According to Nate Silver’s calculations in the New York Times, Kansas has a 99.8% chance of voting for Mitt Romney in the upcoming election.
Six or so years ago, when my parents still lived there, 2 of my sisters arrived for a family celebration, both carrying the book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas.” This was after Bush Junior had been re-elected (so to speak), winning Kansas by over 25%. What were our fellow Kansans thinking? In our immediate family he lost either 9 or 8 to 1. (Dad may have abstained.) We in the majority would have rather drunk skunk piss than vote for Junior.
Thomas Frank, the book’s author, had no good answers.
Thanks to social media and the fact it’s election season (as if it ever isn’t), cousins periodically relay messages that have been cooked up in Republican kitchens. The latest was a Romney piece, a picture of a billboard in Tampa flashing the alarmingly rising numbers of the deficit. My cousin warned that if Obama is not defeated, we may lose our freedom.
I understand the native Kansas concern about living beyond one’s means, though she might explain why the deficit was not a pressing concern when Junior, on a high of ignorance, deceit, and hubris, started a war that has run up a 3 trillion dollar bill. Not to mention killing over 100,000 innocent Iraqis who, if they had been fetuses, would have had a right to life. Junior was handed a budget surplus and the money that wasn’t directed to Halliburton, Goldman and Ass. was flushed down the toilet.
Here’ comes another Facebook goodie: the Romney clan, chins uplifted, hands on breasts, saluting the flag, with a follow-up picture of President Obama, his hands clasped in front of him while behind him waves the star-spangled banner. Not saluting. Doesn’t that say it all? cousin asks.
Not quite. But coupled with the fact that Obama the candidate was seen not wearing a flag lapel pin and that he is a Muslim born in the foreign country, and he eats arugula well, that says it all, especially the last. Who does he think he is? Could it be your basic down home racism? My cousins. If they met the man in their grocery store they would treat him as kindly as anyone else. They are good-hearted. Shaking his hand they might even feel a level of kinship. Obama had a Kansas mother, too.
Instead they believe Obama will take their guns, that government oppression in their lives has gone too far and there are conspiracies to make it worse. “I just can’t stand that Obamacare,” cousin said to my sister. My sister said she thought the part about children being able to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 was a good idea. “Yeah, that’s not so bad.” And the part about not being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, cousin agreed, that was a good thing too. And that millions more people will be insured and not have to rely on trips to the emergency room which are far more expensive…that, too. Cousin still hates Obamacare.
Along comes Mitt, praise the Lord, to save us, Mitt who recently returned from Israel gaga about getting us in another Middle East war (which of course will be a cakewalk that pays for itself), whose candidacy, as Professor Gingrich’s before him, is greased by a casino billionaire whose goal is make our foreign policy that of Israel’s.
I suspect what my cousins fear most of all is that all their hard earned dough is being forked over to the undeserving poor. They know big farmers who get yearly government handouts that would make the welfare queen think she’d died and gone to pink-Cadillac heaven but they don’t complain much about them, perhaps because these checks are deserved, after the hard work of leaving a field fallow.
Maybe it boils down to: deserving and undeserving. That welfare queen. Definitely undeserving. And folks on food stamps. And the unemployed, and the uninsured. And kids eating free lunches even though there is no such thing. People on Medicaid. The dark-skinned. Ooops. Did I say that? The Ryan budget, surely will draw the line once and for all.
There is a way I’d vote for Mitt: if he can assure me that one day, through hard work and business savvy and the free enterprise system, I will amass an IRA tracking in the $100 million range, like his.
I am a bit envious, though I wouldn’t call it greedy.