by Joe Shea
March 6, 2012
SUPER TUESDAY? SUPER FOR WHOM?
BRADENTON, Fla., March 6, 202012 -- If you could really scrape below the surface of objective reality and peer into the unconscious minds of Republicans who will vote today in 10 states for their choice of presidential nominees, which of the key issues in the campaigns of Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Sanctorum would really be generative when they cast their votes?
There's Iran and its alleged nuclear program (the CIA and National Security Agency say there is none, thus the "alleged"). There's the economy. There's health care. The economy - did I say that?. And then there are sluts. And why would Republican voters - who are comprised of a larger number of women than men - worry about sluts?
It may be that in calling 31-year-old Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute," Limbaugh was inadvertently defining the younger generation of female Republican working women who get their contraceptives through an employer's health care plan. Employers want to keep these valuable women at their desks rather than at home on paid maternity leave, and these women don't want anything else taken out of their pay checks - and certainly not the hundreds of dollars a month some would otherwise pay to put off having babies.
Rush Limbaugh was calling hundreds of thousands of such Republican voters "sluts" and "prostitutes" (within the hearing of their husbands and partners) - not just Fluke. Many of them would be envious of Fluke, who's not in a long line of women plucking chicken feathers in some Indiana chicken coop, or checking in drunken Spring Break teenagers at a Florida Holiday Inn, or selling life insurance in Berea, Kentucky, population 11,347. Envious, that is, if they didn't have to be called out as a whore on the biggest talk show on American radio.
The reality of his remarks is smoldering in the unconscious minds of millions of women who have been taught to be submissive, passive and indifferent to insults through their accultuaration into the corporate world, Being responsive to Limbaugh's broader definition is a little too much for them; after all, they first have to acknowledge that they are as much the targets of his remarks as Fluke was.
They know he was talking about them, yet they will not have the courage and presence of mind to respond, either at work or at the polls, I'm sorry to say. If they did, they'd shun Mitt Romney, whose most trenchant response was, more or less, "I would not have said that." The "totally unacceptable" response of Sen. John McCain would have been too little, if these women had the courage to think about it, but it was certainly better than anyone else on the presidential campaign trail offered.
And that's just one thing at on the list for Republican voters today: What Rush called my wife.
Iran is a conundrum even writers who like to think don't like to think about. The CIA and the NSA have let it be known, without making statements, that Iran - to the best of their knowledge - is not making a nuclear weapon and abandoned the nuclear program a couple of years ago. That is not enough for Republican presidential candidates.
As far as they are concerned, if Israel wants us to join them in bombing Iran back to the Stone Age, then we ought to join them. For all of them it is a litmus test of loyalty to Israel and its survival, not an objective test of common sense, which would say the CIA and NSA are usually right - not always, as on Iran's nuclear weapon program, which proved to be non-existent but cost us 5,500 American lives and a trillion dollars - in their assessments of high-stakes matters.
The President has decried "the casualness which which some of these folks talk about war," but Republican leaders are calling the man whose SEAL Team 6 executed Osama bin Laden in cold blood - "wavering," and "weak." That is the language of fools. Good Republican incumbents leave foreign policy to the White House.
The deeper issue, which none dare ask about, is the degree to which the American people's leaders ought to be led by the nose to war on behalf of another country - any country.
Also on the list of issues, of course, is the economy. We are all experts on the economy becuaswe it touches us all in different ways. The best I can say about it is that it's better than it was. There seem to be more stores hiring, more homes selling, no unbearable inflation except in gasoline prices, and a little more money from a cost-of-living hike in my Social Security check. That's about all I can see from a third-floor condominium lanai in the middle of a golf resort in Florida. Just last week I was staving off foreclosure and was saved largely by the publisher of the Progressive Populist, whose check made it possible to meet the deadline for a lien to be filed against my unit. Objectively, I think I'd have to say that if you are facing foreclosure and the loss of your home (which I bought for cash from the estate of my parents), you would not expect your savior to be people who struggle on the fringe of politics to keep our politics human and honest. But if those same folks have enough to help someone like me, the economy cannot be all that bad. We apparently live with it until it gets better, and we believe it will.
Immigration is not the central issue it was in 2008, and that's because the fast-growing Hispanic population is quickly becoming a critical force in our elections. Their numbers grow at a far faster rate, so that they will be the majority of American by 2050, demographers say.
It's also a fact of life that Hispanics have larger families than white and black Americans. Since all but a handful are observant Catholics who do not use contraceptives, they are not the people Rush Limbaugh was talking about.
But what of white Republicans who are slowly starting to feel outnumbered by another race? Theoretically, they may see a tough stance on the availability and ubiquity of contraceptives as a way to suppress the population of Lastinos, who favor the Democrats and President Obama by about 70% in polls.
And then there's health care.
I am one of those Americans who is profoundly grateful to the United States of America, to my government, for its compassion for those who can't afford health care. I didn't see a doctor for years as my blood pressure raged out of control and a pinched nerve in my back periodically caused my leg to become paralyzed. Being unable to afford regular dental care, I ultimately had to have all but two of my teeth pulled. By the grace of God, I reached the ripe old age of 65 three weeks ago and qualified for Medicare, and thorugh the help of my GOP Congressman, Vern Buchanan of Sarasota, Fla., with Medeicare and Medicaid.
Yesterday I went to the doctor for the first time in years, and the excellent physician I met was alarmed about my blood pressure (180/100) and gave me a prescription for pills, which Walmart gave me free. None of it cost me anything but gas money. Since I sit on my butt all day and all night, reading, writing and watching tv, I'm at a strong risk for a problem with cancer of the colon, since a lack of movement of the stomach contributes heavily to the formation of ptentially dangerous polyps, he offered me a colonoscopy, too, which for the moment I've declined.
So I am not going to say another word about the marvelous health care America provides to its elderly and poor. I'm just going to vote against any health-care privatizer who comes down the pike.
Joe Shea founded the American Reporter with 30 other journalists on April 10, 1995. It was the first such site anywhere in the world and soon will complete its 17th year of publication.