The clue bus is leaving the station

Republicans get it. They get what we’ve been saying for months now, what Dave Johnson has been preaching every time time he puts his fingers on the keyboard. It’s the jobs. The problem right now in this country is jobs — the lack of them.

Business is down everywhere because people can’t afford to spend money. They can’t afford to spend money because they don’t have jobs. They don’t have jobs because business is down.

Where in that circular firing squad can we make a change? Can we artificially boost business? Not really. Unemployment insurance isn’t there to help keep business afloat — it’s there to help the unemployed and their families, to keep them afloat, until they find jobs. It does put a little money back into the economy, but only a little. Unemployment insurance pays out a fraction of what a real job pays.

The only way to break that circle jerk is to insert more jobs into the mixture. Everybody knows that. So listen to the Republicans. They’re working to put America back to work. Everything they do is designed to create jobs. Everything the Democrats propose — that’s “job-killing.”

Democrats (mostly) want to let the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich expire on December 31, and pass an extension on the cuts for those making less than $250,000, because, apparently, you’re not rich unless you make that much. The Republicans say no (quelle surprise) because that would be “job killing.”

A federal judge Monday declared that it is unconstitutional to require Americans to buy health insurance from a private company. The easy answer to that is a public option, or better yet, universal health care. But the Republicans rejoice at the beginning of the end of the “job-killing” health care reform bill.

It’s all “job-killing” this and “job-killing” that. And Americans suck it in, absorb it into their DNA. That’s how the GOP, left for dead after 2008, came roaring back to life. They have an uncanny ability to see what it is that Americans want most and then make their same, tired, old message of enriching the rich and screwing everybody else sound exactly like what Americans want.

The Republican National Committee’s website at the moment opens to this lovely page called “The Gift of Christmas Future” with a big ole green button that says “give a gift” and stockings hung by the chimney with care. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Give to help — a family in need? No, my friends. Not the RNC.

This Christmas, preserve that blessing by giving them the same gift your parents and grandparents gave you: the gift of Christmas future. By making a contribution to the Republican National Committee, you’ll be providing the resources that we need to continue to protect the America you know and love. You’ll also be ensuring that your children and grandchildren will be able to give future generations the same Christmas you’ve given them.

Y’hafta hand it to ‘em. Republicans have got to be the party of consistency. They consistently lie. They’re consistently hypocritical. They consistently do whatever they can to further enrich the already unfathomably rich. They consistently do whatever they can to push the already unfathomably unrich further into the morass of debt and poverty. They consistently define anyone who doesn’t toe their party line as “un-American,” a traitor. Anti-American.

And they consistently stay on message. Just listen.

Democrats? Fucking cowards. We got the shit beat out of us in November! Quick, act like Republicans!

But y’know, the immediate political reality is that the deck is stacked against Democrats in general and progressives specifically. We can’t get our message out, first, because we’re lousy at delivering it, and second, because the Republicans have successfully defined us as dirty miscreant hippies, a title, by the way, I wear proudly.

But they treat us like children. Our ideas are not just considered and rejected — they’re not considered at all, because, in their eyes, they come from idealistic idiots. This has been going on for decades, and it doesn’t matter that it always ends up that we’re right, and when it does, they take credit it for. Remember when they tried to take credit for the civil rights act a few months ago? I daresay there are many in America who believe that already.

More of Richard Nixon’s tapes were released last week. They showed what a bigoted bastard he was. But Henry Kissinger said that it doesn’t matter, that it doesn’t detract from his “legacy.” His legacy? What legacy is that? That he brought China into our lives so Walmart could buy all its stuff from there and deprive Americans of needed jobs?

But I digress. The bottom line here is that we’re not going to get anywhere until we learn to speak the language of the American people. Or at least the people who will go out and vote every single time there’s an election. Unlike progressive voters who have a long history of making sure that more Republicans are put in office by consistently voting for unviable third party candidates or not voting at all.

And yeah, that really means we have to deal with the old folks, because the rich and the wannabe rich will never vote our way. We like to pretend the elderly have nothing valuable for us, but that’s the wrong attitude. They made it possible for us to be where we are, and now they’re scared. Republicans take advantage of that while we ignore them. But as long as we can’t count on our own “base,” we have to reach beyond that, to the elderly, to the religious, to all the people we regularly dismiss — like the Republicans dismiss us — because we think they’re wrong.

So? Convince them we’re right. Show the elderly that our ideas will take care of them far better than Republican ones. Show the religious that we don’t want to destroy their belief system — that they are welcome to worship (or not) as they please. Show Americans how much simpler and more comfortable their lives would be without giving away the family jewels to Republicans and their rich overlords who’ll let you keep your taxes just as long as you pay ‘em back out to some corporation that will pay its overseas workers pennies a day and keep the rest in its executives’ pockets.

We need to do this because for all the Republican shouting about how the Democrats are killing jobs and such, it’s really their own policies — started up by Saint Ronnie himself — that have killed the jobs. Tax cuts for rich haven’t created any jobs since Bush started that one up in 2001. Refusing to extend unemployment benefits hasn’t put anybody back to work. Voting against giving children health care didn’t create jobs. Denying funds to modernize our infrastructure hasn’t and never will create any jobs.

Republicans have them convinced otherwise, because they get it — it’s about the jobs — and they’re consistent. We get it too, but we’re anything but consistent.

Our “elected officials” in Washington think they’re doing what America wants. But they have no idea what America wants. All they know is what my colleagues in Washington tell them, and my colleagues are just as clueless as they are.

It’s time to hand out a few clues.