BY BERT SMITH
After my part of the 2012 congressional campaign was finished in late June, I somehow fell in with a group called Eagle Scouts for Equality, on Facebook. This seemed reasonably appropriate, in that I was [am] an Eagle Scout and agree with the premise that scouts and their leaders should not be restricted from participation in the Boys Scouts of America by sexual orientation. Finally, the most effective of my four campaign managers was gay.
To make a long story short – which I hardly ever do, but will try here – Eagle Scouts for Equality had almost 1,000 “likes” last month as most of us were trying to figure a meaningful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Eagle Scout, while pointing out that BSA needed some changes.
It was through this exploring that I encountered a notorious and infamous homophobe of our generation: Chuck Norris. His most recent effort to be helpful to the far right is “Top 10 reasons not to vote for Obama.” He even got on the Huckabee TV show with this stuff.
In a spirit of “equal time,” “we can do better than that,” and “is that the best you’ve got?” here are the Top 10 reasons Not to Vote for Romney:
No. 10: Clint Eastwood and the empty chair were put in the “primest” of prime time at the Republican National Convention. Can you imagine the guy who made that decision trying to decide what to do next in Syria, with about a dozen former “W” foreign policy staffers screaming in his ears.
No. 9: Mitt, regarding Iran, America’s Moms and Dads aren’t going to take too kindly to you sending their sons to hunt WMDs there, especially when you won’t be sending yours. Be reminded that “W” had a bit of a problem finding them in Iraq, and a scary number of your foreign policy advisors worked for Bush 43 back then. Your nomination acceptance speech might have been a good time to mention our troops in harms way. Also, when asked if you favor leaving or staying in Afghanistan, “None of the above” is not a good, thoughtful answer! [Though he did say in the final debate he agreed with the president’s 2014 timeline for withdrawal.]
No. 8: You are out of touch with America’s people. Claiming to be a NASCAR or pro football fan is a nice touch, but then claiming a personal friendship with several team OWNERS takes it a bit over the top. Casually admitting that you would like to build a house … on the beach … in La Jolla is a dream many Americans might identify with, until they discover that your dream house has an elevator… in the garage … for the cars.
No. 7: Mitt, you are ill-mannered and almost rude. Whether it’s a small bakery owner near Pittsburgh or the mayor of London as the Olympics began, “I could have chosen my words better” should not be an appropriate response to the media more than three or four times a week.
No. 6: Russia is not our most dangerous “geo-political” enemy, as you said. The Cold War ended over 20 years ago and we really don’t need to heat it up again, even to stimulate demand for Bain’s defense stocks. Now that our last shuttle is parked permanently, the only way to get to the space station, that we built, is by riding with … them.
No. 5: Democrats care, Republicans maybe not so much! Democrats believe “we are all in this together.” Republicans believe “it’s every man for himself.” For about the last 30 years, the rich have grown richer and the poor have grown poorer. If the average greens keeper can’t afford to educate his children, the greens will grow too rough for the rich to play on. Can you smell “Banana Republic?”
No. 4: The 47% of Americans who “don’t pay taxes” will not be impressed by your plan to “lower taxes for everyone” by 20%. If you’re going to lead, you need to lead everyone. Virtually everyone here viewed as a “taker” would instantly change places with any of you “responsible producers,” indicating to me that they are not there by choice, but by the perpetuation of policies you favor and work hard to keep in place.
No. 3: As the VP, Joe Biden says, “Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive.” Some Republican messes are harder to clean up than others, especially when Congress’ approval rating is 11% and their sole objective is to make the president fail, rather than make our country a better place to live. Seven dozen Tea Party freshmen can be very counterproductive, especially when they see that as their only reason to exist.
No. 2: Mitt, you had the audacity to actually carry a sign supporting the Vietnam War, but went to France when it was your time to fight. Not even Dick Cheney did that with five draft deferments! Even “W” and Dan Quayle managed to get into a guard unit and wear a uniform while waiting for that little conflict to blow over. It sickens me to see the Romney volleyball team, Mitt and his boys, all standing tall and strong, and none with even a sniff of desire to serve in any of America’s military services.
No. 1: Finally, sharing your tax returns is part of the application for the job of president. It is extremely arrogant to feel you are entitled to less scrutiny than every other presidential candidate in the modern era. If you have something to hide, then you don’t need the job. Your tax rate is 14%. Most of us pay double that, and that is overwhelmingly unfair. Not showing us your taxes is a trust thing. If you won’t trust us with that information, you don’t need to be our leader.
– The author is a former Democratic candidate in Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District