Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This is what the GOP has become

If anyone wondered why the GOP has become extreme enough to do things like risk the collapse of the entire global economy in order to make an ideological point or refuse to address the needs of unemployed Americans in order to score political points against President Obama, all you need to do to understand is to have watched the last 2 presidential debates. In both of them, the audience - not the candidates - have given you the answer.

Remember last Wednesday when the audience cheered the fact that Texas Governor Perry had presided over the execution of over 200 people - more than any other Governor in modern times?

Last night they went even further and cheered the death of an otherwise innocent man who had forgone health insurance.

These are the people the Republican Congress and candidates are catering to - the ones most likely to vote in their primaries.

When we talk about 2012 being a a choice election rather than a referendum, this is what we mean.

In stark contrast to what those audiences expressed are the words of President Obama.

This larger debate that we’re having -- this larger debate about the size and the role of government -- it has been with us since our founding days. And during moments of great challenge and change, like the one that we’re living through now, the debate gets sharper and it gets more vigorous. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. As a country that prizes both our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this is one of the most important debates that we can have.

But no matter what we argue, no matter where we stand, we’ve always held certain beliefs as Americans. We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made these liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.

This sense of responsibility -- to each other and to our country -- this isn’t a partisan feeling. It isn’t a Democratic or a Republican idea. It’s patriotism.

I, like President Obama, am an optimist.

I’m an optimistic person. I believe in America. I believe in our democracy.

I think most Americans will agree with him on these basics of what kind of country we want to be. Our job is to help make sure the differences are clear come November 8, 2012.

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