Conservatives vs. Liberals

A few election cycles ago, Conservatives tried to turn “liberal” into a dirty word. They spat it out in a negative light over and over. And Democrats took the bait.

Suddenly, no Democrat wanted to be called a liberal. By avoiding the label, they reinforced the Right’s claim. And “liberal” became a dirty word in politics.

But what does liberal mean? It means generous. Is being generous a bad thing? Not according to Jesus. Remember the parable of the widow’s mite? It was a small offering in monetary terms… but it was a big chunk of this poor woman’s savings.

Or the parable of the prodigal son. When the foolish son returned to his family, the father killed the “fatted calf” – feast food – to welcome his errant son home.

Giving freely was kind of Jesus’ thing. Which makes it seem odd the political Right claims Jesus as their own. Because…

Jesus Condemned the Religious Right Over and Over

Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. He criticized the Pharisees – the Religious Right of his day. And he often broke bread with the poor and sinners.

Fast-forward 2,000 years, and who advocates for the poor? Mostly liberals. Programs to help prisoners re-integrate into society? Mostly run by liberals.

On the other hand, who fights against universal health care? Conservatives. In spite of claiming to be “pro-life.” Which also makes the Right’s support of the death penalty seem odd. You can add a few other choices to that list, too.

If you’re pro-life, why would you oppose the SNAP program, which feeds poor children? Why would you oppose a minimum wage that brought the poorest Americans out of poverty? Why would you oppose universal health care.?

If you’re pro-life… all of these programs preserve lives. Fighting them tooth and nail makes no sense.

Unless you’re not really pro-life.

Today’s Conservatives Aren’t… Conservative

To conserve means to save for the future. This is something political Conservatives don’t have built into their DNA.

Take climate change as an example. More than 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity is driving rapid climate change. And that change is a catastrophe.

Ice caps are melting… and low-lying nations are threatened with extinction. Super-storms are becoming more common. And the growth cycle of plants is changing. Bumblebees may disappear – along with many other species.

Yet Conservatives in the U.S. cling to the tiny percentage of scientists – mostly on corporate payrolls – who dispute climate science. And they push for continued use of fossil fuels.

In spite of our quickly diminishing supply of these fuels.

“Conservatives” aren’t trying to conserve energy sources. Instead, they back over-use of limited resources. There’s nothing conservative about that.

These “conservatives” also aren’t trying to conserve states and nations facing obliteration by the over-use of fossil fuels.

According to worldatlas(dot)com, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands are among the countries most threatened by climate change.

In the U.S., Florida – with a highest point of just 345 feet above sea level – faces catastrophic flooding as sea levels rise.

Yet, Conservatives – who supposedly want to preserve the status quo – are fine with most of southern Florida disappearing beneath the waves.

That includes Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s multi-million-dollar social club. Which is barely at sea level already.

The Accurate Name for Modern “Conservatives”

So, todays conservatives actually favor massive climate change… and the economic disaster that would follow. All for short-term economic gain.

Are they pro-life? Only before birth. Do they care about the environment? Not if it costs them money. Are they concerned for their grandchildren’s future?  Not based on their choices.

Because today’s Conservatives show no concern beyond themselves.

To conserve means to save for the future. Which makes it clear these folks aren’t really conservative. So, from now on, we have to use different labels.

“Liberal” is no longer a dirty word. It means giving generously. Which is a concept Jesus promoted.

But “conservative” doesn’t describe today’s political right. They aren’t trying to save for the future. But there is a word that accurately describes these people.

We can still call Liberals “liberal.” And they can hold their heads up, proud to be generous to others. But, from now on, we have to call today’s conservatives what they really are… the Greedies.

The Real Meaning of “POTUS”

“@BarackObama played golf yesterday. Now he heads to a 10 day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Nice work ethic.”

  • Donald Trump, Aug 15, 2011

Donald Trump never had a problem criticizing President Obama’s golf schedule. In fact, he posted 27 tweets about Obama golfing before the 2016 election.

For example, in 2016, he tweeted, “While our wonderful president was out playing golf all day, the TSA is falling apart, just like our government! Airports a total disaster!”

And in Dec 2014, he wrote, “Obama has admitted that he spends his mornings watching @ESPN. Then he plays golf, fundraises & grants amnesty to illegals.”

Another Trump tweet from 2014 reads, “We pay for Obama’s travel so he can fundraise millions so Democrats can run on lies. Then we pay for his golf.”

Clearly, this is a man who believes the Commander-in-Chief has no business playing golf. The same man who cancelled a trip to Poland because of Hurricane Dorian… and spent the next two days playing golf.

Um… Commit hypocrisy much?

POTUS = Putter of the United States

As we’ve noted before, sources suggest Trump has spent about 20% of his days in office golfing. This from a candidate who said, “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”

Yet he’s found plenty of time to play golf. More than once a week.

Even worse, when Trump plays golf, it costs. And costs big. An Air Force report from 2017 said one of Trump’s golf trips to Mar-a-Lago cost $142,380 per hour for the use of Air Force One.

Then add in millions of dollars for overnight stays for his entourage and security detail… plus the golf carts the Secret Service has to rent, etc. Considering most of these golfing holidays take place at Trump properties… this is a windfall for the president’s company.

So, the Putter of the United States – the guy who would have no time to play golf – is getting rich off America’s taxpayers.

Politifact reports Trump golfed 50% more by mid-2018 than Obama had during the same period of his first term. And Trump hasn’t slowed down any since then, either.

NBC News found Trump visited one of his golf properties on 150 days during his first year in office. That’s more than 40% of that year… spent at – if not on – one of his own golf courses.

This might have been forgivable… except Trump constantly criticized Obama for golfing. And claimed he wouldn’t have time to golf, if elected.

Yet he’s golfed one out of every five days he’s been in office. Including in times of national emergency… like Hurricane Dorian.

The Right was quick to side with Trump against Obama’s “golf habit.” Where are their voices now that Trump has eclipsed his own anti-Obama standard?

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Kirk, J., “The 27 times Donald Trump tweeted about Barack Obama playing golf too much,” SBNation(dot)com. Feb 3, 2018.

Kessler, G. “Fact check: Have U.S. taxpayers spent $72 million on Trump’s golf outings?” The Washington Post. Jul 27, 2018.

Graves, A., et al, “Who plays more golf: Donald Trump or Barack Obama?” Politifact(dot)com. May 18, 2018

Johnstone, L., “Tracking President Trump’s Visits to Trump Properties,” NBC News. Dec 29, 2017.

2020 Campaign Talking Points

Donald Trump talks a big game. But does he deliver? Fortunately, someone’s been keeping track. And the results are pretty clear.

No, he doesn’t.

The Washington Post has been tracking 60 major promises Donald Trump made during his 2016 campaign… and the results are less than satisfactory.

With 2020 on the line, let’s take a quick look at how Donald is doing with some of his key promises.

And let’s start where it really hurts: Your wallet.

4% Economic Growth

Under President Obama, quarterly economic growth was over 4% twice between 2014 and 2016. Under Trump – who promised annual growth at that rate or above? Not once.

Under Trump, the economy has hit quarterly growth of 3% five times. But 4%? Never. In fact, the latest numbers for the 2nd quarter of 2019 show we’ll only hit 2.1% growth. That’s barely half the rate Trump promised.

With his tariffs, Trump has really put our economy on shaky ground. Consumer prices are rising, as both finished goods and parts cost more.

With less buying power, businesses and consumers have begun spending less… setting off a chain reaction. As demand drops, job growth will slow… or even reverse. The nation could easily be sucked into a spiral that leads to negative economic growth.

Likewise, Trump’s 5-year ban on lobbying by congressional and White House officials turned out to be a bust.

There is a ban, but it only applies to lobbying the agency the official worked for. The rule also eases up restrictions put in place under George W. Bush and Obama… so it’s a net loss.

Middle Class Tax Reductions

Trump’s “tax reform” bill was supposed to be a boon for the middle class. But the bill gave almost all the tax breaks to corporations and the rich.

Corporations used most of their savings to buy back stock and offer enhanced executive compensation. Big corporations have saved billions… while our deficit has ballooned well beyond administration estimates. Trump now wants to pay for deficit growth with cuts to programs he promised not to touch: Social Security and Medicare.

Trump’s tax plan also didn’t meet these other promises…

  • Simplify forms or cut tax brackets down to three
  • Create new senior- and child-care deductions
  • Introduce new “dependent care” savings accounts

Come April of 2019, many middle-class families reported unexpectedly high tax bills. Because their withholding had been cut far more than their tax rate.

Many saw lower refunds than in previous years. Others had a tax liability where they’d previously seen a refund.

The economy? Fail. Tax breaks? Fail. But what about Trump’s #1 priority? Surely, he’s delivered on that.

The Impenetrable Wall That Wasn’t

The Wall is Trump’s signature promise. So you’d think he’d have made more progress on this than anything else.

But he hasn’t.

Remember how he was going to build a wall… and Mexico would pay for it?

Well – after more than 2-1/2 years, Mexico hasn’t contributed a penny. And very little new wall has been built. Depending on the source, the amount of new wall is reported as ZERO feet. Unless you count the display samples that aren’t part of the actual wall.

But one thing is clear: Trump’s 2,000-mile concrete barrier – paid for by Mexico – has made no progress.

Trump has tried to bully the money out of Congress. Divert it from military and emergency management funds. But squeeze it out of Mexico? No deal. And no new wall.

Now, Trump has told aides to ignore the law to get his wall built… and that he’ll pardon them later. When questioned, the White House called it “a joke.” But folks on the border who could have their land seized illegally aren’t laughing.

Trump’s signature issue has been a complete failure.

Trump Is Only Concerned With the Bottom Line

Unguarded walls stopped being fully effective the day after humans invented the ladder. Air travel made walls completely obsolete. Most of today’s undocumented aliens simply overstay their visas.

Meanwhile, Trump – whose businesses have hired undocumented immigrants for decades – ignores these facts.

Several news stories have shown Trump companies hire undocumented immigrants. Until recently, the Trump organization has resisted using the government’s “e-Verify” system to avoid illegal hires.

In fact, The Washington Times reports only 5 Trump companies – out of 565 – had taken advantage of the free service as of Dec, 6, 2018.

That’s well after Trump took office. And significantly after he sounded the alarm about the undocumented immigrant “crisis.” But – apparently – not soon enough to check his own employment rules.

A number of former workers say they were coached by Trump managers on how to get fake employment documents. And, Trump’s “America first” talk is just that, when it comes to saving a buck. His Mar-a-Lago resort routinely applies to bring in foreign workers.

Trump blows all the racist dog whistles. He stirs up the latent fears and anger of his base against immigrants. But when it comes to his bottom line, he often chooses foreign workers – sometimes undocumented – over Americans.

Even many of the products offered by TrumpStore.com are foreign-made. Again, not an “America First” effort.

So how do you get folks to listen to all these talking points? Not with a direct attack.

It’s Not Just Having the Truth. How You Present the Truth Matters.

Finally, a few words on how to present the facts.

Don’t start out by repeating Trump’s lies. Start with the truth… then introduce the lie.

For example, don’t start by saying, “Trump claims he’s built dozens of miles of new wall on the southern border, but…” Starting with the false claim puts the burden of proof on you. And – as we all know – Trump supporters are armed with “alternative facts.”

Instead, try something like this: “Did you know the U.S. hasn’t built a single mile of new border wall since Donald Trump took office? He insists we have, but he’s just calling replacement fencing new wall.”

Why does this work better? Because it’s not a direct attack. It puts Trump in the weaker position. You’re not attacking his claim in this situation. Now he’s attacking the truth. The difference is subtle but powerful.

When you attack, your listener’s defenses go up instantly. Make the liar the attacker, and they immediately lose the high ground. Your listener’s position is shakier. Which may make them more open to the truth.

Why is this important? Because we need to turn every vote we possibly can in 2020. We have to convince a lot of Americans that voting for a Progressive candidate is in their best interest.

I don’t want to be an alarmist… but the alternative could be the end of democracy in America.

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“Trump Promise Tracker,” The Washington Post. Aug 11, 2019.

“US Taxpayers Unhappy With Trumpʼs Tax Cuts,” NewsGram(dot)com. Feb 14, 2019.

Dinan, S. and Miller, S.A., “Donald Trump companies ignoring E-Verify, hiring illegal immigrants,” The Washington Times. Dec 6, 2018.

Da Silva, C., “Donald Trump’s Border Wall: How Much Has Actually Been Built – And Will It Ever Be Complete?” Newsweek.com.Jul 2, 2019.