There is an important lesson here. We are choosing these candidates. If Americans were different, then they would get different candidates. Instead, we get the candidates we deserve. There's a reason we don't have affordable education or universal health care. There's a reason why we didn't make a peep as our industrial base was dismatled and moved to China and replaced with McJobs. There's a reason we are the only country in the world without mandated vacation time. There's a reason taxes for the rich go down every year, in good times and bad. There's a reason we don't have decent schools for everyone and our infrastructure is crumbling. There's a reason why only American CEO's make over 300 times what the average worker does, and we pay double the cost of the next most expensive health care system in the world (UK or Australia). It's not because "they" are doing it to us.
No, the reason people in Europe have these things is that they, unlike us, are not suckers. And here's the proof: Paul Ryan's Ancestral Hometown In Ireland Mostly Rooting For Obama (Reuters). Why?
Despite the Ryan connection, few locals are hoping for a Republican victory across the ocean.
"It would give a boost to a nice small town like this, but I would forgo it. I wouldn't want to inflict him on the American people," said Margaret, a 64-year-old cashier, upset by Ryan's plans to cut welfare and Medicare health cover for the elderly. She withheld her family name to avoid angering her employer.
A straw poll of 20 people on a recent afternoon found 12 Obama supporters and none for Ryan and running mate Mitt Romney.
Ninety-six percent of people in Ireland who have decided would back Obama and Irish Catholic running mate Joe Biden if they had a vote, according to a September poll of 1,000 people by Gallup International.
"He's too far right-wing for this part of the world," said Martin Brett, the former mayor of the county's capital Kilkenny, who hosted Ryan's uncle when he came to trace his roots in the region a few years ago.
As the country with the second-largest budget deficit in the European Union and recipient of an international bailout, Ireland is dangerous ground for Ryan, whose campaign is based on a promise to slash the United States' fast-growing debt pile.These people know a snake oil salesman when they see one. Why don't Americans? P.T. Barnum had us figured years ago. So now you know why Europe's right-wing parties are to the left of our Democrats. You also know why they have more social mobility and outscore the U.S on every social metric, even in the age of austerity (see this). When you have a country full of drooling brain-dead suckers, you get sleazy, grinning, perma-tanned billionaire corporate takeover artists running for president as champions of the common man.
The Wisconsin congressman has not endeared himself to his kin by holding their country up as a cautionary tale of bad practice.
Ryan's web site refers to Ireland 11 times, eight as an example of the economic doom facing the United States if it doesn't address its budget deficit and three as a rival to the Cayman Islands as a tax haven threatening American jobs.
When Ryan told a crowd in his home state how his great grandfather had fled the Irish potato famine with just the shirt on his back, the crowd lapped it up.
But an Irish historian of the famine, John Kelly, rebuked him days later for espousing a laissez faire economic philosophy he said was strikingly similar to that of British policymakers whom many in Ireland blame for the deaths of millions.
Need proof? Gutting the welfare state has been an objective of the Republican party for decades. Agree or disagree, they have made no secret of slashing the social safety net to pay for deficit reduction and tax cuts for the rich. So you might think that would turn off the electorate that depends on government assistance, right? Think again:
Asked who has the better plan on healthcare, all likely voters support Obama over Romney by 42 percent to 39 percent, while older voters choose Romney, 43 percent to 39 percent. The responses on the candidates' plans for Medicare show something similar: Obama leads among all likely voters, 42 percent to 35 percent, while Romney is ahead among older voters by 40 percent to 39 percent.Older voters prefer Romney on healthcare, Medicare: Reuters/Ipsos poll (Reuters)
Nevertheless, when some respondents were asked to explain their preferences, they did not offer specifics about Medicare or Social Security and focused instead on the economy, which most consider the most important issue in this election, followed by unemployment. Healthcare issues rank third among older voters and the broader pool of all likely voters.
Kathy Laska, a 65-year-old retiree from Waukesha, Wisconsin, who cast an early vote for Romney, identified the economy as particularly pressing — more than healthcare. "I'm on Medicare right now. So I guess if the economy was better, we wouldn't have to worry about healthcare," she said.
She explained that the candidates' healthcare differences were secondary to their economic differences.
"We need somebody who is a businessman, not a politician. Romney is a poor choice, but he is our only alternative," she said.
For many, though, Obama's 2010 healthcare law is a large part of their decision.
"I don't like that Obamacare, for one thing," Dale Reynolds, a 65-year-old retiree from Bloomington, Minnesota said. "And us old folks, we're worried about Medicare and Social Security, and that kind of thing."
The generation gap is especially pronounced among early voters: While Obama leads 53 percent to 42 percent among all early voters, he trails 51 percent to 44 percent with the older group. By Friday, 31 percent of older registered voters had voted, compared with 26 percent of all registered voters.
On the economy, older voters believe Romney has a better plan than Obama by an 11-point margin, while among the broader pool of likely voters Romney holds only a four-point lead.
"I'm definitely voting for Romney. I made that decision long ago. Obama said if he couldn't get it done in three years, he didn't deserve another one, and I believed him," Reynolds said. "Romney's a businessman. He knows what he's talking about."
While Obama leads Romney by six points on foreign policy among all likely voters, he trails by one among the older crowd.
Still, these voters are not confident Romney will win. In a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, most registered voters said they thought Obama would prevail. Laska agreed, and Reynolds was skeptical of Romney's chances, particularly in his home state of Minnesota, which leans toward Democrats.
"These dummies here, they're so liberal, it's unreal."
Yesiree, we need a businessman. Now he can "harvest" the United States and turn over the profits to his backers. Need more proof?:
Notice how even the slightest questioning of right-wing radio talking points is met with either outrageous contradictions ("Q: What are some of those areas you say it [tax money] is being thrown at that you don't want it to be?" A: "ummm..."; Q: "So is he an Athiest or a Muslim?" A: "HE'S ALL THREE." ) or blank stares and silence. "We're the laughing stock of the world right now." See above. Priceless. Unfortunately, the corn-pone "folks" aren't in on the joke. For those of you who don't live in the "heartland," this video is not an exaggeration by any means.
Being an American is like having a conjoined twin who is mentally retarded and suicidal (not to make light of those conditions, of course).
BONUS: The Obama Conspiracy O-Rama (Mother Jones). Several on display above. And this: