t fully grasp yet: Hers was the future of the Republican Party. Ours would soon enough be looking at the past.”

It was later, while watching a McCain campaign tour on TV, that he found out just how much the hatred and pungent, vile venom being spewed out by Fox News and other extreme-right conservatives had been seeded into conservative voters across the country.

Before the 2008 election, Crist had taken steps as Governor to try to ensure that what happened in Florida on Election Day in 2000 would not happen again. But there were too many Republicans who had seen the fiasco as an asset to the GOP, so they fought Crist vigorously when he tried to make things better for everyone during the voting process in 2008. The long voting lines and early precinct closings was not of how a Democracy was supposed to work. So, using an executive order, he expanded the voting time by three hours in one precinct that was really bad. He caught holy-hell from conservatives in Florida and across the country, and even by some of his own staff.

Here’s where the GOP drove the final nail in Crist’s coffin.

As everyone in the civilized world knows, the economy of the country went to hell in a hand basket just three months before President Obama took office. Millions of jobs were lost. It was the worst recession in 75 years (many call it a depression). As a result, Obama attempted to do what every other President in history had done during a recession – Democrat and Republican. Just a week into office he asked for a sizable stimulus package to jump-start the economy. And, as everyone knows, he was fought tooth and nail by conservatives and the conservative media.

During a tour in Florida to campaign for support of the stimulus package, Obama invited Crist to join him at one rally. Crist knew the $13 billion the stimulus package would provide Florida was badly needed. During the last two years under George W. Bush Florida’s unemployment had jumped from 3.5 to 10 percent, and Florida had a higher foreclosure rate than any other state. So Crist accepted Obama’s invitation.

Crist was criticized heavily by his Party for accepting the invitation. But he felt that since he had been elected by the Florida voters, that was where his allegiance lay — not with the national Party. But it was a single innocent, normal, ordinary incident that did Crist in with the GOP. crist-obama-hug It was a ‘reach, pull, release’ hug that the two men gave each other when Crist introduced Obama. That scene, and the picture taken of them hugging, was the last straw for the crazed-bound GOP. It surely had to be that moment when they turned against Crist and made the decision to make the remainder of his political life a living hell. Crist: “That simple gesture ended my career as a viable Republican”.

It was all uphill for Crist from that moment on. But he was still supported by Florida voters by more than 60 percent.

With a Florida US Senate seat vacated by Republican Mel Martinez, Crist decided to run for that office in 2010 instead of a second term as Governor – although he was certain to be reelected as Governor by Florida voters. Crist had appointed George LeMieux, his campaign manager and chief of staff, to finish out Martinez’s term in the Senate. Initially the GOP supported him, but that was about to change.

Marco Rubio decided to run for the same Senate seat. Crist knew him well, and, although they had had some disagreements, they had a very cordial relationship. But, as Crist put it, “that was before [Rubio] was being called ‘the crown prince of the tea party movement’” Rubio turned on Crist like a starving lion during the campaign — as did the rest of the GOP.

When the campaign first to roll out, Crist had a double-digit lead over Rubio; 53 to 18. Florida voters knew what they wanted, and it was Crist. But voters eventually succumbed to the campaign launched against Crist.

  • “Getting behind Crist in the Florida Primary is totally unacceptable”.
  • “Charlie Crist, just what we need, a ‘soft’, ‘friendly’, moderate GOP member”.
  • “I won’t be hugging Obama, I’ll be standing up to him—adamantly”.
  • “We already have a Democratic Party in America. We don’t need two Democratic Parties in America”.
  • “Why don’t you go hug Obama again”.
  • “A top priority is to defeat Crist”.
  • About Rubio: “The first Senator from the tea party. 2010 will be the year of Republican civil war, and Florida is where the fighting is now fiercest”.
  • About Crist: “Enemy of liberty”.

Republicans in the state legislature started crafting bills that they knew Crist would veto. They allowed no debate, discussion or testimony on the bills. The sole intent was to make Crist look even worse, and give Rubio the lead in the Senate race.

It soon became obvious to Crist that he was not going to win as a Republican. Besides, he had already come to the conclusion that the current Republican Party no longer represented his values. It was then that he decided to leave the GOP and run for the US Senate as an Independent. His entire campaign staff left when he made the announcement. Republicans who had made large campaign donations to Crist asked for their money back. It wasn’t going to be easy. But even as an Independent, he was still leading over Rubio, albeit only slightly.

Crist lost the Senate election to Marco Rubio in spite of the fact that Crist pulled Republican, Democrat and Independent votes; but it wasn’t enough. Sadly, Crist would have won had it not been for Kendrick Meek who was running on the Democratic ticket with no chance of winning what so ever. Several high-profile Democrats came to Florida to try to convince Meek’s to drop out including former President Bill Clinton, which would have given Crist his votes. At one point, he agreed to drop out because he knew he was not going to win. But the very next day he changed his mind and denied any rumors of that. The final vote was Rubio 49%, Crist 30% and Meeks 20%. Both Democrats and Independents lost because Meek’s stayed in.

In his book, Crist recalled one incident when a high-profile Republican told him that he wasn’t working for the people of Florida; he was working for corporate America and wealthy campaign donors, and he’d be smart to remember that. That tells one an awful lot about the GOP.

It was this same election cycle that Rick Scott, with all his personal wealth, won the governorship. Scott had spent $70 million of his own money on his campaign. He wasted no time reversing everything Crist had done for Floridians, in essence, turning over the entire state to corporate America. Now Crist would like to reverse as many of Scott’s policies as possible. God willing, he’ll have the chance.


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An Election Poll That Bares Attention

If you were to ask well-informed people which political direction Politico.com leans, the vast majority would say ‘right’. That’s what makes this particular election poll noteworthy, when most should be ignored.

Just one week ago there were those who were saying Republicans will take over the Senate in next month’s election, with one poll supporting that. Last month Roll Call said they would gain at least 7 seats, which would give them control. In August there was strong speculation that would happen. Even some Democrats were doubting they could hold. Naturally no one can know for certain given how close many races are – even in hardcore red states. But according to the Politico poll, if the election were held today Democrats would most likely have control of both chambers of Congress.

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