Romney or Santorum? Iowans say no real difference

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Media pundits reacting to the photo finish between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in the Iowa Republican caucuses yesterday said it revealed deep splits among GOP voters and will guarantee a bitter and prolonged fight for the GOP presidential nomination.

Romney defeated Santorum by eight votes, eking out a "win" in the closest-ever margin of victory in a Republican presidential contest.

Ron Paul finished a close third. Rick Perry, who placed fifth, said late Tuesday that he would return to his home state to consider whether his campaign would continue. Michelle Bachmann, who placed sixth, announced today she was withdrawing from the race. Newt Gingrich, who had once led in the polls in Iowa, placed fourth and said he would go on to New Hampshire to continue his campaign.

For all the fights between the candidates, on basic economic issues the two frontrunners are essentially united. As Isaiah Poole from Campaign for America's Future says, "On basic economic issues ... there's hardly eight votes worth of difference between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum."

Both Romney and Santorum couldn't agree more on the need for additional tax cuts for the wealthy, additional tax cuts for corporations, cuts to Medicare, cuts to Social Security, rolling back the Wall Street reforms, on repealing the Affordable Health Care Act and gutting worker, immigrant, women's and civil rights and protections.

Both Romney and Santorum, in their speeches last night, pretended to care about workers on the job and about those who are unemployed. Neither offered anything, however, that would address the problems of the people they claimed to be concerned about.

Both blamed the economic crisis on President Obama's alleged practices of  "redistributing money" and "increasing dependency." Both said the problem is government regulations and taxes that have "made workers uncompetitive by driving up the costs of doing business."

Both agreed, not just on the reasons for the crisis, but on the solutions too.

Ignoring the fact that taxes on the rich are at historic lows, they called for more tax cuts for the rich.

Ignoring evidence that lack of rules on Wall Street helped drive the entire economy off the cliff, they both called for elimination of finance reform.

Ignoring the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year, they both called for the rolling back of hundreds of regulations protecting the environment.

Ignoring evidence from Europe that cuts in social spending during a recession can kill an entire economy, they both called for slashing the social safety net that protects millions of unemployed workers and millions of poor people in the United States.

Santorum and Romney both spoke out against what they see as the "immorality" of a society that corrupts its people by "dependency" on government.

Neither mentioned anything about the immorality of corporate lobbyists swamping the nation's capital, however.

Neither talked about the immorality of the 1 percent who live off the labor of the hard-working majority and then outsource their jobs, and slash their wages and benefits.

Neither expressed concern about the morality, in the face of all of this, of CEOs showering themselves with fat bonuses.

It is that disconnect between the two Republican frontrunners and the broad majority of the people that may, in fact, explain the record-low turnout of GOP voters in Iowa.

The Daily Beast's John Avalon says it is clear after Iowa that the so-called Republican enthusiasm advantage, if it ever existed, has evaporated: "The most ominous sign for the GOP might be the low turnout in Iowa after the Tea Party enthusiasms of 2010. Roughly 123,00 of 640,000 registered Republican voters in the state turned out to vote."

The New York Times said in an editorial that the Iowa caucuses show the extremes to which the Republican Party has gravitated. The choice Republicans presented to the voters are "right, far right or the far far right."

The frenzy with which the Republican Party has lurched to the right makes an amazing and even frightening spectacle.

They supported the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that allows untold millions to be poured into election campaigns by secret corporate entities. These groups spent millions in Iowa, mostly to promote Romney by blasting Newt Gingrich, who was not thejfirst choice of "establishment" Republicans.

Ironically, Gingrich who supported the right-wing court decision, became one of the first Republican victims of that ruling. The ads brought him down from front runner status to fourth place. Under the circumstances, however, it is difficult to have any sympathy for him as he cries about the "lies" put forward by the entiries backing Romney.

All the Republicans candidates in Iowa, because of their right wing positions, were unable to use what would have been their most powerful weapon against Romney - the fact that he is not, as he claims, a man who, as a CEO, created 100,000 jobs. To let people know that he made his money firing people and bankrupting companies would be to allow themselves to be voices for workers. It would blow the cover they, themselves, give to corrupt investment companies and job killers today.

By staying home en masse this week Iowa Republicans were letting their party's leaders know that none of their candidates are really worth voting for.

The Republican Party showed clearly this week that even after the worst economy since the 1930's, after record unemployment, after a Democratic Party contest far less interesting than the Obama-Clinton fight was four years ago,  after taking over the House, and after big tea party electoral successes only two years ago, it is unable to bring its own members out to vote. After all these built in advantages, all the GOP can come up with is a call for cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, programs supported by the party's own members. After all the built-in advantages, it can come up with nothing better than more tax reductions for the rich. The party showed in Iowa that its picture of the future is one of a society ruled by an economic elite and ministered to by an intolerant group of self appointed moralists.

The response from Iowa Republicans yesterday was, quite simply: "That's not good enough!" The response from the broad American public next November could well be a Republican defeat of historic proportions.

Photo: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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  • John Wojcik's article directly sums up the Repubs: Elitist, parasitical, ethically-bankrupt, slimy opportunists, obvioulsy hypocritical..........excuse me if I'm overdoing it but they have given so much ammunition to use against them. And it's utterly necessary to use it. I'm still completely amazed how some or many U.S. citizens still have short-term memory & amnesia relating to U.S. domestic & foreign policy. Further, the article mentions that Repub supporters support government programs like social security, medicare & medicaid. And yet they would still be part of the very Repub party that not only wants to cut these programs, but no doubt, if their leaders can get away with it, eliminate them. INCREDIBLE!

    Posted by revolution123, 01/07/2012 2:20pm (2 years ago)

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