Jaded from years on the political front lines, TGATP has in recent years been mostly publicly apolitical. I supported Obama. But the wisdom of my years, has made me realize that while it is of vital importance to vote, the country pretty much gets the administration it deserves at any given time. For example, during the years of “Dumb and Dumber” we had G Dubya. With my disappointment in the Obama presidency’s failure to deliver on its great message of “hope and change”, I see that politics are now mostly a province of the self interested. Very rarely does any party actually care about the average citizen. The ’60’s are well over. Nowadays, if you are at either end of the economic spectrum – the very wealthy or the very poor – our current system has little effect on you. The wealthy are always looked after by both parties since most Congress people and Presidents are well off. And the poor are taken care of to avoid a second revolution! As for the Middle/Working Class, despite the OWS premise of 99% vs. 1%, most of the 99% are more concerned with BECOMING the 1% than aligning with the 99. They may be deluding themselves, but hey, it’s that good ole American (Powerball) Dream!
I spent years on the front lines of various movements waving my banner, angry at this thing or the next. But, I came to realize that people are just people. The same elitism, racism, hierarchies, sexism, and general mean-spirited attitudes often reside in the so-called activists on the Left as the folks they are fighting against on the Right. Movements, like OWS, are loaded with well-meaning, but very confused and angry, folks. I’ve seen people claim they are “anti-Establishment” on one hand then commit blatant acts of racism, be openly sexist, or step over a friend-in-need. And these movements always ultimately get taken over by the extreme looney left, who lump everything and the commie sink, into each cause. Thus, just being an “activist” or sharing some of my political views, is no longer enough to make me dub someone a righteous person. There are some pretty awful people on both extremes of the political mindset.
And finally, maybe I have just mellowed. The shift came when I first saw the blockbuster New Age movie “The Secret” back in 2006. The bit that really resonated with me was the tale of how, when asked would she attend an “anti-war” rally, Mother Theresa replied, “No but when you have a PRO PEACE rally, I will come.” I had spent years being “anti” this and that and no real change had occurred. This story made me recognize that being “anti” anything just brings more of it. Only Love conquers negativity not more negativity.
That said, I was, like most, curious about this Ryan fellow that Mitt Romney announced as “the next President of the United States.” For a minute, I thought that Mitt was throwing in the towel. But he actually meant that this was the dude, who will be running for the number two spot. So before the spin begins, here is an overview of Ryan’s ACTUAL views and votes on some issues of importance. Vote how you will. But cast an informed vote, so you can live with the consequences.
Women and Children
As a digital magazine focused on Women, and as a Woman with a capital “W” myself, I am always very concerned about protecting the rights of women and children. As a Spiritual person, I am now personally pro-Life. However I do not feel that either I, or my government, should dictate to other women what they can do with their wombs. Each woman has to make that difficult choice herself. And neither economics nor politics can play a role in that choice. And I’m sorry, it is just crazy to say that a woman cannot have a medically necessary abortion to save her own Life! Ryan disagrees and:
- Voted YES on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion. (May 2011)
- Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)
- Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
But Ryan is a clear hypocrite in his supposed pro-family stance as he:
- Voted NO on four weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees. (Jun 2009)
- Voted NO on expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program. (Jan 2009)
- Voted NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility. (Oct 2007)
He also feels we should:
- Bar funding for abortion under federal Obamacare plans. (Jul 2010)
- Prohibit federal funding to groups like Planned Parenthood. (Jan 2011)
- Grant the pre-born equal protection under 14th Amendment. (Jan 2007)
Rated 93% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record, Ryan is clearly not a working person’s candidate and schkews in favor of big business. On the issue of shareholders voting on executive compensation, Ryan was a flip flopper. Interestingly, he voted “yes” in 2007, then mysteriously “no” in 2009. This makes zero sense as the second vote took place AFTER the epic financial collapse in 2008. If anything, executives should have been made MORE accountable to their shareholders, not less!
In addition, he voted against The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and the Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act of 2010, which was ultimately passed by the House, 247-170. The act would have provided tax incentives for small business job creation, which is where the jobs are all ultimately going to come from.
Here are some other pro-big business Ryan votes:
- Voted NO on monitoring TARP funds to ensure more mortgage relief. (Jan 2009)
- Voted YES on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Apr 2002)
- Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Dec 2005)
The Working Class (there is no more middle!) and the Poor
Senator Ryan’s voting record has a clear bent towards the wealthy. He has voted against a host of major bills designed to help the middle class and the poor.
They included votes on the following:
- Voted YES on terminating the Home Affordable mortgage Program. (Mar 2011)
- Voted NO on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures. (Mar 2009)
- Voted NO on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy. (Sep 2008)
- Voted NO on revitalizing severely distressed public housing. (Jan 2008)
- Voted NO on increasing minimum wage to $7.25. (Jan 2007)
- Voted NO on $167B over 10 years for farm price supports. (Oct 2001)
- Voted NO on extending AMT exemptions to avoid hitting middle-income. (Jun 2008)
He also voted “yes” on restricting bankruptcy rules. (Jan 2004) which was a clear blow to poor people in a financial rut.
Civil Rights and Liberties
His voting record also reflects that Ryan is fervently to the far right on all issues of civil rights. He has:
- Voted YES on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
- Voted NO on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes. (Apr 2009)
- Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
- Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges
- Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 2009)
- Rated 13% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
- Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
- Rated 36% by NAACP, indicating a mixed record on affirmative-action. (Dec 2006)
On crime, Ryan’s votes are also very revealing and reflect a blatant disregard for both the gay community and the poor. He inexplicably voted against enforcing anti-gay hate crimes (who and why would anyone be against that??). He also is avidly anti-rehabilitation voting “no” on the two bills that would help stem recidivism. These bills provided funding for alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders and the expansion of services for offender’s re-entry into society. Even more revealingly, Ryan supports and voted for more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime. Since people of color and the poor are more likely to land in our jails and prisons, these policies will be of more harm to these communities.
Ryan is also hypocritical on the subject of drugs. While he voted to prohibit a needle exchange and medical marijuana in DC in 1999, he ridiculously:
- Voted NO on more funding for Mexico to fight drugs. (Jun 2008)
- Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism. (Sep 2001)
On Energy and the Environment
Ryan is an environmentalist’s nightmare! He has voted the wrong way on every bill concerning environmental conservation including:
- Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling. (May 2011)
- Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. (Apr 2011)
- Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution. (Jun 2009)
- Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets. (Sep 2008)
- Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation. (May 2008)
- Voted NO on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)
- Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
- Voted NO on investing in homegrown biofuel. (Aug 2007)
- Voted NO on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR. (Aug 2001)
- Voted NO on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels. (Aug 2001)
- Voted NO on starting implementation of Kyoto Protocol. (Jun 2000)
- Voted NO on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program. (Jul 2009)
- Voted YES on deauthorizing “critical habitat” for endangered species. (Sep 2005)
- Voted NO on environmental education grants for outdoor experiences. (Sep 2008)
- Voted YES on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects. (Nov 2003)
- Voted NO on strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting. (Jan 2007)
- Voted NO on $40B for green public schools. (May 2009)
On Gun Control
Ryan is obviously firmly in the pocket of the NRA lobby. Despite the fact that most Americans now support tougher gun laws, Ryan:
- Rated A by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record. (Dec 2003)
- Voted YES on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers. (Oct 2005)
- Voted YES on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)
- Voted YES on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1. (Jun 1999)
Rated 11% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record in Dec 2003, Ryan is also all over the wrong place on the issue of healthcare! He has:
- Voted YES on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay. (Feb 2006)
- Voted YES on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts. (Apr 2011)
- Voted YES on limiting medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000 damages. (May 2004)
- Voted YES on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. (Nov 2003)
- Voted YES on capping damages & setting time limits in medical lawsuits. (Mar 2003)
- Voted NO on regulating tobacco as a drug. (Apr 2009)
- Voted YES on overriding veto on expansion of Medicare. (Jul 2008)
- Voted NO on giving mental health full equity with physical health. (Mar 2008)
Homeland Security and Immigration
And finally, Ryan tows the Republican party line on these topics having voted:
- Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. (Sep 2006)
- Voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act’s roving wiretaps. (Feb 2011)
- Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. (Sep 2006)
For more information on the voting records of all political candidates, go to: On The Issues and Project Vote Smart.
TGATP Note: Regulations on registration and documents needed to vote has changed in many States, so make sure you are properly registered.