Republicans will accuse whoever becomes the Democratic nominee of wanting Barack Obama’s third term — as if 11 million Americans finding new jobs and 16 million gaining health insurance is a bad thing. But Mitt Romney is determined to lead Republicans into running Mitt Romney’s third losing presidential campaign.
At a weekend summit for Republican candidates and donors in Utah, Romney again tried to cast himself as a visionary who was defeated only by turnout in “urban areas.” Without those meddling urbans, Mitt would be boldly leading us into more confrontations all over the globe because having the first few months without a U.S. combat death since 9/11/01 is apparently a terrible thing.
Mitt’s fixation on foreign policy traces the entire Republican field’s descent into warmongering as its primary mode of critiquing Obama. They are doing this for two simple reasons.
First, we’re still reeling from the mess created when George W. Bush neglected Afghanistan to invade Iraq with far too few troops to contain the country. And while President Obama has re-engaged in the region, Republicans want more. Explicitly, they want the exact thing that created this problem — U.S. combat troops in Iraq. At least that’s the latest word from — you guessed it — George W. Bush.
The bigger reason Republicans are fixated on foreign policy is that it’s their best hope.
In October of 2012, Mitt vowed to get the unemployment rate below 6 percent by 2016. We’re halfway through 2015 and the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent. By Mitt’s own standard, President Obama is exceeding expectations. We’ve had the best two years of job creation since tax increases on the wealthy and Obamacare went into full effect. And 2015 was the best year of job creation this century.
But when it comes to standards, Republicans are famous for only holding Democrats to them. Here are five reasons that if Republicans really wanted richer, safer, and more “life”-centered America, they’d vote Democratic.
“Since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24,” Bill Clinton said at the 2012 Democratic Convention. “In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private-sector jobs. So what’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 [million].”
The Daily Beast‘s Michael Tomasky looked at Calculated Risk‘s Bill McBride’s projections for job creation under Obama and suggested how a reprise of that tally might play out in 2014: “Now imagine how Hillary Clinton (or Bill again, in her behalf) can update this at the 2016 convention if McBride turns out to be right: ‘Now the scorecard is even since 1961 in terms of years—28 years for them, 28 for us. The jobs score now? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 53 million.'”
Our Joe Conason looked at Dr. James Gilligan’s Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others and found that the difference is even more stark if you put it in terms of the unemployment rate — even before more than twice as many jobs were created under Obama than both Bushes combined, in half the time.
“If we count up the net sum of all the increases that occurred during Republican administrations from 1900 through 2008, we find that the Republicans brought about a cumulative increase of 27.8 percent in the unemployment rate, and the Democrats an almost exactly equal decrease of 26.5 percent.” The net cumulative difference in the partisan effects was a staggering 53.8 percent.
Since the stimulus went into full effect, we’ve been enjoying the longest stretch of private-sector job growth in American history.
For the first time in 15 years, jobless claims have been below 300,000 for 14 straight weeks. Layoffs have reached lows not seen since 1971, meaning per capita layoffs have never been this low in recorded history. Part of this is a symptom of a broken economy where too many people are freelancers and independent contractors, but can you imagine the size of the parade President Romney would be getting if he helped bring America layoffs lower than Reagan brought us?
Of course, improving the economy is the only way to truly improve the health of our federal budget, which explains the next reason Republicans should vote Democratic.
2. The Deficit
Speaking of crises that have been fixed under Obama that never get mentioned anymore… We spent much of the last seven years being lectured about the deficit by the exact guys who turned a record surplus into a record deficit. But suddenly, they’ve gone very, very quiet on this subject.
The deficit is now projected to be lower than at any time since August 2008, right before the Great Recession truly kicked off. This means that under President Obama, the deficit has been reduced by more than a trillion dollars a year.
Apparently pointing out that we can expand health insurance to 16 million while bringing the deficit to new lows isn’t the kind of thing Republicans like to do. But it shouldn’t be a surprise that Obama is better at lowering the deficit than his Republican peers — Blinder and Watson found that all Democratic presidents have been better at it since 1947.
Violent crime in America fell to its lowest level since 1978 in the first year of Obama’s second term. And while conservatives and the media have a vested interest in playing up local spikes in lawbreaking, in general America is still as safe as it’s been in decades, possibly ever.
And like the economy and deficit, this reduction in crime isn’t unique to this Democratic president. It’s consistent with what happens every time we put a Democrat in the Oval Office. Why? Poor economic performance invariably leads to a more dangerous America.
“The level of economic inequality likewise tracks homicide and suicide rates as they move up in tandem, and so does the general condition of the economy, which can be seen sinking as those figures rise,” Conason wrote, summarizing Gilligan’s findings. “When inequality grows, violence follows; when the economy stagnates, violence predictably festers.”
And it isn’t just America that’s safer now than it was seven years ago. It’s our border, too.
4. The border
Republicans need to pretend the border isn’t secure because saying “First we must secure the border” comforts the nativists who will definitely be showing up to vote in the GOP primaries. But the U.S./Mexico border is safer than it’s been in decades — possibly ever.
“The border today is transformed,” former Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner David Aguilar told a Security conference in April. “Border communities are safer than the interior locations of each of the border states. Violent crime is lesser along the border than it is in the interior.”
It’s safer than even Washington D.C., he said — based on actual statistics and not anecdotal evidence from House of Cards.
Fox News viewers assume that the deficit is rising, Obama is becoming more Muslim, and illegal border crossings are at an all-time high. But the opposite is all true. There are a million fewer undocumented immigrants in this country now than in 2007, even though President Obama has taken executive action to delay some deportations. This has to do with the weak economy Bush left us and a huge boost of government spending to monitor the border, which are two more reasons Republicans probably don’t like bringing it up.
The greatest irony of the debate over reproductive rights is that abortion is less common where it’s legal.
Eliminating abortions completely is impossible, given that it asks people to give up complete control of their bodies, even to a pregnancy caused by rape, incest, or the inevitable kind of mistaken sexual encounter nearly every human being on Earth has blundered into. And it makes that demand only of people born female.
It you want to reduce the abortion rate, it’s pretty simple. Remove all federal restrictions, guarantee health insurance to everyone (including complete birth control options), and offer quality sex education. We know this because Canada does all that and has a lower abortion rate than we do.
Essentially: To reduce abortions, just do the opposite of what the GOP platform calls for.
Liberalizing abortion laws also works to reduce abortions and make them safer in America. Abortions are down about 12 percent since 2010, which is coincidentally when Obamacare became law. A lot of that reduction seems to have to do with the lower birth rate. But you can’t discount the pro-life aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
Apparently offering birth control without a co-pay reduces abortions, shocking no one — but Republicans.
If you were truly cynical, you’d argue that Republicans are trying to increase abortions — given how little concern they have for the unintended lives that get created.
The Democratic Party isn’t perfect, of course. Too often the corruption of our political system and the drift of war powers has made the agendas of the two parties seem parallel. But the real, undeniable differences become vivid when you look at reproductive rights, tax policy, voting rights, health care, and judicial appointments. And they’re definitely clear when you look at results.
If Republicans really want robust growth that makes us richer while securing the border and reducing abortions, they’d have to vote Democratic. But if their agenda is to make the rich richer, it makes perfect sense to keep voting Republican.
Image: DonkeyHotey via Flickr