Getting Partisan Clouds Out of the Picture so We Can See Clearly
Here in Nevada, we have two big elections in November, Governor (our current governor lost in the primary) and U.S. Senator (seat currently held by Harry Reid). To make it more interesting, the Democratic candiate for governor is Harry's son Rory. For me it is not about the personalities or the political parties of Sharron Angle or Harry Reid. Like many Nevadans I don’t vote along party lines. Even if I disagree with some of their ideas I generally prefer to vote for an independent thinker who honestly thinks they are doing their best for their constituents and their country. I was hoping that Sharron was an independent thinker. But the partisan rhetoric of her supporters and her recent website makeover are of deep concern. Has Sharron drunk the Kool Aid? Will she now be told what to say and do by the RNC machine just to get their money? Sharron is taking very few local interviews, only national interviews to build her war chest and this will make her forever indebted to the political powers that got her there. That is a big problem that many of us have with Harry Reid. He has a huge war chest from the DSCC but Angle according to her web site, she reached over a million last week and is well on her way to another million this week. I doubt most of this is Nevada money but it will have a profound affect on this election.
I wish we could get the partisan politics out of the way and Americans would consistently think about our country first. Unlike what bloggers say on Angle's Facebook page, it is irresponsible to blame Nevada’s financial mess on Obama; it makes no sense to take factoids out of context and to blame this immense financial crisis on one's political enemies. This is like the Nazis blaming their failed economy on the Jews. Millions of Americans were complicit in our financial meltdown. Know anybody who was into flipping houses? Every Nevadan who faked their paperwork on a financial application, or lender or appraiser who hedged their numbers on a house loan contributed to the fiasco. It was like looters during a riot. Just because everybody was doing it didn’t make it right. Where is sense of personal accountability?
In my opinion Gov. Jim Gibbons (beginning when he was a State Assemblyman) contributed to the anti-tax fervor in this state which has led to a failing state economy. Every state in the union is strapped, but most are not failing. Tax revolts were justified in states with immense tax burdens (income tax, property tax, sales tax, excise tax). Our tax base has never been a burden; now it is insufficient to support essential services. Our state’s economic numbers are the worst in the country because Nevadans have relied on the kindness of strangers to come here and give us buckets of money, pan handlers if you will. One might predict that people who have not been accountable for how they have used other people’s money would blame their national leaders for not fixing their mess fast enough, but it doesn’t wash here any better than it did in the former Soviet Union. Note that they are a “former” socialist state. No accountability for individual actions has to be factored into their demise.
As for our national unemployment numbers, read the data: http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet?data_tool=latest_numbers&series_id=CES0000000001&output_view=net_1mth.
The data clearly indicate that under President Bush our economy was way off the tracks, with unemployment numbers in free fall. The worst month was the month President Obama took office (1/09). Were some Americans asleep the week in September ‘08 when McCain said the economy was strong and then the following week tried to stop the campaign to go back to DC and help solve the economic crisis? Remember the bipartisan meeting with Bush, Obama and McCain and leaders in Congress and Senate at a very long table, and a series of other meetings and hearings with leaders of the FED, Secretary of Treasury Paulsen and other financial leaders? I remember grave voices, gray faces and dire predictions all the way around? Obama was cognizant of the issues and worked hard with Bush and his administration and both sides of Congress to develop strategies to put into place to save us from a Depression. McCain just sat there like a lump on a log and said nothing. That is when McCain’s campaign really crumbled. The first week of October a bipartisan Congress passed TARP, the first stimulus package backed by Bush, McCain and Obama, the Fed and most of Congress (Democrats and Republicans). But it was insufficient to stop the bleeding. President Obama was left with stark choices and had to do some things that seemed quite radical to all of us. Congress, both sides of the aisle, for the most part, held their noses and supported the stimulus package.
After wards I think Republicans realized that Obama would get credit for turning around the economy they decided to vote against everything proposed by the Democrats. They developed a strategy of defeating Democrats in the midterms no matter what the cost was to the American people. It is a well established fact that they opposed health care reform, including opposing ideas that they had initiated, even though it will save us trillions on health care in the long run. Republican leaders even spun dangerous lies, like the totally fictitious granny death panels, to kill the bill. The irony is how many grannies die from poor health care.
The deficit is due to greed and corruption throughout the banking sector and throughout America, but also it is due to financing a misled and mismanaged war policy. Recall how President Bush took his eye off the the Afghan ball and lied to us about WMDs. At least one member of the VP's staff was convicted (pardoned by Bush) for betraying an American spy who could counter the lies. The majority of troops were transferred from Afghanistan to Iraq beginning at the end of March 2003. Then on May 1, 2003 Bush made his did his infamous "mission accomplished” stunt while in fact he had just committed us to two protracted war fronts which allowed the Taliban to revive their terrorist activities in Afghanistan which has cost us dearly in more American lives and money.
Remember that virtually all Democrats and Republicans voted in lock step to support the war in Iraq; Obama was one of the few who had the foresight and character to vote no to the war in Iraq. We are now paying for that profound mistake with human lives and cost overruns today It is questionable whether Americans will have the stomach to support these protracted wars to their safe conclusions for Americans. A protracted Afghan war contribued to the downfall of the former Soviet Union. So far the war in Iraq has cost us over 4700 American lives and over $730 billion. Afghanistan so far has cost over 1900 American lives and $280 billion. We are now spending $5.5 billion month in Afghanistan to help them build their government and military and lot of it is going to warloads who do or easlity could back the Taliban. We need accountability for our investment and the media and well informed citizens need us to keep our elected officials' feet to the fire. I would like to know Sharron Angle’s and Harry Reid’s positions on both of these war fronts.
Back here in Nevada, we don’t have sufficient industry in Nevada to provide a revenue stream to support our citizens. Parts of the "north valleys" of Reno/Sparks have become post apocalyptic wastelands of foreclosures and rental signs. There are “for lease” signs all over the Truckee Meadows with no new ideas in sight to help us. Blaming our financial woes on Obama is a total cop out? Our state’s numbers are the worst in the nation because of state’s panhandling economy is based on waiting for everyone else’s numbers to improve so that visitors will return to Nevada. If they don’t, our economy is in the tank. We should be sucking it up, attracting new industries to create new revenue streams, opening our minds to new technologies, and improving our skilled work force by strengthening our education system. That is the only responsible way to come out of this crisis ahead of the game.
Unfortunately, Governor Gibbons has led the way to drastically gut our education budgets. Our schools are failing. Teachers and administrators are struggling to cover the basics and candidate Brian Sandoval appears to have dusted off Gibbon's education plan and put it forward as his own: privatize schools, cut tenure, punish failing schools, empower parents to made the decisions. We’ve already “dumbed down” our exit exams through the "leave no child behind" legislation which has created an exam-based social promotion strategy that has pushed the problem down the line. As a college professor I can tell you it is easy to create an exam that all students can pass. An outrageous number of our so-called millennial scholars are entering college and placing into remedial math and English because they don’t have basic college entry level skills. In Nevada we long ago cut art, music and physical education from our K-12 curriculum. Regardless of the simplicity of the curriculum and the exit exams, Nevada is dead last in our high school graduation rate nationwide. A contributing factor is that we are number one in the nation for teenage pregnancy. So how on earth would we Nevadans benefit from having 24 year old dropouts dictating our school curriculum? We cannot attract new industries without a skilled work force.
Senator Ensign has stated there is no economic crisis in Nevada, that we should tighten our belts; how can you tell a starving man to tighten his belt? Angle has not said much of anything about economic issues until today, relying on RNC fact-free spin. Last week Sharron Angle is quoted as saying it is "not the responsibility of a U.S. Senator to create jobs" and then suddenly in the last few days she rolled out an ominous music-based ad which blames Harry Reid for our unemployment with the tag line "help is on the way." Still there is no policy statement about how she intends to bring jobs to Nevada on her web page. None whatsoever. All she mentions at all is making Bush's tax cuts for the rich permanent. Trickly down economics dried up long ago in the heat of the Nevada desert.
Sharron Angle's Energy Issues page on her website looks like it is out of the 1980s and does not take into account any of Nevada’s natural resources or the new clean technologies that we’ve begun to develop here in Nevada over the last several years. Ever since Senator Reid has been the Senate leader he has been funneling millions of dollars to Nevada to support these new technologies. I want to think our next governor and senator will continue the push for clean energy technologies. We can’t afford another period of stagnation.
We need new ideas for revenue stream and ideas to improve education in our state to stay afloat. I am looking to candidates for governor and legislators at the state and federal level for ideas. I’ve had enough of the tired closed minded partisan politics and biased historical factoids on both sides of the aisle. We should take the good of both parties and discard the failed policies of the past. Partisan politics aside, which candidate has the best comprehensive plan to help lead Nevada and the U.S. to a more prosperous future? Check their web pages:
U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle (http://sharronangle.com/)
U.S. Senator Harry Reid (http://reid.senate.gov/)
Nevada Gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid (http://www.roryreid.com/
Nevada Gubernatorial Brian Sandoval (http://www.briansandoval.com/).