post mortem

So now we know the election results.  It is four more years.

On a more local/regional level Jim Gerlach made it back.  Dan Truitt made it back. It looks like Andy Dinniman made it back.  Tom Smith thankfully won’t be going anywhere.

Republicans in Chester County and across this country are bitterly disappointed this morning.  But as Republicans we only have ourselves to blame.  Too much tea ruins any good party. Period.

That is why.  Political extremism is a turn off.  And in some cases they can’t even vet their candidates.  Look at neighboring Delaware?  Do any of you even realize what happened with a tea party backed candidate there?

In Delaware, tea party and Christine O’Donnell approved Eric Bodenweiser was running for State Senate.  Part of his platform was family values.  One problem? He apparently molested someone once upon a time and they came forward.

What? I can’t make this stuff up:

WOBC: Ex-Del. Candidate Makes Bail on Child Sex Charges

DOVER, Del. (AP/WBOC)- A former state Senate candidate charged with repeatedly molesting a young boy more than two decades ago is out on bail, one day after his arrest.

Fifty-three-year-old Eric Bodenweiser was released Tuesday from Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown after posting $250,000 secured bail….After winning the GOP primary, the tea party-backed Bodenweiser suspended his campaign for the 19th District Senate seat Oct. 12….Bodenweiser was a tea party-backed candidate whose supporters included former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. He upset incumbent Sen. Joe Booth in the Republican primary.

Christine O’Donnell of course in her typical delusion called this action politically “motivated and tacky” :

delawareonline: O’Donnell calls Bodenweiser charges “tacky,” politically motivated

Christine O’Donnell told a Sussex County talk radio station Tuesday that the child rape charges filed this week against former state Senate candidate Eric Bodenweiser were an “October surprise” and a “tacky” political move.

Speaking on WGMD 92.7 the 2010 tea party Senate candidate used the term “political weapon” when referring to allegations that Bodenweiser repeatedly raped and sexually abused a 10-year-old neighbor over the course of three years in the late 1980s.

Hear the audio here

But who is Christine O’Donnell other than another tea party candidate who should never have gotten as far as she did but it must have been witchcraft, right?

On come on.  Remember? (See ABC News report from 2010 and listen to her in her own words here)

On Friday, Maher released on his new HBO show, “Real Time,” an unaired clip of O’Donnell admitting to a brief dalliance with witchcraft.

“I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do,” she said.

“One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that,” she said. “We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.”

And then there was Tom Smith who ran for Senate against Bob Casey (I think Bob Casey is a boob, but it feels good to refer to Smith in the past tense if you have a brain).

Tom Smith in August compared pregnancy from rape as being similar to having a baby out-of-wedlock.  He was trying to distance himself from the legitimate rape comment out of Todd Akin, who was thankfully defeated in Missouri last night. (Listen to the video here of Tom in his own words.)

Tom Smith said in this exchange with a reporter shortly after the Akin story broke:

Smith said Monday at the Pennsylvania Press Club that although he condemns Akin’s comment, he agrees with Akin that abortion should be banned without any exceptions, including for rape and incest victims. Pressed by a reporter on how he would handle a daughter or granddaughter becoming pregnant as a result of rape, Smith said he had already “lived something similar to that” in his family.

“She chose life, and I commend her for that,” he said. “She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to … she chose the way I thought. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.”

When a reporter asked Smith to clarify what kind of situation was similar to becoming pregnant from rape, the candidate responded, “Having a baby out of wedlock.”

If Tom Smith was my father, I would have never spoken to him again after those comments I found them so vile and ignorant.  I was embarassed for his daughter.

Why am I pulling up all this Republican unpleasantness?  To prove a point.  The point is simple: big government and political extremism is ruining this country. One party rule doesn’t help either.

Yes I understand the irony that I actually like State Rep. Dan Truitt and he calls himself a tea partier.  He’s a pro-life Catholic and I am a pro-choice Catholic. But the thing about Truitt I actually like is he keeps it local and he does work for his district and he leaves a lot of the Harrisburg pork-perks in Harrisburg.

I will also admit I am new to the area and not a seasoned local, but as is the case with many things political I tend to look at the candidate themself. Truitt and I do not see eye to eye on everything, but I believe him to be genuine and hard-working.  (I read an interesting older blog post on him here.)

Interestingly enough, I actually did meet Bret Binder yesterday.  I had a fairly long conversation with him.  We did disagree over the fully local comment he made while politicking at the East Goshen Farmers Market (which is run by a non-profit the Friends of East Goshen).  We also disagreed over the West Chester Area School District, but I am not going to say the time I spent with him was unpleasant.  He was bright and pleasant and articulate.  He honestly seems to have a lot of involvement with some non-profits and seems devoted to making a difference in Chester County.  So he won’t be doing it from the State House this time around, but my gut says he may be someone to watch.

Now back to a more national stage and discussion.  I heard it bandied about last night that some in the Republican Party wondered if they had not found a candidate that was conservative enough to run for president.  Are you people crazy?  Do you not even see the people of your own party?  Do you think, do you really think most Republicans have an easy time identifying with the candidates you choose?

Moderation.  The Republican Party needs to embrace it’s middle ground again. Those are the candidates which are successful.

Take Jim Gerlach as an example.  I actually know him and his wife, and I got to know them yes through activism and political involvement in my former home community of Lower Merion Township.  I can tell you for a fact that when Jim had Lower Merion as part of his district, he had a LOT of crossover votes.  There were a lot of Democrats who voted for him because he was a moderate.  He also has incredibly good constituent services who don’t see political parties when constituents call: they see people it is their pleasure to help.  And no, I did not like some of what I heard Jim saying this time around, so I hope he goes back to being the moderate I really feel him to be.

A quick segue into something I learned about the part of Chester County East Goshen is in yesterday at the poll.  Apparently every time there is a census performed the congressional district gets a do over? WHY? I know it to be true because when I first moved here my congressman was Pat Meehan.  Then when I saw Jim Gerlach at East Goshen Day I found out he was my congressman. I learned yesterday that this back and forth is almost like some weird tradition.   I will freely admit I don’t understand the whims of redistricting except it is politically motivated.

Now back to the rest of the politics of politics.

The Republican party needs to have a come to Jesus talk with itself.  Because the Republican party that got Reagan and even both Georges elected no longer exists. No party is perfect, but the Republicans keep losing because they do not have enough candidates that the average person can identify with. Period. And when you have candidates who are very wealthy men speaking to seniors who depend on things like Medicare and Social Security and they say they will blow it all to smithereens but these now terrified senior citizen will be o.k. what do you think will happen?

When you have a freak about gay marriage, which let’s get real at the end of the day will it hurt you personally as a heterosexual what do you think will happen? (the answer is no it won’t hurt you.)

And the tired tried but true of being dumb enough to keep a woman’s right to choose in campaigns. You know what?  Keep that on the platform, keep on losing elections.  It is pretty much that simple.  You have these zealots who are caveman-like in their views on women.  Maybe some women won’t tell you it is offensive when candidates are off hand about women who are violated or have babies out of wedlock, but I bet if you ask those same women questions about that in the privacy of their own home, you will get a different answer.  At the end of the day, it is a sensitive, complex topic that is more personal choice than anything so it doesn’t belong on pulpits, in political platforms, or in mock election discussions for elementary and middle schoolers.

We are a fractured nation.  We are in a recession not seen since the Great Depression, so can we maybe admit we might kinda sorta be in one? Politically we are all at loggerheads with one and other.  And at the end of the day I said it before in this post and I will say it again, big government AND political extremism are ruining this country.

Politically, there is enough room for all of us.  But the hateful rhetoric from BOTH sides needs to stop.  One good thing about it being November 7th is for the first time in months it is 8 a.m. and I have not had a political robo or live solicitation call.

Four, almost five years ago I met Michelle Obama in a small group setting of about fifty people (and a couple hundred media).  I really liked her.  I  do believe the President has the courage of his convictions, but meaning no disrespect I have felt like he has been led around by the party machine to which he belongs as opposed to leading.   This country needs to be led, and not by the behind the scenes machinations of political parties and puppet masters.

As for Romney, truthfully I think if he had chosen a different, more moderate vice presidential candidate there may have been a different outcome.  But I think like McCain he made a huge mistake and pandered to a group of people who do not represent the perspectives of the average Republican, or individual.

The Republican party needs to get back to basics. Less tea.

From local politics to Harrisburg to Washington DC we need a balance in politics.  We need things like meaningful healthcare reform, which means reforming the insurance companies not just layers and layers of rules and regulations that totally confuses us every time we want to go to the doctor.

We also need certain social issues taken out of the everyday vernacular of American politics and OFF political platforms. Roe v. Wade needs to stop being some weird warped political drinking game.  After all, what happend to those who wish to undo it? THEY LOSE.

And most importantly, those of us who are in the middle who are average people just trying to live good lives and make our own way need to be heard.  We aren’t the movers and shakers writing big campaign checks, we are just the people elected officials are supposed to serve. And who aren’t supposed to feel victimized by government.

Well the die has been cast on election 2012.

Thank you for stopping by my blog today.  I realize that I am probably not the kind of Republican some will understand.  But the thing is this, I actually do try to think about this stuff and make my own informed decisions.  Politically speaking we can’t unring the bell, we can only move forward.

Have a good day all, and enjoy the lack of robo calls.

sense and sensabilities?

So I wrote a post yesterday on how I feel about some of the politics in this country. Wow, the brew ha ha which has ensued one would have thought I was chicken little and the sky was falling in.

It actually made me ask a question:

So if you don’t like tea partiers and question them and other political extremists, does that make you a bad Republican? Or a bad Democrat for that matter? If we can’t question politics are we truly free?


Why can’t I question what makes me uncomfortable along with what I do not understand?  Why does that suddenly make me a political undesirable? As a woman am I supposed to walk ten steps behing, be barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen and MUTE?

Let’s review something – I blog for me first and foremost.  I share my opinions because it is what I feel like writing about in that moment.  It is not always going to be  placid and necessarily comfortable for all.  It’s not always going to be a pretty photo, or a fantastic recipe to share. Sometimes it will be topics like politics, from a local stage to a national level. It depends where the inspiration comes from at that moment.

I feel that the basic framework on which this country was founded is exactly why we should question things now.  I feel that in an odd way certain groups in this country are trying to suppress some of the very freedoms and philosophies on which this nation was founded and grew.

That, dear readers, doesn’t make me a bad female Republican. It means I think about things.

I was a volunteer, a media relations volunteer at RNC2000.  Twelve years ago I felt strongly enough about being a part of that to seek out friends in Washington who could help me get a better volunteer position.  Truthfully, I was one of the few volunteering in my capacity that did not come out of politically connected PR and advertising shops.

I approached it all with an open mind and as a result, met some truly remarkable people.  And I lent a Congressman at the time  named Chip Pickering cab fare when he got off a train without his wallet and no one else believed he was who he was.  (And yes he paid me back and my reward were invitations to some pretty awesome A list parties.)  But what I noticed was at that time the Republican party worked really hard to extremists on the fringe so everyone felt honestly welcome within the party.  Not so any longer.  The extremists are being embraced at the expense of ordinary Americans in the middle. That is an act of desperation that I feel quite strongly will bite them in the rear.

Both political parties are guilty of the dumbing down of America and that bothers me. Washington is full of politicians spending our tax dollars to prove each side right and wrong.  These politicians aren’t worried so much about the constituencies they represent, but seem to be constantly running for re-election.  I think that is crap.

Truthfully, I have been reading up on things in Washington, and I think Democrats and their assorted pals are nervous about the upcoming election.  I believe people should start paying attention to who is leaving what and taking what new job.  Because face it, with a new administration a lot of people could find themselves on the outside looking in.

One example I see recently and locally to an extent is the latest headmaster appointed at The Haverford School.  John A. Nagl.  His experience and current responsibilities are truly remarkable.  But a change of course to headmaster of the Haverford School?  To me that might be commentary on the current political climate and fear of things to come. (of course what a lot of people are also asking is why Haverford is choosing yet another ex military to run a non-military school?)

Ok, so back to the topic at hand: questioning politics.

If we can’t question and discuss politics, let alone express our feelings as to what is bothering us, we are no longer truly free.

You can’t just drink the kool-aid in either political party and it would behoove more people to look at who they are voting for a little more closely. It would also behoove more to be of an independent mind.

And if you want to discuss with me what I am thinking about, that is fine, but don’t just tell me I am across the board wrong.  I know I am not.  Maybe I make some of you uncomfortable with my pondering, and I am sorry.  But you have to think.  You can’t just act like a Stepford wife or Moonie and pull the lever for any candidate.  You need to ponder. You have to ponder. You have as a resident of the United States of America an obligation to carefully ponder as far as I am concerned.

Here are a couple of notes I received from people I know with regard to my blog post yesterday:

 I LONG for moderate Republicans to take back their party from the crazies. Leave women’s bodies alone and focus on the types of spending reform for which the party is supposed to stand.

What makes me crazy is how many have signed a PLEDGE that makes them beholden to a LOBBYIST. They sold out their ability to compromise and act in the best interest of our country because Grover Norquist made them do it. To me, that is treason. When a leader like Mitch McConnell says that Congress’ goal for two years should be to unseat the President in the next election, ergo not pass any legislation that would seem like a “win” for the D side, regardless of how much it would benefit people and businesses that are hurting, where are we?

Stop worrying about who people are schtupping. Stop worrying about women who take a pill so that they have two children instead of 20, and pass the existing legislation that lowers corporate tax rates, invests in retraining for people in hard-hit areas that have been laid off. Stop blindly protecting the defense budget and question why we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars building up bases in the Caribbean to combat drugs.

Someone…please…take back the reins. When Reagan’s key tax policy advisor has said that the GOP has gone off the rails and is hurting the country, there’s a problem. I think we need a more-than-two-party system. But, at the very least, we need TWO functional parties that welcome debate and dissent, can compromise, and don’t accuse anyone who disagrees with them as being “un-American.”

Another one (ironically from a friend in DC who reads Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Karen Heller):

And please be sure to read the sentence where Smith says to put yourself in the father’s position. Yeah, the father’s position is MUCH more difficult to be in than the poor girl who got raped and pregnant.

Karen Heller: Another GOP moment: Smith comparing daughter’s unintended pregnancy to rape  August 29, 2012|By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist

“Maybe Tom Smith just wanted us to remember his name.  Or realize he’s the Pennsylvania Republican running for the U.S. Senate.

Or perhaps he’s jealous of headline-hogging Todd Akin, that Missouri master of creative obstetrics, and wanted his own moment in the sun and on this paper’s front page.

In any event, Smith finally made news Monday by comparing unintended pregnancy to rape.

Specifically, his daughter’s unintended pregnancy to rape, after a Harrisburg press luncheon in front of a group of reporters….

Smith answered, “I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But fortunately for me, I didn’t have to. . . . She chose the way I thought. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t rape.”

Scolforo: “Similar how?”

Smith: “Having a baby out of wedlock.

Scolforo: “That is similar to rape?”

Smith: “No, no, no. Well, put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, I mean it is similar.” “

The last comment is from someone who was a life long Republican until not so long ago:

I have been enjoying newsroom all along – despite the nasty reviews from the “pros.”
I also found Sunday night’s show to be spot on.
So who owns the term rino these days? I sure as heck can’t say. That we are even asking that question is just plain sad.
For me, long ago my personal experiences informed my decision to leave a party that so deliberately and decidedly was extremely comfortable with treating women as second class citizens. But the fact that the Republican party is now, in 2012, hell-bent on controlling women’s bodies in ways I really never dreamed could happen in my lifetime makes it impossible for me to contemplate ever returning. And please, how is it that creationism is even a topic we have to contemplate – let alone discuss in the public discourse?
But these are only the most obvious of issues. what is deeply, deeply disturbing to me is the lack of caring and compassion for those in need. Not every person is a lazy worthless free loader living off/on the public dole, and the insanity – to say nothing of the fundamental selfishness – which seems to be at the center of policies that so callously and inappropriately ignore those less fortunate, I just can not understand or grasp such perspectives.
So there – I joined you on the soap box…..thanks for listening.
Remember what Thomas Jefferson said – “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”