Monday, December 31, 2012

Fed Up's Top 12 of 2012

Well, another year has come and gone.  2012, an election year, brought a ton of stories and news.  Seriously, this time last year did you even THINK the things we saw were even possible?  Be honest, who knew what "sequestration" even meant?  Collectively the nation laughed, cried, gasped, cringed, and cheered.  There was good news, great news, bad news, and tragic news.  2012 had many historic moments and some that were not so memorable.  There were stories that had nothing to do with politics that highlighted ever news paper, internet site, and TV station.  From Gabby Douglas to Jerry Sandusky and Penn State.  Yes, 2012 will go down as a year to remember.  

But I've put together my list of the biggest political story lines of 2012.  Clearly this isn't an exclusive list; there were MANY honorable mentions (gay marriage, CIA sex scandal, and Citizens United opening up the flood gates).  For me, this list includes stories that either will have a huge impact, or significant outcome.  So please, if you disagree, let me know down in the comment section.  

Without further adieu: Fed Up's Top 12 political stories from 2012!



12.) 2010 Mid-Term Elections:
Yes, 2010.  2010 impacted 2012 in a major way and almost changed the national political landscape for decades to come.  You see, the 2010 mid-terms brought in a wave of anti-Obama and anti-Democratic sentiment.  Leveraged by multi-billionaires with hidden agendas, this anti-left leaning movement was molded into political activism the most recognizable of which was the Tea Party.  However, 2010 also brought a WAVE of Republican wins in swing and blue states.  The result?  MANY right leaning laws forced upon left leaning states: Union Busting and Right to Work, Voter ID laws, bans on contraception and other reproductive legislation spawning outrage, protests, sit-ins, and most amusingly, statelevel politicians hiding out in other states over threats of arrest.  The one thing that did go unnoticed during that time was the change in power lining up with the 2010 census.  This alignment gave the newly elected Republicans the power to re-draw their districts.  Here, they were able to put democrats against democrats ensuring that one would lose.  The result?  During the 2012 elections, the Democrats swept EVERY other national office (President and Senate) and even though more votes were cast for Democrats for House Seats, Republicans held on to their majority guaranteeing two more years of political gridlock. 

11.) Republican Presidential Primaries:
While starting in 2011, the hits from this reality TV comedy special kept on coming into the summer of 2012.  Many serious conservatives will tell you that the Republican Primary field did more damage to the party than any time before.  I’d have to agree.  There are at least three things that stood out (1) “9-9-9”: This was economics guru Herman Cain’s way of substituting the existing national tax code with something similar to the price of the items from late night infomercials.  (2) 10-to-1: When asked who would walk away from a deal that was 10-to-1, spending cuts to tax increases, ALL eight candidates raised their hands.  This was the first time the world (or whoever was paying attention) saw the RIDICULOUS position that domestic terrorist Grover Norquist put many Republicans into.  How ANY compromise could be found when the right-wing couldn’t even take a GREAT deal because of their zero tolerance position they have on any tax increases.  And (3)…..um…. “And Third…ahh…cause there are three…What’s the third one there?  Let’s see… Whoops!”

10.) Clint Eastwood and "The Chair":
The Republican National convention was already experiencing difficulties.  With Hurricane Isaac forcing the cancellation of day one, and supporters of Ron Paul looking to cause trouble, the convention itself was already under scrutiny.  Then, during the prime-time spot on the last night of the Republican Convention out walked an American cinematic hero, Clint Eastwood.  Eastwood, one of Hollywood’s few conservatives, began what appeared to be an improvised speech…with a chair.  And in said chair was an invisible President Obama.  Eastwood went on to criticize the chair Obama’s war Afghanistan and Iraq and several other policies.  At one point, he interrupted his speech to converse with the chair  Obama saying, “what do you want me to tell Romney?  I can’t tell him to do that.  I can’t tell him to do that to himself.”

“You’re crazy, you’re absolutely crazy.  You’re getting as bad as Biden,” he added. 

This moment proved to be very important in the 2012 political landscape.  For one, it was yet ANOTHER time when conservatives just simply appeared to be bat-shit-crazy.  Who would want that party in charge of ANYTHING?  But more importantly, instead of the nation talking about how good Romney was and giving him the August bump in the polls, folks were talking about “The Chair.”  Now, when you see someone talking to an empty chair, no need to worry, there just“Eastwooding.” 


9.) Self Deportation:
Allow me to restate a line made famous by every DJ from every house part, in every town, in every state, “you ain’t got to go home, but you got to get the hell up outta here.”  2012 brought us yet another news making quip from the then Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney.  During one (of the many) GOP primary debates, Romney was asked how he would address illegal immigration, and said he favored what he called “self-deportation.” 


“The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here,” Romney said.  “We’re not going to round them up.” 


Basically, Romney was advocating for making conditions so bad, it would be impossible for a person to live and they would leave the greatest nation on Earth solving our immigration problem.  Now, self-deportation didn’t start with Romney, but it did twist the Massachusetts’ Republican into one of his many, many policy pretzels.  We can’t say 100% that Romney’s position lead to his lack of Hispanic support during the 2012Presidential Elections, but it sure as hell didn’t help.  So… um…yeah… I’m going to say it.... I'm going there… I’m going to say it…. “Hasta la vista, baby.”
8.) Binders full of women’s issues:
2012 proved to be full of missteps – mostly by Republican politicians – on issues involving women.  From the opposition to a Violence Against Women act (because it included protections for undocumented immigrants and members of the LGBT community) to vaginal probing and distinguishing between “types” of rape, the Republicans did themselves no favors by making these issues in a year when the President was extremely vulnerable.  However, the cherry on top was provided by the Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney – yet again – when he proclaimed that his staff brought back “binders full of women” in response to adding diversity to his cabinet when he was Governor of Massachusetts.  These comments set the “twitterverse” a blaze.  Instantly you were inundated with cartoons, jokes, and costumes of… you guessed it… binders full of women.

7.) Hurricane Sandy and the Aftermath:
After the debacle that was the debt ceiling, the number of citizens pissed off at politicians for not working together to find solutions to big problems was growing.  President Obama had lost his bump from the Democratic National Convention, the furor from the Bengazi attack wouldn’t quite go away, and Mitt Romney was touting how he could bring the country together the way he didn’t while governing the blue state of Massachusetts; something President Obama couldn’t do.
Then, the week before citizens were to vote for their Commander-in-Chief, she hit.  Hurricane Sandy.  She hit fast and she hit hard.  With her winds stretching 1,100 miles in diameter and leaving behind $65.6 billion in damage, and 253 people dead, Sandy also brought opportunity.  President Obama looked to separate himself from his predecessor’s failed response to Hurricane Katrina and show the nation what type of leader he was.  But no one saw the political bomb that was about to drop; the proverbial nail in the coffin, if you will.  Not by President Obama, but by the first Governor to support Mitt Romney’s candidacy and conservative darling, Gov. Chris Christie.  Christie, a potential Republican Nominee for President in 2016, dump tons of praise on President Obama just days before the election.  He called his leadership “great” and that he was doing all he could to help the Republican governor and the citizens of New Jersey.  Again, it isn’t 100% certain that this cemented Obama’s re-election but one thing is certain, this will certainly be remembered as the 2012’s “October Surprise.” 


6.) Second Amendment Remedies:
2012 was a tough year for gun right advocates.  Not as tough as those who were the friends and families of the many…many…many folks who lost their lives, but, as far as politics, it put one of the right-wing’s most concrete political positions front-and-center.  And it wasn’t pretty.  In February 2012, the nation was introduced to a law fought for and put in place by many conservative legislatures: Stand Your Ground.  A young Trayvon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman and sparked national outrage.  During this time, many folks took to the streets wearing hoodies as a symbol of solidarity, and for the first time in 2012, the gun right’s community was brought into question their support of such laws.  Then, in the summer of 2012, James Holmes walked into a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and opened fire killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.  This put the spotlight on gun advocates for a second time in a calendar year.   While there were many other shootings across the nation (see: Mall in Portland OR, Chardon High School, and Oikos University, just to name a few) none gripped the entire nation more so than the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school where 27 people – including children from ages 6and 7 – were killed.   
 

This tragedy took the nation by storm and silenced the right-wing gun lobby for an entire week.  Demanding politicians take action, the Sandy Hook’s tragedy took gun advocates out of the frying pan and put them right smack into the fire.  While it remains to be seen what, if anything comes from these tragedies as it relates to gun laws, it does put one of the leading conservative lobbies, the NRA, on their heels and puts into question the loyalties of the politicians who support them.  Time will tell if there are any political implications, but if so, we can point to 2012 as the turning point.



5.) Fiscal Cliff:
Here’s a math problem, what does the removal of the “tax holiday” plus sequestration plus Bush Tax cuts plus “Plan B” minus compromise equal?  Answer, the “fiscal cliff.”  We are quickly approaching the final countdown.  As a matter of fact, as I type, an agreement is nowhere in sight.  I guess technically we could place the “fiscal cliff” under the 2010 mid-term category as it developed out of failed budget talks after the Tea Party took office.  Like Y2K before, the fiscal cliff promised chaos and calamity.  “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!”  At the stroke of midnight (not really) $500 billion in tax increases and $200 billion in spending cuts go into effect.  The only cure lies in the hands of politicians who can’t even agree on whether or not the Sun is shining.  If the Democrats said the Sun was shining and the Republicans would disagree and say that it isn’t Sun problem, but a lack of clouds problem.  Which begs the question, how can we agree on a fix, when we can’t even agree on the problem?  With political futures and economic status on the line, we can only hope that they find a solution before it hits an already struggling economy.  Again, while we wait to see the fallout, it could be huge.  The reverberation may come later, but whatever may happen, if not resolved, 2012 will be remembered for the lack of compromise that resulted in global catastrophe. 


4.) The Attack on the US Consulate Building in Benghazi Killing Four Citizens Including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens:
This was a truly tragic event that occurred on the anniversary of 9/11.  Initially thought to be a violent response to an anti-Muslim YouTube video, the attack on the consulate building was, in fact, a terrorist attack.  While the details remain sketchy, one thing is clear: the attack was coordinated and resulted in the first U.S. Ambassador to die in office since 1988.  The political response back home did nothing to honor the dead.  Instead, the Republicans used the attack and death as a political weapon to attack President Obama where he was strongest – foreign policy.  Conservative pundits and bloggers called Obama “unfit” to lead, and said this was proof that he couldn’t keep us safe.  Eventually, the issue found its way onto the national stage when Mitt Romney attempted to do damage to his political rival by highlighting the attack and calling it a national security failure.  Of course, this line of attack ended in futility when the moderator, Candy Crowly, called Romney out reducing what at first appeared to be a ninja-like move to merely a comedic punch line – “Please…Proceed.”  Ultimately, this tragedy did little to impact the election; however, it did resurface AFTER the election and – thanks to Senators McCain and Graham – it did derail President Obama’s potential Secretary of State pick, Susan Rice.


3.) Justice Robert’s and Obamacare:
After tears were shed, town-hall meetings ambushed, law suits upon law suits, talks of socialism and Nazisim, multiple votes to repeal, campaigns run on the promise to repeal, and even talks of impeachment, it finally came down to this: Justice Robert’s and his Supreme Court.  On June 28, 2012, the nation waited for the decision like a boxing crowd waiting for the judge’s score card; a decision that could’ve impacted the entire presidential election.  The decision centered on whether or not President Obama’s landmark legislation was constitutional.  As in a theatrical twist ripped straight from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan, John Robert’s did the unthinkable.  He detached himself from the vice grip of the conservative wing of the Supreme Court and voted FOR the bills constitutionality.  This turned out to be a major victory for President Obama and for Democrats.  After dang near bringing down our entire political system, the healthcare law is here to stay and one of the leading Republican talking points was removed from the table making it tougher to knock out the sitting president. 

2.) 47 Percent:
At a time when unemployment and gas prices were high and consumer confidence was low, many political pundits felt Mitt Romney had a better than good shot at beating President Obama and denying him his second term.  Even before the Republican Primaries ended, President Obama’s team spent millions of dollars early on painting Romney as an out of touch rich guy who only cared about the 1%.  While this strategy was making some inroads, it was keeping the two candidates even, at best.  That was until a video surfaced featuring Romney talking about 47% percent of the nation:

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what ... who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... and so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," Romney said.

Called the political gaffe of political gaffes, Romney did in 10 seconds what Obama’s team couldn’t do with millions of dollars: solidify Romney as an out of touch rich guy who only cares about the 1%. 


1.) The Re-election of President Barack Obama:
Many folks didn’t know if it was possible – for several reasons: Before Obama, in nearly 70 years (since Truman) only one Democratic President (Clinton) has ever won a second presidential term; with all the voter suppression, union busting, and left over birthering going on, the fact that Obama’s name even made it to the ballot was amazing; lastly, no president has won re-election with unemployment over 7%.  But the issue that stands out the most was the fact that Obama’s re-election meant he wasn’t an historical anomaly.  He didn’t win in 2008 by accident.  He wasn’t a welfare or affirmative action recipient.  No, he made his case to the voters not once, but twice.  Even if his 2008 win was a fad supported by folks wanting nothing more than to be a part of history, his 2012 re-election was an affirmation of his policies and positions.  The people spoke.  President Barack Hussein Obama.

There you have it.  Just my thoughts.  There were many things that took place in 2012.  If you want to share your own or if you disagree with my list, let me know in the comments below.   Happy 2013!
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